I’m excited to introduce the delightfully-named electro funk band Neon Tapehead, the very first music act from Russia to be featured on this blog. Drawing inspiration from R&B, soul, funk, electronic, early House and nu disco influences ranging from Rick James, Kool and the Gang, The GAP Band and Whitney Houston to Bruno Mars, Chromeo and Lizzo, the Moscow-based group combine nostalgic elements of old-school analog synthesizers with modern music production techniques to create their own sophisticated style of stylish and upbeat music. Making this wonderful music are Dmitry Ursul on lead guitar and synths, Aleksandr Kovalchuk on drums, Dmitry Votintsev on bass, and Maya Shonia on lead vocals. On November 13, they released “Know What I Want“, the lead single from their forthcoming debut EP Never Say Never, due out on December 4.
Neon Tapehead have spent the last few years honing their craft by releasing a number of terrific singles and remixes, and performing live shows in Moscow, where they were discovered by U.S. independent music label NexGen Music. The band’s first release on the label, “Know What I Want” is about the girl who knows what she wants even if her acts or wishes are illogical or inconsistent. About the song’s creation, the band explains: “This song was written and produced with influences of 80’s Electro Funk and Early 90’s house with a slower tempo. We tried to mix different elements of these styles into the one song. The main meaning behind this song is that you shouldn’t be shy with your wishes or goals. Just ask yourself about what you want right now and then go and get it! Brrr POW!”
“Know What I Want” is a feast for the ears, with a sensual vibe and funky dance groove that aims straight for the hips. The silky smooth synths and crisp percussive beats form a captivating backdrop for Maya’s soulful vocals that seduce us with her sultry croons and devilish purrs. It’s a terrific song that hearkens back to some of the great dance-funk and R&B songs of the 1980s.
The band has produced a beautiful video of them performing the song on a golf course outside Moscow. In most cases, I generally prefer videos that show an artist or band performing their song, rather than some silly narrative or plot line, so this video is right up my alley. The band provides some background about the video’s creation: “The music video was shot on a golf field in the suburbs of Moscow. It took some time and stress to organize the session but we made it happen. We were adamant about wanting to use the open space for a live video. The sound of the video is an actual live recording, so as far as we know we are the first Russian band to have recorded a funk song on a golf field in real-time! We were lucky because the wind had stopped blowing just before we started the recording and shooting, so it was easier to use to mix and master the sound later.”
“The introduction scene including Maya riding the golf car took a lot of takes because it was the first time that Maya had driven a vehicle of any kind – it was not a stand in actor! The trickiest part was to stop the car in the right place in front of the camera and walk to the microphone before the verse starts. We also had to be constantly aware of the Sun’s position which appeared to want to move towards sunset in double-time, so we tried to shoot this video as fast as possible.”