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The Foxy Riders interview

“The Foxy Riders” Russian band, based in Saint-Petersburg, the northern capital of country, was formed in 2012 with Dan Gordeev on vocals and guitar, Jeni Titov as a second guitarist and Kirill Simonov on drums. They began to create massive wall of sound, consisting of distinct, intelligible garage rock with attention to blues – details, wrapped in psychodelic soundscape.
 On December of 2013 TFR released first EP, where you can also find their debut single “Ravings”- it gains an attention as an example of classical phonation, merging raw overloaded guitars, emphatic vocal and wide chunk of fuzz. Now, in 2014, after dozens of live performances, a new studio album is in the works. I met with the guitarists of “The Foxy Riders“ collective to create an interview about the life's way of musicians from the Venice of the North.

How did you all get started?

Dan: To be exact, about 8 years ago. I was walking along the bank of the river, when Jesus came down out of the sky, holding Fender Telecaster guitar in his hand. And he gave it to me with the words: “Here you go, dude, just play”. The truth is, Fender was in his left hand (which is, as you know, kinda devil's side) and in his right hand Jesus was gripping Gibson guitar. That's why now we are using  Fender guitars – coz we would play Christian rock, if Jesus had decided to give Gibson to me.

But how did you know each other?

Jeni: Well, I came to Dan, took his electric guitar “Maestro” in my hands...


Jeni: That's all, we started to play brit-rock! (laughing).
Okay, to be serious, we knew each other through the guy we both knew. So we just were hanging at the backyard, when I met Dan. And we both were emo-boys, as I remember.

Aw, if so, why you switched from your old stuff to more psychedelic inspired music?

Dan: One day I woke up and fumbled for the only one testicle. Then thought: “Hey, man, where is your second nut? Don't you think it's time to play normal male music?”(Laughing)

Jeni: In general, how it happened, when we started to dig in... I came to visit Dan with some carrier, with a couple of albums on it. There were “Black Keys”, “Dead Meadow” and “White Stripes”.
We were trying to play something like that, also that time I was learning to play  - Dan showed me the main things at the beginning, after that I continued to study by myself. And he gave me an issue of Viktor Tsoi's  songs...

Dan: The thing is, that trash really irritated me, so I just found the way to get rid of that papers.

Do you remember your first repetition?

Jeni: At the beginning we planned to play only together. Still have a video of our first time, where I’m raping drums while Dan is playing through 2 amps. Things changed, when Dan had to went for serving in the army for a whole year. So I decided to continue my employments outside of our project.

Did you find someone?

Jeni: As it happened, I found Kirill. It was made through the group, dedicated to searching musicians. So there was an advert : “Need guitarist. Playing grunge-art-rock”. I was just wondering, what the fuck was that?! Mean, grunge-art-rock.
We started to play – Kirill, me and one more guy – Max, the bassist. Repetitions were based on the 13 floor of a building house, overlooking the Neva river. Quite inspiring, should I say.

So how it was? Did you play grunge-art-rock?

Jeni: Actually, I just licked my riffs, backed by another guys. Also, in this band, Max, indeed, was a half assed guitarist, that was  the reason why he changed to bass. And, in addition, he knew about art-rock only from reading Wikipedia articles...

(Long silence)

Dan: But where I need to read?

Jeni  (smiling): Then we had one more person joined our circle – Olga was singing and playing synth. But everything happened that time was completely another project, hardly connected with The Foxy Riders,  even under another name - “The Fake Kisses”. That moment we started to play on the stage, and made our first studio recordings.

Your first gig?

Jeni: it happened in "Orlandina" club.

Dan: All beers there taste with damn Benadryl, by the way.

Jeni: We played there twice, 1st  time we had 50 people came, 2nd time there were about 100 viewers. What is more, we earned something like 200 euros

Dan: Blimey!

Jeni: Each fellow

Dan: The Foxy Riders are fucking disgrace for me now.

Jeni: Of course, the same night we went to get drunk as hell. So quickly spent all cash.

Were you the only band or?

Jeni: We were the one and only. Moreover, had a two-hours program.

Dan:  You had songs for 2 hours? Was composing while playing or what?(laughing)

Jeni: After all, Olga left the country for Bali, and Max preferred to build a career of session musician. All in all, we were left alone with Kirill, when Dan returned and we decided to open a new vision on old program.
Next, Kirill found a new bassist – Kostya

Dan: Yeah, that long, bald guy with cool bass and tough cord. And he played pretty fucking awesome blues. I was really influenced by him. I mean, better to say, he enhanced my self-esteem. You can imagine, how I was playing after a whole year of non-touching the guitar. But Kostya always encouraged and cheered me. And one more thing – he said I must sing.  Meanwhile in the same time at school I was kicked out of choir, with the words “You will never sing”.

Why do you sing in English?

Dan: It's impossible to sing in Russian, if you don't favour this country. Besides, there is no way to set Russian language to such music.

Your opinion about the modern way of selling music? 

Dan: Totally negative. I believe thoroughly in analog devices. That's exactly what is worth working. It will be rather more interesting to work, if you know that in the end you will be able to touch the result. And some unspecified inscription on the internet... That's not enough for me.

Jeni: I like tapes as well.

Ok, lets return to The Foxy Riders...

“The Fake Kisses” played a couple of gigs with the old program, but we have already understood, that we are going to play completely another music. It was the moment of changing the name of the band also.

What does “The Foxy Riders” really mean?

Dan: That time I had a vocabulary of blues. It contained the translation of all that argots, used among blues-men, into Russian. In total, the word “Foxy” from that dictionary sunk deep into my brains. Plus it simply sounds awesome. “Foxy” means “ beautiful black woman” .

Jeni: From my side, I wanted to see the word “Riders” in the name. It sounds classy either! And farther, I always wanted to play such kind of music...

Dan: Where you can put “The” in the beginning and “S” in the end?

Jeni: No, connected with motorcycles, old cars and etc. As a result, we just simply connected two words and got the name. Boring.

But among public this name suddenly transformed into something completely different

Yes, even down to the “Sly-assed  riders” ,“Fox-fuckers” and another waste.

Thereupon, Kostya decided to quite. He had to choose between career and music. So Kostya left, and after that Kirill found a new bassist (again) – Pasha, who was actually interested in our band since at least “The Fake Kisses”.

Is it possible to carve out a career on music?

Suspect that no. Certainly not in this country.

So here it's kinda hobby?

No, that guys for whom music is a hobby, don't usually give more than a couple of gigs, and that's it. Nothing special – they just do it during  drinking beer in the club. This is the way you can call hobby. Not our situation. For us making music looks like the way of life. Either you rock like insane, or else you stay at home.  I'd better put all money into music, than into boozing. know, why carousals usually happen? Right, coz you have nothing to do, when you  are not busy with repetition (laughing).

Jeni: Pasha used to not give a damn about our rehearsals, we often had to play without bass. Then it happened that Pasha let our concert go hang. So I just bought an octaver and after that quite good gig without bassist we said “Goodbye” to Pasha.

Do you think that for musicians outside Russia it's much more easier to succeed?

That's true. Mostly the problem is in equipment, technics. Impossible to get it here. I mean, of course, you can buy it, but prices are bitching high.
What is more, there is not enough audience here for such kind of music we play – can't say that psych – and garage-rock are popular streams.

What music influenced you most?

“Dead Meadow”, “Black Rebel Motorcycle Club”, “Black Sabbath”, “Queens Of The Stone Age”, “The Flying Eyes”, “The White Stripes”
We often hear people comparing us with  “Black Rebel Motorcycle Club” and, sometimes, “Ride”. Don't have anything against, but prefer when there is said that we just replay the classics of  the genre. No need to re-invent the wheel, right?

Which bands did you worked with?

We supported “Get your Gun”, “The Grand Astoria”, frequently play with “Bungalow Bums”, “Stereo Siberia” and “Death Crowns”.

Do you have any rituals to make before the gig?

Dan: Need either get extremely drunk or have an incredible sex. Definitely any binge is required.

Jeni: I usually need a dosage of sleeping

What song would you choose for cover?

“Paranoid”(Black Sabbath)
“Spread your love”( BRMC)

Your favorite guitar effect?

Dan: Fuzz of course!

Jeni: Definitely  reverb.

The most important demand in backstage rider?

You know that penis-shaped Italian pasta? Won't play without a couple of portions..

Say some bullshit in the end of an interview.

We don't know anything about the stuff happening now in Ukraine. Really, here are no speakers in each corner, shouting about the current situation. But we are worrying  about the rising prices on tobacco instead.

Interview made by Olga Batyreva/2014
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