Continued from Part 1.
Can you tell me about the Magical Unicellular Music Peel Session? Who played on that and how did that happen?
Roma: Peel Session was recorded by Moscow’s VOM-4 in, correspondingly, Moscow, and none of us Belarusian partisans took part in it… I’ll re-direct this matter to [Anton], who was there then.
Roma: Aubrey, VOM-4 Peel Session is actually a joke. It’s a recording of one of their rehearsals. They dedicated it to John Peel, whom we all love; Peel sessions had this particular sound somehow regardless of whom he recorded.
Then the Damo Suzuki & Magical Unicellular Music album – was that actually Damo?
Roma: Damo was really here.
How did that come about?
Roma: He’s an awesome dude. I smoked weed with him. He sang for four hours, and we changed three VOM [line up]s behind him. [the label] We Have No Zen, from Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine, made Damo’s [tour of] Belarus and Russia with VOM happen.
I never believed it would work until they brought Damo in a car and we went to [the] studio, got stoned and started [rehearsing]. He said – let me sit and listen and then I’ll join. So we started playing and after five minutes, [Damo] jumped up to the microphone and started singing – great guy.
The next day at the concert we said – Damo, we have three VOM [line-up]s to change behind you… first VOM3 (Hamlet, Anton, Tim and I), then VOM23 (entirely Hamlet’s crew), then VOM5 (Tim, Di, Mitya, Bulik and I). I said, let us play with you and change and make [intermissions in between]. He said, “no, I’d rather sing for five hours, I’m used to that”; he said he was used to singing without breaks.
We said okay, we’ll just switch players behind you… first guitarists change, then the bassist, then the drummer – so it’s uninterrupted. There were three VOM [line-up]s playing non-stop, one by one, and Damo Suzuki singing for three to four hours. …[Damo] gets into singing and sings his mantras. That’s how it went, and actually it was quite a success, because all three VOMs were different. It was interesting.
[Minsk's] VOM5 were the last of the three. It was Gentle Bombardiers’ [Roma's current band] full crew, with Anton at like 0-49 [see above video] coming on stage and taking a guitar. At about 2-25 Mitya tells Anton to make his guitar louder and shows it to him – we had a lot of fun.
So that was the opening gig of the Damo tour – in Minsk. After that concert [Damo] went to Russia to play St. Petersburg, Moscow and Pskov, backed up by VOM4 only. So the Belarusian show was Damo + VOM3, VOM23 and VOM5, and the Russian leg of the tour [including the WHNZ:17:SUM recording] was entirely VOM4.
How did you come to know African (We Have No Zen)?
Roma: He found Anton and Tim, and they started communicating through the web.
What is the origin of the name Solntsetsvety?
Aleksei: When the band got together in 1991, the name was Кирпичное Колесо (Brick Wheel), and was a punk rock band. Then there was a period when names changed often – I remember Swizz, Paper Butterfly and Butterfly MC – as well as a number of changing bass guitarists. Then came the name Цветы (Flowers) in classical lineup – Anton Krivulia (aka Jean aka Stereochuvak) on vocals, Lyosha “Hockey” on guitar, Maxim “Skunk” on bass and Sasha “Suvorovets” on drums. However, there had been a Russian pop-rock band with the same name, so the name was modified several times – Космические Цветы (Cosmic Flowers), Ископаемые Цветы (Fossilized Flowers), Огненные Цветы (Fire Flowers). After a hiatus caused by the drummer’s immigration to the USA, the band reformed as Солнечные Цветы (Sun Flowers), which later was shortened to Солнце Цветы, and then the space between the two words disappeared. However, it’s still Sun Flowers, not Sunflowers (which is an entirely different word in Russian).
In what order did the Solntsetsvety projects appear?
Anton: Up until 2000 Solntsetsvety functioned as one band that performed music. We didn’t make studio recordings then – that was too expensive, and the outcome totally depended upon the recording engineer those days, all of whom inevitably turned out to be total dumbasses. Sasha Gelikh was a good concert sound engineer and he worked with us – made a great series of concert recordings named Mystic Football in 1999.
Then in 2000 Agafon departed for Crimea and I only saw him on photos since then, Pindilyukos hooked up with hippies and started drinking heavily, [Roman] went to goddamn Atlanta. I began trying to incorporate my family into society without having to work at a factory. I became a designer and worked a lot (the work was quite interesting though). It happened that once in 2001 returning home late from work I had a heart attack and fell down, almost losing consciousness. As a result of that I realized I needed to get back to my own life and do something about Solntsetsvety.
In 2001 our website appeared and became the nucleus of our structure, the symbol of our existence and our survival weapon. It marked a new beginning of another life of Solntsetsvety, the one consisting of different projects.
The projects appeared simultaneously resulting from division of a uniform body into fractions. And some projects added up later. First we set apart our spontaneous concert forms and called them “Psychedelic Sausage“, then a more disciplined instrumental form called “Magnit [of Solntsetsvety]“, then a band playing songs written by Stereochuvak [Anton's alias] – the Batmen of Grand Ukraine. Then we invented the concept of Magical Unicellular Music, which allowed formation of bands with similar type of lineups in different cities. The next step became “experimental Mokh series”, that provided enough food for thought, and… the following Mokh project came out of it. But this whole organizational structure already seems to be outdated… The last 10 years were the decade of the virtual Solntsetsvety, and now I personally want them to be of flesh and blood.
Tim: Magical Unicellular Music rehearsed in a big factory, as I remember. It was 2005 or 2004. Then I decided to create Simptom Pogremushki. Made several CDr releases of a pretty bad quality. Suddenly in Moscow Sybarites began to create their studio and make those funny albums. We were rehearsing Mokh as a live band, even played a great gig at 5 a.m. in 2008 or 2009. After that Anton began recording these electronic tracks – shit, I adore some of them.
Aleksei: I don’t really know. I wasn’t happy with what was happening in the band and quit. Besides, when it all was happening, I lived in New York and concentrating on academic achievements. I later rejoined the revival attempt to record a reggae mini-album with Anton on vocals, harmonica and guitar, Lyosha “Hockey” on guitar, Phil on bass, Roman “Tubby” on drums and myself on guitar. I also did Live in Detroit with Magical Unicellular Music – Anton (guitar and screaming), myself (guitar), Sasha Hamlet (bass) and Roma “Tubby” (drums) in 2008. It was my latest, and probably last involvement with Solntsetsvety.
I participated in the core band Solntsetsvety (I mean the “reformed” version as opposed to the “classical one”. In fact, there was no opposition, I remember one awesome gig when Sasha “Suvorovets” was visiting his home country, and Lyosha “Hockey” stepped out of the shadow. We started in our new line-up and then after a short blackout the classical line-up was on stage), in the side project The Psychedelic Sausage of Soltsetsvety, and in one of incarnations of Magical Unicellular Music. In fact, there were lots of people and lots of projects, I didn’t even know all of them. I remember The Batmen of Great Ukraine and The Sybarites. Anton is currently working solo under the name Моkh. Some projects only lasted to make one recording or to soon be discarded and forgotten.
How has Mokh evolved over time?
Anton: Mokh came out of the “experimental Moh series” and in fact has not evolved in any way. There was a small step towards electronic chillwave – Billion Yellow Birds is somewhat of an homage to the hipster community, which actually appreciated the album. I’m currently making a new album, similar to the first Moh EP – pop songs based on the findings of Magical Unicellular Music in terms of composition and sound. I can’t find an opportunity to arrange serious full-scale rehearsals in Moscow, which is the reason why playing solo with the drum machine has become my strategic survival method.
Tim: It began with trying to reach something, but reached only pop-music heights which are over time limits. Now it is trying to be a live project, and it succeeds.
What is the story behind the album Sergei Pukst, Anton Krivulya – Black Stork [Chorniy Busel in Russian]– does the film* this album soundtracks exist, or were there ever any intentions for it to exist?
Anton: [The film] Chorniy Busel [Black Stork] is post modernist hoax dated to the great historical crash that happened years ago, when Lukashenko (сука) destroyed Belorussian society. This fictional film talking is about a crazy prince-werewolf. It is made in the form of typical “Belorussian soviet republic” scripts, with corresponding dusty aesthetics of official folk music. For example: http://youtu.be/ksPg0bKbLKs.
*Below is the digital English translation of the Russian text for Black Stork as it appears on archive.org:
Chorny Busel [Black Stork]
The album is the music for now, alas, defunct Belarusian film “Chorny Busel.”
This tragic story of the Belarusian power-loving prince and the tragic love of common people. On a scale historical background of the unfolding drama of love and golden-haired laborer John Maryski, which, being a servant in his rich aunt, in an ill-fated day, caught the eye of the prince, and liked him. Collected the militia to go against the prince, Yang was tortured in prison for his love. Maryska also became the princess, and a medallion, which the prince gave her a wedding, she put her hair Yana, as a token of love. As the dream of freedom.
Hudsovet gave the film the lowest car rental category, virtually closing the access to the picture viewer. In the wine director was charged with pessimism, lack of faith in the ultimate triumph of good. Film historians, however, believe that the relatively soft and rather abstract accusations of pessimism was expressed in an indirect assessment of the film as anti-Stalinist. Recall that for 1954 it was still a very serious statement. Until the fateful XX Congress was still 2 years.
This tape has reached us in their original form. Not even a professional striking musical fragments, stylistically impossible for a distant 54th year (it tracks Part 10 and Part 14) that it struck repeatedly by historians thought about possible fraud. Especially because neither negative nor copies of the picture itself is not preserved.