Serbian music by world standards
Finally, Serbia has a real alter-mainstream pop-rock attraction. They are called Buč Kesidi and are named after the infamous outlaw because they “deviated” from the mediocre thrash mainstream of domestic music scene and are heading in the right direction. They call themselves “left-handed disco boy band” and they come from Pančevo. Vojvodina has always been synonymous with good melody, as a well-known adage in music circles goes. Buč Kesidi are a continuation of the alter and indie pop-rock tradition of Great Britain, America and Serbia. Their fans are young people who are living the era in which “music says nothing to me about my life” but still their music touches thousands of people. They are Luka Racić and Zoran Zarubica and they are a new attraction on the Serbian pop scene.
Butch Cassidy was an outlaw and an adventurer who sought happiness and found death “on distant shores”. Does the name Buč Kesidi imply identification with a character who pushed the envelope? As the name of your band is written phonetically (in the Serbian language), is that a symbolic sign that yours is world music but with the Serbian top coat?
We would rather call it “our music but by world standards”. Bands around us mostly look up to each other, which is okay for forming a nice community to hang out with, but compared to the sound of world-famous bands, they sound noticeably worse (with some exceptions). This is the limit we strive to eliminate. In a society where everyone is used to the thrash sound, our goal is that when people hear our music at parties, along with songs by, let’s say, Tame Impala or The Strokes, our music can hold its own and sounds all right. Our producer Milan Bjelica helped us immensely to be aware of that, as did Pera and Vuk Stevanović from the Krokodil Music Studio where we record our songs because they have been doing that for years and they always find a way to do things better than the current norm.
The first album was a good indie-pop album, but the second one pushed the envelope on the sleepy and raised the bar on the Serbian music scene. When did you come up with the idea of electro-rock as a crossover?
It came to us naturally with the song “Nema ljubavi u klubu” (“No Love in the Club”). Since our bassist left, we got a chance to see a much broader picture of music than a traditional rock band is limited to, and that helped us define the songs as concretely as possible, with as little excess as possible. They are either good or not, and it doesn’t matter that much anymore who plays which instrument. Synthesizers, electronic basslines and more flexible production were a logical step forward, and they also fit the theme of the song. We could have emulated many bands we love – Depeche Mode, Pet Shop Boys, White Stripes – who all did it in a slightly different way.
Young people, but also older ones, see the everyday life in Serbia and the world embodied in your verses, as they saw it in the songs by The Smiths and The Cure in the 1980s, i.e. as a realistic picture of their world, not an imposed image of a fake-wannabe life as IDJ TV promotes today. How easy was it to write lyrics that cut that deep and how difficult will it be to stay in that “reality” after you become popular?
It was easy because we were motivated to do exactly that. Honest and direct songs have always been our main goal, and we worked on that the most, namely to emulate the atmosphere of lyrics and music so that they depict the situations and emotions that the audience will recognize. That is why we are doing music, and it is unlikely that popularity will change that. Girls are still not falling for us left and right and we still have plenty of material for a couple more raw albums.
This year’s Exit and the happenings on its Main Stage are postponed. What are your plans for the future, when all this madness passes?
We will continue with concerts where we left off, and in the meantime, we are going to make music videos, live recordings, and of course, new music.
By Žikica Milošević