I don’t know about you, but for me this post is very important. Probably because I have a lot in common with the three people I interviewed here. And also because I believe that I am near the origins of something big, something that is yet rather less known but has already left an important imprint in the lives of many people, and that certainly deserves more attention. Ru Trip Community is not just another web-portal about Russian trip-hop, it is, as the musicians participating in the project admit, really a community, and its leaders are exceptionally friendly, open and understanding people. I had a lucky chance to talk to these heroes (a big word? How about you try carrying the development on the entire genre in one particular geographical unit!), and the results were quite fruitful. See for yourself:
tipkin – How did the idea come about? What were the first steps?
Maxim “Personal Light” Svetlichnyi – The idea came about as follows. Once in the beginning of the year 2009 I decided to check on the web – is there such a movement in music as Russian trip-hop. After studying a few forums and sites I stumbled upon releases by some less known bands (if I’m not mistaken they were Асфодель (“Asfodel”), Лирика Ватных Стен (“Lyric of Cotton Walls”), Kamio, Moresebya). To be honest – at that time I wasn’t impressed… I was expecting something different. But about half a year later I accidentally stumbled upon the album Кремировать дождь (“Cremating Rain”) of the same Kamio on my computer. Listened thoroughly. And realized that I was mistaken… The material turned out to be very interesting. The same evening I was digging through VKontakte* for a long time looking for trip-hop. Turned out, that there were quite a few acts out there… Маша Сальери (Masha Salieri), BBG, Kubrick’s Cube… All this came down on my ears right away. And actually at that time the idea came to my mind that I wasn’t alone – lots of people would be interested in finding out about this movement. So I decided to create a group at VKontakte where one could systematize all the data about the musicians, links to releases, etc. This is how the community was founded by the name of “Appreciators of Russian trip-hop” which was later renamed into “Appreciators of Russian trip-hop and abstract hip-hop”. Every day there was more and more members. And what was the most pleasing, that the musicians joined the club (Masha Salieri was the first, huge thanks to her for that). A bit later I was joined by a volunteer – Макс Гущин (Max Gustshin), who made his contribution to the development of the club and became the second admin. A year later we got the third admin – the designer – Vix. About half a year after the opening we renamed ourselves into Ru Trip Community. We wanted some participation, so we promoted the releases, shows of our musicians. There was less of that later on, and as an experiment we decided to release our own compilation of domestic trip-hop. It was released on independent Japanese label Bump Foot.
Maxim Gustshin – I joined the development of the community at the very beginning. I remember that at that point our community (it was called “Appreciators of Russian abstract hip-hop and trip-hop”) according to VKontakte had 27 members [Ru Trip Community has over 3,000 members today – tipkin]. And the first step was, naturally, the developing of our club. Maxim and I created a few additional accounts at VKontakte, since the rules of social networking prohibit inviting more than 40 people per day into a group. And like that the tow of us were inviting 250 people every day.
Vix – Actually I was watching the project from almost its very birth, and in the beginning it was really more like just a community where people are united by one common factor – love for the music.
t. – Do you yourselves create/perform music?
M.S. – I don’t think you can call that creating. I’m trying to write some beats on Fruity Loops, but it’s very primitive and just strictly for myself. It’s definitely not going to be released anywhere :), especially not within the Ru Trip Community framework.
M.G. – No, I don’t do that
V. – No, but currently I’m mastering harmonica *laughs*
t. – What are the biggest challenges you have to deal with?
M.S. – There are various challenges. But the main, as usual, is the one – lack of money. If we had the funds, we could organize shows featuring musicians-friends of Ru Trip Community, release, even if with limited printing, CDs. RTC is a non-profit association, we don’t get any kind of money from it, and invest our own is not an option yet.
M.G. – I think the biggest challenge was in fact the development. Out those 250 invited a day on average only 5-10% are accepting the invitation. And out of 5-10% only 1-3% are actually showed some activity. But little strokes fell great oaks
V. – Um, well, out of difficulties that were getting in the way of particularly Ru Trip I would point out some lack of interest, especially in the beginning. The majority of people in modern society have a very narrow range of interests, and for some those interests are even imposed, therefore there are very stereotypical ideas about things that are not interesting for the society. They heard once from somewhere that trip-hop is a sad music and don’t approach it anymore, satisfied with scanty and degrading commercial material.