Moscow is one of the world’s great cities. A Soviet powerhouse to rival many of the planet’s cultural hubs - the Russian capital is a city bursting with potential. Eight-lane superhighways traverse the city, banked on either side by huge imposing Soviet architecture, and among the residents there are more billionaires than anywhere else in the world.
Moscow differs to many other Russian cities in that it has quite a European vibe, and a passion for underground dance music, warehouse style nightclubs and lavish cocktail bars.
Propaganda (Пропаганда) is one of cities oldest and best loved venues, serving up regular doses of slick underground house and techno from the likes of Cosmin TRG, Andre Londemann and Claptone to a friendly and fun-loving crowd.
If you like your beats darker then Arma17, should be on your radar. This former gasometer, turned multi-room techno palace is up there among our favourite places to dance until the early hours. Now an all encompassing brand, the Arma organisation also incorporates an excellent podcast series and vinyl-only record label.
They are celebrating their 6th birthday on June 26th with Bill Patrick, Wolf + Lamb, Wbeeza and many more.
But it is not just the big international names who rule the Moscow scene - home grown talent including Steve Angello-backed duo Matisse & Sadko, glitch and electronica master Mujuice and Kompakt’s SCSI–9 are nurturing the Moscow scene from within, in addition to picking up international gigs as a result of the reputations they are building in this vast city.
While techno is Moscow’s prevailing electronic sound, it has not been immune to the influence of other genres. In fact, one of Moscow’s biggest dance music exports is trance DJ, Bobina. The international superstar tours globally, but his birth place has a special place in his heart…
“There are plenty of great clubs in Russia” he tells us, “as our country is very big! My favourite place in Moscow is Stadium Live - it is like a big venue and a club at the same time!”
When pushed on the difference between Moscow and the rest of Russia, Bobina spoke in glowing terms of his ‘home’ crowd; “people in clubs are very different in every part of Russia, but the crowds in Moscow know their music really well.”
The larger clubs and venues may take the headlines, and big international DJ talent. However, scratch beneath the surface and you will find an array of smaller clubs and bars with an intimate yet exciting atmosphere. Those on the hunt for subcultures should seek out Vanilla Ninja (Ванильный Ниндзя) dubbed the “best small room in the world” by Time Out NY or the super-secretive Medeleev Bar (Менделеев Бар) which rates highly among the world’s finest cocktail bars!
Moscow is a city that is ruled by electronic music, yet it is one that has remained - due to its keen identity and geographical isolation - largely unfazed by the EDM revolution. And it is all the better for this isolation - like Berlin and London, the Moscow scene is built on underground sounds, dark nightclubs and an after-hours mentality - and long may it continue!