In January of 2020 an unsuspecting, lo-fi song from an unsuspecting, low-key Belarusian band became an international hit… thanks to TikTok. The song — “Судно (Борис Рыжий),” or “The Ship (Boris Ryzhiy)” — became a viral sensation on the Chinese social media app as the soundtrack for a variety of memes, outfit compilations, faux-nostalgia for the Soviet Union and more. Now, the band behind the song is releasing a new full-length record. On November 13, Minsk-based punk trio Molchat Doma put out their third album, Monument, via Sacred Bones.
With a sound that brilliantly reimagines ‘80s gothic rock and cold wave, Monument encapsulates Molchat Doma’s distinctive and transportive style. Sounding akin to Bauhaus and other European post-punk acts, the songs on this record walk a fine line of being dancey and contemplative at the same time.
“The album was recorded and produced during quarantine,” the band’s primary songwriter, Roman Komogortsev, told American Songwriter via email (once it was translated from Russian to English, that is). “Since all tours were canceled due to the pandemic, there was more time to work on the album. The sources of inspiration were personal stories, stories from the lives of our friends. It was emotionally difficult to finish the compositions, due to the fact that a pandemic came and the diversity of life suddenly stopped, but we managed to do as we intended.”
The fact that Molchat Doma embraces home-recording is a key factor into how they get their signature sound. “The whole process took place at my home studio,” Komogortsev said. “Instruments were written here, drum machines and synthesizers were recorded. We used old synthesizers for this recording. Of course, there were virtual ones, but for the most part, such beasts as Yamaha DX7, Minimoog, Roland Juno-106, Lel 0041 appear on the album. As for the features, we used two different basses to get interesting sounds on all the songs.”
While all of these tools help make Molcaht Doma formulate their vibe, perhaps the most prominent informer of the band’s style is the personalities of its members. Discrete and humble, Komogortsev and his two bandmates are pretty removed from some of the fanfare that’s become so prevalent in Western entertainment — for example, they opted out of answering any questions about their “viral” status on TikTok.
“This is all some kind of parallel reality and we have no recipe for this,” Komogortsev said. “We are ordinary guys and do not position ourselves as some kind of celebrity. We don’t need it. You need to work, practice every day, not lose any opportunity and be bolder. It’s just that there are more opportunities to create music and there are many more listeners to our music — that’s great! Who would have known?”
Watch the lyric video for “Otveta Net” by Molchat Doma below: