Russian Tim And The Pavel Bures

Russian Tim: Through Being Cool

The pop punk purist airs his grievances on the heels of new album, Something More in Russian.

by Sean Orr

I met Tim Bogdachev, better known as Russian Tim, at a charming throwback cafe in Gastown called Cottage Deli, a place which seems impossible in Vancouver’s rapidly gentrified Gastown neighbourhood. I chose the location because it’s unpretentious and unique, not unlike Bogdachev himself. With his coif of bright dyed blonde hair and yellow hiking jacket, he’s beaming. His band, Russian Tim and the Pavel Bures, had just opened for pop punk legends Lagwagon, and their album release was just around the corner. His effusive positivity and genuine excitability are infectious as we order two Reubens and sit upstairs to soak in the view of the harbour and pristine mountains.

The conversation flows between our love of 90s double-kick skate punk, his band’s recent coffee blend collaboration with Anarchy Roasters, Canada’s success in World Cup qualifying rounds, Pavel Bure — naturally — and the contradiction between music venues being required to host sit-down only shows while 18 thousand people can cram into Rogers Arena to watch a hockey game. We talk about bucket list bands, and for Tim, he’s always wanted to see The Adolescents. He won’t have to wait too long though, as they’re coming to Vancouver with Circle Jerks in March. 

Lagwagon also holds a special place for Bogdachev: “For me, Blaze was the first album that I realized punk rock production, something I never paid attention to before. I even had a little notebook and was making notes.” Fast forward 18 years and those notes are paying off as The Pavel Bures have just released their debut LP, Something More in Russian, an ambitious and full sounding tour de force of punk rock micro-genres, from ska, to folk-punk, to blistering melodic hardcore. 

And who better to fulfill Bogdachev’s punk rock production dreams than Rain City Recorders’ punk legend in his own right, Jesse Gander. “Working at Rain City is easy because, as I always say, It’s a studio run by punk rockers who get it. They understand everything. Plus Jesse’s ability, he played so much on the album. He played organ on four or five songs, he played guitar, he even played glockenspiel.”

It’s an ambitious record and a ‘great success’ for Bogdachev, who immigrated to Canada in 2006. As a bald eagle soars over the railway tracks in front of us, it felt apropos to dig into his immigration story. Turns out his family first landed in Toronto in November but upon experiencing the slush and snow thought “how is this different: and went back to Russia to do some research before they settled on Vancouver. 

The city of Vancouver has welcomed him, first with his popular college radio show, Rocket From Russia, and eventually as a promoter who throws popular multi-band “ragers.” Vancouver needs unpretentious and unrelenting positivity and Russian Tim and the Pavel Bures bring it. Although it’s a town that can be cold and cliquey, we love our enigmatic and carefree frontmen: Nardwuar, Chrissariffic, Adrian Teacher, and now Russian Tim. 

As much as he loves the punk scene in Vancouver, there’s a couple of things that bemuse Bogdachev. In the name of good fun, we asked him to come up with five gripes that he has with punk rock as a whole:

Cliques 

“When I moved here I used to go to small local shows, and let’s say there’s five bands playing a show, they’re all friends, fine. But then you come back to the same show, they may change one band or two, but they play for the same 30 people. And then I see the same thing happening in ska and hardcore. So when I started doing shows, what I did was I said, ‘Let’s pick one band from that scene and merge it together, so the same 30 people will come but it will be 5 different sets of 30!’” 

Self Promotion

“Look, we live in the social media age. If you want your music to be heard, self promotion is a part of it. You don’t have to be weird or shy about it. If you don’t want to be heard then never leave your jam room, never play a show. And don’t say, ‘my dumb band wrote some shitty songs come see us’. If your songs are shitty then maybe work on them! You don’t have to be so punk rock.” 

All Ages Shows

“I’m going to be 40 in a couple of years. I’ve gone to a couple all ages shows, and when I do I feel weird. I have nothing in common with (younger) people. They’re from a different generation, they’re not going to listen to us doing rip-offs of Rancid and NOFX. They have their own thing. That’s not saying punk rock is going to die; it’s going to live, but in a different capacity. Maybe back in the day with Seylynn Hall or Croatian Cultural Centre, but personally, I feel weird playing in front of 16 year olds.”

Band T-shirts

“I think that’s good! Let’s say there’s a small band and they don’t know anyone and there’s one person wearing their shirt. It’s just welcoming! It’s nice! It’s not lame. It’s fucking punk rock! Punk rock is not about being cool”

“Punk Time”

“I hate this. I find it so disrespectful. If you say you’re going to start at 7 or 8, or maybe 9pm- because we live in the big city where’s lots of options on a Friday or Saturday night. Maybe they work, maybe they have other plans. I just think it’s rude but it’s portrayed as cool, ‘punk time is cool’. Respect the audience. They are choosing to spend their money on you when they have a million other options.”  

Something More in Russian is available now on vinyl in four colours: yellow, blue, mint, and pink.

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