On the eve of the festival “Garage Fall” we talked with three owners of underground clubs. They all have one thing in common – they chose a regular garage for their place!
Even in sunny weather the garage co-op looks dull. The entrance is blocked by a tall rusty gate, which, however, is wide open, and behind them – the usual plastic barrier. When you enter the territory, it is difficult to navigate – long two-storied brick structures stretch in identical rows, sometimes twisting into bizarre labyrinths. Only the serial numbers on the blue plates help to find the correct garage.
It is difficult to imagine that in this unsightly area, far from the center of Moscow, new music venues popping up like mushrooms and attract young people who love non-mainstream music. The Noisy Forecast team decided to visit the owners of local clubs and asked them what they actually are doing here.
“The Claw”. Discoverers.
Kolya: I rent this garage. In 2014, the CSBR movement grew up so much that I thought we needed a place to get together and rehearse, jam, do some stuff & content. We looked for a place and found a garage. First one we missed, now there lives our friend from Korolev, who uses it as private space.
So we rented this garage. We began to rehearse and jam. And onetime the concert was canceled (clubs were closed) so we moved it here and thought that we rarely gather more than 70-100, even 50 people, why do we need clubs? These safeguards, waiters, tables with deposits, rude sound engineers. Let’s gather everyone here. This is how it turned out itself. The industry and people around pushed me to have a place, then we had a sound, and so on. There was development. So it wasn’t just: “I want a club!”
Initially, there wasn’t idea of the club, just a place where we could come to hang out without problems like neighbors telling you: “we’ll call the police.” No one wants that, so let’s create a place where we can have fun.
We made it with our own hands and learned from our own mistakes. Sound is shit — it is necessary to do something with soundproofing, cold — so we need to come up with insulation, flooring is shit – it is necessary to
figure it out.
Here is an empty space (points to the bar counter) – it should not be, it’s a mistake in my calculations when I drew design. I didn’t take into account that the bearing beams also have their own distance (5 centimeters) as a result here are 10 centimeters of empty space. Then I put it together and I looked like – О_о. As a result, now it can be considered as an element of style.
Everything is made on the principle of DIY. What had to be done – was done. Of course some things I was looking from the sidelines. Here is for example this stand with merch. It wasn’t there before, but the issue was ripe…
There are t-shirts, a bunch of CD’s, you need to put them somewhere. So that people come in and see the merch of the performing band.
I earned a lot of money, regularly travelled on vacation abroad, drank, but I did not find happiness for myself there. Maybe when this all over, I will get a job as a janitor, so that I do not work with people, and I’ll do something as useful and productive as possible for society. Pick up trash while listening to music, or I’ll be a gardener. I really like pruning trees.
Own money. We took loans, paid loans, took them again. First, we picked up 130 thousand rubles, then 300 thousand and I recently closed debt for electrician – 130 thousands. That is, at first we picked up 130 thousand for all needs, and now one “head” for an amplifier took 130 thousand. It’s not a big deal, if you compare how much money guys invested in the DTH, Pentagram House and others. I still scare to borrow a million or two million and fuck this up. Still scare for some reason, so many years have passed, it was possible to buy this garage. But I still scare, that suddenly something happens, I’ll be captured, or the situation will change somehow. I don’t belong to this garage yet, I’m just renting it. If anything happens, I’ll move out tomorrow. And if I buy it, it’s already property, it already holds me. I will belong to him.
Why you didn’t choose a “classic” bar or cafe?
I’ve been thinking about it. They’re closing. How many garages are closed? Very few. How many clubs? A lot of them, huh? I already had a GIG-House club. Don’t want a club, it’s a tough business that will take everything from you, giving nothing but bad karma and you will be showered with shit. Bad sound – blame the club. It’s not the musician who can’t play. One asshole got drunk and threw up – blame the club. The guard is rude – blame the club. I don’t want that, I’m not a businessman.
For me it’s more for the soul, for pleasure. If I wanted the money, I would have gone the other way. First of all, I get off on this, and I can play a lot. I’m a musician, a drummer, and I have so much time to study. It works for me, I like it. Beautiful people come here, we communicate, I play music, I feel that I bring to this world. That’s amazing.
People are the weak link. You start with your friends and everything seems to be fine, and then someone starts to
dawdle , the other one starts to mess around… I percieve this whole project like a crab. I’m, for example, – his claw, and the rest is claws, or paws too. And when one of the claws or paws starts to dawdle, it pulls the whole project down. And my job is to cut that dead leg off from the body so the crab can move on. And the new one will grow without problems. Critical issue is the staff. A good staff is one that will not be idle, that will not suck the strength out of you physical and moral.
And no partners, no. It is better to learn to do everything yourself. There are hired staff, there are buddies, but not partners. “The Count of Monte Cristo”, I read it recently, and it says, “If you have a partner, you have a master.” I should have read it first. No partners. It’s better when I’ll do everything myself, I’ll sit on the bottle myself, but no partners. To be independent. Because you won’t tell your partner, “Get out!”. You can’t do that, he’s your partner. So I’ll put up with it and fix it myself. I will put up with it and do everything myself.
I kindly envy the team of Grindhouse and Old Bus. Because there is not one person in charge of everything, there are several of them. And this is a great talent, if that’s the group. We originally were five people, big team. We discussed: “Yes! We must do so-and-so! And so! Yeah!”, but nothing moved further. But they really do it. So I hope that they will have such a big team for as long as possible. I really respect that they have such a large team and they can function effectively. So far they have succeeded. Let’s see in a year how many people will remain there.
I see the main goal in the fact that my experience will be passed on to the younger generations, that they will accept it and they will not need 5-6 years to learn what I have been learning all this time. In a few seasons, they will learn how to rebuild the sound, play music, fight against chaos, keep the bar area clean, how to optimize and this kind of discipline. A discipline that balances between chaos and fun. That’s very good. It helps to hold on and not die. It helps not to get out of the game like some of our friends.
Grindouse_48. Blame the Alcohol
Tiffany: I don’t know, it was just so spontaneous. Of course I’ve always dreamed of opening a bar, or a club. In due time, when I still lived in Zhukovsky, I did some small local concerts. And in the club “Slam” in Ramenskoye I did some open-airs. Well, I was just a kid. And then somehow we communicated with Nikolay Borisovich from group “IL“. And one day we got strongly drunk and decided to buy a club!
We opened on March 8 (in Zhukovsky under the same name), and closed in June. But there was just a huge rent and a large hall, local concerts couldn’t handle it alone . To do some gigs with bands from other cities was completely irrelevant, not enough people will come. Sometimes there came people from Moscow to some large gigs. We organized “Slave to the grind” – a big festival of grind music, it was nice. People was enough. The hall was crowded, everyone was very happy. But it was an exception.
Then we rented this garage. We remembered that the group ” IL ” rented a garage as a rehearsal space on this territory , and thought – why not to make a club here? In regular mode we work as a rehearsal space for some bands too and on Fridays and Saturdays we have events.
We were actually lucky, because when we arrived here, there was already some basic finishing done. That is we had basically only to repaint the walls, build a stage and light. We even had the bar almost ready, I had only to improve it and decorate a little bit. The most difficult thing is to drag the equipment to the second floor, because it is still a garage! Doorways are very small, we dragged everything through the window. In two weeks, the entire
renovation was finished.
Part of the music equipment we brought from “Grindhouse” in Zhukovsky, the other part is taken from the
IL’s rehearsal room. There was a little help from a lot of people. Something we bought. I don’t know much about it. Anything to do with sound is done by boys. I’m glad. Even here, when I’m standing behind the bar on the second floor, I can hear everything, I don’t even have to go down (to the scene).
Purpose of what?! Party!… There is a place to live here too, because we live here. But mostly it’s bar-club. Why not.
Why did you choose a garage?
Well, it’s a rent question. A regular bar has a huge rent. It’s also connected with music, because basically all of them are underground concerts. In my opinion the garage is the perfect underground location. First of all, the underground is DIY. Underground means more easy conditions and mutual support.
I really like that the place is small, the parties are quite local, and not something of a media scale. I like this coziness and comfort. I think it attracts people. Like the feeling of being in the family or something. We are generally very hospitable in this regard! Towards the bands and visitors.
Comfortable capacity is 40 people after all. Sometimes comes a little more, but usually there is a turnover. From the bar to the hall, from the hall to smoke outside, and it seems like everything fit. Usually comes around 50-60 people, sometimes on some big festivals – 70-100. On our opening was 100+.
O.B.G. It’s good for the soul
A few words about yourself
Sergey: I’m not from Moscow, I was born in Kyrgyzstan. At first I moved to the city of Shakhty of the Rostov region, then to Voronezh. In 2011 I served a year in the army, then got a job on a gas pipeline, then returned again to the army, served three more years. And here I am.
I haven’t had any experience up to this point to have something of my own or be so tightly connected to music. But I have a girlfriend – a musician, so we got such collaboration (laughs).
Nastya: I was a musical person since childhood. When I remember my kindergarten (one of three), my father told me that the teachers loved me very much. During the walk I sat on the swing, start singing songs, all the children would gather around me, and the teachers would sit and relax – they didn’t have to watch anyone (laughs). Actually as a child I always loved to sing, sometimes tried to participate and perform. I always knew I wanted to be able to play the guitar and I just set a goal. At the age of 15 I started training… Remembering that many people say that there will be calluses, I wrapped my fingers with a plaster on the first day (laughs). I studied a lot how to play and I learned it myself.
Music is my life. Like many people probably, I have life situations and people who are associated with certain songs, music. I always wanted to develop in this area, but it turned out around the bush. I started to study journalism, and then moved into Internet marketing, but when I met Sergey and we created this place, I returned on the right path.
Nastya: Initially there was no idea to create a bar, there was no idea to create a bar here. It was rather an idea of the distant future – our own music club. We wanted to start with small steps. We wanted to open a draft beer shop. Already found everything, we’ve calculated all the expenses. And here we were going to do it, but through our mutual friend fate brought us together with the owner of a board game store. One evening we decided: “Why we need a draft beer shop? Let’s open our own bar?!”
We chosed another direction at first – board games. But our partner has his own music festival, so for us it was a combination of pleasant and useful.
Sergey: So the place with musical stuff have come out on the first floor, by the way. |
Nastya: Yes, we agreed that on weekdays we will play board games, and on weekends – listen to bands who want to perform at the festival. But not everything went according to plan. We delayed reconstruction a little bit and our partner flipped out and opened a club next door, where now is Grindhouse_48. It was open for about two months.
Sergey: We did all the reconstructions on our own, mostly together with our friend Timofey. Down to electrics.
Nastya: This “garage” format, paradoxically, requires much more effort and investment. With the resources that were invested here, temporary and material, it was possible to open something “ordinary”.
Sergey: So, we agreed that we do reconstruction, and our partner Artem had to drive flow of people – board game lovers. He has a lot of games, and most importantly – he has a crowd of people who are ready to come to him.
But at some point he accidentally stopped cooperating with us, and we were left to do the project all by ourselves. There were a few moments when we thought to close, worked at a loss every month. We were thinking of where to take the money. Now we are also working at a loss.
Nastya: But not the same as it was before (laughs).
Sergey: Now people are slowly starting to come, it’s very nice. Most of all praise the second floor, chill-out zone. No one has such a cozy place in garages. Many people come to us just to eat. They come to us from Balashikha, Zheleznodorozhny…
Nastya: When you stand at the bar, you see a lot of stories, like watching a movie. The best compliment, probably, was from the girl who works with celebrities. She said, “You know, I’m sitting in Moscow-City today on the 53rd floor…», listed some sort of celebrities, “… so constrained and dreaming about being in your garage now.”
At that moment, when we wanted to close, many people dissuaded us, said, “you have to fight for it, now the underground is gaining momentum, people are tired of the mass character and they aim for more closed parties.” I didn’t really believe it at first, but when people say it all the time, you realize, it’s really great. When you hear the reviews – it’s very nice . We decided to continue.
Sergey: It is necessary to pull along, as a locomotive that pulls a huge string of cars, a lot of tons of any cargo… We need to do this, who if not us?! (laughs)
The realization that it was “sculpted” with own hands, like a clay jug and turned into some beautiful thing… Reviews of people who say everything is cool and they really like it – this is the highest praise that can be. It’s pushing you to go further, to do even cooler.
Nastya: We keep this place for non-commercial purposes, more for the soul and for the soul of our visitors. We don’t aim to make profit on this bar, but we would like it works on a cost recovery basis .
Actually it’s cool when you have such space, there are many opportunities: need to rehearse – come and do it, we have equipment, drums, guitars; someone want to celebrate birthday – there is a place for it, want to arrange a film screening – you are welcome. It’s multiformat. I think, if we open in another place, we would keep this garage, because it is always useful to have such garage (laughs).
Sergey: Many people who come say: “garages are cool”, and many say that they want to rent their garage here.
Nastya: Yes, ordinary garages are almost gone here. Many people use them as living accommodation, just not to go somewhere far. We lived here for six months.
About the future plans
Nastya: Six Months is such a short period, it’s not five years like “Claw”, for example. We are at the early stage of development, so we still have a lot of unfinished ideas and something to surprise people. We are not going to bore you in the nearest future.
I don’t know how Seryozha plans, I would like to open a more “solid” place in the future anyway. Maybe with the same name, maybe as a branch, but with a different direction. I would like to keep the garage, but to reach a new level.
More photos on our flickr-page