When you think of surf rock, Russia is probably the last place you think of. There’s no way there could be a thriving surf scene, right?
The Messer Chups, an awesome trio out of St. Petersburg, Russia, has taken the world by storm with their infectious instrumentals. Throughout the month of October the band has been on the road in the United States promoting their new record, Taste the Blood of Guitaracula.
Tonight the trio of Zombierella, Dr. Boris, and Oleg Gitaracula bring their tour to The Wonder Bar in Asbury Park, NJ. We spoke with the band recently to talk about how they discovered surf music in Russia, and the intrinsic connection between surf rock, and horror movies.
When I think of surf music, Russia isn’t the most obvious scene. How did you discover this type of music?
Zombierella: We listened to all different kinds of music. Everyone loves hearing surf music in Russia, but no one knew what it was called. We used to have this TV show on the First Channel in Russia. They used a song by The Ventures as the theme song. Everyone heard it but they had no idea it was called surf music. Later, we all started to listen to different kind of music, and our caught the surf sound.
What is it about surf rock that drew you to it so much so that you wanted to be in a band that performs it, and tours the world performing it?
Oleg: Because we don’t have a good singer!
Zombierella: Oleg started to play this style of music because he likes to play guitar. This music has is laden with guitar.
Boris: For me it’s different. I come from Chile. I started to hear this music in a different way. I heard it from my parents. They were a fan of rockabilly music. Then I heard a lot of local bands in South America … they didn’t play a traditional surf style, but more of an instrumental rock ‘n’ roll sound. Then I moved to Europe, and then I started with another surf band, and decided to play this style of music.
Zombierella: Surf is very special. If you like it … you just like it.
One thing I’ve noticed is that Halloween and horror are a big part of the culture. What is it about this music and horror that makes it such a perfect marriage?
Boris: It’s a very popular combination. People like skeletons, and horror movies which is very good for instrumentals. For me, it’s a classic combination.
Zombierella: It’s definitely a fun combination.
What do you think is a great horror movie soundtrack, or a classic horror movie you wished the Messer Chups could’ve done the soundtrack for?
Zombierella: Rosemary’s Baby. Any ’60s horror movie. They have great soundtracks especially the Italian and English horror movies.
Oleg: Classical orchestral doesn’t have the same effect.
Zombierella: And they didn’t do it in Dolby Surround System, it was flat, and it built the atmosphere of the film better.
Boris: I like sci-fi aesthetic and sound too.
Oleg: I like movies that are like a cocktail combination — a little horror, a little sci-fi, a little comedy, a little bit rock ‘n’ roll. I like erotic music too. [laughs]
You tour all over the world — do you find that since you do instrumental music mostly that it’s easier to connect with American crowds?
Zombierella: We’re playing events, and venues where people know the style of music.
Oleg: Last year we played the Asbury Park Surf Music Festival … so people [in the area] know us.
Zombierella: We talk through our music.
Boris: If you know the music, it’s not exotic for you. You know what you’re getting.
What are you guys looking forward to most for the rest of 2017?
Zombierella: Our Mexico shows. We’re playing Halloween night in Mexico City.
Boris: It’s Dia de los Muertos.
Zombierella: The public there is pretty wild.