It is important to find community in what you do. -Nikita Mekalin (Geuxx)-
Ukraine, and especially Kyiv, was at a time of cultural flourishing that had been gestating for years, positioning itself as a contemporary and proactive capital in the artistic and technological field. Unfortunately, the pace of this ascent was interrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic, and then, by the armed conflict Ukrainians are currently facing.
However, the artistic community has come together strongly and has launched a position for peace and the defense of their homeland through various initiatives worldwide.
The story behind the Worn Pop label exemplifies the sense of community that characterizes the Ukrainian people, and that little by little generates positive changes and new opportunities for all of them.
“Making music is a punk thing now, everyone can do what they want” (Geuxx)
I first listened to Cold Comfort thanks to the YouTube algorithm. It was the video of a presentation in Warsaw. Many Mexicans enjoy the characteristic atmospheres of post-punk, but this band seemed special to me. So I went to that mine called Bandcamp and got a big surprise with their album Modern Crypts (2013), especially with the single Frolic.
Another name began to appear constantly, Worn Pop, a label that emerged from self-management in the Kyiv underground scene, as a pioneer of the regulation of conditions and salaries for independent musicians in the Ukrainian capital.
Founder Nikita Netrebko extended Wornpop’s faculties to record-label, booking agency, artist management and promo for bands like Hungry Boys, Cold Comfort, Geuxx, Polje, Gil’otina and Stepan i Meduza.
“You can be popular in European countries, even if they don’t understand Ukrainian, it’s about the music” (Gil’otina)
It was a lucky coincidence that our plans crossed in Berlin, one of the stops on their first European tour in late summer 2018.
Cold Comfort, Geuxx and Gil’otina were playing with the Belarusian Super Besse at Urban Spree, a typical Berlin industrial complex dedicated to art.
The days before the gig passed between long walks around the city, beer, red wine, synth-pop on portable speakers and a tape recorder documenting that first European tour at the discretion of Nikita Mekalin (Geuxx).
We met at the Castalian Spring studios and talked about life in Kyiv, the underground music scene in Ukraine, the opportunities and difficulties they had faced on the way up to Berlin, and their dreams as musical creators in a land that is torn between the stereotype of despair, and authentic creative effervescence.