Soviet Threaten Electro Revival

SOVIET with cRYOGENETIC, Twilight 76, Electric Workers, Freakdrivr, chase 23 and Axi-o-matic at the Opera House (735 Queen East), Saturday.


SOVIET with cRYOGENETIC, Twilight 76, Electric Workers, Freakdrivr, chase 23 and Axi-o-matic at the Opera House (735 Queen East), Saturday (June 22), $12 advance, $15 door. 416-466-0313.

Rating: NNNNN


The time warp the New York music scene is going through didn’t give rise only to the Strokes and other new wave retro anomalies like the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and the Walkmen. Turning the clocks back 20 years has helped synth-p0p curiosities like Soviet, too.

The bleepy sequenced melodicism of the Moog-strapped fivesome’s We Are Eyes, We Are Builders (Plastiqmusiq) debut might’ve been dismissed as a kooky Depeche Mode tribute a couple of years ago, but since Peaches, Fischerspooner and Chicks on Speed turned 80s nostalgia into glittery electroclash gold, suddenly Soviet are the hip new thing.

When Keith Ruggiero formed Soviet in Connecticut, however, he wasn’t thinking about cashing in on a popular trend. The idea was to avoid one.

“At the time I started Soviet,” recalls Ruggiero from a Chicago stop, “everyone else I knew in college was either into hippie stuff like Phish and the Dave Matthews Band or ska.

“I didn’t hear any bands trying to do something new with the music I grew up with, like Japan, Talk Talk, Strange Advance and Men Without Hats, particularly the early stuff like Folk Of The 80s. When I began trying to develop my own sound, those were my influences. I never had any interest in playing ska.”

It wasn’t long after Ruggiero started playing New York that Soviet came to the attention of electroclash impresario Larry Tee, whose prior claim to fame was producing RuPaul’s break-out hit, Supermodel. Once Tee started adding Soviet to the mix of his popular electroclash parties at Club Luxx in Williamsburg, the media and the record labels came calling.

“I never knew what electroclash was until we started seeing it in our press. There was an undercurrent of this kind of music happening in New York for a while, but it took Larry to bring it out into the open.

“When all the tech-heads tinkering at home and the kids with keyboards found out that electronic music was cool again, they started coming out of their bedrooms saying, ‘Here we are!’

“As soon as Fischerspooner got signed, record company people who felt they’d missed the boat started coming to our shows looking for their own electroclash act. There are a couple of offers on the table right now, but I think it’s mostly just talk. We’ll see what happens.”

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