Pessimistic about the modern society and terrified by one of the strongest forces affecting our lives these days, the omnipresent consumerism, Russian band УНТЕРМЕНШ rise and once again break silence of this controversial subject. UNTERMENSCH have teamed up with IDIOTEQ to discuss their local music scene of Yekatinburg, located in the very middle of the Eurasian continent, Putin’s recent actions in Syria, their slightly reworked idea of the term Untermensch, and the dehumanization and primordial degradation of culture.
Hey guys! Thanks so much for reaching out and arranging this feature. Even though I’ve interviewed more than 600 artists, I believe you’re the first Ekaterinburg based band presented here on IDIOTEQ. How are you? How’s Екатеринбу́рг?
Привет, Karol (which means “Hi, Karol”). We are very pleased to be interviewed by such interesting webzine as IDIOTEQ. Thank you very much for what you are doing.
And now something about us and our location. We are hardcore/powerviolence band called УНТЕРМЕНШ which is situated in central part of Russia, the Middle Ural, Ekaterinburg city. This place is not better or no worse than other places in our country. Russia in general is not so comfortable (in terms of economic situation, climate and other aspects) country that may have some influence on our music in the aggressive way. But our region like many other regions in Russia has one nice feature – really pretty scenery with old mountains and thick forests, that may have some influence on our music too but in the opposite direction.
What about Ekaterinburg itself – Ekaterinburg is relatively big city with interesting historical buildings and monuments to the great people which replaced in these latter days by modern faceless shopping centers and shitty monuments such as monument to character of the terrible TV series. Also I would like to add one thing about our homeland. Now in our city is the period when you go to work/studying – it is dark outside and when you come back from work/studying – it is dark outside again. This detail gives the frustration to everyone who lives here.
Tell me more about living there. What was it like being courted by more extreme music genres in Ekaterinburg? How thriving is your local punk scene and how vast is its history?
In Ekaterinburg there was some worthy bands such as СУЧИЙ ЛЕСОК (these guys have played powerful punkabilly when all members of our band were born), W.GRINDERS (crust/hardcore band with superfine texts and rabid energy). Unfortunately nowadays both bands are inactive. I would like to say about our local punk scene. There is one very big problem – absence of new blood. Roughly speaking new bands are originated only from members of the old bands more often than not. Maybe this is due to new youth interests (YouTube and other “delights” of the modern world) and general loss of popularity of good music. Also another unpleasant thing – the presence of people for whom the punk gig (and sometimes punk itself) is an occasion to drink and nothing more. Needless to say that these people cause a lot of troubles to organizers and visitors. We are not straight edge, but we are for a respectful attitude to the people around you.
Do you organize shows in Ekaterinburg? Where do you need to travel if you’re a gig addict?
Yeah, I organized two shows: for metalpunk band UNBROKEN BONES and for emoviolence band BURAN (this gig was disastrous in terms of finances but the mood of the public was very cool). It was a useful and interesting experience with many funny and nasty incidents. However I think that making music is more suitable role for me. As a rule, almost all good punk/hardcore gigs and festivals are organized in Moscow (it is the capital of Russia) and in St. Petersburg. For example RAW fest (where I was in this summer), This is Russia (both in Moscow) and others. Also there are local groups (consisting of bands, organizers and other partial people) in regions that work in DIY style. But because of a very vast territory occupied by our country and because of the high fares organization gigs for bands from another region or especially for foreign bands is a very difficult event. In addition there is another problem in organization gigs for foreign bands – unfavourable rates of exchange of the euro in relation to the ruble due to shitty political games.
How do you feel about Putin’s recent actions in Ukraine, Syria, his specific apparatus and his efforts to restore at least some of the Soviet empire?
It is a very tricky question. Yesterday we argued for a long time about Putin and his actions. Each of us has a personal position but we have one general statement – we don’t support and censure any action aimed at violence against civilians, including the aggressive foreign policy of any state. Also with regard to your question about Ukraine and Syria sometimes I think that The Cold War between the two superpowers USA and USSR didn’t end with the collapse of the Soviet Union. Recent events in Ukraine and Syria are very similar to notorious conflicts in Korea, in Vietnam, in Afghanistan and in other countries during the Cold War. Also we would like to advise everyone – don’t listen to propaganda from your local government and remain a human in any situation.
Does this last phrase somehow link to the idea of your EP “Клоповник”? Tell me more about it and the general idea of social rat (Untermensch) emphasized through your band name?
Yeah, it does. It is one of our main theses. The general idea of our band name is rather misanthropic and it has appeared after reading the brochure «Der Untermensch» 1942 in which term “untermensch” is interpreted as a biological creature which created by nature and which has arms, legs, the similarity of the brain, eyes and mouth. Nevertheless untermensch is not a person because he doesn’t create anything new and doesn’t make contribution to a culture. We understand that this booklet is an example of lousy propaganda with a lot of groundless statements and illogical conclusions. In spite of this term “untermensch” describes most modern people very well. Almost all modern people has become like beasts regardless of nationality and race. They can only maintain their animal existence and destroy culture. All these people from modern society deserve to be called untermensch.
Whose fault it? I mean, there will be 9 billion of us around 2050 and some say that there are already too many people in the world. Can this be one of the reasons why modern society is actually destroying the soul of humanity?
We believe that one of the main reasons why modern society is actually destroying the soul of humanity is the final formation of an industrial society which has led to the transformation of all human activities only in the production and consumption of goods. Also this formation has eliminated human from the public sphere and has left him only bare life. That is why the cover of our EP is a photo used for the book “Society of the Spectacle” by Guy Debord.
What can we do to stop the process of degradation of human life?
We think, at first you must keep yourself from degradation. Don’t give in to the mass culture and culture of consumption, develop your brain and broaden your horizon and, what’s most important, learn to respect other people and their feelings.
Ok guys, back to the band, what plans have you lined up for the coming months? What can we expect coming from УНТЕРМЕНШ in 2016?
So far, we have draft of 4 new songs which step by step take the right form. The process is very slow since each of us plays in other bands and has their own problems in everyday life. Yet we would like to record and release (probably on tape) new EP in 2016.
Great! Is there anything else you’d like to add before we sign off?
That’s enough =)
Haha! Thanks a lot buddies and take care!