Hi! Please introduce Bardak to the readers.
Hi! Well, Bardak is a hard rockband from Russia. We love rock, we love drive, we love this crazy world people call “music”.
Tell us more about your latest single ‘I am Not Afraid to Speak’.
We live in a hashtag world – hashtags, PR-actions, flashmobs and so on. Some of them are stupid, but there’s a number of very useful, social ones. This flashmob in the Russian part of the Internet is similar to the hashtag #metooand #imnotafraidtotell in other countries – that was an action against any kind of violence, rapes, cruelty and other stuff like that. Hundreds of thousands of women and men faced these problems all over the world, and we thought it will be a great idea to support them with our song, to show them that we’re with them, virtually holding their hands.
How is it easy to live and survive in Russia? Are there strong rock and metal scenes or just attempts to have some strong scene?
Russia is a normal modern country – no more bears on the streets, no balalaikas, we usually don’t drink gallons of vodka for breakfast, dinner and supper. So I guess our life is pretty similar to yours or to anyone’s life in any other big country. Except for one thing – our distances are really impressive. Sometimes you have to drive a couple of thousands kilometers to reach the next big city, it takes two or three days! But since they invented passenger airplanes, these problems are easier to solve, too.
About our metal scene… heavy metal was extremely popular about ten-fifteen years ago, but I think we didn’t have enough knowledge and experience to build a strong industry around it. I hope that life will give us a second chance, because still huge amounts of people love heavy metal. There’s no problem to sell 30 000 tickets for Rainbow or 3000 tickets for Destruction. The problems are concentrated on the local scenes, it’s hard to survive for them.
When did you start writing music – and what or who were your early passions and influences?
First tries were made at school, but it was absolutely junk, so I stopped it for a while. I needed to accumulate some life experience in my head and in my soul, I had to make my thoughts clear for myself at first. Now I know what message I want to transmit to my fans with our music and now it really makes sense.
There were hundreds of bands that affected me. I’m a maniac music lover. I love classical rock-n-roll, blues, rhythm&blues, rock, hard rock, heavy metal, trash, hard&heavy, punk, grunge, stoner, alternative music – whatever. Even soft-rock and singers-songwriters such as Bob Dylan. But the most loved bands of my youth were Deep Purple, Nirvana, GrazhdanskayaOborona (Civil Defence) and DDT (two last are Russian). And I was especially proud that I brought an Offspring tape to Russia in 1995 and I still love that gang.
What are your main impulses to write heavy music?
I love it, man! It sounds fucking cool, I’m sure you understand what I mean!
What do you personally consider to be the incisive moments and pieces in your musical work?
You see, I’m sure that Russian rock made a wrong turn in 2000’s. When I was young, there were amazing bands that played really hard, powerful music. But then they started to do some really stupid things, and finally I realized that the only way to hear some cool new Russian music is to record it myself! That’s how we started.
How would you describe and rate the music scene of the city you are currently living in?
Bardak in Russian means “mess, disorder”. And that’s what our Moscow scene is. You can never guesswhether you will get a sold-out or an empty hall. You can never guess whether the sound would be ok or the technical guys would forget to repair all the amplifiers so you’ll have listen to holy shit for two hours – and it can happen on any event, doesn’t matter how famous and cool the band is, doesn’t matter how large and expensive is the pub or the hall or even the arena – every gig can conceal any surprise inside.
Although, Moscow is a capital of Russia! Here is a great amount of possibilities, plenty of great musicians live and play here and that’s really inspiring!
When it comes to be musician, what are your criteria for quality? What are currently your main challenges and ambitions as a musician?
First of all, everything we make should sound really powerful, so to say brutal. We love the energy of rock. The last thing we want to do is to produce some dull tracks nobody would listen to. So, drive is in the first place even if we play or sing not very accurately. Emotions are more important than quality.
What do you usually start with when working on a new song or lyrics?
Russian language is pretty hard for rock songwriting, that’s why I always need a first line, that’s critical. I always write down good ideas into my phone – sometimes songs come out there. Sometimes it comes from the rhythm of the riff, sometimes this world shouts to my ear: you should write a song about that immediately! That’s how it was with this single.
Tell us a bit about the selection process for deciding on what to write about, please. What sources will you draw from for research purposes and how much time goes into research, gathering altogether in general?
The best source of themes and of inspiration is of coursetraveling, and the longer a journey is the better chances to write something special you get. I live in a special rhythm: at first I’m trying to get from the outer world some new impressions and then I need to relax and calmly sort out what I have got. The breakthrough can happen on any stage of that process. Sometimes I can handle onlyone song at a time, but sometimes I live several days in this creative state and a whole album can be born in one week. Also, I have a special secret how to create the most song-productive mood formyself. In the evening I sit down in my kitchen with my laptop and a really big cup of tea and just wait. I can watch some movies, surf the internet, read something not very serious. And between 3 and 9 AM it usually comes! The trickiest thing is not to fall asleep before you write down all of your amazing ideas.
As more and more people are producing and releasing music, there has been an exponential growth in promotion agencies. What’s your perspective on the promo system? In how far do you feel it is possibly undermining musical freedom?
In my opinion musicians should make musicand promotion agencies should promote artists. That’s the most effective way. My partners, DMG, never tell me what to do and how to play, if they advise me, I listen to their opinion very attentively, but the final decision is always mine. I’m sure that sometimes they damn me for our old-school style, certainly they wish us to sound more modern, but our own style in music for us is much more important than money, fame and all that stuff.
Rock/Metal scene have changed considerably over the past century. What, do you feel, could – or should – be new forms and formats for music? And, should we save old-school spirit or just go forward together with musical ‘evolution’ (‘degradation’)?
Old-school is my choice. I’m listening to tons of old music and it never gets boring. You know, here in Russia we had a very strong Russian rock movement in 80-s and 90-s – and where it is now? Sweetly depressed miserable junky brit-pop copies instead of normal music! And not a single chance to improve this situation, all the fm-stations play this shit saying to me “Oh, man! You rock really hard but it’s not our format. No one will pay us for adverts if I’ll put your song on air. Go kill yourself” Fuck them all – that’s what I think about these “new styles” of music. At least until these innovations are artificial, unnatural. Kurt Cobain invented a fully new sound of rock but it was 100% honest and absolutely organic. You should put your soul into your music, no matter whether it sounds modern or archaic.
Music-sharing sites and blogs as well as a flood of releases in general are killing music. What’s your view on this topic?
I would say maybe. But how can we change it? On the other hand, something permanently kills music since ancient times, but it didn’t die yet. It sounds pretty optimistic, doesn’t it.
Please recommend two bands to our readers which you feel deserve their attention.
Two Russian bands which you certainly should listen to are OrgiaPravednikov (Orgy of the Righteous) and Veles. You won’t understand a single word but there is some very special music. And also you could try walking in our shoes: during the last century people all over the world are listening to English and American music and most of them have absolutely no idea of what do these texts mean.
What are your plans for near future?
Now we’re recording a new album that will surprise you very much, it will be a certain bridge between Russian and American/British music. Hope you’ll rate it high!
Thank you, see you next time!