2Cellos, the celebrated duo famous for its high-energy instrumental versions of songs by artists from Michael Jackson to AC/DC (“Smooth Criminal” “Thunderstruck,” “Wake Me Up,” “Highway to Hell,” “Smells Like Teen Spirit”), recently had to cancel a U.S. tour because Stjepan Hauser, one half of the duo, injured his neck. We caught up with Stjepan to see how he’s doing and what’s coming up for 2Cellos.
Where and when did you and your 2Cellos musical partner Luka Sulic meet?
We met as a teenagers in Croatia on different music competitions and master classes, but we started playing together four and a half years ago.
How old were you when you started studying the cello?
Luka was five, I was eight.
Do you play any other instruments?
I play piano and guitar but just for fun.
How did you come up with the idea of doing rock and pop instrumental covers as 2Cellos?
Well, there are many reasons for that!
First of all, we felt our imagination and creativity is limited by playing only one kind of music, we always liked all different kinds of music including rock, pop, film music, etc.
Cello is such an universal instrument, it has so many possibilities and is capable of doing so many different things, different sounds, effects, we wanted to expand the possibilities of playing the cello and develop ways and techniques of playing it, and show to the world how cool, diverse and powerful this instrument can be! We had this big desire to attract a wider audience, and make young people interested in the instrument and great music in general.
There was always this rock animal inside of us that wanted to explode and one side of us wanted to fill up big places, arenas, stadiums, we wanted to experience this euphoria, crazy screaming fans, light show, adrenaline, wild rock atmosphere, we were so excited about this idea!! We always played with a lot of passion, energy and adrenaline, even the classical pieces, and were sometimes criticized for that, and now finally we can rock our souls out.
Now we feel so blessed and so fulfilled, because we are in a position to experience everything, both sides, rock and classical, and it is equally beautiful and magical! We can experience a spiritual intimate atmosphere playing Bach in church for example, but we can also play in front of thousands of screaming fans and experience a total madness! There are so many possibilities and we are so rich by the opportunities this instrument has offered to us.
How do you decide what songs to cover?
It’s easy, we have to like the song and the song has to sound good on cello!
Millions of people have watched your YouTube videos, you’ve had sold-out tours, and your third album Celloverse came out in January. But I’ll bet many of your fans don’t know much about your classical background. With all your pop success, do you still stay in touch with your classical music roots?
Of course, classical music will always be part of us. We are including classical music pieces at our shows and soon we will be playing classical music concerts in Croatia and Japan.
How are the instruments you play on stage different from the normal violoncellos played in classical orchestras? Is it just the electronics? Do they use different strings? Are there different playing techniques? Are the instruments made especially for you?
It’s all the same, the only differences is that these are electric, and we are using them because it is much easier to amplify them and make them sound really loud. We also like to use many different effects which we cannot use on acoustic cellos. But for the classical music and for the recordings we always use acoustic cellos.
How does having a busy touring schedule affect your personal lives?
A lot, we are never at the same place for more than two days, so it can be a very tiring and lonely life, but this is our mission, to share music with people around the world.
How are you feeling since your injury? How much time have you had to take off from playing? And are you “back on the horse” now?
I feel much better, can’t wait to start performing again! Although I need to be careful not to injure myself again.
You guys perform very physically, even athletically. Do you plan to stay as energetic as ever on stage?
Yes, until my head falls off! It already started with my neck 😉
Are you rescheduling your U.S. tour?
Yes, it’s going to happen next year.
Which country has the best food?
Italy, France, Japan, Turkey, Korea…
What are you into when you’re not playing music?
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