Effortlessly cool with a sound to match, Russia's own Neon Tapehead are gaining traction with their retro style synth fuelled tracks.
Latest single, Know What I Want, is a groove driven ode to self love and empowerment, with lead singer Maya Shonia's intriguing and velvet smooth vocals the perfect accompaniment to this latest addition to the funk genre.
With no-nonsense lyricism backed up by an infectiously catchy riffs and keys, there isn't an element not to like, with this track only an inkling of what's to come.
Chatting formation, dream tours and the importance of being chill, we caught up with the four piece ahead of their EP release.
Tell us a bit about yourselves and how long you’ve been making music for?
Hello! We are an electro funk, soul and r’n’b band from Moscow, Russia. And we may just be the first Russian funk band you’ve ever heard of! The band was formed by myself (Dmitry Ursul) in 2016, however, I started writing funk and other music styles many years before the band was formed.
At what point in your lives did you decide to make a career out of your music, and what influenced that decision?
I have been playing instruments from early childhood since attending music school aged 7. Being the big fan of 80’s fashion and music (and Miami Vice TV series) I dived into Funk/Soul and Synth music when he was 18. Along the way I had played in rock bands (since I was already a pro blues/rock/jazz guitar player), however, always wanted to write some “funkier” stuff which brought me to form Neon Tapehead.
Aleksandr Kovalchuk has played drums since he was 18 and his goal was to be a session drummer for some big artists. But when he saw the post on a music form that I was looking for a drummer for his new project, he decided to try out and got the position!
Maya Shonia is the youngest band member and Neon Tapehead is the first band and music project in her life. She studied at one of Moscow's music universities when I found her on the internet and offered her the position as lead singer. Maya has Georgian roots and has loved singing from early childhood and has a really strong voice.
Dmitry Votintsev is a self-made musician with great music taste. He played bass with different artists and always loved R’n’B, Funk, Soul and House music. He was happy to join the band when I showed him some Neon Tapehead songs and demos.
What is the main source of influence for your songwriting?
Usually we are inspired with grooves or synth sounds when jamming/experimenting with analog gear. The beat comes first, then the bass groove and some synth chord progressions. Maya then starts working on the melodies and hooks and we construct the final song with all of the arranged elements.
What is something you’ve learned about yourself through making music?
We have learned that incredible feeling when you see how your music or a song grows from the stages of demo through to the final master, and how it works on stage with the crowd. It is really amazing and inspires us to continue creating and pushing ourselves to give more and make even better music
What is something you wish you’d known when you first got into the music industry?
I would say that we thought that it would be a much easier and faster process to become recognized as a “professional” act, and that we wish we were more in tune with the intricacies and A to Z’s of the music industry. However, on the other side we think that it is really important to go through the process that we have, learning from our mistakes and also achievements. And we know that we still have so many things to learn and experience in our music destiny… Well, hopefully!
Who are some of your favourite upcoming artists from Russia?
Actually, there are a very few Russian artists that we connect with since our band is predominantly inspired by music from the “older” from the west and more modern music performed in English. We do have some GREAT artists from Russia that we really respect such as Tesla Boy and Pompeya. We follow and listen to their music as well.
What would your dream tour & rider look like?
Our dream tour is to go through all European countries and over to the US, then visit Japan and make our way back across the continents to our hometown in Russia. Regarding riders… of course it would be great to have our own booked private plane for this dream tour, but we will be happy to fly with usual airlines. The main thing for us is the great stage sound at the venues so the audience will be able to hear our music the way we want, and to feel our groove.
If your music was to soundtrack any film or TV show, which would you choose?
We’d love to hear our music as an original sound track to a Hollywood comedy, since our music is mostly geared toward the emotions of being chill and fun.
What’s the bucket list goal for you as a band?
Of course, it is to write such a great song which will become a worldwide hit and we can tour with that all around the world. But the main goal behind it is to have fun with creating and playing our music and develop ourselves as musicians and songwriters from song to song. And of course, we’d be happy to hear one day that a new upcoming band refers to Neon Tapehead as being one of their key musical inspirations!