(Originally Published in E-MAIL MAGAZINE ISSUE #1)
By Joel Ivan Thomas
Creating imagery to accompany music is a pretty abstract concept on its own, but what’s interesting to me is what happens to this imagery when a band or artist grows. When the music evolves, the visuals seem to change with it, as if these two separate mediums are intertwining branches on the same tree.
Like most bands, Super Besse started for fun — seeds were planted without an idea of how the roots would stretch out.
“The whole band was a fun project with friends. We didn’t know what style of music we’d play or what the covers should look like,” Sinica tells me over the phone. But their roots stretched quickly. Since forming in 2013, Super Besse have played festivals across Europe, from Moscow to Paris and pretty much every major city in between.
Their first album covers consisted of stylized photos of friends, but Sinica seems to have strengthened his vision for the band in unison with their sound.
“At the time, we thought it was fun. It doesn’t look like a classic post-punk cover. It was something unusual for this style of music. But the last album changed in sound, so we decided to make something new, something more serious that still stays in the vibe.”
According to Sinica, techno grooves have stretched their way into the Minsk scene. “For three or four years now, we’re deeply into electronic music. I’m a DJ here in Minsk. There are a lot of parties and raves.”
In Super Besse’s latest album, Un Rêve (2020), this influence is evident. Their drum machines are faster and more hypnotic, the songs are slicker but still punchy — they could drive people to dance from dive bars to Berghain. This is a natural fusion for Sinica.
“In Minsk, all these people who love techno music, electronic, they also like post-punk. We are together as a big community. Those styles of music always work together.”
The visuals for Un Rêve reflect the fresh slickness of their sound while still embracing their old process. The photos are still of a friend, but they look like vibe pictures pulled straight out of a fashion magazine. It’s more conceptual, we never see the face full of the subject, just fragments, “because when you dream, you don’t remember faces” - un rêve is french for a dream - .
Super Besse’s creative process hasn’t changed much since isolation. The duo has been collaborating from separate cities since singer and guitarist Maksim Kulsha moved to Berlin to open the rehearsal and recording studio Castalian Spring, while Sinica, Besse’s bassist, remained rooted in Minsk. In fact, the majority of Un Rêve was constructed remotely.
Just this month, Kulsha and Sinica self-shot a music video for their single Ozhog in their respective homes. The video cuts and jars in a magnificent lo-fi trance, mirroring the techno-rooted rhythms and slicing post-punk guitar. This video was shot and released in a week.
“Everything is so fast now,” says Sinica. “If you think about it too long, it loses all sense of what you want to say.”
Despite the speedy process, each new work Super Besse creates is becoming more refined. The visual and aural branches are eloquently weaving together and blossoming with some straight-up good lookin’ hits.
Sinica is now designing posters and album art for other bands and labels, one of which likes his style to the point of saying, “do whatever you want.”