Interview: Defend Moscow

By on Thursday, 29th January 2009 at 12:16 pm
 

Defend Moscow (side)As many of you probably already know, at TGTF we love our pop. We introduced you all to the greatness of Defend Moscow a few weeks back, and were fortunate enough to be able to catch up with Dave, Defend Moscow’s able guitarist about the band and just how such a cosmopolitan mix of people met.

For those who are a bit slow off the mark, how would you describe your sound?
It is electropop with a dash of indie, and a zest of dance thrown in.

How does a band like you, from all over Europe, meet exactly? Surely such great pop doesn’t come from a chance encounter in a bar one night?
We won’t lie – it was pretty random! Myself (Dave, guitar) and Jon (vocals) have been mates since we were about 5 and have always made music together. We did indie and rock bands and even a funk-rap collective (the band the Beastie Boys could have been), but our first love has always been great pop, so we started writing pop songs about 2 years ago. I then met Sofie (vocals) in Bergen through work, who was into the same stuff as us, and had always wanted to come to London and sing pop songs influenced by Russian history (one part of that is a lie). We then met Adam (drummer) through a classic-style advertisement (we met up for the first time at Keele Services where I ascertained that he wasn’t a dodgy random, and even better was very handsome). Finally, Rick (bass) was assisting mixing one of our early demos, we liked him and his extreme Frenchness, found out he could play bass and so was the final piece of the jigsaw.

You’ve toured with some interesting bands – Team Waterpolo, Sam Sparro and Wombats etc. Who was your favourite? Any stand out moments on tour with any of them?
I have to say they were all brilliant. Team Waterpolo were very genuine, nice lads, and have a similar pop sensibility to us. Sam Sparro was a real surprise as we all expected him to be a bit of an idiot after seeing him on telly, but he was actually a lovely guy and made a real effort with us, his band were also lovely and he was amazing live – a bonafied soul singer with some oustanding backing musicians. Plus it was our first experience of big crowds (Newcastle Academy was 2500 people). The Wombats I’d known for a while, and are consistently brilliant live, and have some mental fans, so it was great to play to such an enthusiastic crowd.

All your songs are great pop songs – like McFly for adults. How do you start the songwriting process? Lyrical concept? A riff? Turn of phrase? Or a drug fueled orgy that gives you a hazy idea for a great song?
I have to say I’m a bit of a musical magpie – I listen to a lot of stuff, old and new, and pick out the best bits, and use them as a starting point. Or simply use a great song as a starting point (for tempo, feel etc), or use it to inspire me to try and write something as good. Fortunately none of our songs end up sounding anything like the original inspiration so it works well. I do the backing, then Jon comes in and we do the melody and lyrics together. For example, we have a song called Listen which was my attempt to try and write something as good as Call The Shots by Girls Aloud (I failed, but hopefully came close), and a song called When You Wake was my attempt to try and write a song with the energy and brilliance of Mr Brightside by the Killers (same result!).

All of our lyrics are bitter/sweet – I love the idea of perfect, shiny pop with a seedy/unhappy undercurrent that the Pet Shop Boys do so well.That’s where the Russian/Communist thing comes in – Communism is a perfect, utopian idea on paper, but in reality, there’s an undercurrent of greed, violence, and failure. The human condition is us aiming for something perfect, and either failing, or getting it slightly wrong, and that’s what our songs (hopefully) chime with.

What have you all been listening to lately? Do you all like similar stuff, or is there an argument for who’s music gets played in the studio / tour van / dressing room?
We listen to all kinds of stuff – Sofie worships Britney but also loves stuff like Lykke Li, Rick worships Guns n Roses and Michael Jackson but is also big into stuff like M83, Adam is a closet jazzer and has had Toto and Dave Matthews Band on recently, and myself and Jon always reach for Lionel Richie and Take That when times are tough. Collectively we’re all into Ladyhawke, The Saturdays, Fleetwood Mac, Pet Shop Boys, New Order…..I also love that new Empire of the Sun track…..I could go on!

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