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Exclusive Interview: Hot Chick in Hard Rock Nookie of the SLoT

Exclusive Interview: Hot Chick in Hard Rock Nookie of the SLoT

When we interviewed Nookie, frontwoman of Russian hard-rock outfit the SLoT, for the new Hottest Chicks in Hard Rock issue, we talked about a range of topics, from her band's debut English-language, international release, Break the Code, to her unusual stage name. Unfortunately, due to space constraints in the issue, we weren’t able to include most of our chat–but that’s what the Internet is for! Read what she has to say below.

REVOLVER How did the SLoT form?
NOOKIE Our male singer, Cache, and guitarist, I.D., got together after a concert in 2001 or 2002. I joined the group in 2006. They said that they should do something like what they just heard, but do it better and different. They got another couple of their friends together and found a singer. So they had three guitarists, a singer, and a drummer. Cache put away his guitar onstage and has been the male voice since the beginning, but he still writes a lot of the songs along with the rest of the band, musically. The band had two songs picked up by a Russian blockbuster movie called Boomer before they even had decided on a name for the band. They had literally one day to choose a name, so they voted and decided on the SLoT.

I joined the band shortly after I moved to Moscow to study music. My vocal coach at the institute I was studying at told me that the SLoT was looking for a singer and so I tried out. They had me re-record the vocals on the album they had just released with their second singer, and it was re-released. Lots of confusing details about the band, but we’ve been pretty stable for the last five years. The band has had two drummers, three bassists, and three female lead singers since it started nine years ago. Nobody can get our name right or our roster right online. Our Japanese release this year in May even printed the wrong name for our bassist on an insert they included with the CD. For the record, our bassist’s name is Nixon and our drummer is a fan of The Big Lebowski and calls himself the Dude.

How would you describe your music?
Modern rock that consists of a mix of various genres. Electronic, clean vocals, rap, screaming vocals, heavy guitars, acoustic guitars, industrial effects, and traditional Russian melodies. Modern sound mixes various styles and pulls from various types of genres. Rock music has been moving towards pop. Pop is moving more towards rock. Hip hop is mixing with metal, think about Lil Wayne at the MTV Music Awards this year. Soon I think all the music will be without genres and we’ll just have really one popular style. Experiments with music are OK--you can stretch the boundaries of what’s possible as long as the final product is good music. That’s what really matters.

What is your goal with the band?
To make music that makes our fans think for themselves and be themselves. We don’t preach in our lyrics, we don’t tell people how to live. We show things from our own perspective and let people make their own decisions about if it’s right or wrong or some kind of example to follow. Also, we’re not trying to be in one genre like metalcore or rapcore or industrial or hip-hop rock or heavy rock or anything when we write our music. We just want to make music that we like. It’s why our record label went crazy trying to put a genre tag on our CD because it really isn’t any one genre. We’ve got songs competing against brutal death metal on the charts, and other songs that could compete with Lady Gaga or trip hop on our CD. We don’t care about tags--we just make music that we like and that sounds good to us.

What is the rock scene like in Russia?
It’s all underground. Rock almost doesn’t exist as an industry. We have lots of good bands here, and a ton of great music of course. But there’s no system to promote it here. It’s hidden away from all the big media and mainstream news and all other things like that. What they call rock music on the Billboard charts here is really folk music, and not anything close to actual rock. There’s no young bands on TV or radio, just mostly old men and old women who sing this kind of traditional Soviet music. There are a ton of pop acts, and some are really good. I know everybody has heard of t.A.T.u. as an example, but even the good pop acts are struggling in Russia--not as much as rock, but they still struggle. The SLoT has been a headliner on literally every major rock festival in Russia, and yet still we struggle for mainstream acceptance.

For example, we performed at the largest music festival in Russia a couple months back, and there they have three stages. Of course, music like ours is on the Alternative Stage. The organizers of the festival, “Nashestviye,” meaning Invasion, put on an Internet poll before the festival where they asked people “who deserves to be on the main stage?” We won the internet voting with thousands of votes. Still they refused to put us on the main stage because they don’t like the kind of music we play. So for the second year in a row, when we came onstage, literally thousands of people walked the kilometer from the main stage to the alternative stage. There must have been 10,000 people for a stage that usually has 100-300 people watching the performers. When we left, most went back to the main stage. I’m not trying to brag at all, but I want people to understand the point that even when fans show the people in control what they want, the people in control still don’t care. They aren’t interested in anything different.

We released our ballad “Mirrors” about a year and a half ago in Russia. It’s not like America where there’s thousands of radio stations that are all important in all the major cities. In Russia, you have only really two main cities and everything else is really spread out, small towns and such. But when this single came out we got the biggest radio station network in Moscow and St. Petersburg to play it. At that time, they were doing their charts based on Internet voting, really a democratic way to decide. We had the No. 1 song in Russia. A few weeks later, the program director of that station got fired and immediately our music was off the station and they eliminated the voting system the same week. If anybody wonders why we made an English-language CD, here is your answer.

Tell us about the band's latest release?
Break the Code is 15 of the SLoT’s best songs from the last nine years and four studio albums. We hooked up with an American poet from California who wanted to write our lyrics in English and, of course, we agreed. What most people wouldn’t ever know about the CD is that the first eight songs we recorded for Break the Code were produced by [the poet] from the U.S. while we were in Moscow, and it was done entirely over Skype.

The Russian version of “Time to Go” was about a guy hanging out a beach trying to hit on girls, and the new version is a song about a girl who tells her guy to fuck off. And the new lyrics suit the music perfectly, just in a different way. Also, the reaction we’ve gotten at home has been interesting. A lot of our Russian fans aren’t excited about the new release, and, big shock, they tell us the Russian songs sound better. They make comments online that they don’t want us to do anything in English. They’re afraid we’re going to abandon them and not make more music for them that they can understand. It’s never going to happen. We’re always going to make music in our native language. But there’s no reason to be like the Russian music industry and hide ourselves from the rest of the world.

Where did the name Nookie come from?
Wow, I never get this question. If I told you it was from Limp Bizkit’s song, would you believe me? For me, it wasn’t just because I liked the song, it was because of what this word represents. Why does there have to be so much guilt with sex? Why does having sex have to mean that you have some expectation of something more like commitment or marriage or whatever? Do we react that way to a hug or a kiss or a handshake? Aren’t they personal, too? I think it’s not necessary to have so much stress because you want to have some fun with somebody. Nookie is a fun way to say what we all know it really means, and that’s how I think about it: It should just be fun and without any serious consequences or head trips afterward.

Who are your biggest musical heroes and why?
My biggest musical hero is Kurt Cobain. Nobody changed rock music more than he did since the Beatles. He didn’t know how to lie, and he died too soon.  As far as bands that are modern and current, really no heroes, but I really [In This Moment frontwoman] Maria Brink’s voice--her screams are awesome.

What are your favorite hard-rock and metal albums?
Mechanical Animals by Marilyn Manson is a part of the big puzzle of my life’s emotional outlook. It focuses on personal doom and the irrelevance of people in the world.

The Black Parade by My Chemical Romance always makes me feel better when I listen to it. To me, it sounds like some kind of black cabaret--it’s my way of understanding it, like, a dark brothel. I imagine it just like in the video for The Black Parade, where all these freaks are traveling back from a funeral, or maybe on their way to one.

You’ll Pay for the Whole Seat, but You’ll Only Need the Edge by Animal Alpha because Agnete’s vocals are amazing and their music is dark, and she is just insane live.

What is the sexiest hard-rock or metal song and why?
Limp Bizkit’s “Nookie.” We play it a lot as a cover song in our concerts, not all the time, but often enough. I feel like I’m flirting with all the guys in the crowd when I hear “I did it all the for the Nookie.” I just imagine what everybody is thinking when they sing it back to me from the crowd, and it’s like I’m making love to a thousand people at one time, with all the consequences.



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