Puro Instinct - "Stilyagi"
Mexican Summer pressed a limited release (750 copies) of Puro Instinct’s “Stilyagi” 7-inch single in 2010 ahead of 2011 LP Headbangers in Ecstasy. Emotive and etherial, the single is classic Puro Instinct, and of course also notable for the appearance of Ariel Pink. When we most recently spoke with Piper in 2018 about her current project Maraschino, we were fortunate enough to receive some first-hand historical information on the inspiration to the track, Ariel Pink’s participation, and more. In November 2018, Piper offered the following information about the genesis of “Stilyagi”:
“I had become fascinated with Russian rock and the underground culture of Russia in the ‘80s and early ‘90s. Stilyagis were obviously way before that, but they paved the way for Kino and a lot of the awesome Russian rock bands I like.”
We were curious about Ariel Pink’s contribution, and Piper recalled:
I’d been working on all this stuff that was inspired by that music, and Ariel was living up the street from me. I realized that a lot of the things I wrote about in the song embodied a struggle that I think he experienced, and any great artist is going to experience in their time -- a lot of pushback from people around them. So he seemed like a good fit in that sense.
I also knew that if anyone could come over and pretend to speak Russian on my song, it would be Ariel. So I said, ‘Hey, come over and work on this song with me.’”
“Stilyagi” was recorded and produced by Kenny Gilmore, who is familiar to many for his work with Ariel Pink, Julia Holter, and more. We asked Kenny in December of 2018 for recollections and insights related to the “Stilyagi” single, and he kindly shared the following with us:
“We recorded that song/album in my parents’ garage (the same place that a lot of Pom Pom, and bits of Before Today were recorded). I remember having my friend Zane [Reynolds, SFV Acid] come over and we programmed the drums for the whole song on his MPC.
Then the members of the band did their parts on top of that. Piper had these phone recordings of Ariel doing the talking part in the bridge that we put in. Also, I remember that we were under a deadline to turn in this song [as] a single before the album was finished, so the version on the 7" is a little less developed than the album version.”
The vinyl single includes track “Put Medved to Bedved” on the B-side, and features cover art by Piper. In addition to crediting Ariel Pink as “Coverboy”, the 7-inch credits the musicians in the following way:
Piper - vocals, keyboards,
Skylar - guitar, backing vocals
Codhi [Cody Porter] - bass
Zane Reyn [Zane Reynolds] - drum programming
Michael De Roubaix Baum - human drum
Cisco - Back cover art