As one half of 2Cellos, the last few years have been quiet eventful for Stjepan Hauser. World tours, sharing the stage with music legends, and two successful albums – not too shabby for someone who’s rapid rise to prominence (beginning with a YouTube clip) surprised even him. With an Australian tour beginning in Perth early next year and a new album on the way, we speak to Stjephan Hauser on how it feels to have a foot in both the worlds of classical and pop.
From his earliest years in Croatia, Hauser found himself immersed in music. “My family was always surrounded by music. My mother used to play percussion, my father guitar, my sister played violin, my brother trombone, and my older brother also played cello. It was a musical family.” It was the cello that drew him as well. “I was attracted to the cello because the sound is so beautiful. Its warm, and so gentle… it’s, how you say, closest to the human voice. As soon as I heard it I was attracted by the sound.”
As for the other half of 2Cellos, “We knew each other since we were teenagers, but we started working together three and a half years ago. We always wanted to work together , but we were studying in different countries. It was when he (Luka Sulic) came to London for his Masters we finally started.”
In 2011 they posted a clip of themselves performing their cover of Michael Jackson’s Smooth Criminal. It launched 2Cellos, with the clip going viral almost overnight. “We wanted to expand our creativity, our horizons. We were only playing classical music all our lives, and we felt restricted. We wanted to explore more. We always loved different kinds of music – pop, rock, film – and we wanted to make something new and exciting and crazy to attract a wider audience, especially a younger audience, to this instrument. Many people don’t know of all the possibilities the cello has.”
Though they were prepared for success, the actual speed of their success surprised them. “It was like a dream come true for us. We didn’t know it was going to have an effect so quickly. We thought we were going to have to do more videos, but overnight everything changed. It is amazing how quickly all these influential people noticed the video, as the offers started coming in the next day.”
The duo has a rather eclectic repertoire. They have supported acts from Elton John to Red Hot Chilli Peppers and released versions of songs from bands as diverse as Coldplay, NIN, Muse, and Iron Maiden. “We don’t like to divide music into categories. Anything we play is the same for us, equally enthusiastic and passionate. In classical music you don’t do a show as much. Now we have to engage the audience, to entertain all the thousands of people in a big stadium. So you have to be more of a showman.”
2Cellos play at the Perth Concert Hall on Tuesday, January 6. Book via Ticketek.