Music critics face a hard task when need to define a style which the St.Petersburg band THEODOR BASTARD belongs to. It all started back in the end of 90-s when Fedor Svolotch (“Theodor Bastard” – is simply the translation of the band leader’s nickname) started experimenting with noise, industrial ambient and thousands of micro-sounds, building intricate avant-garde compositions.
The defining turn in the THEODOR BASTARD’s history came in 2000 when Yana Veva, who played guitar with the band before, sang a song at the rehearsal session and was immediately appointed as a lead vocalist. Being interested in the Middle East culture like her fellow bandmates, Yana trained herself in singing strange Arabic scales and borrowing vocal features not dissimilar to Lisa Gerrard and Natacha Atlas. Early club events with Yana at the mike proved that THEODOR BASTARD have found something very special. Even before releasing their first album of strangely organic blend of ethnic motives with industrial, electronica, goth-rock (actually, it was their fourth or fifth if we count early experimental stuff) the band has become a bomb for St.Petersburg clubs.
“Pustota” (“Emptiness”) has been released in 2003 and brought warm reviews from the music press and strong support from the goth and dark communities as well as people who simply liked interesting and unusual music. Tense soundscapes filled with storming guitars, electronic washes, hypnotic mood and the vocal which sends shivers down your spine – it was no wonder that Theodor Bastard has become one of the few bands which suddenly stood above most of the Russian indie-flock. The flash-animation for the album’s title track created by Kol Belov has got the first place at Newgrounds.com (one of the world’s biggest flash animation portals) rating with 65000 viewers. “Pustota” has also been released in Germany, Mexico and Turkey, the band’s Internet forum is constantly filled with letters from all over the world. It is even rumoured that you could hear Theodor Bastard remixes in Japanese clubs!
Touring extensively around Russia, Belgium, Germany, France and the Baltic states the band recorded a live album of previously unreleased songs. “Sueta” (“Vanity”) appeared in the end of 2006. The new CD filled with stadium-size atmosphere and stately songs has been dearly welcomed by the press and club audiences. But… it has kicked goths out after Fyodor’s statements about getting tired of comparisons with the music the band do not like.
Apart of recording their albums, THEODOR BASTARD are always keeping in touch with European indie/underground musicians – experimenting with sounds, providing vocals and exchanging tracks to work with. One of these contacts has turned into a collaboration with Peter Christopherson of Coil – the band has recorded a version of “Love’s Secret Domain” for the compilation of Coil cover-versions “…It Just Is (In Memoriam: John Balance)” released by the Fulldozer label in 2005.
August 3rd, 2007 turned out to be a glorious day for THEODOR BASTARD – they have been chosen as a support band for the NINE INCH NAILS gig in St.Petersburg. The band has played a set of older “hits” and some brand new compositions which showed their deepening interest in samplers. Coincidentally Yana had a birthday exactly on this date – so, as she told, it was her best birthday present ever.
At the moment THEODOR BASTARD are busily working on their next album which is due to release in September. The set of new songs has already got the name – “Beloe” (“The Whiteness”). Noisy guitars, elements of trip-hop, sampled noises and full-scale ethnic feeling are the main features of Theodor Bastard these days. Most of the material has been written by Yana. As members of the band say, it is going to be their lightest and most song-oriented album. At the same time, themes and ideas for the new songs are devoted to search of the inner cleanliness – which can be achieved through death only. Apart of the usual Russian version, the album is going to be released in English- and German-language versions to let people abroad listen to the Theodor Bastard music. Be sure, it is really worth attention – just come and see.
The significant part of THEODOR BASTARD’s concept is polystylism at subconscious level (Schtokhausen). The inventor of this term – Alfred Schnitke – underlined that „polystylism is the mixture of external and inner elements, where the external is the influences of styles, glitters and echoes of the world, and the inner is the personal style“. Our musical technology includes a wide range of methods with various semiotic functions: quotation, allusion, stylisation, adaptation, mixing.
The variety of works is rooted in this concept. We use noise ambient with ethno-rock, adding some other cultural traditions and influences – including pop-music and authentic folk. THEODOR BASTARD is planned to be not just a musical band but a special kind of a theatre. Our artistic activity has always been based on the idea of parity of national cultures, convergence of styles and synthesis of languages.
THEODOR BASTARD as an independent art unit believes in the ability of art to change the world. We believe in the power of music that brings good and justice to the world. So we dedicate our art to all victims of greedy corporations that leave thousands of people jobless in an instance, the victims of American agression in Iraq and Serbia and the victims of violence and power of cynical moneybags which profit by blood and death.
The other feature of THEODOR BASTARD is the conscious withdrawal from the material. We collaborate with various guest musicians. Music made outside of the band is usually mixed with ideas of THEODOR BASTARD, and finally it gets a new unexpectable sound.
„Eight methods to pick lady up“ (1996/2001, Fulldozer)
„Wave Save“ (1999/2001, Fulldozer)
“ Agorafobia“ (2000/2001, Fulldozer)
„Live In Heaven“ (2000/2001, Fulldozer)
„BossaNova_Trip“ (2002, Species Of Fishes/Planktone)
„Pustota“ (2004, Pandaimonium)
„Sueta“ (2006, Manchester)
„Beloe“ (2008, Q-code)