Popping Up is our recurring look at new artists making noise on the music landscape. Because, hey — Madonna and Britney were once unknown, too.
At Idolator, we’re keeping tabs on a new breed of artists making cool indie synthpop from all points on the globe: Johannesberg’s Jean-Philip Grobler (aka St. Lucia); London’s Bright Light Bright Light; and, now, Russia’s Tesla Boy. Their new album The Universe Made Of Darkness is quickly building them a devoted following. With a new single, the slinky, elegant “Undetected,” out now and a September tour of the US, Tesla Boy is ready to take America. We checked in with the band’s handsomely quaffed frontman Anton Sevidov on the eve of their arrival in San Diego.
CURRENTLY LIVING IN: Last year I lived between Moscow, London and New York.
HOMETOWN: Minsk, Soviet Union
WHAT IS A TESLA BOY? It came from my song “Tesla Boy,” which I wrote about a boy who can transmit electricity by the air. And later we decided to give the same name to our new band.
TWO DEFINITIVE TESLA BOY TRACKS: Well, it could be every track. People have different tastes. Right now my favorites are “Dream Machine”, “Broken Doll” and “Stars”.
MUSICAL INFLUENCES: Quincy Jones, Prince, Stevie Wonder….everything a musician likes or used to like reflects in his own music. It’s something that you can’t control. It’s something that is going from your sub consciousness.
GIVEN YOUR OWN SONG “1991,” NAME SOME FAVORITE ’90S TRACKS: In terms of this track I could say “Unbelievable” by EMF, “Jazzie’s Groove” by Soul II Soul, “Not Over Yet” by Grace and “Timeless” by Goldie.
IN LIGHT OF THE RUSSIAN GOVERNMENT’S ANTI-GAY STANCE, WHAT DO YOU WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW ABOUT “YOUR” RUSSIA? If you are clever you will totally understand that we live in a world full of lies and information wars. If you want to know something about any country or object — you can do it by yourself — just try to analyze, search, think. But don’t believe TV, papers etc. It’s like when we take a look on a new building — all that we can see is a facade. We can’t see what’s inside. Maybe there is only a void. Or maybe there is a big hotel full of prostitutes. My point is that clever people know about Russia a lot and it’s not only Tchaikovsky, bears and Roman Abramovich. In terms of that, I think that somebody in Russia just tries to make people not think about real problems, to focus people’s attention not on real problems like economy, education and teenage drug addiction.
THEIR SEPTEMBER U.S. TOUR WILL TAKE THEM TO THE TWANGY DEEP SOUTH: I’ve never been there. I have only been to NYC. Talking about accents, I can do a parody. I always copy friends of mine. And I can do a twangy accent. And my girlfriend from New York tells me that it sounds like George Bush. Can you imagine a Russian guy who can talk like Bush? Isn’t it funny?
THEIR LATEST SINGLE: “Undetected”
WHAT’S UP NEXT: The band has another video, “Broken Doll,” featuring Tyson, due out soon.
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