Interview: Novocaine Mausoleum – Ein (Rück)Blick in den musikalisch düsteren Osten Europas

Der post-sozialistische Osten Mitte der 2000er – Das Echo der zerfallenen Sowjetunion hallt nach wie vor durch die Straßen der Nachfolgestaaten. Verfall und Härte, Taubheit, Misswirtschaft und Korruption durchziehen die Dörfer und Städte. Und mittendrin, wie ein fremdes Element, eine kleine Band unter Freunden: Novocaine Mausoleum.

Zu jener Zeit in Dnipro gegründet (ehemals Dnjepropetrowsk, seit 2016 umbenannt), eiferten Anna (Texte & Gesang), Alex (Gitarre) & Gleb (Texte & Bass) ihren Vorbildern aus dem Westen nach und brachten 2006 ein kleines Mini-Album heraus, welches seitdem leider vergriffen ist. Auf jenem ließen sich ganz klar Reminiszenzen an Christian Death, Cinema Strange & die Virgin Prunes entnehmen, jedoch verstanden Novocaine Mausoleum es mit ihrem minimalen und vergleichsweise ruhig gehaltenen Klangbild, dem speziellen Gesang und Texten eine ganz eigene kleine Welt aufzubauen…

Novocaine MausoleumEs folgten einige Auftritte, im August 2008 jedoch löste sich die Formation aufgrund persönlicher Differenzen auf, in deren Folge die ehemaligen Bandmitglieder getrennte Wege gingen. Zurück blieb eine schweigende Leere, welche nur unvollkommen durch Hinterlassenschaften im Netz gefüllt werden konnte…

Vor einiger Zeit war ich nun mal wieder auf Streifzügen im Netz unterwegs um meine ungestillte Begierde nach Neuem zu befriedigen (so schaute ich mir „The Nightchild“ aus Chernigov, Ukraine & „Molchat Doma“ aus Weißrussland mal etwas genauer an). Da entdeckte ich, dass Novocaine Mausoleum zumindest auf Facebook wieder aktiv ist. Meine Gedanken ließen mich nicht in Ruhe, so nutzte ich die Gelegenheit und schrieb einfach mal das Profil an, von welchem mir die Anna antwortete…

Novocaine Mausoleum – Interview mit Anna

Svartur Nott: Hi there, I just searched for some information about this underrated but misty project – and then I found that page here. I always thought, NM has been disbanded forever and now I get the hope you’re active again. Perhaps you can tell me something about the project and its history?

Anna: Hello, thank you for your interest, it’s pretty much appreciated. Yes, you can ask whatever you are interested in.

Wonderful, so let’s begin with some introducing questions: What was your intention when you started the project 12 years ago? Was it just for fun, was there a gap you wanted to fill in your hometown?

Well, there was certainly no any special purpose (smiles). We just liked music and were probably a little bit bored so we decided to make a band – like most bands start. We just began to play what we liked and what we could, except our guitar player Alex none of us had any musical skills, we learned while playing.

And where did you actually start? Some sources in the internet say Moscow/Russia, other ones mention the Ukraina. Was there maybe a shift from one city to another?

Most of the time we were in Dnepr, Gleb and Alex were living in this city. I am from Moscow. And as long as I was married to Gleb that period of time, I lived in Dnepr also. We came to Moscow from time to time but mostly we were based in Ukraine.

How was the surrounding situation when you started the band? How did you actually feel, how did your perceive your environment, what topics did you have to deal with? Did they influence NM to that time or was the band maybe just something to seperate oneself from the daily routine, the daily problems and challenges?

We all lived in Dnepr when we started Novocaine Mausoleum. And Dnepr really is a special, a very beautiful city, but also very gloomy as long as there are lots and lots of abandoned or just distressed buildings and districts built in absolutely unhappy soviet architecture… I love it though. It feels like you live in a dead city even though there are plenty of people around… It really inspires you in some certain way. Actually, all 90’s kids from here are … I don’t even know how to call it? We had some really harsh childhood\youth, life was damn hard and if I start to recall something it would look like some trash criminal and partly horror movie (smiles). We absorbed all that crap and as for me, I see beauty and inspiration in really weird things. And it inspires me a lot. I suppose I can say that for other band members too.

You mentioned, you played what you like. When I listen to your songs, I’m always reminded at Cinema Strange, Rozz Williams (youtube has one cover of CD played by you) or the Virgin Prunes, so I suppose, some, if not all of them had a great impact on you.

Well, yes, it’s obvious. Gleb (bass) was and I guess still is a Cinema Strange fan. And I am a huge Virgin Prunes fan and of course all of us really value Rozz Williams’ musiс.

How did you get in contact with that kind of music? It is, despite the internet now (and even there you have to search actively), quite difficult to get in touch with deathrock/goth-stuff as a common young boy/girl, and I imagine in Russia it must be much worse. So I think, you maybe got infected by friends, am I right?

And when we are at the point of ‚relationships‘: Had there been some kind of a clique, a bunch of people with relating interests in darker music or -life? Was/is there such a „Black Scene“ you would call it here in Germany? And does it have something like a connection between each cliques (dispersed in greater citys, reaching from Kiew to Vladiwostok, I think), like a magazine, blog, chat-forum, etc? It would be interesting for me to hear about. According to my questions you get some information from other countrys across europe, but the more you want to know about the east, the more silence you get.

Uh.. that’s a tough question. I hardly can remember how that happened – that we all found out what deathrock and old school goth is. You know, it just happens somehow when you are interested in subculture, interested in it’s history and iconic bands, when you have friends with good taste in music… So we just were getting to know goth scene better and better and opened for ourselves new old bands.

About the Goth-scene in Russia: It started to appear only in the late 90s in somewhat “popular” way – like some Goth events at least. It became more and more popular by 2000s as long as it became kinda popular all over the world. But old school Goth/Death Rock scene in Russia is deader than dead. 10 years ago there was a bunch of people interested in that kind of music but not too many. And with every year their amount is getting less there is some life of Death Rock scene in St. Petersburg but we’ll, it can’t be compared to European or US scene.

There was a major goth webzine which was huge and had the greates events and parties back then, in 90-00s. It’s still alive though now there are much less events and much less interest in gothic music and scene. There was also the social media site, something like a livejournal, which was popular back then. So it was a livejournal for Russian goths, I loved it, miss it so much. All in All I suppose those two websites were the biggest connection between goth people all around the country and even ex-USSR countries. There were also a few rock-themed magazines which posted sometimes about goth subculture and music also but well… They never were really goth, I’m not sure they are still alive. I wasn’t a fan of any of those magazines ever.

Sad news. I thought, when there are bands like „Human Tetris“ from Moscow, which are maybe the peak of a new emerging group of Post-Punk/Goth-interested musicians.

There are some really great new bands in Russia and Ukraine as I know but I can’t say they see big interest in their music here. It’s sad but it was always like that.

Here in Germany we have the same „old“ problem, that many bands across the country are making wonderful music, but too less people – even from the black folk – are interested in and/or are open-minded for that. The demographical change together with strong influence by mainstream-culture are boosting that. But there is still something like the remaining rest of an underground.

It’s pretty same here but worse probably. We all should wait for another wave of popularity of goth.

According to what you told us about that „rock magazines“ and these bands labeled as goth music: We have the same problem here since the mid-90s. Could you please name some of these new bands?

Well, those bands I’ve heard are not really deathrock or any kind of that music, but there is a great project of Old School EBM from Ukraine – Kurs Valut . I really felt nostalgic when I heard their music even though.

Do you know about the „great“ three magazines Zillo, Orkus & Sonic Seducer ? They are promoting groups or artists (who had to pay, to get in one release besides the mag), which never played anything like goth/wave. Is it the same in Russia?

Yeah, I know these magazines. Well, it’s business – no wonder. Local magazines probably did/do the same but I’m afraid many people even in “rock” scene don’t see the difference between metal and goth. In Russia techno is on in its peak of popularity. If not to meantion some crap pop music.

I agree and would say most of the Blacks do not really care about goth and its sound. there is only a minority dealing with that music. And Techno, well… watch the playlists of a mainfloor on a so called „Goth-club“ an you will see a lot of technoid Electro (sometimes called „Industrial“ for that stubborn folk there). And mainstream music… well, you dont want to hear that. No edges, almost no real feelings, just superficial.

Yes, I really don’t. Goth clubs (we never had any “Goth Clubs”), I’d better say some “goth” DJs, really give people what they want and it was – and of course still is – not always goth or at least good music. If to speak about events – I from time to time just dream to get to some party where there will be only good music and the music I love.

Connecting to the last topic, music, how Do you actually feel about NM now?

I love it (smiles happily), it’s a huge and very important part of my life! I don’t have any regrets or whatever, don’t feel ashamed of anything, don’t wanna change anything. We all did, what we loved. We enjoyed it so much and that’s the most important part. I love making music, just for myself, my own delight. I had another project after NM but it didn’t work out. And I surely will make music in future. So I have only good thoughts about it.

Can We hope to hear (or see) new pieces of art from you/Novocaine Mausoleum?

I’m not sure about exactly Novocaine Mausoleum as long it’s kinda complicated now but from me – yes. I’m working on it. Though I doubt it will be same kind of music. Though who knows, who knows how it goes…

Finally, one remaining questions remains… Is there anything you wish yourself for your future?

Uhm… it’s such a simple but also such a hard question for me. I don’t know… I wish myself only not to give up in all parts of my life.

Thanks a lot for all your answers, Anna. I hope you stay healthy and achive what you desire. And maybe I will – at some time – listen to some new songs from you. It was a joy for me! Dream the most peaceful dreams..

Thank you very much for your questions and interesting conversation. Good night!

Novocaine Mausoleum – Die Musik

Zum Schluss hier natürlich die (vielleicht) ersehnten Song-Tips. Zu ersterem Lied „Night (V. Majakovski 1912)“ hatte Anna noch eine Anmerkung, die ich dem Leser nicht enthalten möchte.

„Night“ is one of the poems of Mayakovskiy. The first quatrain in that song is from the poem ‚Morning‘ – btw probably almost noone knows that…

Novocaine Mausoleum – Ludicrous Clown – mein persönlicher Favourit. Einfach mal wirken lassen.

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Vera (@guest_58271)
Vor 4 Jahre

Oh ja, eine großartige russische Band. Wie schön, das zu lesen. Wer gern russischen Postpunk etc hört, dem kann ich kann die Band „Ploho“ (плохо) empfehlen. Ansonsten gibt es aus den 80ern ganz großartigen sowjetischen Postpunk.

Nossi (@guest_58273)
Vor 4 Jahre

Hervorragende Idee, dieses Interview. Ich hatte die Band diesen Frühling ebenfalls wieder entdeckt. Es gibt so unglaublich viele gute Projekte, die seit Jahren existieren oder nicht mehr, und keiner weiß davon. Ich würde wirklich zu gern ergründen, warum das mit dem Underground im Umfeld der Gothenmusi nicht klappt. Warum interessiert sich wohl niemand für unbekannte oder abweichende Bands? Wir haben Internet, können selbst recherchieren und graben und doch, selbst wenn du den Leuten etwas absolut geiles unbekanntes auf dem silbernen Teller servierst, es interessiert niemand. –
Warum klappt das mit dem lebendigen Gothic Underground also nicht? Eine verdammt gute Frage, die Antwort will sich mir nicht offenbaren. Desinteresse? aber warum? Ist ja nicht so, das der Gothicmarkt an guter Musik übersättigt ist. Ein anderer Gedanke: liegt es auch an den großen Magazinen? Es soll ja Magazine geben, solche die man in jedem dritten gut sortierten Kiosk kaufen kann, die angeblich der „schwarzen Szene“ zugetan sind. Die interessieren sich aber nicht für unbekannte Bands, schon gar nicht, wenn die Akteure wie Grufties aussehen. Wie kann das sein? warum werden unbekannte Bands vom Großteil der angeblichen Gothics ignoriert. Warum mir das seit einigen Wochen, immer wieder im Hirn herum schwirrt, weiß ich nicht, irgendwie scheint es mich zu beschäftigen. Vielleicht ist die Gothicszene zu alt. Ich habe zum Beispiel auch manchmal Probleme, mir Musik von 20 jährigen anzuhören. Klingt mir meist zu kindisch, selbst wenn es das nicht ist. Steht man sich selbst im Weg? hmmmm

Großes Lob für dies Interview, einer eher unbekannten Band. Mehr davon.

Nossi (@guest_58274)
Vor 4 Jahre

p.s. – die hier find ich auch gediegen:

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