In the summer of 2020, The VIOLENT YOUTH released their fourth studio album in Tam, Gde Nas Net, a phrase loosely translated in English to “The Grass Is Always Greener On The Other Side.” But in many ways, it was an album of firsts for the band led by Belarusian songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and creative force Arthur Tsymbal. It was The Violent Youth’s first album with vocals in Tsymbal’s native Russian language; it was the first to crystallize the duo’s darker new wave, synth-pop, and post-punk sound; and it will soon be the first to be released in North America — further exposing one of the region’s most exciting new bands to Western audiences.
Signing to emerging independent record label à La Carte (True Faith, Don’t get Lemon, Love Language), The Violent Youth will re-release Tam, Gde Nas Net on cassette later this year April 2021), with more music on the way.
The cassette release should provide a nice introduction to the emotive and captivating music of The Violent Youth, crafted by Tsymbal in his current residence of Augsberg, Germany, with an assist from bandmate and keyboardist Egor Ivakhnenko at his home city of Moscow, Russia. The seeds for The Violent Youth were first planted in 2014 with the release of their debut EP LOUD, and their following grew in Europe and Russia with 2016 LP Discotheque. But last year’s release of Tam, Gde Nas Net not only saw the duo’s popularity grow, but also their creative focus.
“Before The Violent Youth I was singing in an indie band in Minsk,” says Tsymbal, “and when the band split up I was thinking about creating a project where I can play music that I like and listen to every day, for example Depeche Mode, Hurts, CHVRCHES, The Cure, The Human League and others. Now we use more guitars, but early TVY albums were made 95 percent with synthesizers only. I want to make a new sound with every album, so this vision varies every time.”
Where The Violent Youth’s sound stands now is one on the precipice of brilliance, following the leads of dark-pop and post-punk bands like Molchat Doma and Ploho in securing a global audiences, and embracing an international following where Russian musical trailblazers like KINO, Biokonstruktor, and Tehnologia could not due to Cold War politics.
But in thinking of a Russian sound, one assumes a stark bleakness, a detached emotion, and one colored in muted gray. But The Violent Youth’s is anything but; the songs emanate a warth and fiery glow — see “Elvira”, “Ya Vlublyon [I Am In Love]”, and “Solntse [Sun]” — that deliver a certain authenticity despite the language barrier. There is a pop music core at the heart of The Violent Youth’s sound, a fine polish added by producer Ignaz Engelmann in Augsburg, and the movement of the songs, and how they grip the listener, is universal to understand. The Violent Youth create music that allows the listener to either reveal themselves or stay safely in the shadows.
“I think it doesn’t matter what language you sing,” says Tsymbal. “Music connects people. Russian is a beautiful language, and we are always happy when people find themselves in our songs and say ‘Hey, thats me!’ Much of the album’s lyrics were written based on my feelings. They are based on ‘everyday problems.’ For example the main song, ‘Tam, Gde Nas Net’, is about my feelings after leaving Belarus 2 and three years of living abroad in Germany. People who leave their countries can understand this song as well as I feel it.”
And the physical distance between Tsymbal and Ivakhnenko is offset by the wonders of modern technology, and bridged by their shared musical vision and ability to tell universal stories through their songs. “It doesn’t bother us, I think,” Tsymbal says of the pair residing in different countries. “Nowadays it is very simple because of the internet. I send him every demo that I compose, so we can work together on every song and exchange our ideas.”
Says Ivakhnenko: “Fortunately, we have a similar musical taste and vision of the process. We’re pretty close to each other and we can say directly ‘yes, that’s what we need’ or ‘no, it won’t work’. I think if we worked together in the same room, everything would be identical. It’s no secret that we’d like people to enjoy our music and give these beautiful emotions to them.”
Horosho Odnomu – I Like Being Alone
Asong about a madman, who isolates himself and finds his life pretty nice. He doesn’t need any friends, he has his books, internet and likes solving his problems on his own. I think this song can be a lifestyle hymn for lots of people nowadays.
His lonely life is shown in a music video for this song.
Tantsui – Dance
It is a funny story about a guy who falls in love with a girl in a club and tries to make her fall in love with him by dancing. In a music video for this song you can see a crazy guy who wants to buy some milk but finds himself at a party by some strangers and is rocking this place.
Svobodno – Free
Asong about breaking up and how good does it feel when you finally free from all the feelings you had all the time and didn’t know how to get rid of it.
Tam, Gde Nas Net – The Grass Is Always Greener On The Other Side
Asong about migration, leaving your country. About the feelings of the people who are far away from home.
Ya Vlublyon – I’m In Love
Just a happy song about being in love. “I can smell better, have more energy, it’s such a beautiful feeling”
Privitchki – Habits
Drugs, Alcohol, Smoking and other things in life that we destroy ourselves with. “I know that it is dangerous, but I’m happy with it”
A story about a guy who falls in love with a pole dancer – Elvira. They have some happy days together and then she disappears. One day he sees her dancing in a stripclub and it breaks his heart.
Sneg – Snow
“Snow is falling from the sky and disappears near my feet. Someone is happy and someone is crying”. A song about conflicts in our minds. Someone wants everything and someone is happy with a few things in his life.
Solntse – Sun
“You remember me when you don’t feel well”. It’s a song about all the medical workers and it can be understood as a song about friends. We forget some people very often and remember them only when we need something or someone by our side.
Tebya – You
A story about love that you can not get back. About people that we lost in our life and understand that the time with them was perfect only when there is no possibility to “restart” a relationship.