History of Shortparis: All about the group
Shortparis is a group from St. Petersburg, focused on the genres of post-pop and experimental ... As the members of Shortparis themselves say, their work involves a constant search for extraordinary, non-standard solutions for society. The team was founded in 2012. Today it has a reputation and popularity, largely due to non-standard overtones, scandalous videos and live performances, which often turn into performative performances with a touch of modern art... Shortparis performed as an opening act for such European bands as The Kooks, Lebanon Hanover, alt-J … Let's learn a little more about this unique group!
Formation of the group: history, composition ...
The group was formed in 2012. However, its history goes back much earlier... The Fools On Time Square project, in which Nikolai Komyagin, Alexander Ionin and Pavel Lesnikov played, was the predecessor. The guys performed in the jazz club of the city of Novokuznetsk, but in 2010 they left to conquer the cultural center of our country, St. Petersburg! About this period, the vocalist of the band, Nikolai Komyagin, recalled the following:
“At first we played very damp… You know, how to wallow in the water, not understanding what you should do at all… Gradually, we began to weave shades of jazz music into rock… It turned out rather clumsy, I would even say pathetic! But then none of us saw it. And so it turned out that there was an absolute misunderstanding between us and the stage ... But this did not bother us at all! We were full of confidence. And over time, this unprofessionalism grew into something more serious. Concerts began, with which we traveled all over Siberia! Then we ventured to radically change our vector! We went to St. Petersburg ... We spent a year within the walls of a rented apartment, formulating a new musical language, our own unique style ... "
So, Shortparis developed their own individual "musical language" by 2012. By the way: the name of the band was inspired by the movie Shortbus Club. It also deserves special attention. It is pronounced as "shortparis", which means the impossibility of expressing the inner world and emotions without distortion ...
Later, the composition was supplemented by Danila Kholodkov. By that time, he was already quite a significant person in the St. Petersburg musical underground! In general, Kholodkov managed to work with a couple of dozen groups ... As Danila himself said, the work of Shortparis seemed to him fresh and independent. This attracted him:
“While all the other bands were playing raw and muddy, these guys looked weird, but very cool! It grabbed…”
And now about how the first acquaintance of Shortparis with their future drummer / backing vocalist happened! According to Komyagin, he was the first to approach Kholodkov:
“Three times in my life I was the first to approach other people. During the performance, he (Kholodkov) was at his best ... I realized that I wanted to sing with him on the same stage! I approached and asked: “Let's play something together…” He said: “I don't even know, honestly…” Then he pissed me off! I wanted to send him and leave, but, for some reason, I did not do this ... "
Before moving on to the creativity of Shortparis, let's talk about their musical style ... The sound of the group can be described as an outlandish construction! Remember Letov’s saying: “Postpunk is people who have realized that they cannot live here and now. Would you like to"? So, this is what Shortparis is broadcasting here and now! There are echoes of the oriental sound here, and an operatic style of performance, a beat in the manner of the forgotten EBM style ... In a word, this is an insane hurricane of sounds and moods that catches the listener so much ...
Creativity of Shortparis is difficult to attribute to a specific direction: here both forcing pulsation, and gloom, and complex multi-layered compositions merge together ... All these shades are inherent in completely different musical styles! Shortparis have formulated their own musical language, which is not like any Western template. Rather, their music is inspired by European contemporary art ... Actually, let's move on to it!
For the first time, the group announced itself at the SKIF festival, after the performance at which it was named the brightest punk art group in St. Petersburg! SKIF was followed by concerts, which only strengthened the band's reputation as modern rebels, who are not characterized by routine and monochrome ... Today, Shortparis is called the country's main concert group! Often their performances go beyond just musical shows, taking on original theatrical outlines! So, during a concert in the "Berthold Center" a recording was played in the Kyrgyz language, addressed to the builders, who, in fact, were not even in the center! Why was it? It remains a mystery… However, Shortparis still achieved their goal! They started talking about the band all over the country… New noisy performances followed: in small malls and even in grocery stores, with the participation of session musicians, as well as circus artists… As Shortparis themselves say, art knows no boundaries! However, as expected, the critics were divided into 2 camps: some see these contemporary artists as innovators, while others see them as just an empty candy wrapper… Be that as it may, the group’s fame is growing inexorably…
Shortparis released their first album in 2013. The album was called "Daughters". The work quickly gained popularity, and critics wrote that in it Shortparis expressed the decadent direction of the audio diptych with appropriate post-punk and French chanson motifs! The main hit was the composition "Amsterdam". A video was also filmed for it, the plot of which takes place in a classic St. Petersburg apartment ...
All this immerses the listener in an atmosphere of self-destruction and decline... Other tracks from the album, including "Your Queen" and "Pink Whale", have also been endowed with this character of Shortparis. Curiously, according to critics, the mood of the album "Daughters" is very close to the mood of the last album by Ian Curtis.
The whole subsequent year Shortparis spent traveling around the cities. The group gave enchanting concerts, delighted fans with new singles and videos ... In 2016, Shortparis were awarded the Golden Gargoyle, and in 2017 the guys released their second album called Easter. The work again won ardent reviews from critics! Unlike the first disc, where all the tracks were in English, "Easter" was completely recorded in Russian, which, of course, was to the liking of the band's audience!
Shortparis persistently denied any publicity or commercial component of their work... But trying to demonstrate this at every opportunity, like a magnet, Shortparis attracted to themselves what they so strongly denied... In 2018, the group was in the ranking of the most successful Russian musical projects! The third work of the band was the disc "So the steel was tempered", released in 2019. However, not without controversy...
The media literally rebelled after the release of the video "Scary". Because of the concept of the video, with its references and mood, the group has repeatedly become the main scandalous hero on the network ... Representatives of the church were dissatisfied with both the title of the Easter album and the outfits of the musicians: in their opinion, the costumes in the video cannot serve as entertainment paraphernalia… Shortparis were also accused of Nazism.
In general, Shortparis clips are a separate topic for conversation. Often the videos of the group fall into critical reviews. So, for example, the videos for the songs "Shame" and "Scary" attracted the attention of a wide audience! And not only Russian, but also foreign!
Unfortunately, this is our society: people do not like deep topics. The audience prefers meaningless songs with a romanticized video… However, fortunately, not everyone! That is why the army of Shortparis fans inexorably continues to grow every day! And now - some interesting facts about the group, which few people know about!
Many people think that Shortparis focus on politics in their work. But it is not so. In fact, musicians are no less interested in the economy. In fact, their videos and tracks are a spectacle of cruelty, the action of which takes place in society (like in a theater). At the same time, Shortparis are fully aware of themselves as a commodity.
In 2018, the film “Summer” was released, which reflects the periods of hope and love of Leningrad in the 80s ... Shortparis also managed to participate in this tape! The band performed a cover version of David Bowie's "All The Young Dudes".
2019 turned out to be a very eventful year for the group ... Shortparis appeared on the Evening Urgant show, and also staged a tour of Germany, Great Britain and Finland.
Shortparis can be described as a group of polished actions! These guys show the society the other side of this life: they shoot millions of clips about Beslan, xenophobia and the many-sided power of the primitive ... They are able to arrange a true performance out of nothing ... In a word, this is a group for which there are no boundaries. According to most critics, this is a kind of continuation of the provocative strategies of Sergei Kuryokhin. This is an ambitious project, with a pompous, exciting, unclassifiable character. This is not just a musical group. This is a separate art form not for everyone.