I don’t believe that I’ve ever featured a Russian act on Sonic Breakfast before. This is largely (wholly) because my knowledge of the ‘scene’ in Russia is negligible. Beyond Tatu and a sprinkling of Eurovision entries, I’d be struggling to name much.
Imagine my delight when I stumbled across 12 Limbs and their tune, Memoirs. It’s a catchy, energetic and ultimately uplifting piece of melodic indie, a statement that urges us to cling on to our memories in this most desperate of years. I was always going to write a blogpost about the song but then Ben, the vocalist from 12 Limbs, agreed to answer a set of questions. Here follows the transcript of that chat (because I find it all interesting)…
Most readers of Sonic Breakfast will know nothing about 12 Limbs. What’s your elevator pitch?
We are three piece band from Russia. Our music is eclectical and spans rock, pop, indie and electro. Having been together since the beginning of 2000s, we never tried make it big in Russia, because rock in our country is based on poetry more than on music. Any band singing in English becomes outcast automatically. Our initial musical exploits together began in 2003-2007, when we were students. It was before the social media started forming the music DIY scene for bands like us. Getting no attention from the big labels in Russia, we disbanded in 2007 and went our separate ways working with other bands, until all of them went off the track in 2019. Feeling much more confident in our musical skills, we got together again and started producing and releasing our tracks in the UK.
And why should readers of Sonic Breakfast be listening to your music?
Well, Why not! We’re a true band, a band who make music that isn’t manufactured; we don’t try to create a product to sell or to please genres. We write what we love. All the lyrics are true, no copying or trying to catch the trends. And check the latest single “Memoirs”, it’s an experiment of making a track on three basic chords. But these chords are right.
What’s the Russian Indie Rock scene like? Are there other bands you’d recommend to us?
Talking about Russian bands singing in English, check out Coo-Koo, with their single F.U.C.K., they had some commercial success about 10 years ago. Other bands keeping afloat have similar stories to us, most started in the early noughties and it’s taken them time to establish. Pompeya and On-the-Go are those I can recommend. The only Russian band that’s ever played on Glasto ( kind of 6th scene, 12.00 am appearance as we call it) was Jack Wood, but they disbanded because they had no fanbase outside Russia.
We played in a couple decent bands whose music is still available online. Search for Fra Angeliko and Odd Flat.
What’s been the best gig you’ve ever played? What made it so special?
The highlight in our formative years, was in 2006, when we shared the main stage with Russian rock-legends in front of 2000 people. The pandemic has frozen our live gigging recently, but once we can get back on the road, those will be fantastic days for us. However, we did manage to record a live set including the video for ‘Memoirs’ during this isolating year.
Complete ignorance on my part but is the Russian gig scene vibrant? Are there lots of venues? Do you have a festival circuit?
We had everything working perfectly until 2020. Big bands from around the globe headlined the fests in Russia and gigging actively across the big cities. It’s all torn to pieces now like everywhere in the West. Russia is much more involved and connected to the world of showbiz as you can imagine.
If you had to come up with your dream festival headliners, who’d be on the list?
If we are talking about active artists, we’d be happy to share the stage with the bands like Kings of Leon, Franz Ferdinand, The Libertines, White Lies, The Vaccines, Everything Everything. So many great bands to come across!
I was first drawn to your sounds when I heard ‘Memoirs’ – you describe it as your fight back song. What will be your memoirs of 2020?
This is a stolen year. And we still don’t know how many of them are ahead. We produced as much content as we could this year. That’s the only thing we could do. So we are packed for releases in 2021 which is the only good point could be made about this year.
And looking forward what are you hoping for more than anything else in 2021?
Live gigs, live gigs, live gigs!!! And breakthrough single of course.
What words of advice might you offer to other musicians from across the globe in 2020?
There’s so much music around that you don’t need to worry about being anyone other than yourself. It’s the only way it might work now.
Tell us your favourite joke?
Oh, we could be much more successful as comedians than musicians if we wanted too. We produce tons of jokes everyday. Sometimes we post it on our Instagram. There was a schedule of our gigs for April of 2020: April 3rd- kitchen, 4th- bathroom,5th- balcony,6th- headlining bedroom!
Many thanks to Ben for spending the time to answer these questions. It’s truly appreciated. I’ll certainly be checking out those recommendations and keeping my fingers crossed that 2021 does have that breakthrough single for 12 Limbs. Release more bangers such as ‘Memoirs’ and it becomes a distinct possibility.