Interviews:: Rob from Forward Russia

Today we had had a nice sit down with Rob from Forward Russia (I'm not smart enough to do that crazy upside down exclamation mark). Some chit, some chat.

Check it out::
HH:: Hey Rob. How's it going today?
Rob:: Oh man, I'm so burned out today. Just with traveling so much and you know, waking up on the wrong side of the bed. Just feeling exhausted, but we have a show tonight so I have to get up.

HH:: Wow. You need to get your tour manager to schedule media day on days you DON'T play.
Rob:: Actually I like it. It gets me up. Talking to anyone is better than sitting around like we often do.

HH:: Well ok then. We'll make this quick. You are coming off a hectic summer where you played some huge festivals and coming back to North america for some smaller club dates. Which type of venue do you think your style works better for and what does the band prefer playing?
Rob:: Wow, that's an interesting question. I've really never thought of it before. It's a round about I guess. People say we have the presence and energy for a big crowd. I mean the larger stage, the more adrenaline; that part is great, but I love playing smaller ahows. They are much more intimate and I don't feel so alienated. Stadium shows are great, but I find it hard to connect. With smaller shows, it's easier to feel the energy and feed off it. Those are the shows that are the most memorable. I don't know, so I guess I can just say medium?

HH:: Sure. That's fair. Medium is easy. Speaking of North america, how different do you find it trying to create a fanbase on this side of the pond? And how important is that to the band?
Rob:: Well, it's weird. We thrive on touring. We want to play, that's how we make our living. Constantly touring and playing. We made the decision early to go and play for people instead of waiting for people to come to us. So it's weird that the number of US gigs we've played is so small, but they are really memorable. Small shows, but we'bve been so well received. Gigs like SXSW - just fantastic. It was very important to get noticed here, but more because we just want to have as many people as possible hear our music. We love to play live. That's why we do this. So if we can play more places, we are happy.

HH:: Well people are certainly getting into the record. It's funny, as a critic it's easy to loop any post-punk/sythn dance bands act in the same category, so I wasn't all that surprised when I first started reading press about you, every review mentioned Bloc Party or the way you name your songs, but when you actually take some time with the record you can hear so many different influences. You guys take risks and aren't just trying to skate by on hype. Is it frustrating to have people simplify what you guys are actually trying to do?
Rob:: Oh man. It really is. We aren't trying to be anyone other than us. I mean, in some UK gigs, like one in Poland, they had Forward Russia and then some Polish. Then is just said Bloc Party and Franz Ferdinand. We just get tossed in with them all the time. I'm worried for places we don't play a lot, we might lure the wrong people in and they will get turned off. We have so many different influences. I honestly don't know, and maybe you think different, how anyone can think we sound the same. I mean our influences are the same, and maybe there is a sound we are all searching for, but the end results are so different. People expecting to hear Bloc Party will be disappointed. We get it all the time. People review us and are like, "Bloc Party sounds."

HH:: Well, I think when people show up live, the punk aspect of it is going to stand out. The energy.
Rob:: I hope so. I mean, we feel that way. Liek we put the record out on our own label. Very DIY. We totally feel like a salmon swimming upstream or something. Which is great. I mean we want a good challenge. We just want people to realize we do what we want musically. It's important.

HH:: Cool. One of my favorite songs on the disc is "19". I love the melodic feel, but I think I love most is that "19" and the first half of "16" stand out a lot from the rest of the record. So I wonder how the writing process goes for you?
Rob:: That's great you got that. It's funny. When we write songs what we end up with is so different than what we start out with. I mean, "16" started with us trying to restrain ourselves. A whole softer side. But halfway through it turns into chaos. It's hard, because we love t oplay live, and those guys especially love to play loud. So it's tough to stand on stage and play a ballad or something. We just enjoy playing so much. "19" was the only song we ever wrote in the studio. It was more relaxed, and we just took the time to work it out. It was very cool. It was a more gentle side for us. A lot of the new songs that we are playing now are like "16." More atmospheric and prettier riffs, but without losing the energy. We just want to enjoy what we play. We've always been into people who play what they love.

HH:: You are getting the chance to play with some great bands for some great crowds. Is there any band you'd really like to share the stage with?
Rob:: Wow. I dunno really. We've played with so many great bands, and we've all got such different tastes. Bands I love the others all hate and vice versa for everyone. We came togheter as friends, not as a band, so we all have different influences. That wide range of influences means it's tough to think of anyone. We've played with some great bands though. Like Bound for Cairo, We Are Scientists. We just like meeting new people and hearing new music. There are so many dickheads in the industry, it's great to meet fantastic people. You get into new music because you start tapping along when you hear it every night. You'd be surprised what you find out you like. I don't know, that is probably a rubbish answer.

HH:: Actually, it's better than just saying - Queen or something and ending it. So I'm ok with it. Anyway, I might bump into you at the Seattle show, so good luck with the rest of the shows.
Rob:: Fantastic. Come up and chat. Looking forward to it.

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