2Cellos won't bow down to the world

2Cellos won't bow down to the world

2Cellos have carved a niche with their lively pop covers, but where did it all begin

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Sulic (left) and Hauser rejected classical music's constraints
Sulic (left) and Hauser rejected classical music's constraints
Photo: Sony Music

It’s tough to decide what’s more likeable about Croatian duo 2Cellos: their cello rock music, or their goofy sense of humour.

“Is there anything in your life besides the cello?” asks a reporter in one interview on YouTube.

“Yes. The bow!” answers Stjepan Hauser, 29, who makes most of the jokes in interviews, while Luka Sulic, 27, laughs helplessly beside him.

“I’m equally as crazy!” Sulic protests when Young Post calls them. “But I try to balance it out a bit, or we wouldn’t answer a single question seriously. No one would give us an interview anymore, and we’d end up in our village in Croatia, taking care of sheep and cows.”

The guys themselves were both obsessed with the cello from a young age – Hauser was eight, Sulic five: “We weren’t interested in girls at all, just the cello. Cello was our girl,” says Sulic.

When he moved to London to study music in 2010, he became sick of following classical music’s strict rules and being criticised for playing too wildly. Around this time, when he bumped into his childhood rival, Hauser, who was also studying in the city. The disillusioned pair took long walks together, brainstorming ideas and dreaming of stadiums filled with screaming girls – by then.

Hauser was a fan of Michael Jackson, so they decided to fork out US$500 each to film their now-famous Smooth Criminal video.

It turned out to be the best investment of their lives. Within two weeks it had more than three million views. Soon, they were invited to perform on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, accompanied Elton John on tour, and played at Buckingham Palace and the Arena Zagreb in Croatia. Just like that, their dream had come true. Each got their fair share of screaming fans.

Having broken out of their classical shell, the pair no longer held back during performances: now they spin their cellos, lie down, fool around, and destroy bows with their aggressive playing.

In January this year, they released their third studio album, Celloverse, which includes mash-ups of AC/DC’s Thunderstruck, Avicii’s Wake Me Up and Iron Maiden’s The Trooper. Second record In2ition may have featured Elton John, guitarist Steve Vai and singer Sky Ferreira, but the pair revealed that they weren’t necessarily ready for such collaborators at the time. As such, the only guest on the “back to the roots” Celloverse is Lang Lang.

Last year, the pair joined the Chinese pianist on CCTV during Lunar New Year. “We went to his house and his mum cooked, and we played ping pong,” recalls Sulic. They didn’t get any lai see, though. “If someone gave me money I would remember,” he laughs.

It’s hard to believe, but most of Celloverse was recorded with a cello rented for US$500 and a laptop in a hotel room.

“Make the most of the things that are free. You can do so many things by yourself and not wait for some manager or record label to make you a star,” Sulic advises aspiring musicians. “Those times are over.”

Young Post has tickets to give away to 2Cello's concert at Kitec on July 14 at 8pm, To win, tell us what you like best about your favourite 2Cellos music video. Send your answer, name, age, school and phone number to yp.competition@scmp.com

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
Bowing to the world

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