Posts Tagged ‘interview’

BONDZINSKIY – the almost forgotten hardcore pioneers.

February 2, 2010

BONDZINSKIY, named after some mate of theirs, were among my most favourite local hardcore bands as I was just getting into the whole scene. Their music (self-described as ‘mournful gnash’) displayed a rather bizarre mix of influences, with some jazz and reggae leanings, and song had seriously intelligent, pissed off lyrics. Between 1993 and 2003 they have had a whole lot of lineup changes, with only the drummer Igor Mosin and bassist Dima Petrov being the regular participants in their musical bacchanals – their Sly & Robbie act has formed back in the mid-1980s in DURNOYE VLIYANIYE and even featured a stint with the local punk legends BRIGADNIY PORDYAD.

I’ve found an interview with Dima (who also played with Sergey Kuryokhin’s POP-MEKHANIKA, Nick Sudnik’s ZGA and in SPITFIRE for a bit) from cca. 2006 which had rather silly questions, so I chucked them out and translated what he had to say:

The band history is incredibly complicated and complex, by lineup as well as by creative progression. The story of all this disgrace has to be started, after all, from DURNOYE VLIYANIYE, where I met the drummer Igor Mosin, with whom as a constant rhythm section we have gradually morphed from one musical hypostasis into another.
DURNOYE VLIYANIYE formed sometime cca. 1988-1989 and played gothic new wave, successfully gigging in St. Petersburg and at all sorts of regional festivals in the ex-USSR. The band got played on the popular John Peel show on BBC and supported the famous SONIC YOUTH in Moscow.
In 1990 DURNOYE VLIYANIYE were invited to tour West Germany – the Berlin Wall, by the way, was still safe and sound. The tour involved playing with German punk and hardcore bands in 10 West German cities. This was when we got introduced to the grandiose music school known as hardcore – from the inside and fully. It can be said that this trip made a fundamental influence on our musical outlook. After encountering new sound, new approach, the energy of this music, we were swept away, shocked, charmed. These were the new unfamiliar ways, new horizons, new possibilities.
We were particularly inspired by FUGAZI, BAD BRAINS, NO MEANS NO, VICTIMS FAMILY. After we got home, we necessarily got an urge to enflesh these new ideas but as it is known, new ideas do not blossom in old soil. So Igor and I started to play new material and also seek new musicians who could organically co-exist with us in this musical space. As a result, the collective called BONDZINSKIY came into being. Over the years we played music with the likes of Andy Kordyukov (ex-MLADSHIYE BRATYA, 17 PILOTOV V OGNE), Gennadiy Larichkin (now the leader of BER-LINN), Sergei Sokolov (now in PRAVDA), Andrei Mashnin (MASHNINBAND), Andrei Gradovich (JUGENDSTIL, now 2VA SAMALIOTA), Roman Boiko, Ilya Orlov, Dan Gutsenko (and about half a dozen more – translator’s note).
The 1990s will remain for me probably the brightest stage of St. Peterburg’s music life. Many musicians outgrew the boundaries of the Leningrad Rock Club which by then degenerated to all-sufficient, closed caste structure which stank of officialdom with elitism and conspiracy of silence inherent in such a system.
The Rock Club somehow faded away – the new epoch started. On the basis of the just opened TaMtAm club an entire scene of great bands appeared: BIROTSEFALY, KHIMERA, ZVONKI, SPITFIRE, THE PAUKI, DOLPHINS, TEQUILAJAZZZ, 5 UGLOV etc. (sorry if I forgot someone).
As it seemed to me, no one thought about making money, commercial success, we played for ourselves, for our friends, because there was internal need for that. It was an atmosphere in which experimenting and NOT looking like a snob was natural. Those who played hardcore in the early nineties were very close-knit – not so much musically, rather it was the shared attitude to life.
Music, especially rock music, cannot live in isolation, without exchanging creative ideas. Any movement gradually chokes up on its own foam. What can be more disgusting than mass producing your own past? For me making headway was always crucial. Henry Rollins once said that the past doesn’t exist and you have to prove to yourself that you are still alive every day.
I haven’t got the slightest desire to analyse the music of BONDZINSKIY. Because depending on the mood I could fall either into self-glorification or self-condemnation. One thing that could be noted was that the riff structure of songs played a bad joke on the band. We could have easily turned each piece into 5 or 6 separate songs but we were just throwing ideas away. And also, we have made a conscious decision not to limit ourselves with any concepts, for us it was natural to combine styles that were practically incompatible. Sometimes it looked forced, sometimes it was fun but it was never banal.
Like every positive passionate phenomenon, hardcore will not die in the foreseeable future. As long as there is social tension in the world, the hardcore will be refilled with fresh blood of radical and not indifferent young people.
The old generation goes – the new generation comes, the process continues – everything is logical. Not everyone manages to keep the active attitude. However I am saddened by the fact that the social pathos is reduced. When I see a bloke who works as a bank manager and plays in his hardcore band in the evenings (instead of blowing up said bank), I feel sad.
Also, it seems to me that rivalry in the so-called alternative music has to stop. Unite, and unite some more, no matter what the style is. It’s such a pity that the concept of “people of goodwill” has vanished. I long for positive counteraction and confrontation with all the glossy, glamourous scene.
Lately everyone has been literally going nuts over the external attributes, often forgetting the inner world. A desire to look trendy turns into a sort of general hysteria. Unfortunately these sentiments are projected on the musical material, the music gets castrated, completely glossed over, everything is so clean and smooth that it makes me sick. The inner nerve disappears, the admissible filth which makes rock music what it is.
To be honest, I do not know [who our listener is]. While BONDZINSKIY was around, I knew about ten people who really liked it, and all of them were musicians. That’s why I was so surprised to be asked about ‘the legendary BONDZINSKIY.’
After existing for about 6 years (more like 10 – translator’s note), playing a number of gigs in Russia and abroad, releasing two albums (the 2nd one was recorded but not released – translator’s note), the band ceased to exist. We have probably exhausted our inner potential, and we got pretty much sick of each other. Now I’m working on a new project called GRANDSHUTTLEBANDA.
Naturally, it has nothing to do with hardcore. For me it’s a totally different style but I was always interested in doing something new. At the moment we have recorded an album but we are still looking for someone to put it out.

The aforementioned first album, “Lobovoi Mainstream,” can be downloaded here.

The second one, which DJ DNA from URBAN DANCE SQUAD mixed ended up never coming out but you can hear some stuff on BONDZINSKIY’s RealMusic page.

Some more links:
St. Petersburg Times interview (in English)
Post-Bondzinsky interview in SPT (in English)
Knives & Forks interview, in Russian
Muzykalnaja Gazeta interview, in Russian

Bio in Russian


My five cents…

October 11, 2008

Lunatic Fridge

Lunatic Fridge

An interview with yours truly can be found here:
It seems that the comrades have translated their own translation of the original English-language interview back from German, alas. As is mentioned, it’s printed in the October issue of Trust zine in Germany. Another interview, conducted over email and translated into French should be in Ratcharge #14 but I haven’t seen it yet.
Ratcharge 14 cover

Ratcharge 14 cover

BOYNYA NOMER PYAT interview for Croatian zine Vapaus!

February 6, 2008

Well, another interview, this time translated by mimoid and yrs. truly for Croatian zine Vapaus where it’s going to appear in (what I thought was still called) Serbocroatian. It’s with another mate of mine, based in Tatarsk and once nicknamed Deth [sic]. He plays in BOYNYA NOMER PYAT who are recommended, and is also something of a crust theoretician, amongst other things.

Hi. What’s up? Can you introduce yourself for people that read this zine? Where do you come from?
My name is Alexei Shvedov. I live in a small Russian town near Novosibirsk. Along with my friends from different cities we make e-zine Diversion (crust & Japanese hardcore). Also I played in two crustpunk bands – OTKAZ OT NASILIYA (RIP) and BOYNYA NOMER PYAT. Today besides BOYNYA NOMER PYAT I work on the project UBIYTSY BUKV (noisepunk). Not long ago we’ve create a message board in English dedicated to Japanese hardcore. Also we’ve made three short films between 2005-2007 and also I write prose (bizarre sci-fi) from time to time.
What was your first introduction to punk rock or hardcore punk?
I began listening to punk and hardcore when I was a young schoolboy, it was around 1987. The first bands I heard were CRYPTIC SLAUGHTER, HYPE, DEAD KENNEDYS, D.R.I., PLASMATICS and AGNOSTIC FRONT.
What kind of punk do you like to listen to today?
I prefer Japanese hardcore and crust, also I like crust from other countries (especially not modern), various old hardcorepunk, obscure ’77 punk, so-called progcore (bands like POLARIS, HAL AL SHEDAD, KOLYA), Swedish trallpunk… and a lot more… I’m definitely not interested in metalcore, modern hardcore and emocore.
Did you have any band before OTKAZ OT NASILIYA?
Yes, since 1990 I played in several punk-bands, but for the most part they lacked any social or political overtones: SIBIRSKIY MASTURBATOR, O.M.O.N., ORGAZM NE NASTUPIL. One of the most interesting bands that I can mention is DEGENERAL KREIZ (1992-95, instrumental noise). Not one of them is known abroad, but once I’ve seen a song by O.M.O.N. on some compilation.
So what can you tell me about OTKAZ OT NASILIYA? Why did you call the band like that? Who was in the band? Which bands influenced you? How did people react on your music? Did the band have some political background?
The name of the band was taken from some book on Eastern philosophy which I was interested in those days. OTKAZ OT NASILIYA is Russian translation of the term ahimsa (non-violence or disviolence). The lyrics were pretty dark and sociopolitical for the most part. Though sometimes they inclined into reflections. Despite the fact that I was interested in sXe ideology at that time, I was more attracted by crust and discore. People from TOCHKA ZRENIYA, P.A.R.A.S.I.T.E. and others helped me to make a recording. There were two albums recorded, both were released on Moscow label Popa Begemota Records in the late 90s. The first demo was also published on 4-way split tape (SzSS label, Russia). Besides positive reviews there were some negative ones when people not into crust judged it totally inadequately. It looked both wild and funny.
I heard that OON was sXe band. So, are you still sXe? Can you describe your attitude towards sXe (I mean why are you sXe, if you are..)…
OON wasn’t a straightedge band as such, though I called myself sXe at that time. But that lasted for two years only and hasn’t reflected on band’s lyrics. Only there was a song “No To Alcohol” (later it was included in some Asian compilation tape), but it was not against alcohol primarily but against people who couldn’t control themselves in this matter. Today I regard straightedgers with caution, I don’t have interest or even sympathy for their music, lyrics and living attitude. But at the same time I prefer not to consume alcohol because it’s very comfortable, practical and pleasant.
Why did the band break up?
There were too many conflicts among people during recording and in real life…
So, after OON you formed BOYNYA NOMER PYAT. What does that mean? What kind of music you play? Do you still play?
The first demo of BOYNYA NOMER PYAT was recorded in 2005, though the material was prepared much earlier. Previously many local groups had the opportunity to record any time and for free because some of our friends worked in a small studio. But after the studio was closed it’s problematic to make any records. That’s the reason for such delays. Still I did want to play crust-based music, but without the DISCHARGE influence, so BOYNYA NOMER PYAT sounds like something between TOTALITAR, CRUDITY and Japanese crashercrust. Again I’m on vocals and guitar. The name of the group was taken from eponymous novel by Kurt Vonnegut – “Slaughterhouse-Five”. Two demos and split with UBIYTSY BUKV (all this had never been released but is available for download in mp3 format) were made. On the second demo I partially used tapes that remained after rehearsal of the third album by OON which has been never recorded.
Why you are those two bands only studio projects?
It’s very difficult to play in a band with people who do not share your opinion about reality. The problem is even not in different ideology nor in politics but in different perception of the world and personal attitude towards some processes. Also some of the musicians I played with became nationalists and I had no intention to collaborate with them. That’s why last records were performed with session musicians. Or from time to time I make it on my own (last BOYNYA NOMER PYAT recording).
What can you tell me about your e-zine Diversion? Why it’s only in Russian?
We began to make “Diversion” in the late 2005 after me and my mate got tired of explaining what is crust to various people in letters. It all began with compilation of a detailed FAQ in Russian and then it was expanded with translated articles and interviews. Later we began to do interviews ourselves (ISKRA, D.S.B., INEPSY). Since the zine is focused on Russian readers all materials are published only in Russian. Also there was one paper issue which included best materials from the website and many exclusive materials. On the one hand the zine justified its purpose – the number of questions like “what is crust?” became smaller now, but on the other hand – we unintentionally launched the process of the so called “crust fashion” (“all things change into fashion”). And it’s terrible. Today the site is updated ever more seldom and I even had an urge to close it at all.
I see that you like d-beat music. So can you tell me what’s d-beat for you? Today almost every band is d-beat because this shit started to be popular. What kind of d-beat you like: stuff like TRAGEDY or “old school” stuff like SHITLICKERS, DISCLOSE…?
I like old Swedish d-beat (CRUDITY, BOMBANFALL, NO SECURITY etc.) very much. But modern stuff rather repels me, especially all these European bands in the last fashion which bred like fungi. Also I don’t like DRILLER KILLER, SKITSYSTEM and stuff like that. I like TOTALITAR, KRIGSHOT, Japanese bands ANSWER CRYING, KRIGSHOG, DEVASTATED GOES, CRUDIA… I don’t like DISCLOSE very much, they sound too monotonous. TRAGEDY worship seems to me rather absurd. Especially if we take into account that TRAGEDY adopted all the main features of their “trademark style” from Japanese hardcore (some of their imitators have no idea about this and as a result they’re copying from a copy without any suspicion about the existence of the original). I’ve listened to TRAGEDY when they only appeared but today I’m not interested in them at all and I even haven’t listen to their last LP.
I’m from Croatia. Do you know any band from here?
Alas, I don’t know any contemporary Croatian bands. And after your country split into many fragments I no longer understand anything at all. Some time I’ve listened to old cassette compilations of Yugoslavian bands, but by now I remember little of it.
What can you tell me about your town scene? Is it hard to find places to play? Do you have some squats?
In the 1990s in our town there were several interesting bands and projects, but after one studio (which was also the place to jam) has closed everything has gone downhill. In my opinion, now there are no interesting new bands in our town, and the people who used to play punk in the nineties (myself included) prefer to do studio projects. A couple of years ago out of curiousity I went to a gig by some local pop punk bands, but that was just out of curiousity. So as far as punk rock is concerned everything’s dead here now.
Do you have problems with nazi skinheads? I heard that you in Russia have big problems with them, they are well organised and they kill people.
In our particular town there are no physical problems with nazis, although sometimes I have to take part in stupid debates with them because some old acquaintances have become nationalists, so I meet them sometimes, no matter if I want it or not (thankfully it doesn’t happen very often). In general, Russia has a lot of problems with nazi skins. They target both DIY activists and “normal” people. In the last couple of years nazi skins have committed several high-profile murders in different cities. They kill in the middle of the day and at night, always in a crowd. And that seems to be spreading. The more stupid the ideology – the more followers it has. All of Russian segment of the internet is full of nazi propaganda and descriptions of their “exploits”, and nothing could be done about it. I mean, the resistance is there, but the phenomenon is on too large a scale to be uprooted easily. As they feel their relative impunity, the nazis are getting more and more insolvent. Recently in Moscow a crowd of such mad teenagers have killed a well-known chess player from Yakutia (their choice was, of course, random). Most of them were arrested but naturally that didn’t reduce the number of their followers. The state doesn’t show much interest in the problem (although at times it does pretend), and most nazi attacks are treated by the police as hooliganism.
How is situation in your country right now? Is it hard to live in Russia?
In my understanding, Russia is a totally monstrous country with absolutely insane mentality. When it went from faux socialism into fake capitalism everything here got even more perverted, and all of life is going on as if in absurd theatre. Although, of course, you can adapt and not pay attention to it all, taking those monstrosities simply as natural phenomena like rain or hail. The education system isn’t good at all and is falling apart all the time, same thing with culture. I’m annoyed by glamourizing and propaganda of criminality in the mass media. The salaries are generally too low and do not correspond with prices for goods and services, although in the big cities it’s a bit easier. The police are corrupt and criminalised. There’s no hope at all that the situation will improve.
Do you want to add something in the end?
I don’t really know… Maybe I’ll just tell the readers of your zine that they shouldn’t follow some stupid fashion and not do to others what they don’t wish for themselves. – e-zine DIVERSION – BOYNYA NOMER PYAT – OTKAZ OT NASILIYA– Japanese hardcore message board

PTVP interview from St. Petersburg Times.

February 1, 2008

Exorcising the slave

Local punk band PTVP premiers what it says is its definitive album.

Staff Writer

Mikhail Lagotsky

Alexei Nikonov, frontman of punk band PTVP, says the band’s new album is its musical and lyrical manifesto.

Heavy on social and existential themes, PTVP’s new album, is the band’s manifesto, according to frontman Alexei Nikonov. Having mixed psychedelic rock and punk, the band, one of Russia’s best, came up with what Nikonov describes as “Jimi Hendrix playing in Joy Division.”

“I went to a concert today, and there was a guy singing how he was sick of [Russian music radio station] Nashe Radio and things like that, and I realised how petty it is,” said singer and lyricist Alexei Nikonov, whose punk band PTVP is premiering its new album, “Zerkalo” (Mirror), this weekend.

“The fact is we are witnessing a very serious situation, a historical process, and that’s what I wanted to reflect in this album. Of course, the title is not original, but after listening to the album, it will be clear what it’s about.”

PTVP, whose full name is Posledniye Tanki v Parizhe (Last Tanks in Paris), is known for its uncompromising criticism of the political and social situation in Russia, most famously on its 2001 album “Hexogen,” named after the explosives used in the terror attacks in Moscow preceding the Second Chechen War and, eventually, Vladimir Putin’s presidency.

According to Nikonov, PTVP, has finally come up with what he describes as “essentially our definitive album and our manifesto.”

“In a sense it’s a return to our roots, it’s the music we wanted to play when we were kids,” said Nikonov, who spoke to The St. Petersburg Times by phone this week.

“Now we had a chance to record this album. It’s dark, depressive music, not the short, upbeat songs that we have been playing all our lives for some reason.”

“Mirror,” the follow-up to last year’s self-produced album “Freedom of Speech,” is being released on the local alt-rock Kap-Kan label, which put out PTVP’s CD single “Usual Day” late last year. The 13-minute track is also available on the album.

“Because the CD is a dying form, we wanted to release the album — it might be our last CD album, so we wanted to have a large number of copies released,” said Nikonov.

Before settling on Kap-Kan, the band approached a number of other labels, but negotiations usually stopped when managers heard the opening track, “Million,” which, translated into English, goes:

“Good morning, Beslan / Good morning, Chechnya / Good morning to cops / Good morning, my country / My free country / A million kilometers of shit.”

“I used social topics, because the situation is amazing, it amazes me; everybody drops on their knees and cries ‘cool!’ Even if they are not endangered. Nothing threatens them, nobody seems to do anything to you, if you say ‘fuck off,’ but everybody cries ‘cool!,’ I can’t understand it. So I wanted to express my attitude to it on this album,” said Nikonov.

Nikonov said that he has been influenced by the existentialist philosophy of Nikolai Berdyayev and Lev Shestov as well as the history of Russia as a whole.

“Speaking of lyrics, I used to lower the standard a little, use some irony, like [in songs] ‘Deflower, Baby’ or ‘A Bullet for a Bourgeois,’ but I speak rather seriously here, in every song,” said Nikonov.

“This album’s lyrics could be used as poems, which I cannot say about any of our previous albums. It even scares me a little, because the album turned out to be perhaps too serious. But there could not be any other album now, because the social situation around is such that I have no desire to make a positive, entertaining album. I think it’s even inappropriate in the historical process that we’re going through now.”

Nikonov compares the promotion of First Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev as Putin’s “successor” to Ivan the Terrible who passed the formal power to baptized Khan Simeon Bekbulatovich, while restyling himself as “Ivan from Moscow,” to return to the throne 11 months later.

“We are present at exactly the same historical situation, only in a different guise, and I couldn’t help expressing this on the album,” he said.

Whatever official propaganda says, life in Russia has deteriorated, according to Nikonov.

“It’s a commonplace, it’s so obvious that it’s not even funny anymore,” he said.

“The hopes that Westerners had relied on in Europe didn’t come true, all in all. Churchill had his pictures taken with Stalin, despite the harshest criticism. The same happens now. Whatever regime there is in Russia, the West will never take any radical steps to help radical circles here.”

According to Nikonov, the clampdown on civil liberties and suppression of a political opposition can only lead to the emergence of radical groups, such as Narodnaya Volya, or People’s Will, responsible for the assassination of Tsar Alexander II in 1881.

“We have come to a situation when the creation of such parties as Narodnaya Volya is inevitable. This is not a call to violence, but a lesson from history,” he said.

“The preservation of the regime that the presidential bunch undertakes is parallel to the course of Tsar Alexander III, which only gave birth to a wave of terror. What form this terror will take, be it Islamic or social, is a different question, but it’s inevitable, because, when society is squeezed out of the legal process, the political struggle intensifies.

“That’s what I wanted to speak about on the album. If ‘Hexogen’ was rather detached, on this album we have made our social position clear from the start. We’re trying to establish ourselves in this historical situation.

“We don’t answer the question ‘What is to be done?,’ we’re just trying to understand how to remain human and free under slavish circumstances. In this sense, we reject Aesopian language as the language of the slave. The opening song is manifesto-like and social, as well a couple of others. The rest are existential.

“Because the fact of the matter is not Putin, it lies much deeper. That’s what we are trying to understand on this album, that’s why we called it ‘Mirror.’ We’re trying to look into ourselves on this album. Why we have remained the same slaves we were? An attempt to exorcise the slave from ourselves is perhaps what this album is.”

The tone of the lyrics has had a profound effect on PTVP’s music, Nikonov said.

“It has even influenced the chords. If we had everything in major on all the previous albums, all the songs on this album are in minor.”

Musically, “Mirror” is a blend of punk and psychedelic rock, according to Nikonov, who said it was influenced by the band’s early heroes, such as Joy Division, The Cure, Bauhaus, The Stooges and Television.

“It is an homage to all the bands we listened to as kids. It’s very different even from our earlier albums, that all sounded different. Everybody who heard it in its early stages were a little shocked that it was us. But it is us, whatever it is.

“Our attitude to the sound has fully changed; we recorded it even more live than before, on purpose — it took us four hours. We didn’t use any overdubs; we only had a guitar, bass and drums, three instruments, a classic lineup. There’s a lot of guitar psychedelia, which is not typical for Russian punk, but we still tried to play punk — how we understand it.

“We wanted to make an album the likes of which nobody has made in Russia before; a genuinely garage album. We even recorded it in a church; we got into debt over it, but somehow we paid it off.”

PTVP recently united forces with Televizor, one of the leading bands of the 1980s perestoika rock explosion, famous for its uncompromising protest songs such as “Your Father Is a Fascist” and “Get Out of Control,” to oppose the political climate in Russia at a double-bill concert at Orlandina club in December. On stage Nikonov joined Televizor frontman Mikhail Borzykin to add vocals to “Fed Up,” the band’s 1980s anti-totalitarian anthem.

“It was a landmark concert for me, in a way, because I grew up on his songs, I immediately remembered myself, how I was listening to his ‘Fatherland of Illusions,’ when I was 15. I would have never imaged that I would be singing ‘Fed Up’ with Misha,” he said.

“I’ve always liked his stance, too, very individual — he has never danced to anybody’s flute. I would always be happy to play with him. His new songs show what [DDT’s Yury] Shevchuk and the others have lost as they were chasing after studios — he has not lost his sound judgment.”

To make the album’s release concert affordable for fans, the band that, apart from Nikonov, features guitarist Anton “Bender” Dokuchayev, bassist Yegor Nedviga and drummer Denis Krivtsov, has set the ticket price at a relatively low 200 rubles ($8). Every ticket-holder will also receive a free copy of the “Usual Day” CD single, according to Nikonov.

PTVP performs at Port at 8 p.m. on Saturday.