Russian music culture is something that has always fascinated me. Quite different from Europe and America its vibe is always on the experimental and mysterious. Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the underground scenes of Moscow and St. Petersburg have been on the rise, putting out quality releases, exclusiveness by secrecy. The label Raw Russian is no different, Owner and Producer Nikita Villeneuve has crafted a brand that holds its roots true to the motherland. In this exclusive mix for Zone Focus, he has brought to together the best Lo-Fi, Leftfield and experiment tracks from the Raw Russian label for your listening pleasure.
Mounty – Твои Глаза (feat. Ipanema)
Morana – Разум Замирает
Brts – Emergency (feat. Katysh)
ZF: How did Raw Russian start out life as a label?
RR: In 2016 I had the idea to make a community that would support only Russian young producers. So, this is was the start. For me, Raw Russian is more than just a label. It’s a society, a small world where people find something personal and take ownership of that concept. Raw Russian is not only about raw itself but it’s about having it at heart.
You could say it’s a kind of post-modern take on some perfect ruins. A new cult, where people unite 2 things: their vision concerning modern music, (not only what we have on MTV) and their feelings about the new world, including Russia nowadays.
ZF: How would you describe the Raw Russian sound?
RR: Russian, anonymous and messy.
ZF: What are your goals and aspirations for the label project?
RR: Raw Russian does a lot of things to share young and unknown Russian producers to the world. This is one of our main goals. Next one is to create a big promotion area for Russian musicians and help them with music publishing, PR and etc.
ZF: What has been your most important decision with the brand?
RR: When I thought about Raw Russian as a brand. I took as a basis, black metal music and anonymous aesthetics. Then mixed it with melancholy for the 00s and 90s in Russia.
ZF: If you could create a Raw Russian club event
where would it be and who would you book?
RR: I think that I would choose St. Petersburg, because the atmosphere of this city and it’s grey weather is ideal for such an event. And I would like to invite my friend Raär, Huerco S. and Chris Gray.
ZF: You’ve recently released a project with DFYAN,
How did this come about? and are you happy with the release?
RR: I found this producer accidentally on the Soundcloud and tried to get in touch with him for a long time because I immediately liked his music. After a couple of years, I was able to find his contact and I could convince him to make an album on my label. So I was very happy to release this great Russian outsider/Vaporwave album on the tape.
ZF: With so many labels releasing on Vinyl
Can we expect a Raw Russian compilation in the near future?
RR: Yes, I think there will be many interesting compilations ahead,
each of which will have its own history.
ZF: Are there any outside influences that shape the ideas within the label?
RR: Yes, I think we are most strongly influenced by the past of our motherland – Russia. Also art and the Russian cultural environment.
ZF: What are your top five favourite tracks on the label and why?
1. Mucity – Dreams.
I never thought that a person can so clearly feel the essence of a house music, but Mucity can.
2. Dfyan – Impulse
When I hear that track, in my mind I can see monolithic skyscrapers without edge and end. Fantastic feelings.
3. Tlim hlum – faded
In this track, a lot of Russian worlds and also there is a special atmosphere like you in the Moscow metro and you just merge with this big flow of people voices.
4. Nikita Villeneuve – Raw Russian
This track is a quintessence of the Raw Russian as me.
5. Mounty – Acid Runner
Haunted and charming notes. Тhats can make you think about the past.
ZF: What can we expect from Raw Russian in the next few months?
RR: We released a couple of good albums in this year and now we’ll take a rest, but we will not get mad because there are several compilations and albums planned in 2018
Many thanks to Nikita Villeneuve for his time and contributions to Zone Focus. Delve into the anonymous and messy sound of Raw Russian in the links below.