In recent years the Russian bands become more known and more popular in Europe, thanks to the web that admitss no borders and no boundaries, and especially these bands that are involved in the underground scene playing shoegaze, post-punk and electronic music. Human Tetris are a recognizable name in the European post-punk scene and so they are on tour to promote their latest release ‘River pt. 1’. They will hit the Death Disco stage on 28th January in Athens (Mylos Club, Thessaloniki, January 27) and we reached them for an interview (that turned out to be a pretty interesting one), that they kindly accepted. Wanna learn about the underground scene in that vast country, about their past hiatus and more interesting facts? Read what Max and Arvid told us, enjoy!
Hello Human Tetris and welcome to Last Day Deaf! You are performing live at Death Disco club downtown Athens on 28 January! What are we expecting to listen and experience on that night at the club?
Arvid: Hello!! We are really excited about this tour in general. Never played in Greece and looking forward to a great gig!! I’ve spent a week in Rhodes, on my vacation, several years ago. Loved it! That’s why I expect a lot of nice people and delicious food.
Max: Unlike Arvid I’ve never been to Greece, and we’ve never played a gig that far South, so it’s going to be something of a totally new experience. We hope for a wild gig and a warm, intimate atmosphere at the same time, our favorite combo.
Correct me if I’m wrong, your first release was the ‘Human Tetris’ EP back in 2009 that made a very good impact on the fans and press. Later, and after a few more releases which put your name in “the game”, you decided to break up in 2013, and in November 2016 you released your latest ‘River Pt. 1’. What happened..?
Arvid: Well, yes, all correct! We broke up after our first tour. Actually it has nothing to do with the tour itself. We had some inner problems. It was a naturally made decision and the right one as I think. During the hiatus we did everything we wanted in different projects till we gathered with Max again in Lil Swan. In 2 years we recorded ‘River Pt. 1’. It was like a breath of fresh air to me and it was clear that those songs had a lot of Human Tetris spirit in them. So the decision was made spontaneously again but with full understanding at the same time.
Max: We needed that break back then, otherwise we’d go into a completely unnatural direction for us. Neither of us actually thought HT would ever be back on the radar in our lives, but it turned out differently – and in a very organic way. It kinda lured us back together through the alter ego of Lil Swan. Arvid and I have come a long but very necessary, formative way both personally and musically.
I realize that all bands are always fond of their latest release so, please share few thoughts about ‘River Pt. 1’ with our readers, what are the differences in your music after the “intermission”, and where are Human Tetris heading?
Arvid: We really love our new record. Talking about differences, we reorganized the process of making songs, the sound changed pretty much and we finally learned how to play instruments. Two new members joined the band and we feel so lucky to do what we really love together. No time to think where we are heading, we are just doing it and hope it’s gonna last forever.
I always wanted to ask…what is the “Human Tetris”, what is the statement along with the band’s name, are we all shaped to fit in the…”world”?
Arvid: As for me, HT name is about relations between people. But I never actually thought about any hidden meaning behind it.
Max: It definitely can be interpreted like that, but we chose it just because it sounded cool to us back then, we loved it phonetically. Adding meanings to it would be a bit of an overthinking. I don’t think names of bands mean anything initially, the semantics behind the name usually grow along with the emotions you put into the band while listening to the music.
…And a few words regarding your lyrics please, that I find pretty experiential.
Arvid: In general I write about things I experience. The main idea is to be honest with myself. No fictional stuff, it’s just a story of my life.
Post punk, there is a never ending love for the genre since it started back in the early 80’s. Still an underground expression of labor young people, or a new trend in music industry? Why, in your opinion, post-punk is so “attractive” in new generations, and how did you get involved with?
Max: Gothy post punk music is simple, very accessible, pretty catchy, not too heavy, not too relaxed, and extremely enigmatic – all in all a great mix to become a genre of exceptional longevity for younger humans of different generations! As for us, post punk was just the beginning of a long sonic search, which led us way beyond the labels of genres.
Arvid: I never even thought about genres, I just felt love for gothic atmosphere in music. I understood that there are people who feel it the way I do and it was like a shelter. Post-punk, coldwave, darkwave, I found myself somewhere I wanted to be from the very beginning but didn’t know where that door was.
What is it that really inspires you in life, along with your art as well?
Arvid: I am a lot inspired by the achievements in things I do. The result is the main thing that pushes you forward, even if you are dead tired.
Max: I believe life is more about learning and working, inspiration is very much overrated!
Could you share with us a few thoughts on the Russian underground music please, we are in front of a flourishing generation in music from Russia, while a few years ago there were only 2-3 known bands. Did it all start with Pussy Riot, or the ladies are just a small part of a boiling underground movement?
Arvid: Pussy Riot has nothing to do with the underground scene as for me. It feels more like a thought-out campaign. We had a huge underground scene back in the 90s (by the way, Vlad from Motorama is a real search engine!! He finds diamonds that where hidden so deep inside our big country) and so it happened again. God bless Internet. That’s all I can say.
Max: Yeah, no one has ever heard a single song by Pussy Riot here, they’re more of a political modern art project, rather than a band. As for the underground scene, it’s been growing steadily, but flourishing is not the right word to me, the level of the bands inside the “scene” is still very far from world-class.
Arvid: After the tour we are going to take our time in studio, working on the ‘River Pt. 2’.
Max: Yeah, that’s a big one. We’re also considering a move to a warmer clime for a while.
Please share with us some musings you like while…driving, drinking, partying…
Arvid: I would recommend AL-90 (a mastermind from Murmansk). You should pay more attention to Russian electronic underground scene!!
Max: And if you’re more into guitars than drum machines, put on any record by Milk Music, the best guitar band of our times to my personal opinion.
Thank you for the interview Human Tetris, you can add anything you like!
Arvid & Max: Thank you and see you soon in Greece!
Photo credits: Julia Zlotnikova (1st one), Maxim Palchikov (2nd one)