YDP Goes To Russia to Interview Xuman Records

17 Dec

Tomorrow Xuman Records drops the labels first album. Their compilation CD, Tales, is a showcase of eleven of the top acts on Xuman Records, a new label and musical family based outside of Moscow. Started by Alexander Xuman, a popular Russian DJ, as an electronic music project, it grew with the mission to make “listener friendly music” for the masses.

From what I’ve heard, the music is really excellent. Essentially this label is an entire parties worth of music where every song, someone comes up to you and asks “where did you find this song?” The variety and consistent high quality of great music blows me away. Of particular note are Xuman, Upstation, and S T I. The studio time together has clearly made the sum of the work better than the parts because honestly I have never heard so many excellent bands without individual albums out.

YDP had the chance to catch up with some of the guys before their album release to find out where they came from, what its like living in their studio and if they plan on being the Russian Wu Tang Clan. Keep an eye on Xuman Records as they plan their takeover of the US.

The English was sometimes broken (tense issues) but we found that it doesn’t take away from the explanations of their music so left it as is.

Here is there first single Panic and be sure to check out their music.

Interview on the next page

Yuppie Dance Party: What are your influences? In pop music? Dance music? Rock? Singers? Favorite American bands?

Xuman Records: Its really hard to say what is pop music nowadays.  Pop in fact is dance music, rock or electronic more often with singers.  Let’s not make any genre separations. Influences for label are such great band as: Beatles, Doors, Depeche Mode, Radiohead, a-ha, Duran Duran, Royksopp, Justice.

Singers are: Ray Charles, Thom Yorke, Bjork, Regina Spektor, Orland Oye, David Sylvian, Suzanne Vega.

Favorite American bands are: Red Hot Chilli Peppers and MGMT.

YDP: What are your musical backgrounds? Are you from a rock background? Were you DJ’s? what bands was the Xuman crew in before Xuman Records formed?

XR: Actually artists and people from Xuman Records have totally different musical backgrounds. For example, Xuman’s background is more about electronic dance music (he used to be a pretty much famous DJ) in the beginning and The Beatles and Doors later. For someone musical background is hip-hop, for other it is rock, or jazz, or IDM… We have many people here at XR, so it’s always cool to have conversation about music among us, because different people tell about various music.

YDP: What was the impetus for starting Xuman Records, was the plan from the beginning to create an artists community like the one that exists now?

XR: The idea of label in the beginning was just to make good electronic music. Then this idea has grown to something bigger. We began to realize that we are surrounded by really good musicians at one place – our studio. All artists was making what we call “listener-friendly” music. And that’s the idea of Xuman Records now – listener-friendly or in another words pop music, regardless of genre.

YDP:Was there a particular moment where Xuman Records formed at a live show or in the recording studio?

XR: Definitely at studio. Xuman Records studio is a literally a home for some of XR people. There’s a really creative and warm atmosphere at XR studio. Almost everyone falls in love with this atmosphere here.

YDP: How does the typical song writing process work? Is it a collaboration with the entire label or does Alexander Xuman act as a producer on all the songs.

Often it is a collaboration of various label mates, but Alexander is always participates in the process and is responsible for final musical decisions. But, of course, in general artists make music by their selves.

YDP: Why does everyone on your label sing in English? Is everyone on Xuman Records Russian?

XR: Yes, everyone is Russian at Xuman Records. And we make music in English because it is a language which anyone can understand around the globe. But actually we have band called S T I which has songs in both English and Russian. Also we have a project called Alisa Franka. She’s an artist who sings ancient Russian folk songs in modern way of music. Her track is included in our “Tales” compilation.

YDP: You are promoting in the US, are there any plans to tour there, as a label? or as individual bands?

XR: Yes, we have plans to tour in the US, of course. We think US is a great territory to discover for us as a label. Probably, we will start with single bands and later could make some label-nights as we’ll be doing this in Moscow since 2010.

YDP: Are you familiar with the Wu-Tang Clan because on first look it would appear you have similar goals to the Wu-Tang clan with your initial album. Some background in case you aren’t familiar, Wu-Tang was a group that formed as a way to all spin off into solo careers after they had raised their profile enough? Is this the end goal of Xuman Records?

XR: Can’t say that this is an aim for Xuman Records. Yes, we are family like Wu-Tang. We decided to begin with compilation just to show different musical facets of label. Further there’ll be releases of single artists: for example, next release is Xuman’s solo EP. But we like idea of friendly crew or family and we’re going to keep it like that.

YDP: And finally what music have you really liked and listened to this past month, past year?

XR: Past month… hard to say, we were working hard with our own music. But past year’s biggest albums for us were Royksopp’s “Junior”, Regina Spektor’s “Far”, Phoenix’s “Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix” and Shpongle’s “Ineffable Mysteries from Shpongleland”.

Check out Xuman and their individual groups here (Awesome descriptions by them):

Xuman Records: Xuman Records is the label which makes listener-friendly but not cliche music. Or simply good pop music. The simplest way to describe what genres we love is to say that they are so called indie-dance and indie-rock. In the wide sense. We accept many genres, if it is a music of our definition.

Xuman: Xuman’s music is modern, energetic, melodic and sometimes thoughtful. We can give names, but music, into which feelings and experience were put, doesn’t need that and therefore it is true music

S T I: STI’s songs are symbiosis of straight lyrics with distinctive sounds. Through dark atmosphere (how it would seem to be at first glance) there’s actually life-asserting beginning is infiltrating. Like the first sunbeam forcing its way through clouds after radioactive mushroom rain.

The O: Alexander Xuman, Nikita Zhilinskiy and Ilya Sosnitskiy spontaneously and harmonically interlaced in project called “The O”. Neo-romantic dance pop with shades of new-disco and 80’s sound.

Upstation: It’s a Russian band consisting of LeV and Eugene who make catchy electropop with influences from 80s new wave and funk.

Mujuice: This Moscow-based artist combines the robotic glitches of modern electronic music with dense layers of natural sounds. While his early works were sparsely arranged compositions akin to most European electro, his 2007 full-length “Cool Cool Death” bursts with energy, blending dark swarms of melody with vocals and pounding drum samples, and this year’s “Teal Day EP” streamlines the process into five carefully crafted instrumental pop gems.

Bajinda Behind Enemy Lines: a unique Russian band gathered two years ago. Since that time the guys have created a great and imposing musical material that will definitely interest both: the most sophisticated critics and the general public favourably accepting modern western trends brought to the domestic stage. A very special style created by the band has a propensity for indie-rock but still one can not describe it by giving the name of a single trend in modern music. Yet to determine the musical proximity to the well-known styles it should be said that the musicians grasped the creative work of such musical bands as Placebo and New Order in rock, U.N.K.L.E. in trip-hop, SPANK ROCK, N.E.R.D and THE STREETS in hip-hop as the most valuable material existing in world’s music.

On-The-Go: On-the-Go is really unique rock band. They make true indie-rock flavoured with dance and pop ingredients in equal proportions.

Camel In Space: Is indie-rock band, which was born from revelries and regular jam sessions. The only thing which was uniting members of the band until recently is love to parties took place on Xuman Records studio. Constant participants of these parties were Sasha Trinich, Alexander Xuman and Dima Moskvichev. For two years, no one intended to create a band from such a joy. Thanks to those who during the jam at times clicked on «rec» button — that’s how new material appeared. Sometimes it was sensible, but mostly it was an absurdity carried to its ultimate.


Slideshow Park: Shining


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