By Nicholas Jason Lopez
MTRSS are a global collaborative music project who regularly create vintage analog soundtracks, a joint effort of musicians from Pacific Russia, New Zealand, England, Germany and The United States.
The audio-visual artistic collaboration recently debuted the seventh incarnation of their single “Cali High,” a remix by Japanese band Boys Age, one that offers a taste of lo-fi, psychedelic and jazz.
The Music Bugle had the opportunity to talk with Ilya Lagutenko (the group’s producer) about the new song and more.
Music Bugle – What excites you the most about your style of music?
Ilya Lagutenko – When we cut our first demo, a good friend of mine and a creator of Antique Beat whose name is Stephen Coates and who is an amazing producer and musician himself said that the record sounds like Foxy-Noir and I was like, “Yeah, that’s exactly the vibe that I had in mind.”
Music Bugle – How did you guys decide the “MTRSS” name?
Ilya Lagutenko – That’s easy. We were hanging out and drinking one night at one of those vinyl bars in Tokyo. We were a group of touring musicians from all around the world who came to the bar to listen to some good music. Then, the owner of the place came by. His name was Mori Torori. He didn’t speak English that well, but after a few Japanese whiskeys and sakes, he said that we should record something together. We had different music backgrounds and geographical locations, but at that point, it didn’t matter. We said that it wasn’t rocket science. We went to the studio and created the tunes. Then, the pandemic hit and Mori Torori Rocket Science Society was born.
Music Bugle – What was your favorite moment that you experienced while on stage?
Ilya Lagutenko – What? Me on stage? When? Joking… Actually, one of the things I love is that whenever the monitoring system fails, you just keep performing without even hearing yourself and what you’re doing. I personally hate musicians who are complaining about the sound to the audience. I also don’t give a damn when the audience is blaming the performers for the bad sound. Like, come on, guys. Just enjoy the moment.
Music Bugle – How exactly have you been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?
Ilya Lagutenko – It did hit financially, as touring is still one of the main incomes for indie people like us, but to look at the brighter side, I had a chance to spend a year with my daughters and literally witness them grow and how they’re becoming teenagers and the way the MTRSS project is right now might have never happened. We’ve met so many nice people remotely, who are really passionate about what they’re doing and it’s been kind of nice to forget for a second about these “old school” folks who alway go like, “Oh, we have to meet up in person or that’s what my label thinks” and that type of bullshit and there’s no way it’s gonna be over tomorrow or anytime soon. Nope. This is our new brave reality.
Music Bugle – Where do you go when you need a break?
Ilya Lagutenko – I go sailing. This is my only passion. Not that I want to avoid people. I just love it. Wind and waves are taking you to the new shores.
Music Bugle – Does social media help or hurt musicians?
Ilya Lagutenko – Social media helps to communicate with your fans. If you have fans, of course, but I’m still a bit hesitant about the way people are communicating on socials. I did a lot of crazy Rock’n Roll touring in early 2000. I’m glad we didn’t have socials back then. What happened in Vegas stays in Vegas. Something like that.
Music Bugle – What’s a quote that motivates you to keep doing what you do?
Ilya Lagutenko – “If you want a thing done well, do it yourself.”
Music Bugle – Who are you listening to right now, music-wise?
Ilya Lagutenko – Chicago’s International Anthem Guys. Whatever they release is great. I was on tour in Chicago in November and was lucky to see them perform live before the pandemic hit. Those guys are something. A real thing.
Music Bugle – What’s something that you wish happened less in today’s music industry?
Ilya Lagutenko – Prejudices and misconceptions, which I guess are more about the audience than the industry and ripping off talents, of course. Come on, guys. There are so many talents who get shelved by the majors. Can we just make it right for those who are creating?
Music Bugle – What was the moment that made you want to be a musician?
Ilya Lagutenko – The moment I heard “Jesus Christ Superstar” on the cassette tape. My family was not religious at all. I had a vague understanding about who Jesus was, but oh lord, that was such an amazing musical story. I was 10 or 11 and thought to myself, “I will create my own story.”