Interview: 10 000 Russos on new release ‘Kompromat’

By Beatriz Fontez

‘Kompromat’, the most recently released record by 10 000 Russos, delivers us a kind of industrialized British nastiness and the minimalist aspects of krautrock, features that came in swollen and stretched in this album, without shying away from the dab of psychedelic outlines which is gilded in the band’s name.

Speaking of names, this one came up as an inside joke between band members, motivating references to Russia’s history and culture, be it that this time it’s in the record’s title itself. Kompromat, in the Russian lingo, means something of compromising material. Its connection to the album itself remains open for personal interpretation. Although they’re late bloomers as household name musicians, the foolproof gem that’s the blend of talent and luck got 10 000 Russos working with Fuzz Club Records, and they haven’t been quiet since. The colossal sound that is Kompromat and the doors that the precedent albums have opened, were some of the topics brushed on in a short conversation that the band kindly allowed me to have. 

You guys have been unstoppable last year, with concerts all over Europe, also stopping by Mexico, playing at Kapu Psych Fest in Austria… How’s that busy experience been treating you?

It’s been incredible, actually. I don’t know if we remember what’s like to sleep in our own beds, but it’s been great. We spent a month in Mexico playing in several states but the pace is more relaxed there than in Europe. There you’re playing mostly Thursdays to Sundays, out here you’re playing every day. We had a series of sixteen concerts in a row, driving between six and seven hours a day, minimum. It was harsh, with only us three in that car.

Poland seems to dig you guys a lot!

And we dig Poland a lot!

What was, to you guys, the most memorable stop so far?

We had a few of those! Right off the bat, and in no particular order, Mexico City, Guadalajara, London where we first presented the record, Vienna, Glasgow, Charleroi and Berlin at the Synästhesie Festival.

Do you still follow what you called a “self-management model”?

Yeah. For these tours, however, we worked with bookers. Hole Records for Mexico and El Borracho Bookings for Europe to get some work off our shoulders and it worked out well.

How did the opportunity to work with Fuzz Club Records come about?

It was during the mythical Reverence in 2014, a festival that worked very much like a comet, a purpose. Casper, the big boss of Fuzz Club, loved our concert and as soon as we left the stage he was waiting for us backstage. We were actually going to send what was to become the 2015 LP to master the following week so it was great timing!

One of those “right place, right time” type of situations! It’s flattering, since we’re also talking about a total investment of confidence in the project on Casper’s side.

Yes, quite a lot. It’s one of those stories that we heard about in the 90’s and that we thought would never happen again. And he has always conveyed total confidence. Conceptually and aesthetically we are doing our thing, we make the records, we mix them and he has never sent anything back or refused anything at all. In fact, the feedback has always been very positive. So we feel cool and alright to do what we want to do the way we like to do it.

You have a sound that seem to be pulling from a little of British underground scene and German krautrock. What’s your background in terms of musical tastes and influences and how did these reflect in the construction of this album?

We all have different backgrounds but yes, we are also into the British underground and krautrock and kosmische music and all that. It seems to me that the music that comes out of this band is the result of these different backgrounds and how we glue them together.

Did you have any direct influence in the making of Kompromat? What have you been listening to that you’d like to suggest?

A direct influence? No more than the usual. As for what we’ve been listening to, in the last months, we’ve met with some really cool bands. Tajak, for starters, who have also been responsible for bringing us to Mexico; Camedor, Sei Still; in Europe we played with a really cool French band called French Cowboy and The One, the British Psychic Lemon are also really good. Personally I love Sereias.

What were the initial intentions in terms of sound for this album?

I think that Kompromat is our fattest record in terms of sound. It’s a little more muscular than Distress Distress, for example, which has a sharper kind of sound. We recorded at HertzControl, as usual, with Marco Lima. The differences in terms of sound have mostly to do with the intention that the recorded songs were asking for. These [the songs in Kompromat] asked mostly for this type of coloring.

I have to mention that Kompromat was recommended by Black Rebel Motorcycle Club!

It was and it was a great surprise! It seems we’re also rolling on BBC6 too.

Looking back a little, to the very beginning when you were still preparing you exposure and all of the expectations (or lack thereof) that came with it, were you ready or somehow anticipating this kind of recognition by the Portuguese and foreign audiences?

We started this band after our thirties and we had other lives, although we were always connected to music in one way or another. We make music because we like to do it. But none of us was expecting what actually happened, but it was happening and we were working with the opportunities that came up.

Is there anything in particular that you haven’t done that you’d like to do?

That’s a long list!

Thank you so much for this!

Thank you for your interest and curiosity.

– Beatriz Fontes

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