The Yuri Report #2
by Yuri Burnosov & J Mundok
Welcome to the second installment of "The Yuri Report". I recently caught up with Yuri Burnosov for another look at Russia's independent music scene and how recent unstable economic and political circumstances may affect it. Without further ado, I give you...Yuri
Kettle Black: Is there a big independent zine culture in Russia? If so, what are the main topics that are covered?
Yuri Burnosov: Yes, zines are very popular in Russia today. Most popular zines write basically about heavy music -- Rock City, Zheleznyj Marsh, Legion, Morbid Noize. They have high quality, are made in colour and reasonably thick. Is a little punk zines like Pomoechka, HigglidyPigglidy. These zines less qualitative and are made by a private image. Except music, zines write about cultural life, about news of youth culture, about various problems ( for example, about struggle with modern fascism). We also have a lot of zines which issue simple people. For example, I have own zine Bouncer, as you have this beautiful The Kettle Black. [beautiful indeed! - ed.]
KB: How are they distributed?
YB: Through mail as any other newspaper or journal is possible to make out till. But it is dear (expensive). Other will be realized through rock-shops or is simple are sent at the request of the reader for small money.
KB: Are there any major magazines that cover any underground/independent music?
YB: We have such journal Rock Fuzz but it much write about pop-music. My favourite journal is ον, where [they] write about any phenomenon of underground culture ( style, cinema, music and other things ). It is one of the most popular journals in Russia.
KB: In the United States access to incredible home recording equipment has become easy and very inexpensive in the past ten years. Four tracks are almost as common as amplifiers. How do average indie bands in Russia record demos?
YB: I think, many bands make it the same as in USA. Certainly, we have a more bad equipment. But it not is important! Many good albums recorded indie bands in apartment or garage on a usual cassette tape unit were made in idle simple.
KB: Are there professional 24 track studios reasonably priced where indie bands record?
YB: We have such studios, but it very dear (expensive) studios. To pay money for work in them can so little bands. For example, I can not allow self such. Digital studios: we have this even in our provincial Bryansk [and] are now very popular.
KB: Are there many independent record labels based in Russia that will release indie recordings?
YB: Almost all labels in Russia manufacture indie registration. But there is the bad party: all these bands who work with such labels to cease to be "indie". Much interesting bands to work with large labels and now to become simple pop-musicians without interesting ideas.
KB: Are they mostly tape labels or do they release CD's as well?
YB: To issue CD it is necessary to be known band. Therefore now we basically have cassettes.
KB: Do indie bands release much material themselves? CD's or cassettes?
YB: Yes, it make very many bands. Especially if they live not in Moscow or St. Petersburg. For example, my band D.B. Ice has manufactured some albums on cassettes. Now we make double-CD with best songs. The record CD not is a problem, considerably the greater problem is manufacturing a cover and other polygraphic work.
KB: How has/will the economic and political crisis currently facing Russia affect the independent music community?
YB: I think, from crisis can afraid only [be] bands who work with large rich labels. There are money - there are problems. There are no money -- there are no problems. [To] me the problems is not present, ha ha... I think also, that any crisis positively to influence on music and on culture as a whole. In conditions of crisis the creativity has a high level! I think, in the history is many examples for it.
KB: If Russia returns to a communist form of government what affects do you think this will have on the independent music community? Do you believe Russia will return to a communist form of government?
YB: Yes, I think, it is [a] quite possible variant. Many people in country speak: "We lived better at Soviet power!" Now anybody does not trust for Yeltsin... In any case the communist's returning not is restoration of a old system. Probably, we shall have some changes in a economy, politic, but it will not be reflected on freedom of a word and other things. Now communists is absolutely other. It not Brezhnev and not Stalin. I think, today communists in Russia is in a greater degree a socialists (like in Sweden or other country). I not necessary to be afraid communists! I think, I am some communist. Really: I well knows a communist time. Then there was no hunger, high crime, civil war... And I believe: all will be well!
Big time thanks to Yuri for taking the time and effort to teach us about Russia.