We recently interviewed (totally by e-mail by the way, we didn’t fly to Russia for it!) new favorite of the site, the Far Eastern Russia-based artist Parks, Squares and Alleys. Among other things we talked about being a musician from and in such an exotic place and the varying degress of impactfulness that being from such a remote geography can have. Check out our conversation below and sample PSK’s brand new (and awesome) track “Forest”.
B3SCI: Being from a bit of a remote part of the world (Khabarovsk in Far Eastern Russia), is it freeing at all as a musician? What are the expectations like of bands from your part of the world? Describe what it’s like to be a musical artist from Khabarovsk, Russia…
PSA: There are a many cons of being musical artist from Far East. Actually, a lot of people from Western Russia do not really know where Khabarovsk is. It’s quite sad. Truth be told, this area is isolated from the rest of country. Sounds bad, but the internet solves geographic problem. Also many people like far eastern music and they find it very charming and mysterious as the sounds from the deep of forest.
B3SCI: The intentional obscuring (or at least omission) of a newcomer musician’s background and biography has become a bit of a trend in the last couple years. In that way, not much is known about Parks, Squares and Alleys, was this intentional, accidental, a result of the band’s exotic geography?
PSA: I don’t try to hide any information about me or Parks, Squares and Alleys. I think it’s mostly result of the band’s exotic geography. I understand why an intentional obscuring has become a trend, but it doesn’t really work in my case.
B3SCI: The quality of the melodies and arrangements and writing on songs like “Youth” indicate quite a bit of songwriting skill. How long have you been writing? What inspires you as a writer? Is there a particular place or instrument or set of sounds?
PSA: I started writing songs 5 years agо, and it was always very exciting process. But I didn’t care about lyrics, I thought that melody is much important. Now I’m trying to write a gentle poetry and express my feelings in songs. I get inspiration from everything: music, places, people, books, films and especially my memories.
B3SCI: What, for you, defines a great song? What makes for a great melody?
PSA: I like songs that touch me from the first notes. You can always hear if artist puts his soul into the song. That’s why not only sequence of notes makes great melody.
B3SCI: What’s your impression of the current state of independent music in the English speaking world? (US, UK, Canada, Australia, etc) Any trends or particular sounds or artists that are particularly special to you right now?
PSA: Every day I discover new artists, but there are few bands that have a big influence on me. I’m huge fan of twee-pop bands of Bristol record label “Sarah Records”. I do love old Manchester groups like The Stone Roses, New Order and The Smiths. Also I always get inspiration from young modern bands like Gauntlet Hair, Chad Valley, Yung Life, Washed Out, The Mary Onettes, etc. And, of course, where I would be now without music of “Captured Tracks” label.
B3SCI: What’s next for Parks, Squares & Alleys? Any definite plans to release any new music? Any particular direction the writing of newer material has been taking?
PSA: I’m recording material for new LP that includes singles “Youth” and “Forest”, newer tracks sounds like dream-pop of 90s, you know, with old fashioned synths and chorus guitar. Also I have some plans to featuring with chillwave project “Sugar God” from Moscow.
B3SCI: Do you have plans to tour and perform any time soon?
PSA: There will be gig in Khabarovsk very soon, and I have plans to perform in Vladivostok in autumn. There was a lot of talks about tour, but I don’t even know when it will happen. Maybe in winter. I want to visit Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kiev and other European cities.
B3SCI: We here at B3SCI are hooking you up with a roundtrip ride on our very real time machine. Where are you choosing to travel to and why?
PSA: I would travel to NYC in 1985 to get in avant garde community, work with Sonic Youth and meet other talented artists of that time. The people of art are foundation of human freedom.
Parks, Squares and Alleys (Facebook)
Reviewed by b3