Our first musical exercises were made in the early 90-ies when we were teenagers. WoWa [BT] and Arnold pR tried to vitalise gothic post-punk, Mitya N worked on a scorched fields of death/doom metal. July of 1991 was the first time when all three present members of Reutoff played together, that were first mutual music experiments which aim was to form new musical way of thinking and to find new creative approaches, in fact to form themselves as persons with no limits in musical views. Those experiments in the fields of spontaneous industrial and ritual music helped us very much to penetrate deeply into the "dark tunnels of consciousness" where the music is being born... It was something between early Hybryds and Novy Svet, and this process still continues... In 1993 there was a last attempt to do some gothic rock, but the project named Home Beneath The Clouds split up after an EP and a couple of gigs, we realised all the vanity of such attempts. In 1996 WoWa [BT], Arnold pR and Mitya N joined together again and recorded an album as Last Blirt. The album was called "Armageddon Is Over, Thanks Everybody". During the recording process it became clear that many tracks need another stylistic approaches, another sound. Being completely revised they have formed a basement for the first Reutoff album Das Absterben that was out in autumn of 1998, so this time is official birthday of Reutoff as a project.
2. - You come from a place in the suburb of Moscow named Reutov. Is the place where you live so linked to
your music that you could only call your band Reutoff?
3. - To what extent does the place where you live have an influence on your music?
It's not easy to answer this questions, first of all because the answer is obvious (for us, of course). Yes, we are patriots of that magic place where we had a luck to be born and to live, it is in our blood, our consciousness, our life. We see and know its mystical essence, we are the only one that know its most hidden secrets, its destiny, its mission. We know it and it knows us. If we were born in another place we would be another people. Reutov is our only real homeland, the place where living meets dead under the light of the Moon and Saturnus, where it's enough to make a look in a dirty street pool to get the answers for the questions that takes a lifetime to be solved for many human beings. It's not about houses or inhabitants, we hope you understand... Too hard to describe, it's necessary to see it, to live there for some time. Many of our guests have experienced this feeling, of course, we mean those who can feel something above primal instincts like hunger or thirst...
4. - Judging from what I have read about Reutov, it seems to be a special town. In the same place, military missiles and solar desalting plants (for producing drinking water from sea water and contaminated water) are developed and constructed. Ecological and military worries seem to cohabit. Is it this contradiction than we can feel in the chaotic part of your music?
We see no contradiction.
5. - Your music also evokes, in its more sad and dark aspect, a deep melancholy. Something that occidental Europeans could feel as being the Slav soul. Is it something conscious when you create or is it a natural part of yourself that expresses itself?
The second, without any doubts. We don't bring any efforts to give any special conscious colouring to our music.
6. - The titles are written in French, English, German but none in Russian? Is there a reason for this especially as you integrate some samples in Russian in your music?
When we choose the language for the track title we have only one goal - to clear the inner essence of the track most completely and precisely, to clear its meaning. The title is the part of the track, one of the key to the meaning of the whole composition, isn't it? Of course we are Russians and for us it would be natural to give russian names for our tracks, but there are certain problems. To point out only one - if we will call the track "Ó âðàò çà÷àðîâàííîãî ñàäà", how will you place it on your site for example? Russian alphabeth is too special for other european nations, as well as russian culture in general… And to give a simple transcription is not beautiful - the same words would be "U Wrat Zacharovannogo Sada". Enjoy :) .
7. - To what extent could your work with Reutoff can be considered as the expression of an attachment to a certain Russian culture?
To the extent of our own belonging to Russian culture - we've been brought up on it and we love it, but on the other hand, in terms of traditions we are the thing that is strange and annoying to many. And we are afraid that our notions of russian culture is very different to the common views of western people anyway...
We know each other for a very long time and we have learned to trust each other. Usually someone brings an idea, a sample, a sound element, a word, a remembrance, and then all together try to think over, transform, to find right tune, with a maximum power. Sometimes disagreements happen, but it always ends with a right result. Comparing with society - we have a totalitarism with a permanent change of the tyrants, there is always someone that sees the final result better than others, in every composition, and the others help him to achieve it. That is why there is always different sequence of band members on every release.
9. - The two first Reutoff albums were released on tape by House of Mirkmoon. Was it your own label?
Yes, it's Reutoff's own label, it was started many years before first Reutoff record has been released in 1998. House of Mirkmoon first releases were early projects of today band members, the names were different and the music was not industrial. Some of the projects were of rock origin, others were close to darkwave or gothic. There were not artwork most of the time, just a kind of documents of extensive night sessions made by participants for themselves.
10. - Your last album "regno di pianta" as well as the "Prime" compilation were released on your own label "Ewers Tonkunst". Is it your choice to have your personal structure or the consequence of a lack of interest coming from established labels in regard to your music?
Ewers Tonkunst is not band's own label. It is a label of our close friend which was started in 1999 to release good dark ambient stuff, a part of Indiestate Distribution. Since the band has close connections to him, it is natural to be released on that label. There is a big interest to Reutoff today and we have many offers, we are open to deal with other labels, some of them are well-established like Hau Ruck!, some are new and we consider them interesting like Kaos Kontrol, but our basic label is Ewers Tonkunst / Indiestate, our most important releases will still be issued on that label in the future. Indiestate is professional enough to distribute our production perfectly, they are our old friends which have always supported us and we understand each other very well.
11. - To have chosen the name of H. Ewers for your label can be seen as more than a tribute to this German writer. Where resides your interest for this figure? His occult connections? His interest in pain, madness and perversity? His talent as an Art Film maker with "The Student of Prague"?
Hanns Heinz Ewers is the most favourite writer of label's owner, the works of that writer deeply impress him, he feels them as something that is very close to him personally. Maybe there is a kind of "existential mysticism" in some of the Ewers stories that haunts and make the soul grieve and tremble... The band members are not that big fans of HHE to be honest.
12. - Will this label produce other artists?
Yes, but there is no definite plans for now.
13. - The Achtung Baby site mentions a Reutoff release on HoM, in 1999, under the title "Soul Repair Kit". Could you tell us more about this release?
That was the first and only one full-length release of our side project Das Reut. It contains 7 tracks, some of them we still play live on Das Reut gigs. As to the release details - it was a tape limited to 21 copies handpainted by the band members. We've made a kind of night presentation party in one of Reutov's sacral places and gave all the tapes to the friends. An idea of "release for friends" was realized in its perfect - the band members don't have their own copies themselves…
14. - Two 7" have already been released as a part of ReuTRauM serie (ReuTRauM III & IV). Could you tell us more about this project?
The ReuTRauM series consists of 7 different 7"es on various labels. The different numbers of ReuTRauM symbolizes different places of the town which makes you feel different states of soul. The band wanted to create a kind of a sonic guide for a space-soul continuum of their town. When the listener will move from 1 to 7, he will walk the path as a kind of initiation to Reutov spirit by means of visiting and communicating with genius loci of each of the separate 7 places. When all 7 releases will be finished, the band plans to issue a kind of a map of our town with this places marked on it, so each person who would like to feel this experience not only in the imagination, will be able to pass through this travel in the real world.
The slogan of the series is "DER RAUM VON REUT ALS TRAUM VON REUE" ("the space of Reut as a dream of regret"). That expresses the band approach to the music made for that series: "Der Raum von Reut" - the space, the woods, the lakes and the airs of Reutov make a kind of illusive state of surreal sorrowful visions, a hallucinatory unsettling day-dreaming - "Traum von Reue".
15. - Will each 7" be released on a different label?
Yes, each part of the series will be released on a different label and seems like that in a different country also (so it goes, it was not conceived initially, but it turns out like that). During 2002 there are arrangements with Kaos Kontrol (Finland) and Blade (Italy) and there are negotiations with some greek and french labels which I don't want to uncover for now becausee the arrangement was not confirmed as yet. Watch the news from Reutoff...
16. - Because of the very limited edition of the first two 7" of the series (250/350) and so that a large audience can come and visit Reutov while listening to Reutoff, do you also intend to reissue all the 7" together, in the future?
It depends on the demands, but we don't think that it will be just after the seventh release will be out. Maybe in a few years after the project will be finished, when most of the 7 inches will become hard-to-find collector items, there will be a kind of 2CD reissue for those who was not able to get the original vinyls, but it's too early to talk about it now.
17. - After the 7" ReuTRauM III, a 10" "The fourth face" will be released on the 25th March again on Hau Ruck! and another 7" is also planned for release on Kaos Kontrol. Do you intend to carry on releasing your works on Albin Julius label or would you prefer to keep a certain independence?
We will release full-length CD on Hau Ruck! in summer of 2002. In general we will issue major releases through Ewers Tonkunst / Indiestate exclusively, but we've made a kind of exception for Albin, because of our warm and friendly relationship and - most important - his big love and sincere interest to Russia. It is not possible to talk about any lack of independence when you work with Albin or other labels in the scene in general, that's not the point. It is interesting for us to release minor releases on various labels in different countries but we think that russian bands and russian labels must support each other to develop the whole russian industrial scene, because Russia with all its chaos, mystical profundity and numerous contradictions is an ideal home for industrial culture and industrial state of mind.
18. - Concerning the artworks, I noticed that from "regno di pianta" they have become very simple (black and white picture of landscape, small pictures of Reutov...). Is it a deliberate choice to draw the listener's attention only on your music?
No, that's not the concept, the nearest Hau Ruck 10" and CD will be full-colour printed as well as recent 7". Prime and Regno was home-made CDRs and the minimalistic artwork caused by the technical limitations of the used devices. As to the simplicity - for us it is better to find an image which brings right atmosphere and then to put it in a right context to achieve some simple but convincing artwork than to create strange artifacts in some 3D graphic suite or to use 22 filters in Photoshop with a motley and petty result. As to Reutoff's landscapes - it has been said enough above about the importance that our town has for us and our creatiive efforts. The music spawned by the town demands an according artwork...
This image (it's rather mask than face) has been found in Reutov industrial area when we worked on Maska album and we don't think that it was just a simple coincidence. This image symbolizes the hidden mysterious aspects of the place where we live and which name we have given to our band, its strange duality. It's not possible to tell more within the limits of this interview, this would demand too many words. Were Reutoff one single being, its death mask would look like this.
20. - The Russian industrial scene seems to be very active these days with good formations such as Sal Solaris, Cyclotimia.... What are your connections with these bands? Are there any other projects that deserve to be mentioned?
Yes, we know Cyclotimia personally, and Konstantin Mezer from Sal Solaris is our friend. Other interesting bands on russian industrial scene that we know, with whom we played together are Inquisitorum, Cisfinitum, F.R.U.I.T.S...
21. - Can we hope to see you play live outside of Russia, in a near future?
Of course, we'd like to play in Europe, but it's a question of money, as always... We are 4 persons and it would be very hard to organisers to cover the expenses. We are ready to consider any proposals, so maybe some day someone in Europe would be courageous enough... Soon after our site opening we began to receive such questions from the listeners but not from the organisers, we see a lot of enthusiasm from people and ready to come and play in Europe for them. We play in Russia oftenly and try to develop our show to fit the highest standards of international scene.
22. - Can you present in a few words your side-project "Das Reut"?
In 1999 we've recorded some tracks that didn't fit into Reutoff style concept but was good enough to be released. We always wanted to try to play some rhythm'n'noise, and since the result was nice for us, we have decided to make a side-project. Soul Repair Kit album was born in July of 1999, then the material has been successfully played live on numerous live concerts in Moscow and other towns. In the meantime, music of Das Reut became more melodic and less noisy, the voice became more clear and active. Some ompilation participations proved that the project must be developed. There are plans to release the new album in 2002, the working title is "Arte de ben morire".
24. - What do you feel about the inheritance left by the communist system in Russia?
Communist system left the great heritage - cultural, military, political, economical - in any areas of life. New regime lives from that remains, they don't create but only sell for bargain all that is left. They can not sell so much and the other is decaying, corroding and rotting. We live inside that process, there are many subjects all around that speak for themselves - destroyed factories, polluted nature, old unreconstructed buildings... The atmosphere is quite apocalyptic, the dying penetrates everything from materia to spirit of people. This is real industrial culture lifestyle which becomes a lifestyle for almost all country. The poor remains of former greatness spawns the utter sense of modern civilization decline, the overall decline from top to the bottom, which interests us and which is reflecting in Reutoff music.
25. - What is your cultural, political and global vision of Europe today?
26. - Do you feel concerned by the recent evolutions of European Union? Do you think Russia should become part of this standardised Europe, crusher of traditions or should Russia remain apart to preserve its soul?
European unification doesn't seem totally positive thing. It makes life more comfortable for many and makes it easier to rule and to trade for the real life owners. It makes life easier to those who prefer transnational cosmopolitan lifestyle and has no roots neither in heaven nor in soil, for those who has a dollar sign on each of their shining teeth when they grin like a poster hero, falsely and inhumanly. Being a real deviation from all the natural in this world, they make others live by their strange laws, enforcing with money and power to sleep and obey, branded anything alternative to their views as marginals. They are authors of that unification, it would be strange that seeds from those hands will bring us healthy fruits... United Europe will be their home, they build it for themselves and there will be little place for Europeans in a traditional sense of word. The choice is: be like us or be outcast, first outside of good life quality, then it will be outside life in general. Modern digital technology will help them to finish it very soon. Antichrist is near...
Russia must be outside that process because it eventually leads to the death of its soul, its mission, and if that soul would die, there will be no Russia anymore. Russia is neither Europe nor Asia, it is totally different thing to both of them. We need to live as good neighbours respecting each other without fruitless painful efforts to make other live with another's life. But governments think different, unfortunately...
27. - What do you think of Internet? In relation to your musical activity, do you intend to privilege this form of communication and diffusion tool in the future?
Of course, Internet helps us very much. Website, mailing-list, simple e-mail correspondence play very important role, they let us inform about Reutoff and its activities everyone interested all around the world for laughable money. It is hard to imagine that we do it all using usual post service, we just don't have that money. Internet plays a very crucial role for the scene in general, giving the possibility to grow and develop for such marginal and low budget area like industrial music is today. So, being a part of the scene, we are not outside this trend.
28. - Are there projects for an official Reutoff - Das Reut site?
The official site has just been opened - www.industrialmusic.ru/reutoff . There will be a page for side projects including Das Reut, but it is under construction for the present (january 2002).
29. - A last question: what albums are you listening to at the moment and what are you reading?
At the moment I am listening to Stillife "Raining December", and I read two books - essays of G. K. Chesterton and the novel of V. Konetzky called "Salty Ice", even re-read, to be more correct.
30. - Do you have anything to add?
We wish you good luck in your activities with Heimdallr, not to lose your identity in that unification turmoil and be strong in your inner fighting with that killing wave of pre-armageddon decay.
Interview : Nathalie F.
Graphics : Das Labo
Web : www.industrialmusic.ru/reutoff
Contact : email@example.com