Ilya Knabengoff, whose photo appeared more than onceon concert posters from the mid-1990s, was born on August 2, 1972 in Leningrad. His mother was from Volga Germans, great-grandfather was selling shoes in Germany, then moved to Russia. The musician's mother played the piano, her father, an architect by education, painted pictures and gave them to her friends. In his own words, Ilya dreamed of becoming a pilot, but his vision was not suitable for this profession.
The future musician graduated from eight classes of secondaryschool and entered the Leningrad Film College (now this is St. Petersburg College), where he studied at the projectionist. As Ilya says in one interview, he wanted to be closer to the world of art and realize his vision of the world. In those years, he talked with metalworkers. Then his nickname "Damn" appeared. Ilya Knabengoff himself recalled that he had taken it in honor of his friend, who had the same nickname. He died early, and our hero promised himself to take his pseudonym. The first musical group, where Ilya Knabengoff started his career, was called "Exhumator". The young man played guitar in it for about two years. In 1989, the musician was invited to another collective - "Aggressor", in which he stayed two more years. In 1989, Ilya became a drummer in the group "Scoundrels", who played punk rock, and stayed in this band until 1992. During this time, "The Scoundrels" released one album. Frequent tours left little time for study, and Ilya left the third year of the technical school. In 1990, the musician entered the Leningrad Architectural College, but soon left him. In his spare time Ilya worked as a janitor, a kiosk salesman, a forklift driver at a cold store, a groom in a Petersburg zoo. In 1991 Ilya was invited as a vocalist to the AL.EX team, which existed until the end of 1994. The songs of the group were in English, and the musicians sought to gain recognition in the West. Once Ilya decided to respond to the announcement of a young band Surfing stone. Our hero and guitarist Aleksei Alfeev spoke at the audition of this group, we made contact with Roman Chuikov and Vitaly Belozerov. In December 1994, AL.EX, where Ilya Knabengoff played, merged with Surfing stone. The new group was named Military Jane.
The collective, where Ilya Knabengoff was now playing,released two albums. They still performed songs in English, which the musicians wrote to the journalist Roman Dantsis. In 1996, Military Jane applied for the festival "Fill the sky with kindness." One of the conditions for participation was the performance of songs in Russian. Then the musicians decided to use the work that Ilya wrote for a while on the table. The group liked the songs of the festival organizer Yuri Shevchuk, and the band performed five of their compositions there.
At the very beginning of 1997 the group was transformed into a "Pilot". There were former musicians of Military Jane: vocalist Ilya "The Devil" Knabengoff, Roman Chuikov, bass player Stanislav Markov, drummer Victor Kuzmichev. Over time, the composition of the team changed. From now on the band performed Russian-language songs. During the first year of the band's existence, they recorded an album called "War." In the following years the group "Pilot" actively participated in the concerts of St. Petersburg and Russia as a whole: "Fill the sky with kindness", "Baltic shore" and others.
From the beginning of 2000, Ilya and his comrades helpedyoung musicians, organizing the release of songs in the framework of the "Rock from the Gateway" competition, which were recorded on CDs. Most of the works for the band are created by Ilya himself. But he likes to sing songs of friends. For example, musicians play the works of the clergyman Nikolai Kokurin.
Fish and mole
At the present time the group "Pilot" leftfourteen discs. The seventh album of the collective "Fish, Mole and Pig" was highly praised by critics. One of the critics compared him to the classical "Alice" for the younger generation. In March of this year the band's 14th album, "Cuckoo", was released. The leader of the group aspired to fill it with ethnic motives. In addition to his work in Pilot, Ilya Knabengoff released four solo albums. In addition to music, he is engaged in artistic creation. Four books of prose were published. "The tale of a jumper and sliding" Ilya became the basis for the second musical album "Pilot". In the intervals between the songs, the musicians read fragments from the work. And in 2014 the team "Theatrical Games" from Krasnodar put this fairy tale on stage.
Around the middle of the nineties the musician marriedon a woman who already had a child. He brought up his stepdaughter seven years, until her majority. Ilya Knabengoff divorced his wife in 2012. Soon he began to meet with Maria Chernova, and they had a child. The name of the daughter of Ilya Knabengof was announced in the autumn of 2013. The girl was born in October 2013, and her parents called her Aya. In 2016, our hero and Maria married, having signed the registry office of the city of Kronstadt.
Among those who helped Ilya at the beginning of the creativeway, he calls Yuri Shevchuk, Maryan Tsoi and Alexander Ricochet. The references to the fact that he is a protégé of the leader of the DDT group, he calls stupid, which someone came up with. Ilya himself was shooting a video clip for the song "Tram" on the video camera. In the 20-degree frost, he lay on the rails and recorded on the camera what was needed for the video. Since 2003, the musician has actively supported organizations such as WWF and Greenpeace. He participates in rallies and various actions. The group "Pilot" repeatedly gave concerts in the territory of places of deprivation of liberty. Ilya often played in rehabilitation centers and orphanages. He helped other young performers, such as Cat Sashka, Julia Kotelnikova, Vasily K, the group "Sounds of Reformers" and others.