28 August 2016

Uzbekistan 2016 - Bureaucracy, Nature, Architecture & a Roof

My dad gave me a genius program that restored all the pictures on my memory card!!! So now I can finally share all the stuff that happened in Uzbekistan.

And there was plenty! Starting with the first 4 days which were an agonizing adventure going up the bureaucracy ladder. We flew transfer through Moscow and our luggage got stuck in the Moscow airport, for absolutely no fucking reason!! We contacted the lost and found department in the Tashkent airport, who just said we have to wait after the complaint was filed.
Well, someone out there in the Moscow airport was particularly lazy, since out of the several planes that go  back and forth from Moscow to Tashkent daily, we for no reason at all had to wait 4 fucking days for our luggage to arrive.
A trip to the office of the Russian air company (Aeroflot, for the ones curious) to get compensation for the delay proved to be less than hopeful, but we DID get our money back from the little shopping we did for essentials and even an apology letter. Not bad for a story that started so hopeless, huh?
Needless to say that my family lent us everything, from toothpaste to clothes and shoes, but we were still angry as hell. Luckily all the stuff in the suitcase survived (including the Polish vodka we were bringing as a souvenir!!) and we even got our money back. Well, everyone's suitcase goes missing at least once in a lifetime, so this was our turn I guess.

Anywho, after the first 4 days we went to lake Charvaq (located north-east of Tashkent) with my family, which are my parents + brother and my uncle's family. The trip was a blast - we rented a house and made food outside, we even decided to sleep outside and spent the day swimming. Drinking was ensured and one of my cousins brought a hookah. It ended up with my dad smoking hookah with me XD.

After that there were many family visits, eating at my grandparents' place daily and mostly spending time with my (oldest) cousin, whom I haven't seen in our last trip. I usually have a lot to talk with him about. He and Boris had a ton to talk about and I was happy about it.

The weird ass futuristic buildings in the beginning of the post? My cousin had a secret key to the roof and he took us there to see the sunset! I've always wanted to go inside those buildings, they're right next to my uncle and aunt's place and they've always looked so peculiar to me. I was so excited to go on the roof of one of them!!

my cousin wanted to make a moody teenage Tumblr pic. I think we succeeded. 

Among the many fun pictures from the roof:

I already wrote about going to a rock bar in the previous post, so I'll skip it here. Towards the end of the trip I took pictures of the local architecture. Tashkent has a beautiful city center, striving to be modern in the otherwise post-soviet-falling apart architecture. And we all know which part I fancied more. Here are some artistic shots:

my uncle is obsessed with birds and has different types of them on the balcony.

Somehow the trip this time has been a lot more intense than the previous ones. I mostly hung out with my older cousin and my aunt, and a bit with my brother and parents. Usually I try to dedicate time to my relatives who live in Tashkent, as do my parents who fly from Israel for the big family meeting.
Each time I am so happy I have the opportunity to visit such an obscure place as Uzbekistan.

Boris and I might give a visit to Moscow next year, since said cousins are studying there. The family has really spread out.


Oh wait, there was a wedding as well!! And an epic one:

Ok so, the traditional Uzbek wedding is not only a lot of noise, loud music and beautiful dresses - it also happens to be the most important thing in an Uzbenk's life. So you better make it memorable. In this case, it definitely was.
One peculiar thing is that it was a wedding of a family member's kids. They're twins, so they were marrying on the same day. TOGETHER. Isn't that a little bit... strange? Financially it's a bit more strategic than having a fucking fairytale masterpiece of an event twice in a row.
Unfortunately my memory card got fucked and the program didn't manage to restore the many videos I took from the wedding, but I assure you there were traditional dancing, trumpet blowing, drum hitting and general epicness to last forever!

24 August 2016

Visiting a rock bar in Tashkent

One of the coolest experiences from Uzbekistan was going to ST Bar (бар Своя Территория) - one of the only rock bars in Tashkent! (there's also a place called Tapas bar, but we didn't have a chance to go there).
We were curious about the local alternative scene and came across the bar by mistake. So we decided to drop on an open mic night to maybe play some Girls Like Us songs (even if it meant playing without drums and bass lol).
We even managed to slip in a cover of Adore Delano's I Adore You. And let me tell you, covering a song by a drag queen at an open mic night in Tashkent was one of the best experiences of my life.
It turned out quite riot girl-sounding:

Watch my mom sing right after us!!

The alternative scene in Tashkent are just a few people fighting to be themselves in a country that permits very little. The fact that someone will go unharmed on the street with facial piercings & dressed in black is already a miracle. It was nice to see how everyone keeps close and the atmosphere was very warm.

Why haven't I checked the local scene before? Well, frequent visits to Uzbekistan meant mostly family-time only, and my cousins (21 & 18 yrs) are mostly into rap music/ rap battles. Boris and I haven't thought about it when we came 2 years ago either. I don't know why. Maybe because coming to Uzbekistan meant coming to an obscure place, completely detached from what we are used to?

Why yes, Boris does sport a David Sylvian-inspired look these days.
with ST's art director, Gotya. We had a nice talk with him about the local scene.
All pics courtesy to ST bar, thanks guys!!
So if you are out there in far central Asia, definitely have a visit to ST! They serve smoked cheese as a beer side dish!
We will definitely drop by again when we will go to Uzbekistan next time, It's cool to find a hangout in strange places.


22 August 2016

Band pictures for a book

Hi, I came back from Uzbekistan, and there is an issue with my camera's memory card, so no single photo from the trip is accessible at this point. You can guess how upset I am as I am unable to share all the crazy adventures we've had with the many cool photos I took.

I wanted to update with a few pictures we did with our band more than a month ago. Our drummer works at Cornelsen, a German book publisher (German readers - does this say anything to you?) and as they were working on a music education book, her coworker asked us to model as a band!
And yes, we will actually appear in the book!

Most of the pictures were stock-like photos: someone holding a drum stick, fingers on a guitar neck, etc. But the photographer took the time for some single shots and gave us permission to use them, so here are a few:

I kind of wish I wore something else

lol not even half the drumset is there XD
All pictures taken by Michael Miethe.

Till next time, and hopefully I can restore the memory card by then!


8 August 2016

Summer Holiday Time

Time for me to go for 2 weeks to Uzbekistan again to visit my beloved family. My parents + brother came already from Israel a week ago and everyone is awaiting me and Boris. It's going to be a huge family meeting and there is even a wedding of one of the family members towards to end of the trip. I am excited - little to no internet, foreign culture experience, insane heat and too much food are going to happen!
I'm going to take a bunch of pictures to share my adventures with you.

Our band is going on vacation as well, since our drummer is going to bike her way through south Germany. We wish her luck, sure sounds like fun.

On top of that, 2 weeks after we come back from Uzbekistan we're going to visit London with Boris' parents. We have never been to the city of punk before so I am looking forward to that as well.

Meanwhile, enjoy this armadillo version of Rock The Casbah I made:

Happy rest of summer everyone!


3 August 2016

Interview with TRAITRS - dark post punk from Toronto!

Get this - bands are contacting me for mentions! Who knew that my blog will get this far? I was very happy to check TRAITS out and discover new music, I liked the dark post punky vibes and the straightforward singing that rings in your ear. 
So without further adieu, and make sure to check out further links at the end of the post! 

1. TRAITRS consists of 2 longtime friends, how has your friendship affected the music writing?

NOLAN: Shawn and I are always on the exact same page as far as musical direction goes so we never really argue about anything. This makes the songwriting come very natural and easy. There's an honesty and comfort level between us that can only exist between two close friends. So if a song isn't working and needs to be scrapped or a lyric is rubbish or a synth line could be better, we have no problem calling attention to it. There's never any tension or hurt feelings. 100% of the time if one of us notices something good or bad in a track eventually the other will hear it and agree. We constantly sacrifice mediocre material for something stronger. Shawn and I also have the exact same sense of humour so we can spend a ridiculous amount of time together in the studio and on the road and always have a good laugh. Honestly, this is an absolutely crucial component of Traitrs. Despite how dark and gloomy the music is, we're both a couple of silly fucks.


2. You are based in Toronto, how would you describe the music scene there (and in Canada in general)?

NOLAN: The Canadian music stereotype that immediately comes to mind is boring, vanilla, folksy, middle-of-the-road, softer than baby shit pop-rock that nobody outside of Canada would ever listen to. Mainstream Canadian music totally blows. However there are so many wicked independent bands, record labels, producers, recording studios and artists all across Canada putting out really great music right now. And they're finally starting to get some much deserved recognition abroad. You can see it in the recent critical successes of artists like Dilly Dally, Greys, Odonis Odonis, Weaves, Austra, Grimes etc. As for Toronto itself, there isn't a definitive "Toronto sound" but the Toronto music community is very eclectic and incredibly supportive of one another. What's rad is whether you're in a punk band, post-punk band, hardcore band, art rock band, metal band, electronic act or whatever-the-fuck band, there's support for you here. It's not as though one genre or style dictates the "Toronto sound". Everyone kinda does their own thing and the scene supports that.
this beautiful EP cassette is unfortunately sold out :(

3. Your EP Rites & Ritual has been compared to Bauhaus and Pornography-era The Cure. What are some other musical acts that have influenced your music?

TUCKER: Early on we were listening to a lot of The Sound, Southern Death Cult, Dead Can Dance, The Opposition, Asylum Party as well as The Cure, Bauhaus, The Smiths etc. Sean and I have always been drawn to dark, moody, cold music and knew Traitrs would follow in that direction. 

NOLAN: When I was writing the drums for Rites And Ritual, I was listening extensively to the first two Dead Can Dance albums as well as a lot of aboriginal and Native American drum circles for inspiration which explains all the tribal, tom-heavy rhythms on the record. For us, the drums and rhythms set the mood and tone for Traitrs and we build on top of that.

4. You touch on occult themes in your song lyrics; is witchcraft a significant part of your lives?

TUCKER: I think it's bigger than that. By the age of 11 I was so fully surrounded by ghosts, hauntings, Ouija boards and strange ass stuff. Some scary bad shit happened when I was young. I was always told "Don't talk about it or it will follow you" so, I don't. I've always been drawn to horror / occult after that and think in someways we all are. It's something inside us as humans, drawn to our worst fears. To me personally the content on Rites and Ritual was in someway me conjuring back memories and feelings from childhood. When writing the lyrics I was completely drugged up from an injury watching horror films with no recollection of exactly what I was putting down but now I listen and track by track it's like a messed up horror film meshed in with puzzle pieces of my childhood laced with so much suffering, sadness and the darkest of places.

5. Are there any places/ events where you would most like to play?

NOLAN: We definitely want to play Europe as soon as humanly possible. The record has been doing really well in Germany, the UK, Czech Republic, Italy and Greece. There are so many awesome festivals (both big and small) in Europe not to mention a hugely supportive scene for dark post-punk bands, we're dying to get over there. There are some tentative plans for Traitrs to tour Europe sometime in 2017. A few blogs in Japan supported the record as well so that's definitely on the wish list. Aside from that, we want to play as much as we can here in Canada and head down to the US as well. We want to push Traitrs as far as it can possibly go.

7. And lastly – after a long day’s work at his miserable job, Billy comes home and puts on TRAITRS in full volume. Where is your music taking him?

TUCKER: Dante's Inferno.


I personally liked Youth Cults and Heretic from the EP, I find there's some Indie traces in Heretic, and you know how I like things that stray from genres. I also find the vocals to be the absolute jewel of each song, and the drum patters really get you in an avalanche.

Further band updates, check out the following:
Bandcamp - merch & more!
Soundcloud - album streaming
email at: traitrstraitrstraitrs@gmail.com