Later, when the Russian language was introduced [as an official language in Belarus], it was perceived as a disaster in my family. The results of the 1995 referendum [which led to the changes of official languages and state symbols], the change of the state symbols… – we mourned it all at home. My parents asked me which language of instruction at school I’d prefer, because I’d had to go to a new class to continue learning in Belarusian, and I chose this path.
– For a big part of my life, I lived with my parents on Surhanaǔ Street, and the way to Bangalore square passed through my house. It’s probable, that at my first protest action I was present in a baby stroller – this was the Dziady-1988 manifestation. Fortunately, my mother managed to leave with me before the authorities began to disperse people. As a child I greeted the column with a white-red-white flag from the window. I was with my parents and on one of the first "Chernobyl routes"[the annual opposition march dedicated to Chernobyl disaster anniversary]. But now, of course, I don't remember anything from that. I suspect that my parents, like many others, eventually lost faith that something could be achieved solely by street politics, and after 1996 many simply gave up. Only my grandfather went on visiting to all the political events, and the family even joked: there is a representative from our family there.
I never wrote poetry in Russian, because it appeared to me that poems could only be written in Belarusian. My grandfather used to write poetry in Belarusian on holidays, and I grew up on books like Where our people came from by Uladzimir Arloǔ. We had a collection of poems by Anatoĺ Sys, which influenced me at that time. There is such a phenomenon when you have a book at home that your teacher does not talk about – in my case that was "Pan Lies" [“Mister Wood” in Belarusian by Anatoĺ Sys]. At the same time, I was already composing and singing songs as well as writing poems.
My father was a music lover, a rock'n'roller from the '80s, he swapped records [with other music lovers, a popular hobby in soviet time], played in a band, had a vinyl collection, so there was always good music playing at home. I learned how to pick up the first chords on father’s guitar. So it has never been quiet at our home. We used to listen rock’n’roll in the broadest possible sense – so called "firm" [the soviet term for a high quality music], foreign rock classics. In the 90s it was Dančyk's[Belarusian emigration singer] music cassettes, Palac [The Palace] and Novaje Nieba [New Heaven] bands recordings. We always appreciated Piesniary [soviet Belarusian folk and classic rock band], we had a recording of their Husliar rock opera – this is the music that "entered me" from early youth. Later Narodny Albom recording was brought home already by myself. The LP Cepieliny by Novaje Nieba band was very important to me, as well as the first LP by Zet rock band – it had such incredible sound!