Sunday, March 13, 2011

Motherfathers - From Moscow with attitude

You were looking for the rock ’n’ roll myth of modern day, not convinced to find it at all, because rock is dead, isn’t it? As a matter of fact, it’s alive and well, currently residing in Moscow, Russia, going by the pseudonym of Motherfathers – a four man piece inspired by pretty much everything. Everything except music.

Vocalist Dmitiy Peitch had been probing into the mysteries of music for years, making his own records and participating in various student bands before meeting up with Maxim Elizarov, a friend who offered to help Dmitriy with recording some songs at his home studio. For Dmitriy, this initially meant compiling a musical CV, something that he’d use for future collaborations. Maxim didn’t utter any ideas of forming a band or even playing live, but later in that year of 2005 they stood on stage together, and that much was established, that Dmitriy and Maxim were the two founding members of the band that would become known as Motherfathers.

They hired the first drummer to audition; Olga Nosova, with her roots in jazz fusion. Finding a bass player would show to be slightly more difficult and Dmitriy mentioned having auditioned “hundreds of them” before finally deciding on the man called Misha. “We played out first gig in June 2006, under the name ‘Kill Georgia Bitch’” says Dmitriy. The name had been used for several studio recordings through 2005 and meant nothing more than three randomly chosen words, but Dmitriy explains why this became a problem: “There were misunderstandings related to the conflict between Russia and Georgia. Many believed that it was an anti Georgian statement” In October 2006 the band’s name was officially changed and Motherfathers were a fact.

This far we’ve became slightly acquainted with Dmitriy’s pre-Motherfathers experiences, but of course also his colleagues had a past of musical activities; Maxim, who is currently the band’s guitarist/keyboardist, had a project with another keyboardist, making recordings in his home studio, and Olga was in a group called ‘Syncopated Silence’, who are still active. This is the very same Olga Nosova who since 2009 has collaborated with Russian industrial legend Alexey Borisov, and Borisov and Motherfathers go way back… “After Misha had left, we started to experiment with the line up” Dmitriy tells. [Misha left the group in autumn 2007 and was replaced by different bass players, Natasha Gutartseva being the most recent of them.]
“Alexey Borisov was invited as a guitar player. I had heard him performing with the band Rivushie Sturny on guitar and decided that he could take over my guitar duties. His heavy noise/japanoise/chaos style was very close to what we needed.“ Borisov didn’t hesitate to join with Motherfathers but Dmitriy was still not relieved from his guitar duties. “Borisov’s part was to create noise-scapes; additional extra-noisy sounds with his ‘non-musical’ setup of various samplers, guitar pedals and other objects.” Eventually they also started looking further into electronics, and for example sequensers would become an important part of the musical core. Dmitriy continues: “Later we decided to somehow clean up the sound- towards something more direct and elaborate, and somehow more song-oriented” referring to something more structured and this leads us to the crucial question; what do the Motherfathers really sound like?
They can rip you apart with nails on a black board and put you back together with surgical tape, lifting you up and make you follow them above the clouds before dropping you to the ground without any notice whatsoever. The sound of Motherfathers has varied through the years, and even though already taken shape, it’s still forming. A red line is however to be followed through their published works this far, to be summed up by either the deep voice of Dmitriy Peitch or the noise; if you’re a lazy listener. If paying attention you may very well discover the layers and become aware of that sometimes one song are two, and sometimes maybe more, and you may ask yourselves whence the inspiration comes.

“People. Girls. Cars” and Dmitriy quotes an entire list “relations, sports, outdoor activities, boys, dogs, alcohol, drugs, our president, poverty, human rights, our city, other cities, overall craziness, good food and so on” he smiles. But where’s the music? Where are the other groups supposed to have brought him and his colleagues audial inspiration? “People want to hear names like Depeche Modes, Nick Cave, Sonic Youth, Velvet Underground, Can, Throbbing Gristle, Nine Inch Nails, King Crimson (!), Stooges, Einsturzende Neubauten and so on” Dmitriy explains. They may be fooled by the vocalist’s voice that sometimes leads the thoughts to the likes of Nick Cave and Jim Morrisson, but the truth is that Dmitriy doesn’t listen to music, and when being asked if there’s _anything_ he used to listen to for liking, he finds the question difficult to answer.

“I don't listen to lots of music now - but if it's needed I'll name N.W.A., Marvin Gaye, Fela Kuti, Public Enemy, Mainliner, Michael Jackson, Wu-Tang Clan, Pussy Galore, Napalm Death, some of Mike Patton's work, Bjork, Rage Against The Machin
e, Stravinsky, lots of pop and new academics. It is not just naming everything in a stupid order but in fact I can actually listen to these artists at the moment.” But this still doesn’t have anything to do with the sound of Motherfathers. For them, others’ music as an inspirational source does not occur; at least other people’s music was not the reason why they started the band. “There are two ways for a group of people that want to make something in music while not being heavily influenced. The first way is to know nothing at all, and the second way is to know everything. We fall into both of these categories and try to use it somehow to be free in our creative work.” However, it's none of their intention to deliberately be influenced by someone else. Motherfathers’ audience, their fans, is a very mixed group. “I still don’t know who they really are.” says Dmitriy “Those who attend most of our shows have become our friends. They are all from a completely different background both culturally and musically. I think that's the result of the heavy eclecticism of our music.”

Still there are certain difficulties with determining what kind of music the band really makes, which sometimes leads to ambivalenc
e within the audience who at times have no idea of how to grasp what they’re hearing, but just like Motherfathers is a multi facetted band, their audience’s reactions tend to vary:

“Sometimes they are dancing, and sometimes falling in some kind of a trance, and sometimes standing with some kind of intellectual life happening look on their faces.” Dmitry points out that there are many factors involved “But mostly when everything is right the sense of overall destruction and craziness transfers to the audience.” Destruction and violence is ever present in the music of Motherfathers and in their performances. There was a time when this manifested in a highly concrete way, leading to that the group was even banned from performing at some venues, but Dmitriy explains that this was just a phase. Nowadays this violence and destruction is expressed through their music, and the energy is focused to this point.

“I believe it helps to deliver more than ever. And the real destruction is always around the corner because we are still preaching anarchism and even became much stronger in that kind of beliefs.” Dmitriy wouldn’t say that Motherfathers have a direct message they want to preach to the masses but he prefers to describe it as they’re trying to get in touch with some wild power that comes through sound. “There is lot of freedom in our music, so we want to somehow send the kind of ecstatic energy it has to the audience. It's not all so simple though, as we are deeply interested in melody, harmony, composition while being at the same time seriously involved in free-improvisation. So the music itself becomes a message.” Dmitriy smiles and adds “And of course some wild leftist meanings that are delivered through the left-field music. We want to spread love somehow but we didn't find any better way then to do it with our disturbing volume, vulgarity and noise!”

“The best thing is when you get high, ecstatic and the audience gets high too” says Dmitriy about performing live, and he doesn’t refer to drugs. “The joy and love that’s what it’s all about. The worst thing is when you perform in front of the unprepared bunch of people, or snubs, or some extremely loyal fans of "their" band (when it's not a solo gig). Poor sound at the venue is also one of the worst aspects. Poor sound always spoils all the joy” and unfortunately such a thing is a pretty common occurrence at Moscow clubs.

All of t
he members of Motherfathers, Olga being the exception, have other hobbies, assignments and doings at the side, but music remains the most important thing for them and their only real ambition is to be heard.

“We want a large, really large, and let’s say huge audience.” says Dmitriy “That doesn't mean ticket selling - we can easily do it all for free, just because music is what we are all about. We'll be okay if we can earn some money from music cause we don't want to do anything else and because our financial situation is not good but we don't measure musical career in that criteria. We want to develop it all, to seek something new and that's the most joyous thing!”

It’s been three years since the latest Motherfathers release, the full length album “Kolchak!” [2007], but currently they’re working on a follow-up. Dmitriy explains the long process with the fact that the band during this time changed directions so many times and they as time passed became less satisfied with their recorded demo material. “But now some proper record sessions are going on and we hope to release something as soon as possible.” Dmitriy reveals “And some even newer ideas are going on so I suppose everyone should be ready for a new shift and for some real surprises!”

We’re standing by, waiting for how time will let this band evolve.

Listen and download to Motherfathers here:


David said...

There's a lot more about Motherfathers here!

Methatron II said...

Yes, I've been trying to keep an eye on it. Excellent!