Coming out of Moscow centre, is Mendream and Denis Mendreliouk, making the city groove to indie-disco vibes and Hedonistic lyrics. Denis and I got to wander around Moscow for a few days and discuss the inspiration he takes from the city into the music, enjoy the adventure…
1. Strelka Bar. This is the heart of ‘the New Moscow’. When I came back from studying in the UK 4 years ago, I found my home city completely different – lots of bars, galleries, clubs and such. Besides, I’d met so many new people that my life turned into a never-ending party. I decided I didn’t want to go back to London. The reason I started our tour with Strelka is because it is deeply connected to our first album. When I was recording ‘Sex & Sensibility’ roughly 3 years ago with a group of session musicians, I would sit in the stuido for 10 hours everyday, it was very exhausting emotionally. I stilled lived at my parents’ and Strelka is exactly halfway between the studio and their place, so every evening I would stop by, have a glass of raspberry lemonade on the terrace and listen to the freshly recorded material. One of my fondest memories of that summer.
2. Solyanka. My Moscow friends will probably smirk when they see this. Such an obvious hipster place, but we’re trying to showcase Moscow, aren’t we? It’s past its heyday, but it still stands as a monument to the wild parties that Moscow lives on. Cocaine, drunk underage girls, bi-sexual orgies in the toilets, booming techno music, all set in a 19th century mansion – Solyanka has seen it all. There is a russian 8-minute long track on our first album that chronicles a typical night out in Solyanka. Very LCD Soundsystem-ish.
3. Mandarin. I have this special bar crawl route that I call ‘A sophisticated man’s drink’. The older I get, the more I fuss over the quality of alcoholic drinks. Mandarin is an example of bartenders treating their craft with a lot of respect. Anything from an old-fashioned to a secret chili-passion fruit martini (my favorite) – you can count on them to execute it flawlessly. And the dim-lit interior is perfect for acting mysterious.
4. Third Ring Road Highway by the Moscow-City. You can see the Moscow-City business center from my apartment not far from here. It’s actually perfectly placed, you can see it from almost anywhere in Moscow, and the way it shimmers at dusk – simply breathtaking. This little platform is where a lot of people go in the evening to take in the amazing views from this highway. Since Moscow is probably my main muse, the spirit of freedom of these high-speed highways is always there in our songs, even though mostly between the lines.
5. My place on Fili Ever since I set up my own home studio, I’ve been spending more and more time at home. This where we’re working on our new material at the moment. Whenever I go abroad my place is the first thing that I miss. It was originally my great-grandmother’s flat, I renovated it to my taste, filled it with my favorite purple colour. This is where the magic happens, in a lot of different ways.
6. The embankment over Kievskaya. This is where I would normally take my dates and friends to have a few bottles of lambrusco at sunset. This spot is actually right in front of the police station, but you never get caught drinking, they wouldn’t look right under their nose! This is a go-to spot for a lot of Muscovites in the summer-time, the views are exquisite! You mentioned Soviet-era music a few times, can you elaborate on how it influences you? It’s a shame that the world has only recently discovered Soviet music at the Sochi Olympics. For me it’s probably the greatest victim of the Cold War. Soviet composers managed to create so many divine musical pieces, all of them filled with such naivete and innocence in a world heavily regulated by a strict political regime. The harmonies, the melodies, the emotions that they carry, they always strike me more than any modern pop song.
Q: You just recently had a great show in Moscow and now you’re off to London! How does the duality of cultures and music cultures give you a broader understanding of your own work?
A: London was instrumental in my evolution as a music lover. When I moved here 5 years ago, I would only listen to indie rock. Gradually I learnt to appreciate various musical genres, from hip-hop to EDM. However, a Russian will always remain a Russian, no matter how cosmopolitan he becomes. I would say that being extremely sentimental is my most Russian trait. A certain tranquility runs in our culture, despite the stereotypes. This mix of nostalgic melancholy and deep inner freedom, where hedonismborders with Dionysian anarchy creates the controversies that fuels our music.
Q: And you will be coming to the US in October! What are some cities you plan to visit?
A: I’ve got a month and a half, plenty of time, so I don’t have any specific plans. Wherever my heart tells me to go. It’s more of a spiritual pilgrimage than a roadtrip. But Dallas and Nashville are definitely on the list. And of course Zabriskie point. It’s one of my favorite movies of all time.