Some band names are just impossible to decipher. 5R6 means nothing to me but thankfully the music does. So check this one out after you’ve read the interview. Anders Ekdahl ©20174
Every band has to introduce their music to new people. What is it that you want people to get from listening to you guys?
Igor: We do not consider ourselves some sort of a messenger carrying the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything. Which is 42, by the way. We concentrate more on creating music that resonates with us and is its own entity through our different individualities and different influences. However, I would like to see people who think for themselves, look around more often, have more empathy with each other and keep their minds open. And I hope that through our music they discover something new.
Kirill: I just want people to be entertained while listening to our songs or watching us playing live, nothing special. Like Igor said – it’s cool when your music somehow resonates with people and that feeling (I mean this “resonating”) is all I want to get. We are not prophets, a politically-oriented band or a band with strong message in lyrics etc.
How hard was it for you guys to pick a name? What had that name have to have to fit your music?
Igor: We didn’t really pick it. It kind of just happened. What I like about it is that it has no association with any sub-genres or anything actually (at least, if you’re not into electro-engineering or Canadian postal codes). It’s just a name that defines this particular band creating this particular music.
Everybody is influenced by certain things. What band(s) was it that turned you on to the kind of music you play? What inspires you today?
Igor: There are so many bands that influenced us that it is hard to name just a few. And, of course, the list is growing over time. I keep returning to some bands over and over again no matter how much time passes and how my taste in music changes. Like King Crimson, Pink Floyd, Death, Sonic Youth and others. I think that some of the songs on our album “Islands” might be influenced by Motorpsycho, At the Drive-In, Swans and Tool. But, probably, someone else will hear totally different things.
Kirill: I think, if we are talking about 5R6, first it was Tool, but then, yes – all the bands that Igor mentioned. Today I’m a huge fan of Sun Kil Moon for example. I can name many bands, but it’s not very interesting, I guess.
When you formed did you do so with the intent of knowing what to play or did you do so from the point of having a band name and then picking a sound? How did you settle on the name/sound combo?
Igor: It used to be a constant experiment, and we are still not putting ourselves in any strict boundaries. Although I think we have a distinctive sound, which can be heard no matter what we play. So, I guess a name like this is good if you do not really want to set any limits from the start. We intended to change it a couple of times, but could never find anything that was not already used by someone else and would fit with our approach to music.
I believe that digital is killing the album format. People’s changing habit of how they listen to music will result in there being no albums. Is there anything good with releasing single tracks only?
Igor: I usually try to listen to full album rather than a few single tracks; I would like our listeners to do the same. But there is nothing you can do about it really, nothing is static. But there is a good side of releasing a single track from time to time. Sometimes it is something good that just feels out of place on the album, and you release it separately, like we did with our track “Vermin”. Or it can be something that is just so good that you want people to hear it before you even have an album. But I cannot imagine us sticking to releasing singles only. Nothing is as good as a good album.
Kirill: I don’t agree about “digital killing”. Yes, nowadays we have some trends, but bands and singers still release albums. And not just albums – LPs with concept, huge storytelling and so on. For example look at the pop or rap music – Solange and Beyonce with epic concept albums in 2016, Kendrick Lamar with “To Pimp a Butterfly” masterpiece in 2015. I have many proofs that albums are still popular.
What part does art-work and lay-out play when you release new recordings? How do you best catch people’s attention?
Igor: The artwork is an important part of the record. There is this strong connection between the artwork and your experience with the record. When I see the cover of one of my favorite records it almost instantly starts to play in my head bringing back the memories and feelings of the time when I first discovered it. And it is also a first glimpse into what you could expect from the record. So it is very important for the artwork to compliment the record. We usually make decisions about the artwork with this in mind and catching people attention comes second. It all depends on what you want in general. Take, for example, Neu! debut album cover and Miles Davis’s “Bitches Brew”. They both are very catchy but for totally different reasons.
Has social media re-written the rules on how to promote your music? Or do you go about doing promotion the same way?
Igor: We released our first record in 2010, so social media were already here. We used to rely on MySpace, musical forums and portals back then. It was easier in many respects. Now it is mostly Facebook, our MySpace page was abandoned long time ago.
The main difference is that now everything is monetized. And most likely only a few per cents of people following your band’s page will see your post if it is not paid for. It is almost (?) no way to avoid social networks if you want to promote your music.
Kirill: To be honest – I hate the way almost all Ukrainian bands promote their music using social networks. It’s ugly. Yes, definitely, today social networks and internet are defining rules of the game and you need to follow. In the perfect world I want just to write\record\release albums and do nothing with internet promotion.
When you play in a band, does that make you feel like you are a part of a scene, of something bigger and grander?
Igor: I never thought too much about it. I am just happy that we have our local scene with some really good and original bands in our city and a wider scene across all Ukraine, flourishing and versatile. And we support our local scene. It doesn’t make me feel bigger or smaller, it just makes me feel better knowing that there are many talented people with a mindset similar to mine, and that we can create something together or help each other.
Kirill: No. I’m just playing in a band and that is all that I feel.
How much of a touring band are you? Is touring/gigging still a great way of spreading the word of the band?
Igor: We are a touring band. But we cannot tour for months. We have to go to work most of the time. It is almost impossible to be an underground band and earn enough money to live, especially in Ukraine. At least if what you call acceptable living conditions is different from a cardboard box. So usually our tours are our vacations. So we never really take a rest.
Touring/gigging is great on its own. Nothing can replace a live experience for both the musician and the listener. Often to understand and appreciate a band you need to hear and see them playing live. Gigs help to spread the word, definitely. However, as a means of promoting the media still works better.
Kirill: Touring is a great and sometimes the only way to spread the word about your music.
What will the future bring?
Igor: Tomorrow never knows!