Pompeya may hail from the cold climate of Moscow, but you wouldn’t know it by listening to their music. The band bring a sunny mood to their chill synth & new wave sound. The band is releasing their new album Real next week (5/2) and we caught up with the guys to learn a little more about them and the new album. Check out the interview and stream “Pasadena” below!
Tell us about how you met and formed the band
Daniil: In 2006, I was about to start a new band, and was having tryouts for a drummer. Our old drummer, who left the band in 2014, was the first to come out. His friend Denis tagged along, we all ended up jamming for hours. It was a creative match at first tryout, so the same evening we ‘realized’ ourselves as a band. The name Pompeya came about a few rehearsals afterwards. Sasha (our keyboardist) we knew before, and was a fan of the same type of genres of music. After meeting him at a few of our early shows, he started jamming with us too, and from then on we were a foursome.
The majority of our readers have never been to Moscow. What is the biggest difference between it and a large US city? What is the music culture like in Moscow?
Alexander: There’s not too big of a difference between Moscow and a large US cities in terms of overall energy and rhythm. The restaurants, bars, clubs, theaters and museums of Moscow are especially similar to that of New York. I think the main difference is the quality of urban planning. It seems to me that the organization is much better in large US cities then in Moscow. I would say we just started doing the first steps in the right direction.
As for the musical culture, it grows and expands also. We are becoming more open to international music, building more of a music industry, like here in the US. There is big potential in Russia.
We are getting close to Real being released. How was the writing process for this album compared to Tropical?
Daniil: The basics of our process are unchanged: we create demo tracks from our ideas, rehearse them live, then record them in the studio. What has changed is the location and contributors. This new record was recorded all over the US, with many new Producers and Engineers who we had never known until traveling the US.
What has changed is the intention. Like the Night EP, we reorded most of the material in the US, which was different, and worked with new Producers and Engineers. Stylistically, we have moved away from the Disco and Funk of Tropical and into more New Wave and Pop. Real will still have bits of these other genres, but the proportion is less. We feel more connected with this shift. Songs like “Pasadena” and “Anyway” are more nostalgic in sound for us.
Why did you choose to record the album in several different cities? A city like Savannah is about as opposite as you can get from NYC. How do you think the album was impacted by these changes in scenery?
Denis: This wasn’t really done by choice, it just happened that way because of timing with our visa expiration and tour schedule.
We met the guys from North Avenue studio in Orlando during our first US tour, and so started with them. The studio’s engineer David Plakon recommended to us Dollhouse Studios in Savannah for the drum sessions. Both had worked with Brian McTear on the Sharon Von Etten record, who we decided to work with for mixing and co-production in Philadelphia at Miner Street. The vocals we recorded at our label’s studio in New York City, with Dave Hartley from The War on Drugs, who had also worked with Brian McTear. All the new places and people involved in this record helped us step outside of our comfort zone and create an album with more personal lyrics and compositions. This unintentional result was good for us as a band.
“Pasadena” is one of my favorite tracks on the album and sounds like a perfect Summer soundtrack in Southern California. How did that song come together?
Daniil: We did the demo during our first US tour in a hotel at San Antonio. This was the first song to capture our new musical feeling as a band. It’s not necessarily about the city Pasadena, but more about any place one finds inspiring and romantic. We were on the road, and coming from the ‘endless summer’ of California, so we wanted to make a summer road trip anthem.
When did you write the song “Real” and when did you decide to close the album with it?
Daniil: “Real” was one of the last songs that made this album. We wrote it in LA during rehearsal with Austin Smith, our drummer after Nairi left the band. We wanted to create an epic ballad, but about real feelings – not happy, fake ideas of happiness and self-realization, but the darker emotions of life that deserve to be recognized in such a song. Because who doesn’t like a slow ballad? We decided to name the album this as well, to reflect that as a whole we have grown to become more comfortable with Pompeya as a more complex sound, a more complex band.
Do you have a song from the new album that is your favorite to play live?
Denis: All of them! But in particular we really enjoy “Anyway,” “Tell Me Tell Me” and “Liar.”
Among your influences, you list “Family Guy.” Who is your favorite character? Favorite episode?
Alexander: There is such a great company of amazing characters in this show, but my favorite one is Mr Peter Griffin. He has this amazing combination of low intellect, egoism, and infantilism, but at the same time cuteness and charisma. And his relationship with Lois is quite special, he really loves her!
Our favorite episode as a band is the one when Peter gets a prostate exam from Dr. Hartman, but believes that he has been raped. He then decides to prosecute his doctor in court. Genius!
Where is the best place to stay updated with you online?
Denis: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and VK.com for the Russians reading this.
What’s coming up next for you after the album release?
Daniil: We are already working on next album, going through new demos and meeting with potential collaborators. We will tour a lot in Russia in April, then return to the US later in the summer for more touring around the album. There is more coming, but my managers would suggest I not announce yet!
If we take a trip to Moscow, what is one thing we must see and one thing we must eat?
Alexander: You must visit Red Square, and eat beef a la stroganoff with mashed potatoes. But only visit in the summertime, it’s so cold and sad in the winter.