• Radio Monash Journalism

Peremotka: Reflecting On The Past in Their Own Way

Written by David Paicu.

Embracing their bygone days and experiences, Peremotka is a post-punk Russian band looking to create a sound to reflectively dissect their nation's history.

Brimming with a hope born from the freedom of a post-Soviet state, Peremotka have established a sound that delineates itself from the sounds of post-Soviet bands such as Molchat Doma by using the past as an optimistic juxtaposition to the future. Drawing on numerous inspirations, they tackle the pleasure associated with nostalgia in their unique way.

Radio Monash sat down with Peremotka to get a sense of their M.O, where they come from, and where they draw their art from.

"Our songs have no specific political connotations, but in them, we express the concern of the young generation of our country: what to do next? what to strive for? when the happy time comes?"

How have you guys been going during this recent pandemic?

"We have had to cancel our spring tour around the country and several concerts. We're a little upset about it. But we're hoping to reschedule the tour for the fall.

There are some positive things - during the quarantine we wrote a new album which we will release closer to October. There was also a surge of interest in streaming music services and more people around the world started listening to us."

Who are your biggest influences as a band, whether that be in music, literature, or other mediums?

"Probably the biggest influence on us was the music of Кино (Kino) band. Their music successfully combined the traditions of Russian songs and European-American post-punk sound. Plus, we are inspired by the work of local little-known music bands, such as Тальник (Talnik) and Товарищ Астроном (Tovarisch Astronom). Some other artists include The Cure, Dean Blunt (Black Metal album), The Velvet Underground.

Many of our songs were inspired by films by Bergman, Antonioni, and Tarkovsky. And books such as 'Journey to the End of the Night' by Céline, 'Dark Alleys' by Bunin and Boris Rizhiy's poems (Борис Рыжий)."

What impact/ message do you hope your audiences gain from your music?

"We do not hope for any particular message for our audience. We just share our emotions and experiences in our songs. We're very happy that the audience can understand the way we feel. The listeners who come to our concerts are people who are close to us in spirit."

Would you say that your music delves into anything political? What do you hope your music can do politically? 

"Russia is not a very free and democratic country. We have a beautiful young generation, which, unfortunately, is clutched in the grip of conservative state elites. Our songs have no specific political connotations, but in them, we express the concern of the young generation of our country: what to do next? what to strive for? when the happy time comes? We encourage reflection on these themes."

What would you say separates your band from the other post-Soviet bands making music at the moment?

"It's hard to tell when you're inside a group. It must be a question for those who look at us from the outside.

The listeners say that our songs give them a strong feeling of nostalgia. Maybe it's our distinctive feature. We often turn to the past in our songs, to Russia of the 90s/00s, to our childhood. We hardly sing about the present - the present for us is always a rethinking of the past."

Quite a number of your songs go into detail about feelings and emotions. Are these from past experiences of the band members?

"Pretty much. These are stories from our lives. Although some of our songs were written under the influence of books or movies. For example, the song Очнись (Ochnis) was written under the influence of the 'Werckmeister Harmonies' by Béla Tarr."

With True Love, I was wondering if there was any musical inspiration behind it? Since it reminded me quite a lot of a Daniel Johnston song.

"Yes! You're the first person to ask us that question. It's a cover for a Daniel Johnston song. We love Daniel Johnston's works and especially this song."

Do you have any experiences from your own lives that are found in your music?

"Almost all our songs are a real experience. For example, the song 'Hello' is the story of my childhood. At school, I was moved to another city, and I lost my best friend. It was a hard blow. I never saw him again, but I often imagine myself around him."

Given that you come from a country that was once oppressed by socialism, does the concept of its occupation in your country play on your mind when you create your music?

"No, it's not. We were born after socialism. Rather, we are concerned about the transition period of the 90s, when our country was in great decline, but there was greater freedom."