Mad Russian-influenced bouncy punk-rock monsters Russkaja release a new album, Peace, Love & Russian Roll, on July 24th. To build up the excitement – and to get a chance to find out more about the band – we threw some questions at frontman Georgij.
Our thanks for his time in responding, and to Andy at Napalm Records for organising things for us. You can have a listen to a track from the new album below as well!
Simple things first – where are you guys from?
We are a multi-cultural/national band! As an example: Dimitrij is from the Ukraine, Georgij from Russia, the rest from Austria. We define our home as the world of music and we don’t care where people come from. It’s all about the energy in between people. That’s what Russkaja stands for and that’s why we’ve named our new album Peace, Love & Russian Roll. This is our answer to all the shit which happens in the world.
How did you meet?
In the Year 2003 I was touring with Jim Marshal, as he went on one of his Promo-travels around the world with his new amplifier. There was a band organized by Marshal that played the good old rock from The Who, Jimi Hendrix, Ozzy etc. To one of those shows Dimitrij came just for fun as a visitor. I did the last song in the Russian language, so he introduced himself to me after the show. After one bottle of (don´t remember what but it was heavy ;-))) we decided to found a band. It took about one year till we had a powerful program and the right name together and so RUSSKAJA was born!
How long have you been playing together as a band?
The success came quickly. There is something fresh and new in town, a “must” to be there. A few members changed since the start and RUSSKAJA is existing now for 10 years. We’ve played over 600 shows in those years and its great to see that the fun is getting more by every year and that more and more people are following us. This means a lot.
What are your influences – individually or as a band?
Individually I am a big fan of bands like Obituary, Sepultura, Gogol Bordello, Muse, Le Caravan Passe. I listen a lot of historical Russian romances, gypsy songs, klezmer. As a band we all are crazy about Spinal Tap! The music style doesn’t matter. As long as it’s good, has a flow and the right energy, then music is always great!
Describe your music. What makes you unique? And let’s be honest, you’re pretty damn unique!
It’s the mixture what makes it special! The ingredients are powerful: Hard guitar and rhythm section mixed with euphoric brass, add to this melancholic violin, crunchy shouting voice and here we go: you got a portion of Turbo polka for your health!
What’s your live show like? How many shows have you played?
Live – 7 musicians in jolly looking dresses fighting to survive in this hard but unfair world by making something we are born for: Rock’n Roll. Basically our live-show is high energy level, lots of fun and Rock’n Roll.
What’s the response been like for Energia?
It was a great production with our band and team. We started to work Russkaja seriously on a professional level with management, label and booking. It was kind of our debut of professional behaviour. I was exploding with ideas, we selected some of them for a great, energetic album. And it was great to see that so many people like what we do and that it makes their live less miserable for a moment. This means a lot. And people are happy, when they are at a Russkaja-show. So music can change the world. Fact!
What are you working on at the moment?
At the moment we are releasing our new album. Peace, Love & Russian Roll! This is our latest masterpiece with 12 Songs with a lot musical surprise for some diehards. So far our most favourite album of ourself. Lots of diversity when it comes to the music, and you can hear that we had lots of fun making it.
What’s the wildest thing you’ve seen or done on tour?
One day, playing in Croatia, in the middle of the gig, we were flushed by a hurricane from the stage. I only remember a kind of numb feeling as things was flying around me, people running, screaming, rain wall destroying the beach-stands. At one moment I stopped out everything around me and felt the reverence for the power of nature and I understood at this moment, that we are just allowed to be here as long as the nature has mercy on us.
If you could be part of any 3-band line-up (as support or headlining) who else would you have on the bill?
Gogol Bordello, (and we will have this luck to play 3 shows with them this year!) & Ozzy Osbourne.
Are there any plans for a UK tour? We would love to see you in Glasgow!
We had pleasure to play in UK. We hope our destiny’s route will bring us to your land again and again! Our upcoming album Peace, Love & Russian Roll is going to be released at the 31st July in the UK through Napalm Records and we can’t wait to come on tour to England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to spread the Russkaja-energy.