Tarakany! (Russian for Cockaroaches!) is a punk band in the truest sense of the word. They’ve been together for more than twenty years, played more than 800 shows and are fighting to get the word out about the political and social issues that are important in modern-day Russia. Over the years they’ve caught the attention of artists such as Marky Ramone (the Ramones) and Chris Barker (Anti-Flag), released 13 studio albums, a handful of live albums and have played across Europe and Japan.
Fr.U.N.T. Music had the opportunity to ask Dmitry Spirin of Tarakany! a few questions and he was gracious enough to take the time to chat with us.
Cardiac_in_Overdrive: Tarakany! has been together for over 20 years. What keeps you together as a creative force? How do you resolve your differences?
Dmitry Spirin: We all are big fans of punk rock and we love to make music together. This is our greatest pleasure. We still get high while performing on stage, composing new songs and recording at the studio. We also have the messages, which we want to share through our music. But this is not the matter. Every person in the band has a right to propose and every opinion counts. As the original member I even abandoned my veto power, as I believe that only complete creative freedom can lead to the effective results.
CiO: Is there a difference between American audiences and Russian ones? How about touring? Or is it just a bunch of guys shoved into a van no matter where you are?
DS: We’ve never played in America, but we did several times in Europe and Japan. I consider that for a popular band like ours the difference is always the same – people who knows us react in one manner, those who are just getting to know us – differently. It’s been a long journey for us to popularity all-over Russia, and now thousands of fans are singing along at our shows in every venue we play. I believe that mixture of American punk rock, Russian melodies and Russian lyrics could, at least, attract American audience and make them come at our show.
CiO:What has been the biggest creative influence on the band in the last couple of years?
DS: Lately, thanks to domestic and foreign policy of the Russian government, doing everything to reduce the democratic values and civil liberties in our country, we have plenty of topics for new songs. So Pussy Riot’s imprisonment, several public laws, Ukraine, protest rallies, outlawed demonstrations, and imprisonment of a few Russian democratic leaders inspired us to write some of our new songs.
CiO: What about the Russian political scene do you think is important for those outside of Russian to be educated and aware of?
DS: The main thing that we want to say – don’t you ever forget that there are no any Russians, Ukrainians, Americans, Syrian etc. We all are Earth’s citizens, always keep this in mind, when someone is trying to wash your brains. This is the only thing we all need to know about the political theater of any country. Nothing else matters.
CiO: Do you think being political through the medium of music makes your message more accessible to the younger generations? Do you feel like they’re listening?
DS: Undoubtedly. Rock music, especially our music, is the easiest way to communicate any ideas to the people.
CiO:What does the future have in store for Tarakany!?
DS: We will try to keep pace, arrange an American tour, record new songs. We just released our live album and we go on tour in October.
Tarakany! is currently on tour in Russia through the end of November to support their live album MaximumHappy! Tarakany! is Dmitry Spirin (lead vocals), Sergey Prokofyev (drums, backing vocals), Vasily Lopatin (guitars, backing vocals), Nikolai Stravinsky (guitar), and Alexander Pronin (bass). Catch them live (if you happen to live in Russia), or check out their music. They’re well worth a listen.