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Written by Johnny Papan

Tim Bogdachev, famously known in Vancouver as "Russian Tim" is a Russian immigrant who moved to Vancouver in 2006. His parents originally intended to move to the United States after the disbandment of the Soviet Union, but their divorce resulted in Bogdachev and his mother moving to Vancouver after a lengthy immigration process.

Over the years, Bogdachev has developed quite a name for himself in Vancouver's punk scene. He hosts the Rocket From Russia radio show on CITR Discorder 101.9fm every Thursday from 10-11am where he plays punk rock from around the globe. Bogdachev's over-the-top energy and outstanding love and support for punk music, especially in Vancouver, has made him a beloved face of the scene. He is also the frontman of Russian Tim and Pavel Bures who performs hard-hitting songs in his native Russian tongue. Despite the language barrier his band is well received on Canadian soil.

Now, Bogdachev is set to host another of his annual Rocket From Russia festivals, the biggest yet. Four straight days of punk featuring well-known acts like The Corps, You Big Idiot, lie, The Jins, his own band and many more! The festival runs July 18-21 at the Wise Hall. Rekt Chords reached out for a quick Q & A with the one-of-a-kind Russian Tim to talk about Rocket From Russia Fest, his love for punk rock, and his recent Vancouver-punk compilation album: Punkcouver, Vol. 3.

REKT CHORDS: You are a great supporter of the Vancouver punk scene, what attracts you so much to the music made here? Is it different from the music in Russia or other countries you’ve lived/visited?

RUSSIAN TIM: Yes, I am a big fan of Vancouver punk rock and DIY scene. I think we have a fantastic, very talented and very diverse scene in this city. I think my passion for local music has partially to do with the fact that I grew up as a music fan in Novosibirsk, Siberia and had limited access to music. When I moved over to Vancouver I was blown away by the quality and the quantity of local bands. Vancouver scene was a massive step up compared to Siberia.

You run the Rocket from Russia radio show, what made you want to pursue this? Do you have a background in radio?

Absolutely no experience in radio. Like many things in life, I learn by doing. I never thought of hosting a radio-show, but my friend, Marielle, invited me to be a guest on her show. They offered me to be a co-host and then offered to take over the program fully. This is how I became a radio host. It wasn’t planned at all, but I’ve been doing this for almost 10 years now.

To get better I listened to Nardwuar, Grant Lawrence and lots of podcasts. My biggest influence is obviously James Richardson. It’s impossible to emulate his unique style, but his laid back, almost neglecting style is infectious. Also, Max Rushden and Barry Glendenning were and are big influences. I learn a lot from those legends, since I never had a proper radio/broadcast education.

You have your own band, Russian Tim and Pavel Bures where you sing your songs in Russian. How do you feel that band has been perceived by the Vancouver crowd?

I feel its going pretty great for us in Vancouver. Of course at first people were like "what the fuck is going on there? Why do they sing in foreign language?" I never really wanted to write any lyrics. In other people’s music I rarely care for lyrics, I only listen to lyrics when they are really good or really bad. I grew up listening to European and North American bands and didn’t understand what they were singing about. But that never stopped me from liking music.

I’m pretty lazy when it comes down to writing lyrics myself. It doesn’t motivate me, I don’t care. I would rather take an existing lyrical contentment than come up with something myself. Also, I never want to express myself in a form of lyrics, especially accompanied over music. And even if I did, people in Vancouver still wouldn’t really care as they would not be able to understand.

Singing in Russian was a calculated risk on my part. I knew if we sing in Russian people would have no idea how to sing along to those gibberish sounds so we would have to be fun live. From the start, the big emphasis was done on being an entertaining live band.  I would rather be a super fun live band than a band which is known for their clever and smart philosophical great lyrics. 

What are your songs about?

We have some songs which were written by our Musical Director – Slava. He writes songs about personal politics. For the most part I agree with his views, but at the same time I don’t really care. The majority of our songs are Russian rock and pop songs from 90-00s. So majority of songs have pretty random topics. But like I said, the lyrical content of our band is completely irrelevant.

What inspired you to put together the Rocket From Russia festival?

The reason was pretty simple. I had way too many good bands I wanted to put in a show, but I couldn’t put all of them on one bill. So I decided to do it over two days and once you have 2 shows in a row you can call it a “festival”. So this is how it’s all started. Last year I did Rocket From Russia FEST over three days at Astoria and this time it’s over four days at Wise Hall on July 18-21st of July featuring 25 GREAT local bands.

Can you talk about your recently release album Punkouver 3? Why did you make this compilation? What kind of work went into it? What makes this compilation special?

Lots of work goes into the comp. Keep in mind that I work with like 27 punk rockers who are very disorganized, don’t follow the deadlines and are poor at communication. It could be discouraging when a few months before the deadline I sit down to follow up with all the bands and to send 27 follow up messages and only half of the bands get back to me and maybe quarter of the bands give me a vague idea when I can expect the song. So I did it on a weekly basis and from March to July I managed to get 19 brand new songs and 27 in total for the compilation. Then the comp goes to Stu McKillop at RainCity who masters the album. His job is incredible hard because all 27 songs are recorded at different studios and have different volumes and it takes him about a week to make sure that this collection of songs sounds like an album.

The reason I do it goes along with the idea of the Festival. Rocket From Russia FEST promotes and celebrates local music. At the Fest itself we celebrate it and promote it with live sets; an the compilation Punkouver does the same but in recorded format.

What can people expect at Rocket From Russia festival? Any other thoughts?

They can expect 4 great nights of Vancouver music. I picked really great bands to play. It a very diverse GREAT group of bands. I can guarantee you that if you come to the Festival you will FOR SURE discover a few new bands. And then maybe you’ll go see them at another show or listen to their music on Spotify/Bandcamp. We have an amazing scene in Vancouver and Rocket From Russia FEST is a great representation of that fantastic Vancouver talent.

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