2CELLOS: Life in suitcases

18. October 2018

Two men with two cellos have thrown star dust on classical music, introducing a small but indispensable dose of show business into their performances. Millions of views on YouTube and performances all over the world testify to their great popularity. And while many dream of travelling and new destinations, Stjepan and Luka for their „lives in suitcases“ dream of resting with their family and friends, claiming it is nice to travel, but the nicest is – to return home.

Despite music education, talent and youth, hardly anyone could have guessed what kind of success on the world music scene would make two young men from the Balkans. Luka Šulić and Stjepan Hauser make Slovenian – Croatian cello duo, and are known as „2Cellos“all over the world. Educated to perform a classical music repertoire, they gained vigorous success when they published the cover song Smooth Criminal by Michael Jackson on YouTube, and their version became a world hit over night. They signed the contract for Sony Masterworks in 2011, and since then they have published four albums, playing instrumental covers of globally famous songs of genres such as: pop, rock, film and classical music. They have gained an audience and media attention thanks to an unconventional image and informal behaviour when it comes to classical music performers. They have thrown star dust on classical music and introduced in their performances small but indispensable dose of show business and have become what many nowadays call, a „great package“. Two of them and only two cellos today perform around the world, their music has millions of views on YouTube, and one of their biggest wish is to make a world tour accompanied by both classical and modern orchestra.

  • What should someone who is successful on the world music scene possess: talent, education, persistence in work or luck?

Stjepan: Everything you listed is necessary. In addition to talent, you must practice a lot and believe in yourself.

Luka: We believed in ourselves, we knew we were worth it and we wanted to get our instrument closer to as many people as possible. When we published the „Smooth Criminal“ cover on YouTube, it can be said that we were lucky, because no one expected us to have millions of views right away, and to be swamped with messages and offers. But our work and effort paid off.

  • Why does an audience around the world love you?

Luka: Because we are normal, modest, and jet unique. Our music surprises many people, and they cannot believe what a cello can play.

Stjepan: Besides, they like our energy, and we are handsome (laughter).

Cello can do everything!

  • What does music mean to you and how did you decide to play a cello?

Luka: Music means everything to us, we grew up with it; our parents are tied to music.

Stjepan: Cello is the most universal instrument, it is very virtuous, it also has a tone of a human voice, it could be as deep as a bass, could be stronger than an electric guitar, and could also play heartbreaking melodies. Cello can do everything!

  • Do you think that by playing commercial and popular music you managed to get some people to start listening to classical music?

Luka: We are sure we did, because when we play a repertoire with classical music the halls are full.

Stjepan: Certainly! YouTube videos of our classical music concerts have millions of views. I had a concert in Pula, where, with the help of dear fellow musicians, I played only classical music.

  • Does the fact that you have gained popularity by playing pop music in a different way, even though you are highly educated musicians, predestined for classic repertoire, bother you?

Stjepan: No, that is what we wanted. After we had finished our education, we sat and agreed to join forces, because together we can do more and better. The rest is history.

With music around the world

  • When preparing for a trip, what do you pack first – your instrument or yourself?

Stjepan: The instrument is always prepared. And so are we. We travel so much that our lives are in suitcases. Fortunately, I'm not a woman, women take packing seriously and it’s not easy for them (laughter).

Luka: Yes, sometimes we wake up and don’t know in which town we are.

  • Did music take you to the places where otherwise you would never go? Which destinations are these?

Luka: Thanks to music we have visited the whole world and are still travelling. We are sure we would not have visited many places if there was not for music. I, for example, extended last year's stay in New Zealand. It was magical.

Stjepan: We often see only an airport, hotel and place in which we perform, but sometimes that is enough to feel the charm of that country. Whenever we have chance, we must take a walk or have a pre-arranged sightseeing tour. But it all doesn’t last long, because we must have a rehearsal, be restful and concentrated for the concert. There will be occasions, there will be more concerts, and life is ahead of us.

  • Do you like travelling and what makes business trips different from the private ones?

Luka: As Stjepan said, on a business trip we don’t often see much of the city we play in. We like to travel to coastal places most. Both of us love sun and sea. Stjepan loves to walk, to explore… We love to try national cuisines. In fact, here you eat well!

Stjepan: We love to travel, but I feel most pleasantly at home. We travel too often during a year, so I miss my family, friends… I love to visit my favourite places and I enjoy every time.
Most pleasantly is to be at home

  • Do you always carry your instrument with you?

Stjepan: If we go for a quick private trip – we don’t, but if it is a little longer trip, then we must carry it.

  • What is an ideal vacation for you?

Luka: For me an ideal vacation is with my family. I became a father, so I have enjoyed this summer watching my son experiencing his first contact with the sea. They are my oasis, my peace and I feel nicest with them.

Stjepan: I cannot be still for a long time, but a boat, sun, sea and company – preferably a woman’s.

  • What is the last destination you visited and what did you find fascinating there?

Luka: Every place is special in its own way. It has a soul, aroma, colours and everyone experiences it differently. It is nice to have the possibility to travel everywhere, to change the surroundings, to meet new cultures, customs and people, try new dishes... Therefore, whenever you get the chance – travel. And it is nice to have where to return – home, sweet home!

  • Do you plan to travel in advance or you travel spontaneously?

Luka: We have to make plans, because in addition to a tight schedule, tours, recording albums, shooting videos, it's not easy to catch a few free days.

  • What is the next destination you would like to visit?

Luka and Stjepan: Nooo, we don’t want to travel, we’ve had enough of travelling! We want to be at home and enjoy ourselves. There is no place where we feel nicer than home. There, we feel best!

Milivoje Mili Čolić

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