By Stepan Soroka
VANCOUVER – If you are active within the Vancouver punk rock scene, chances are you know Tim Bogdachev, aka Russian Tim, in one way or another. On top of attending more shows than it seems possible, Bogdachev hosts the radio show Rocket from Russia on CiTR and sings for Russian Tim and Pavel Bures. He also organizes concerts, including the upcoming Rocket From Russia Fest, which features 18 of Vancouver’s finest punk bands. We caught up with Bogdachev to find out more about his passion for punk rock.
BeatRoute: Where are you from originally and how long have you been in Vancouver?
Tim Bogdachev: Thank you for the interest and the questions. I was born in Novosibirsk, Russia. It’s the biggest city in Siberia. And I moved to Vancouver in 2006. So I’ve lived here just a bit over 10 years.
BR: How would you describe the punk scene in your hometown in Russia?
TB: It always have been a very small scene, especially if you compare it to Vancouver punk rock scene. When I discovered punk rock and started listening to bands from Europe and North America. From my natural curiosity I started looking for local punk rock bands, but there were only a few and they weren’t very good. In 2004 I started my own band and started bringing together bands which played in the same genre and we created a pretty cool little scene in Novosibirsk. We started from shows which were attended by 50 people and my farewell immigration show had 750 people. Unfortunately after I moved to Canada our scene died and punk rock in my hometown has been dead for the past 10 years.
BR: What do you think of the Russian punk scene now?
TB: I think it’s an okay scene. The biggest criticism which I always had about Russian punk scene and rock music in general is that Russian bands stupidly copy North American or European bands. Sometimes it’s so blatantly obvious that you cringe when you hear those bands play. Those bands represent the majority of the scene. But at the same time the bands which are doing something original are amazing. Russia is a big country which produced many talented people in the different areas of art over time and we always were capable of something cool. There are fantastic unique bands in Russia, but unfortunately the Siberian tiger share are copycats.
BR: How were you introduced to punk rock?
TB: My uncle went to States on a school exchange program. He brought back a boombox with some CDs. He recorded me a tape: one side was Green Day — Dookie, another was The Offspring – Smash. As you correctly guessed, he went to USA in 1994. I really loved that tape. I didn’t know that it was called punk rock. I really like the melody, energy and speed of that music. Nothing changed since really. I still like melody, energy and speed of punk rock 24 years later.
BR: What do you do with your time when you are not occupied with music?
TB: I work as a financial planner for one of the major financial institutions in Canada. It’s not the most punk rock job you can imagine, but I like it that way because I like doing everything against the grain. It’s also a job where I work with people and I like people. I’m genuinely interested in people and their lives and I’m glad that with my expertise I improve lives. Music takes a lot of my time, but it’s the way I always lived my life – doing music stuff in my spare time. Some people go hiking, some people play video games, but I organize concerts, host a radio show and play in a band. To each their own.
BR: Top five active Vancouver punk bands?
TB: Ohhh nooo! This isn’t fair! I’m doing a Festival with 18 great local bands and you asking me to single out five! I can’t do that to the other 13 and many other local bands in town. Of course I have my favourites, but I don’t want to name five because it won’t be fair to other fantastic bands in town. If you would’ve asked me to name Top 100 active Vancouver bands then we would have a conversation, but its not really a newspaper interview format. How about I give you a generic vague answer and say that we have a great local punk scene in town and if people want to check it out they should attend Rocket From Russia FEST on August 16-18th at the Astoria. The RFR Fest features all 5 of my favorite local bands.
BR: Top five broken up Vancouver punk bands?
TB: If that’s easier. The Rebel Spell for sure. A band which was done way too soon and in very tragic circumstances. One of the best punk bands to come out of Canada and I’m glad that I witnessed them while they were active. Poor Form would be another band which I miss and I used to go see them every time they played. The band featured Adam from Needles//Pins and Legs. They wrote amazing songs, right up my alley, I wish they still played. Of course d.b.s. ! They were active before I moved to Vancouver so I never seen them live, but I know how good and important this band was for the local scene. In the days when Jawbreaker and Black Flag reunite I’m wondering what it’ll take for d.b.s. to reunite. B-Lines was also a band which I really enjoyed seeing. Their fearless leader Ryan Dyck has an unbelievable charisma and stage presence and the songs are good too! And the last one will be a cheat – Cambridge, a band where Jesse Lebourdais played before starting solo. But I don’t think they count now because I made them reunite for the Rocket From Russia Fest.
BR: What is the best concert you have ever been to?
TB: I’ve been to many shows. For me going to a show its not an event, it’s a way to spend an evening. So I go to shows every week, sometimes a few shows per week. One of my favorite bands to see live is Gogol Bordello. I’ve seen them 10 times and it’s always a party. Exactly how I imagine a fun show – dancing, singing, great energy, great charisma, great songs. And NOFX is my favourite band of all time, so I love seeing them.
BR: Tell us about the radio show you do for CiTR.
TB: It’s great, especially if you like punk rock. I play new, international and local punk music. I also preview shows of the upcoming weekend and interview bands. I really play a lot of local bands, so if you’re curious to discover some great bands in your backyard – tune in. The radio show is called Rocket From Russia and it’s on every Thursday from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.
BR: Why should everyone come to the Rocket From Russia Fest?
TB: Well because its gonna be great! We live in a city with wonderful music scene. We have truly some amazing bands. I picked some of the best ones to play the RFR Fest. I honestly think that every band out of those 18 is really, like REALLY good. They are all different, different charismas, different sub-genres of punk rock, different message. And if you come to the Fest this is what will happen – next day you will be like “wow, I saw these local bands on the weekend and they were really good.” I know. Because it happens every time when I invite somebody to my shows. We’re lucky to have such a good scene in town, let’s celebrate it.
Rocket From Russia Fest is happening August 16 to 18 at the Astoria.hi how are you, Rocket From Russia, Russian Tim and the Pavel Bures