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