• Ok-Kruta-Band-em-and-max

    Ok kruta band photo by George Delon

LABEL:  Self Released

GENRE: Blues Garage, Dark Wave, Post Punk

FROM:  Los Angeles, CA

INFLUENCES: Souxie and the Banshees, Robert Johnson, The Chills, Yazoo, Le Tigre, Tom Waits, The Kills

OK KRUTA is a duo from Los Angeles who subversively marry a myriad of rock influences with pop sensibilities to create a dynamic and energizing sound that dives through the core of romantic pressure. Comprised of vocalist Emily Machavariani and guitarist Max Machavariani, Ok Kruta currently divide their time between Florida, Colorado and Tbilisi, Georgia. On their 6-song self-titled debut, they inadvertently demonstrate the global tension between Soviet and American cultures, albeit on a much more intimate scale, finding common ground in their struggle and a unique sense of peace.
Max was a major force in the 90’s Georgian punk and goth scenes, having formed the legendary Tbilisi-based post-punk group Plaksqa, before moving to Los Angeles where he dabbled as a guitarist in a series of prominent emo and indie projects. Meanwhile, Emily was making a name for herself with her solo project, “My Velcroe”,  which combined multimedia art installations with masterfully crafted cabaret pop. Emily desired to move in a more rock-oriented direction but, after being immersed in the themes of My Velcroe for years, couldn’t write the right guitar to compliment her ideas. It was around this time that she met Max, who had just hitchhiked to Los Angeles and was squatting in the house across the street. With Max having grown up in the Soviet punk scene and Emily establishing herself as a force in the erratic Echo Park art punk community, the started a band and a future family the first night they met. Two connected through a mutual allegiance to anarchy, though found themselves otherwise at odds with one another’s cultures and philosophies. The result is a hot tension of sonic violence that adds a motivating edge to raw compromise, drops a beat on life’s inevitable problems, and refuses to give up faith.
Ok, Kruta, which translates to “Ok, Cool” in Russian, exemplifies the band’s ethos in its cool and collected response to universal challenges. The restlessness permeating their distinctive mix of carefully crafted pop hooks and raw, dirty rock ‘n’ roll gives way to a profound determination tempered with a sense of confidence. Ok, Kruta’s programmed beats betray the band’s heavy goth and post-punk influences, supporting choppy yet youthfully heedless guitars to create soundscapes both danceable and anxiously jittery, with legs shaking and toes tapping either way you hear it. Emily’s powerful, controlled vocals show the type of resolve that evolves from vigorous adolescence; a rare case where wisdom is attained without sacrificing the optimism of the young. It’s the sound of eternal teenagers who’ve found a way to navigate an aging world.
January 2019 finds Ok, Kruta finally revealing the result of years of fine-tuned collaboration in which the polishing pressures of a creative cold war give way to 6 examples of deep, unwavering trust. Their self-titled debut is currently online.

OK KRUTA Find the Sparks in the Dark on Their Self-Titled Debut

On their debut recording, multi-national pop rock duo Ok, Kruta instantly introduce a pervading nomadic tension that seems to be engrained in the very character of the project. Each song could stand on its own as a 3-minute single of dragged-through-the-dirt precision pop but also seamlessly links together into an album-spanning tapestry, thematically and sonically blending together into one coherent picture. 

Across the weathered landscapes and open roads of the record, the duo program a mechanical heartbeat, sometimes popping with electricity, other times droning with a reliable, robotic determination. The beats are married to Max Machavariani’s choppy rock guitars, driving the songs forward down lonely stretches of sonic road without hesitation, knowing the next good time is around the bend. 

Vocalist Emily Machavariani artfully merges inner and outer voices, simultaneously evoking a passionate frustration and a cool resolve. Opening track “Bad Weather” finds Emily volunteering herself as a lightning rod for the world’s electric anomalies, her voice pledging sonic strength in even the bleakest of moments. It’s almost as if she draws her power from the hard times, with the sparks burning brightly across the album’s 6 tracks. When her voice is at its strongest and most confident, it’s also at its most wounded. There’s a sense of detachment from this pain, the drive of someone locked into endless responsibility, that contributes to a sense of hardness beneath moments of glossy delivery. 

“She Don’t”, like “Bad Weather” has a sense of  earnest sorrow over revisiting past events; a sort of black nostalgia. But before those memories have a chance to drag you down, another spark of youthful jubilance illuminates the answers, bleaching even the shadows. Ideas of loss are challenged by sheer determination on “Hangover, with sustaining haunted house synths blanketing razorwire guitar. It’s the celebratory sound of finding the strength to face something you’ve been dreading. “Family Values” is every bit as driving, though the determination is reinforced with the pure love of the human spirit, artfully wrapped in a tongue-in-cheek delivery amidst marching industrial garage pop.

Ok, Kruta are constantly balancing diverse musical influences in their pop concoctions but their love of darker sounds is perhaps most obvious on “Catatonic”, from its quirky-yet-creepy keyboard line to a ghostly chorus, pondering “Maybe we’ve already died/I can see Heaven in your eyes.” Emily sounds like she’s singing to us from another plane of existence before she plunges into a theatrical morbid romance reminiscent of Kate Bush tempering the erratic with control. 

The duo leave us in our own stretch of nowhere with the echoing drums, subdued guitar and occasional blinking satellite synths of “Get Out of My Car.” There’s a feeling of isolation amidst the public that exudes from the closing track. Thus, Ok, Kruta’s album as a whole paints a loneliness in a distinct kind of tension that comes from never being alone. But it’s a loneliness that keeps you dancing through it.

-Seth Styles

Lyrics on the Self-Titled Debut 

BAD WEATHER

Copyright 2017 Emily Blong Machavariani

I forgot how to cry, I’ve been looking for it in a nuclear sunset. From way up high, its hard to remember and worse to forget. This can’t be the end, we’re just starting. Remember the days when we were starving? I’ll keep the light on. / I got 65 dollars and a handful of flower. Give me five minutes to summon my power. 65 miles an hour is too slow to escape a feeling that won’t let go. / All I know’s I love you so oh oh oh I won’t let you go. / I’m a bad weather vein (but I’ll never let you get caught in the rain) on a house built of pain (I’ll try to protect you its the best that I can do). Get up, get up daylight’s coming. There will always be something coming. / And now we’re doing just fine. We locked ourselves in this cell to find a way to break the spell. And all we have is time, time to see there is nothing else we need. Well, this can’t be the end we’re just starting. Remember the days when we were calling to keep the light on? / I got 65 dollars and a handful of flower. Give me five minutes to summon my power. 65 miles an hour is too slow to escape a feeling that won’t let go. / All I know’s I love you so oh oh oh I won’t let you go. / I’m a bad weather vein (but I’ll never let you get caught in the rain) on a house built of pain (I’ll try to protect you its the best that I can do). Get up, get up daylight’s coming. There will always be something coming. (I’ll try to protect you, its the best that I can do).

CATATONIC

Copyright 2017 Emily Blong Machavariani

I sleep with my eyes open ’cause they’re glued to the scenes that were plucked from my dreams I’m torn from the seams. Called an 800 number to repair the defection, heard a voice on the line, then lost the connection. Got a one-way ticket to a place I’d never been. Got nothin’ to do, nowhere left to go; I’ll probably never come back again. Ah ah I met you on the way in. / Maybe we already died, I can see heaven in your eyes. Baby, we already tried. Still I can see heaven, I can see heaven in your eyes. / You followed me home, my cheeks shone with tears, a manifestation of a dream through the years. How I used to pray for God to take me. I guess it takes great pains to break free now I’ll never close my eyes again never want to see the end never close my eyes I’m gonna step into the light and then…there’s no room in this coffin for my love. / Maybe we already died, I can see heaven in your eyes. Baby, we already tried. Still I can see heaven, I can see heaven in your eyes. / Its getting darker. I’m getting lighter. Its getting darker. I’m getting brighter. Its getting darker. I’m getting lighter. Its getting darker. I’m getting brighter. / Maybe we already died, I can see heaven in your eyes. Baby, we already tried. Still I can see heaven, I can see heaven in your eyes.

HANGOVER

Copyright 2017 Emily Blong Machavariani

I’ll tell you stories of last night, allright: there was a creature howling at me in the moonlight. A painted smile punctuated the insanity. Took my skin and shot down the symphony. Ohh I watched it like a wrecking ball, it used my hands my arms – I couldn’t feel at all. And then a detached voice tore through the quiet hall, and kissed me with a burn until we hit the wall. / Badun blatz, badun blatz, eyeyeyeyeyeyey. Ahh badun blatz, badun blatz, eyeyeye. / Pin him to the ground catch the clown. Kick him while he’s down. Catch the clown. Pin him to the ground. Catch the clown, and kiss him while he’s down, catch the clown. / I hit my head on the moon and it almost did away with me, a lost soul trying to unzip into ecstacy. Red lips, red eyes, red shoes grey face; brace your space you’re falling out of the human race. Redeemer, redeem me with honest things. Take these sins and hide them far away from me. She’d be horrified to find out that those dreams were real, oh but she can’t feel. / Badun blatz, badun blatz, eyeyeyeyeyeyey. Ahh badun blatz, badun blatz, eyeyeye. / Pin her to the ground catch the clown. Kick her while she’s down. Catch the clown. Pin her to the ground. Catch the clown, and kiss her while she’s down, catch the clown.

SHE DON’T

Copyright 2017 Emily Blong Machavariani

They’re always making plans to leave, or get abducted in their sleep. But she knows its gonna take awhile, so she gives him what he needs. They say she don’t know how to act, he’s taking names and checking facts. Theres no such thing but today’s thing. Eat your cake and don’t be mean. / Insatiable, unquenchable, unsatisfiable, Kinda gluttonous, so vainglorious, and greedy eyed. / She don’t bleed honey (did she say she could?). Cut it up lets build a treehouse baby, yea (she said we could). She don’t bleed honey and wen’t missing today. Looking through the things of dead strangers, dying everything grey. / Crash bang boom scar; don’t squeeze the pretty thing too hard. Crash bang boom scar; she’ll crack and cut you with the shard. Crash bang boom scar; you don’t hear it when the lightning starts. Crash bang boom scar, that ugly little diamond is so hard. / Come on and step outside, you wanna talk about it? You need to look me in the eyes? Are you sure about it? I thought everything was going fine, ’till I s-said the wrong thing at the wrong time. Come on man, I don’t wanna fight. I thought we were having such a good night I wanna dance on the floor like a queen go and eat your cake and don’t be mean. / Insatiable, unquenchable, unsatisfiable, Kinda gluttonous, so vainglorious, and greedy eyed. / She don’t bleed honey (did she say she could?). Cut it up lets build a treehouse baby, yea (she said we could). She don’t bleed honey and wen’t missing today. Looking through the things of dead strangers, dying everything grey. / Crash bang boom scar; don’t squeeze the pretty thing too hard. Crash bang boom scar; she’ll crack and cut you with the shard. Crash bang boom scar; you don’t hear it when the lightning starts. Crash bang boom scar, that ugly little diamond is so hard.

FAMILY VALUES

Copyright 2017 Emily Blong Machavariani

Hey man, are  you feeling ill? Its a short fat life running up that hill. The kitchens in pieces; kiss the bread on the floor; now you’re going downtown for a little bit more. I waited all night but my patience was thin, I found you grifting down on Sunset, took a sip of your gin. I don’t need the world, just a little more. If the key don’t fit I’m gonna smash the door. / I wanna feel like its the first love, I wanna feel like its the last love. I wanna feel. / Love and faith, ain’t that real? You know that I can give you something you don’t have to steal. An earthquake and my appeal, is all that I can give you. / We were born into a big loud world, but underneath the voices we danced we twirled. And now we found our space, between heaven and earth, they can’t touch us there nothing sticks, nothing hurts. / I wanna feel like its the first love, I wanna feel like its the last love. I could leave, but there’s always another song to sing. / Love and faith, ain’t that real? You know that I can give you something you don’t have to steal. An earthquake and my appeal, is all that I can give you.

GET OUT OF MY CAR

Copyright 2017 Emily Blong Machavariani

Which way do you wanna get out of my car? / I could screech to a stop, sacrifice you in the crop, cut your heart out with a knife whilst maintaining 65, did you need something more drastic? A U-turn in to traffic? Or contest with the mess as you jump out the window. The party was a bust still it always ends with us, we are stuck on this freeway these clones are getting in our way. Hit the pipe hit the bottle my lead foot hits the throttle. We could fight with the night or jump out the window. Use the door not the window. / Which way do you wanna get out of my car? / The sirens warm my mind I feel my third eye going blind, we could sweet talk our way but fuck it, seize the day. Put your axe down on the gas, we’re too cool to die, relax. We’ll set ourselves free. Use the door not the window. / We’re breaking glass breaking glass breaking glass. We live too fast live too fast live too fast. We’re breaking glass. You had to ask. We turn’t it all to ash. We lost our class but we still got…