New East Digital Archive

Detroit techno meets the rough setting of Moscow’s dormitory suburbs in this new video for Frosted Lakes by Manuel Gonzales aka MGUN. The video was directed by Moscow-based duo The Great Fruit, Valdis Bielykh and Roman Ruktansky, who refer to themselves as “video pirates”.

The collaboration of Detroit and Moscow happened via Kiev: after Manuel Gonzalev released his track Frosted lakes on Ukrainian label Wicked Bass Records, created by Nazar Prokopiv. The idea of using a VHS aesthetic to complement the unpolished, slightly dirty sound emerged in the very beginning, and in the process evolved into a criminal drama set in the wild Russian 90s in Moscow’s North Chertanovo. The cast consisted of friends and real-life petty criminals from Moscow, and the story was inspired by research into the history of Russian racketeering.

“We had no problems with the props: the lads came in their own cars with their own guns”, remembers Valdis Bielykh. “We used certain items of clothes we own: a 1988 Adidas sweatshirt with a zipper I got from my father, and a Lacoste tracksuit Roman inherited from a friend of a family who used to belong to a criminal gang in Pyatigorsk in the south of Russia. The police traffic baton we used is real — our friend got it from a Kiev policeman in exchange for a bottle of wine. The battered Mercedes also had a criminal past. In the end MGUN really loved the video. He was particularly amazed by the settings of the dormitory suburb, even though he resides in a rather grim part of Detroit himself.”

The video was filmed on a various cameras, and in the end recorded onto VHS for full, grainy immersion into the world of 90s small-time criminals with their tracksuits, guns and black cars.

Text: Anastasiia Fedorova