Radu Almășan (Bosquito): “Are there many Romanians that hear or follow an inner voice? No. There are just a few. However, change might come from a single human being. Who knows?”

Radu Almășan (Bosquito): “Are there many Romanians that hear or follow an inner voice? No. There are just a few. However, change might come from a single human being. Who knows?”

“Many people were afraid that our decision of not showing up on radio – TV shows would destroy our career. We, respectfully, show them the opposite”, the boys from Bosquito wrote in a message on a social media channel two months ago. Thus, it is a great honour that one of the most original and creative local bands accepted to have a chat with the Romanian Matrix about our “night in colours”, through its leader’s voice, Radu Almășan.

Romanian Matrix: Radu and friends from Bosquito, maybe we are the ones with the circuits “burned down” – we talk about culture, even national, in 2016. It is a quixotic initiative, don’t you think? Are there many of us without “both oars in water”, who cast off the “TV man’s” sermon in favour of our inner voice?

Radu Almășan: Perhaps we are the ones having a problem or perhaps those who do not talk anymore about the national culture are some catatonics who, without even knowing, kill our collective soul. I have not decided yet.

Perhaps it is just natural for our little cultural “mare nostrum” to be part of a bigger ocean and to lose its identity. It happened so many times in history and even without the contribution of the “TV man”. Perhaps it is a natural phenomenon.

On the other hand, maybe we should fight for an identity that, with good and with bad, withstood nevertheless for so long. They say that for 2000 years. Maybe more? Maybe less? We do not know.

I certainly do not think that the aim of such a long toughness to the history’s blows was to become, in the 21st century, a manipulated mass and an experimental stage for several international corporations, for some international military interests and for the Romanian embezzlers (from politicians to the government’s devils, to the mass media moguls etc.), this being the bumper between us and the above mentioned organisms.

The latter are the hookers who (unlike the “classical”) are not appreciated from any point of view, by anyone. They are not welcome at the rich folks’ table and they are despised by us, the plebeians. They are the puppies wagging their tail for the master’s crumbs and affection, but which pee on their pack.

Unfortunately, in them lies the hope of 17 million people. They change between them in elections, they appoint one another in different positions, they embezzle together and they encourage themselves that they have done it for their families, for their children.

As if you build a Taj Mahal in the middle of your latrine, it does not smell like shit when you get out of the house. As if, your children would not be as circumscribed as before to this vicious circle of subculture, even if you send them to study “abroad”

As if you build a Taj Mahal in the middle of your latrine, it does not smell like shit when you get out of the house. As if, your children would not be as circumscribed as before to this vicious circle of subculture, even if you send them to study “abroad”.

I have bad news: they are still going to be idiots. Idiots created by their own parents. Their immoral parents who do not have reference points in their lives and who sold us for their “family”. So they say.

That is how it looks like the Great Windmill called Romania. Must you be a Don Quixote to keep up the culture spear and to hit its paddles? I do not think so.

I believe you must do it from selfishness. As the idiots want to make money for their family, (hopefully, our results will be less wrong) we, likewise, should stick with our teeth to culture like a crocodile not able to unclench its jaws. For family. For friends. For our fans (in our case). For us.

Radu Almășan, Romanian artist and intellectual

Radu Almășan, Romanian artist and intellectual Photo: personal archive

As you well know, the Knight of the Sorrowful Countenance of Cervantes represented some high moral ideals: altruism, noblesse, spirit of sacrifice. The rosette of noble qualities of the romanticised medieval chivalry. I myself do not feel that evolved. I deal with aesthetics and culture (as I am able to identify and to appreciate them) for my own people and me. This is selfish.

Are there many Romanians that hear or follow an inner voice? No. There are just a few. However, change might come from a single human being. Who knows?

Romanian Matrix: We like you because with every concert and every album of yours, you show us that Romanian quality music can be done, no matter the language you sing in. In what does your inspiration lie nowadays, and how does a Bosquito song see the daylight? Please Introduce us to your creative process.

Radu Almășan: We are glad you see quality in what we do. Art, being something subjective, we try to be open to criticisms and to enjoy, as well, every appreciation we get. After so many years, it is difficult not to take an appreciation as something that you automatically deserve and to take criticism as something you are not interested in.

If there is honesty in any of the situations, we tend to take them into account.

When I feel my heart snap and I cannot hold that energy inside anymore, I grab an instrument. Until then, I do absolutely nothing. I am like a granny who is waiting for the grandchildren’s visit, but who does not call them to ask when they are coming, so as not to bother them

I do not know what to say about the creative process. I do not have a recipe. When inspiration comes, I write. When it does not… it does not. It comes whenever and how it feels like. No matter how surprising and interesting, this process is, instead of analysing it to find a sort of algorithm, I wait quietly for it to appear.

When I feel my heart snap and I cannot hold that energy inside anymore, I grab an instrument. Until then, I do absolutely nothing.

I am like a granny who is waiting for the grandchildren’s visit, but who does not call them to ask when they are coming, so as not to bother them. Both her and me we are happy, as long we receive these visits.

Romanian Matrix: What does the Babylon mean for you, the city with cardboard souls, also the name of your album? Is this Babylon in complete opposition with the “Romanian matrix”, with the Romanian soul?

Radu Almășan: Babylon is a basic concept in the Rastafarian culture, employed by many writers, poets, musicians. The latter (because I know more about them) inserted it in musical styles that include (without limitation) punk, ska, reggae, folk, etc.

Babylon represents the decadent, even luciferian element of humanity. Some associate it with the West, the Capitalism, the Imperialism, and the Neo-slavery – well, you get the idea…

It is juxtaposed with Zion. The bright side of humanity. The paradise. The celestial sparkle.

For me, personally, it represents a dark polenta between the dark sides of U.S.A. and Romania.

These are the countries in which I lived and I think it is common sense to stick to what I know best.

Thus, my answer is that I do not think it is a major difference, a complete opposition between this Babylon and the “Romanian matrix”. Babylon is not a physical place. It is a state of mind. Can you find it in Romania? Look around you. You can see it for yourself.

The sole difference would be that this state of mind did not start here. We have just embraced it. Now, here it comes the everlasting dilemma: morally speaking, are you more human if you are bad or stupid, or happier? Dante’s ignorants versus those poor in spirit of Jesus. The fight of the fights.

Romanian Matrix: You are a “veteran” band on our musical stage. Looking back, how do you think you evolved in time and what made you the band that you are today?

Radu Almășan: Without false modesty, I would identify a few important elements that led to our growth: curiosity; honest passion for music; honest, efficient and good timing of self-criticism; the wish to leave something behind, which would be relevant for as many people as possible and for a long lasting time; addiction to the creative process; our comradery and pursuit of our intuition when the rational said: “Stop! Minefield!”.

Romanian Matrix: In “Bucharest”, you sing: “Hey, any saint has a past as / Any sinner has a future and place beneath the sun”. Do you like throwing such small diamonds in your lyrics?

Radu Almășan: That quote is a paraphrase from Oscar Wilde. He is one of our favourites.

After you read, you travel, you interact with people that move something in you, you wake up sometimes with small lyrical gems in your sleeve. If the song allows, it is a pleasure to flourish it.

Romanian Matrix: The Babylon we were talking about is, in my opinion, one of your most lyrical albums. You say: “Little one, when you dream / you rearrange our world”. Perhaps a child’s dream would lead to a better place for us?

Radu Almășan: A child dream turned into reality by some less corrupted adults. I think that nothing is more important than education.

Da Vinci said that you could not love something you do not know. Therefore, if you do not know, you do not love, and the implementers of this social system hit precisely here: in education.

Do you really believe that all the rubbish you hear and see on radio, on TV, in magazines are promoted accidentally?

Children without access to knowledge do not have empathy for anything. They live in violence, fear and in total obedience towards their “masters”. This is another vicious circle: you do not educate your children, you would not have a future either.

Thus, Romania would not change until we change the education. Nevertheless, this is completely undesirable at the moment.

Bosquito, a band that fill Romanians with pride

Bosquito, a band that fill Romanians with pride

Romanian Matrix: At each concert, you sing the love for origins – for Braşov, for Romania and so on and so forth. What do you take from these beloved places when you step on the stage?

Radu Almășan: Roots. If you forget where you left, it is difficult to identify yourself with the youngsters who are now where you were 20 years ago. I have noticed many artists who patronize their fans.

After 17 years of Bosquito, we have a very strong fan base just because we have never done that.

There is, of course, a downside: we draw near fans and we let them see us as we are as human beings. Sometimes it turns against us because we cannot relate with the ideal they had of us before meeting us. Pedestals might shatter, icons might break once they see that we are different from what they were imagining.

If you forget where you left, it is difficult to identify yourself with the youngsters who are now where you were 20 years ago

But that is it. We accept these situations also because it is impossible for us to change and yet, in most of the cases, the direct contact with our fans enriches us and hopefully them too.

Romanian Matrix: Tell me about the collaboration with Ovidiu Lipan Țăndărică. How is it having him on the stage with you?

Radu Almășan: He is a volcano of energy and a great talent. This man will never get old. Dorin and I wished for this collaboration. Anyone wishes to sing on the stage with his idols. We were lucky with Țăndărică.

Our collaboration continues, actually, this weekend (i.e. last weekend) we will sing together at Hanu Ancuței.

Romanian Matrix: Austin Jesse Mitchell, with his Yelawolf air (I confess that is the image I pictured when I saw him at Hard Rock Café), is an extremely original and happy addition to your band. What made him integrate so well?

Radu Almășan: Austin is extremely intelligent. He liked Romania from the beginning. He did not behave like a naive and noisy American tourist who does not see our culture’s subtleties.

He listened a lot. He learned Romanian. He put many questions and he assimilated our culture as if it was his since the beginning of time, but in the same time he kept his own style (from personality to clothing)) regardless the conjuncture.

I believe he truly wanted to live here. Probably he felt something special. Nevertheless, you must talk to him about this.

Austin Jesse Mitchell, of Bosquito, an American „sensitive to the Romanian culture`s subtleties"

Austin Jesse Mitchell, of Bosquito, an American „sensitive to the Romanian culture`s subtleties”

Romanian Matrix: Bosquito concerts have a unique atmosphere, which I felt myself. Did something special impress you during your current tournament in the country?

Radu Almășan: I thought about the possible causes of this atmosphere. I think it comes from the fans.

We do not have some kind of major musical style. We do not sing strictly Latin – American, rock, punk, Balkan etc.  We synthetized all in a personal style.

That is why, without offending anyone, I think that our fans are capable of appreciating this syncretism without prejudice.

Not everybody is able to do this. Many people listen a single musical style and if something else tickles their ears, it is automatically categorised as “guilty pleasures”.

They often do not want to admit when they like another style for fear not to embarrass themselves in front of their friends who, ironically, they too have the drawer full of “guilty pleasures”. It is a matter of entourage, of education and it is extremely counterproductive for art.

It happens to us to meet people who approach us with replies like “I think I know you from somewhere. Ahhh… Bosquito, right? I do not listen to you anymore, but I did when I was little” (as if he / she was cured from a childhood disease), “Are you still playing? Did you release anything new?”, and after a few drinks he / she starts telling how much he / she cried while listening “When angels leave” and how much he / she enjoyed “Night in colours” (that is, our recent songs). I honestly do not know why they initially pretend, but it is a quite funny situation, which we often meet.

Our fans, instead, loved us from the beginning because they listened to our songs open-heartedly.

They appreciate us for our personal style and when they come to our concerts, they shower us with love.

Please believe me when I say we love each other totally and unselfishly. We know they might listen and appreciate any time somebody else’s music. They know that we do not necessarily keep to this social status of artists and that we might, as well, do anything else with our lives, so we are not addicted one to another.

We love each other just because we want to.

Romanian Matrix: You sing about love, about friendship, about childhood, about shallow people and about men. What is next for Bosquito? What is your concern these days?

Radu Almășan: We are going to have a very beautiful concert at Arenele Romane. It should have taken place on September 11, but due to some health issues, which cannot be postponed, of one of our colleagues, we rescheduled it for January 13.

For the time being, we are waiting for him to feel better and after that, we will continue our concerts.

This is our latest concern: health. I know it sounds like a cliché, but if God cares about health, the rest is up to us.

Bosquito: a beautiful, ongoing Romanian story

Bosquito: a beautiful, ongoing Romanian story

Teodor Burnar

Teodor Burnar

The Matrix’s Editor-in-Chief. An experienced writer with 11 years in Romanian media and 3 books under his belt
Teodor Burnar

Ultimele postari ale lui Teodor Burnar (vezi toate)


Raluca Băncioiu

Raluca Băncioiu

She's a graduate of the MA program in Translation of the Contemporary Literary Text. She's an optimistic person and a true familist
Raluca Băncioiu

Ultimele postari ale lui Raluca Băncioiu (vezi toate)

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