Over the last few years, Tesla Boy has sent analog disco pop surging through Moscow like volts of neon. After dropping their debut album Modern Thrills, the foursome has taken over Russian dance floors, hipster joints, and during their inaugural hours, transformer vaults. They’re our Artist of the Week, so here’s what they had to say about Putin, Stalin, and hot tubs.
Congrats on all the votes. How does it feel to have so many adoring fans voting for you all night long?
I indeed would like to say thank you to all people who stayed awake and voted for us. It’s so great! Thank you once again. I almost feel as if I’m Eddie Murphy meeting Mick Jagger in 1983.
What is the Russian music scene like these days?
The Russian music scene is changing dynamically and went through drastic transformation over the last five years. Indiepop has started to emerge. The music which has been for many years well-known all over the world, which is performed in English and has no Russian roots, is becoming more popular. Moscow abounds in new young groups playing whatever and wherever. And club-kids are dancing Thursday through Monday morning, moving from one bar to another switching dancing floors. I am not sure whether they came of age and they’re allowed to drink!
Where do you guys fit in the scene? Is there a new wave revival in Russia, or are you guys weird?
They call us here the major national hipster group, comparing us to MGMT and Cut Copy. And in spite of my appreciation of these groups, I don’t see any similarities. It’s funny that in Russia today, hipsters are very popular up to the fact that recent anti-Putin rallies were called the “hipster revolution”. In a sort of sense, we are revolutionaries.
What inspired the story of the Tesla Boy in your first song?
The apartment I used to live in was in a building which we describe here as Stalin architecture style. These are huge solid buildings. My apartment was on the first floor, and the ground floor was occupied by a transformer vault which fed the whole place with electricity. A friend of mine once jokingly noticed that my music talent is somehow shaped by this fact and that I should read about Nikola Tesla, thus I studied his life story and wrote a song about a guy who lived above a transformer vault.
What made you guys decide to want to work together?
Three things brought us together – our fine musical taste, appearance, and love for vintage porno movies of the seventies.
What is it about the neon era you love so much?
I love urban chic, and love big cities, which cannot exist without neon lights. Neon lights are like candles in the cathedral, lighting the dark and warming up the soul.
Who did you guys listen to as a kid?
When a kid, I listened a lot of Stevie Wonder, James Brown. Later it was The Smiths, New Order, Depeche Mode. And a lot of jazz music when I was in jazz school.
What is your drink of choice?
Right now it is 14°F in Moscow and of course I prefer lemon black tea.
If you could hang out in a hot tub with three people, who would they be?
This is the hottest topic of late. I think it would be a girl whom I saw last week, and a girl whom I’ll see this week and Dr. Freud who would help me to find out what is all about.
What’s next for Tesla Boy?
We are working on the new album, soon I am leaving for London to finish up the album there, and then we are going on a tour.
And we’re coming to the States soon.