The adventures of the Cuban Rock band in Moscow.
A few months ago, I was lucky to meet a fantastic Cuban Rock band called Gypsy Jack that lives and performs in Moscow. Their energy and drive captivated me from the first show. My curiosity was triggered immediately; what could make a group of Cuban musicians move to Moscow to start a band here? This article will give you some insides of the possibilities and the difficulties of foreign musicians, making a living in the Russian capital.
Today we are talking with the lead singer of the band Gypsy Jack, Yordi Matos.
What made you leave Cuba?
There is no future for Rock&Roll in Cuba, I was working in a great place, but I felt like I was stuck there, I needed new challenges. Cuba is a country that exists inside of a bubble that is frozen in time. There is very limited Internet access, and the government controls everything. Even eating a piece of chicken and drinking a glass of beer is a luxury there, and it gets worse every year.
Moscow is easy to enter (as a cuban), so it’s an excellent place to start because at least for the beginning you don’t need to arrange any documents. Plus I had a few friends here who could help me to settle down. My first trip to Moscow was to see the Aerosmith concert. The trip was a gift of a friend from Romania. That was my first venture outside of Cuba; it made me realize what kind of life exists outside my Country, so I decided to move to Moscow to start a band here. I sold my guitar and keyboard and borrowed some money, in a couple of weeks I was already back in Moscow.
What was the first impression of the big city?
The nightlife was so different. The 24-hour bars, the Rock scene, the options for musicians, and the snow, which I only saw in movies before, the first time I saw the snow, I almost cried. I felt like a little kid in a film about Christmas.
What was the hardest part of settling in the new place?
The language. I’m very adaptable, I can adapt to anything, but the language limits the things you can do. Everything else here is precisely how I like it.
How did your perspective on Moscow change after several years in here?
When I first came to Moscow, I was expecting to see the soviet city, and I was shocked to see how different it was. And being a musician gave me possibilities to visit places that I can’t even mention in this interview, I discovered the new face of Moscow, the face that even many Russians who live here don’t get to see.
What’s the next step for the Gypsy Jack?
We don’t know; I like not knowing, to explore and learn as I go. Right now we are making the first album, we have a lot of people waiting for it, we hope it will come out as good as they expect, and after that, we will see what happens next.
What are the main obstacles you see for yourself in here after two years of living in Moscow?
The Rock&Roll industry doesn’t seem to be going very far, right now the music industry is directed into Rap and Electronic genres, so eventually, Gypsy Jack might face the limits of what Russia can offer in terms of possibilities for Rock musicians. Then will need to explore the more significant markets. I’m never afraid to move to new places and start over, and I’m looking forward to seeing what the future might bring.
What would be your recommendations to people who are moving to Moscow? Do’s and don’ts.
First thing I recommend is to integrate into the local culture as soon as possible, not to be an alien, always be open to connect with new people and to respect their ways. Second, buy a lot of vitamins for the winter to avoid depression, especially if you are coming from the warmer parts of the world. Avoid messing with the local authorities and running our of phone battery in the middle of the winter on the street. [Says Yordi, while laughting].
This was the interview with the lead singer of the Rock band Gypsy Jack, Yordi Matos. Moscow Suites Team wishes the band the international success they are working towards. Stay tuned for updates on their progress.
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