THE BEATLES - ABBEY ROAD
I was born in the Soviet Union to parents who were avid fans of modern music, but it wasn’t easy to access Western pop and rock. Somehow they still managed to follow the trends - allegedly my father managed to obtain the first Abbey Road LP in the USSR, the day after its release! As a teenager, I mostly listened to ‘60s and ‘70s music, and the Beatles were the most important band to me; I knew all their songs by heart, and they really helped me learn English. They're still a huge influence on my sound.
BRENDAN BENSON - ALTERNATIVE TO LOVE
In my opinion, there’s few musicians as underrated as Brendan Benson. The guy’s released six amazing solo albums (not to mention his Raconteurs work) yet somehow remains under the radar. I can’t pick my favourite album of his since they’re all are so good and so enjoyable - but I remember the first time I heard What I’m Looking For on Alternative to Love. Everything in that song just fell into place in its melody, music, meaning and his nonchalant voice. With its simplicity, it resonated perfectly with my student years and almost became a personal motto. “Well I don't know what I'm looking for, but I know that I just want to look some more”.
MUSE - ORIGIN OF SYMMETRY
Muse stormed into my musical life quite unexpectedly (like a New Born you could say!). I first heard them on the only alternative radio in Moscow at the time. While the likes of Linkin Park were a mainstream choice, Muse felt so fresh and so different, with Bellamy’s incredible vocals, roaring guitar riffs and emotional whirlwinds ripping through every song - appealing so much to my teenage self. And, of course, the Plug In Baby riff was a must-know for anyone learning to play the guitar.
THE WHITE STRIPES - DE STIJL
I still remember how my jaw dropped when I heard Fell in Love With a Girl; that’s how my lifelong fascination with the White Stripes and Jack White began. White Blood Cells definitely caught my attention, but De Stijl stole my heart forever. There’s something special about this record - so simple and minimalistic, before their big global break. As if Jack and Meg just popped by to your place and played a few of their favourite songs.
THE DOORS - STRANGE DAYS
Growing up, many ‘60s bands were household names at home, including Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin and Bob Dylan. Somehow the Doors escaped my universe until my late teens, when the Strange Days record ended up in my hands. It was strange indeed: dark and even disturbing, yet captivating, rocking and full of surprises - from the first song’s weird vocal effect, to the scary spoken word of Horse Latitudes, to the all-time classic rockers Love Me Two Times and My Eyes Have Seen You.