Underground Sound: electronic Russian musicians are pushing boundaries
In a report on the current developments in Russia’s electronic music scene, Calvert Journal uncovers an independent underground community, by highlighting musicians shaping the future of electronic music in Russia, zooming in on independent record labels and answering the question how relevant it is for musicians to be Russian. Russia’s digital-era musicians are pushing boundaries and gaining international recognition for their forward thinking beats. Russian producers are looking for new beats, new synths, new voices and pave the way for popular genres, researching new sounds and inventing their own.
The Russian electronic music communities, like John’s Kingdom, developed completely independent from the country’s mainstream culture. Originating from the rough outskirts of big Russian cities, musicians over the years developed a local and international fan base of millions of people on Soundcloud and are programmed in European capitals. Despite its decentralized structure, the genre has grown stronger in recent years.
Russian electronic musicians have perceived positive changes over the recent years. New sounds seem to have ‘no limits’ in Russia. Calvert Journal highlights three reasons for current developments in Russian electronic music scene, starting with the musicians perseverance. Being used to make music independently, they have learned to survive. A second reason has everything to do with the economic situation and the import phase-out stage Russia is in at the moment. ‘In the 2000s, there were no limits. Club budgets were enormous, and the ability to bring anyone to the city affected the productivity of the local scene’. The political situation too is of influence. Ivan Afanasyev and Anna Kutz – musicians and ‘owners’ of the Full of Nothing record Label in Petrozavodsk – state:
“There are more positive things happening, because people are less afraid. (..) It’s hard to deny that the current political situation is very encouraging for art. You want to take this pain inside you and turn it into something that will affect people. When businessmen are lost and depressed, true poets think more clearly.”
Russian electronic music scene has grown stronger in recent years, pushes boundaries and gains international recognition. Arising from the suburbs, independent musicians created a loud wave with an unconventional approach to sound and increasingly influenced Russian popular culture. The electronic music scene is an artistic haven where young, independent musicians can work without being cut off from the international network.
The Underground Sound report is created by Calvert Journal, the online magazine on contemporary culture in the ‘new east’: the post-Soviet world, the Balkans and the former socialist states of central and eastern Europe. The new east is in the midst of a tremendous change, the journal covers the region’s culture and creativity trough a mix of daily features, news, interviews and photography. The magazine tells the story of the new east’s contemporary culture via a network of writers and contributors stationed across its many regions and time zones, from art and film to architecture and design.
For more information about the Underground Sound report and all separate contributions, please check the website of Calvert Journal. If you don’t feel like reading, listen to the 32 acts shaping the future of electronic music in Russia.