Pompeya Plan to Take Over the World With Their Music
From the moment you press play on a Pompeya record, you instantly feel like you're having a private dance party, smack dab in the middle of your mind. From orchestral synths to their almost breathy vocals, there is a free-flowing vibe to the pop rock band's sound that melts away your cares and distractions.
Needless to say, we can't wait for the Moscow act's sophomore effort, Real, to hit the streets on May 5 via No Shame.
With the bouncy guitar riffs and strong drum beats on their lead single, "Liar," their '70s-disco-meets-'80s-New-Wave sound will create a sense of nostalgia or at least take you to the neon laden clubs of those decades.
The last time we chatted with Pompeya, they gave us a list of their favorite Russian bands. However, we recently got to know more about them and talked with singer Daniil Brod about what inspired their sound, the fact that people are surprised they're from Moscow and what we can expect from Real.
So let's start at the beginning. How did the band get together?
We formed in 2006, just really jamming together. Nairi (our old drummer) and us didn't know each other personally, but we knew about each other as musicians. I was about to start a new band with somebody, and was looking for a drummer, so Nairi became our first option. Denis [Agafonov] joined us the same day for that jam. It was magic at first note! We didn't even create any real songs, just a lot of improvisations.
Later on, Alexander began showing up at our shows. Similarly, we knew of him, but not really on a personal level. We all had a connection in this small music scene of Moscow. Eventually he started playing keys with us too, so right before we recorded Tropical we became a foursome.
What's the story behind the band name, Pompeya?
Most people think it is related to the ancient Roman city, but it is not. This is a very lovely girl's name here in Russia. But mainly we chose it because of the sound, and how it also looks printed. We didn't want anything too tied to Russia or any place, we felt this name was unique but also international enough.
What drew you to the retro eletro pop sound in your music?
I would say we lean more towards "live" than "electro." Right now, everything in popular music is auto-tuned and relies heavily on software and computers. Not that we don't use technology or think this is bad, but we feel a desire to keep the "tradition" of the pop music we love -- Bryan Ferry, Tears for Fears, Phil Collins and Tina Turner. It is amazing to hear what these musicians did with the technology of their time, the balance they struck between experimentation and commercial viability. We want to be those kind of artists that really raise the bar for melody and soundscape -- we strive to create music with a natural flow, that is not too synthetic. But at the same time, we are always open to try anything new. Who knows, maybe the next LP will be an EDM one.
Who are your go-to bands, especially while you were making the new album?
Mostly bands from the "golden era" like I mentioned ... particularly Fleetwood Mac, Talk Talk, Kate Bush and Dire Straights. Of course, there was some more contemporary music, like Future Islands and the War on Drugs. Our bassist is always playing for us old Motown catalog stuff too, that is his big inspiration. He loves the "funk."
What's "Liar" about?
Musically, it is a breakthrough song for us. I pushed myself to sing far outside of my comfortable vocal range and we bring in the saxophone for the first time. I think we capture what we consider the essential New Wave sound.
Lyrically, it's about being lied to by someone or something you love, and that moment you realize you've been faked out. This mix of anger toward yourself for being so stupid, as well as toward that person or thing for lying to you collide.
What's the premise behind the video?
The idea is by Alexander Khudokon and Leyla Masharipova, who also did our videos for "Cheenese," "90" and "YAHTBMF." They wanted to make a video about the kingpins of Russia in the '90s, a time when everything was very corrupt and violent. They did a lot of research, went through a bunch of police cases and on VK.com [Russian Facebook] to find photos of actual mobster celebrations. The set is the now-abandoned Golden Palace Casino, an old casino where the Russian mafia held parties. It fits the song very well -- we are excited with how it came out!
So what can we expect from the new album, Real?
The new album is more about traditional pop, the standards of '80s music. While Tropical was more funky, this album is a bit darker and more new wave. Although there are still elements of Tropical, it is still Pompeya. We also recorded with more people on this record, and recorded it all in the U.S ... so there are these outside inspirations for us that definitely challenged us to experiment and get more "serious" with our work.
Besides "Liar," what's another track that you think will stand out to fans?
In addition to "Liar", our favorites are "Tell Me Tell Me" and "Real". Sorry, I couldn't pick just one!
I read that you've been compared to an older American band in the past. Is this still something that happens a lot? And how do you feel about it?
Yes, people compare us a lot with English and American bands. Our fans are always surprised when they learn we are not from Manchester or New York City, but Moscow. And that's okay -- we create music for an international audience, of all ages.
Last time Diffuser talked to you guys, you gave us a list of Russian artists and songs. Who are the new acts we should look out for?
Check out JEKKA.
I just saw you guys were in Alabama and played there not too long ago. When will you be doing a proper tour in the U.S.?
Yes, that Alabama show was great. After a 30 hour drive, it was nice to be treated and fed so well by a venue. The video was great, too.
As for the next tour, we have some things planned for the fall, but nothing I can talk about yet. You will have to wait and see!
What are the plans for the rest of 2015?
We have remixes coming out, some live videos, tour plans for the U.S., and the same plans as always -- to try and take over the world with our music!