Mumiy Troll
Gig Seeker Pro

Mumiy Troll

Владивосток, Primorskiy, Russia | Established. Jan 01, 1983 | SELF

Владивосток, Primorskiy, Russia | SELF
Established on Jan, 1983
Band Rock Indie


This band hasn't logged any future gigs

This band hasn't logged any past gigs




The power, the drive and the groovy edge is definitely enough to captivate the listener without the need to understand the lyrics and enjoy the adventure the band takes you on. -

"Drum! Magazine"

Lush, driving pop melodies and hook-laden, circular grooves that hint at everything from salsa to techno to indie rock….Stands up as both pleasing background noise or under scrutiny. - Drum! Magazine

"Palo Alto Daily"

From Russia with rock! …[A]n engaging, hard-hitting sound. - Palo Alto Daily


One of Russia’s top rock acts. - Billboard

"Boston Globe"

A highbrow blend of art-rock and new wave, long on melody and poetic lyrics delivered by the languid and charismatic (Ilya) Lagutenko. - Boston Globe

"Boston Herald"

Unless you’re fluent in Russian, you won’t understand what Mumiy Troll is singing, but that shouldn’t stop you from rocking out - Boston Herald

"Boston Phoenix"

Mumiy Troll are the indisputable U2 of Russia - Boston Phoenix

"LA Weekly"

…[T]he riffs uncoil with a languid spaciness that's somewhere between post-punk iciness and power-pop melodicism...It's all very weirdly exotic. - LA Weekly

"Chicago Sun-Times"

(Mumiy Troll)...a looser, more joyful version of early Public Image, Ltd. crossed with Devo - Chicago Sun-Times

"San Francisco Bay Guardian"

…quirkily infectious garage pop…a unique groove reminiscent of a good-natured mash up between Alexei Sayle, the English Beat, and A Flock of Seagulls - San Francisco Bay Guardian

"Lee County Courier"

Their music come across as an eruption of U2 and Nick Cave…the songs definitely grow on you and you’ve not quite lived until you hear ‘California Dreaming’ in Russian. - Lee County Courier


…[T]here’s definitely some Talking Heads, a bit of the Clash ala Combat Rock, some 90’s rock, and a heaping dose of something uniquely distinct, which I’m sure comes out of Siberia. -

"The Stranger"

They excel at a kind of dramatic, melancholy arena rock that could endear them to fans of the TV on the Radio and DeVotchKa. That being said, the highlight of Comrade Ambassador (a comp of MT's last two discs, Amba and 8) is "We Overslept," which paraphrases the funkier-than-thou bass line from Sly & the Family Stone's ‘Thank You’ - The Stranger

"Music Street Journal"

If you are looking for another English-singing U2 or Coldplay clone, then this will doubtless challenge you beyond your capacity to cope. However, if you are open to hearing some of Europe’s finest contemporary rock on its own linguistic terms, then Comrade Ambassador might just be for you. - Music Street Journal

"Minneapolis Star Tribune"

Comrade Ambassador sounds like a vodka-chasing mix of Bauhaus and Pearl Jam. - Minneapolis Star Tribune

"Illinois Entertainer"

A lifetime away from anything this country produces, the album mingles anything it can get its hands on, which, oddly, ends up sounding a bit like Café Tacuba cruising the back alleys with frontman Ilya Lagutenko masquerading as Tindersticks’ Stuart Staples. Yet ‘Burn It All’ romps with M.I.A.-like bhangra abandon, while ‘Mothers And Daughters’ and ‘Drunken String’ manage to rock without overtly rocking. - Illinois Entertainer

"Public Radio International"

This is an interesting story, also, about the Internet, and how it has transformed the music business. With the band peering through tunnel vision to get a sense of what rock music is, playing it in their country for twenty years, the Internet came along and allowed this fresh sound, this very different kind of sound to emerge. The band is on the verge of introducing themselves to the world, but their sound remains unchanged. - Public Radio International

"Cleveland Scene"

On the new Comrade Ambassador, we get a sample of their sound — guitar-heavy songs with a touch of electronica that sounds something like '90s U2 with a vodka-induced edge. Don't worry about not understanding the lyrics — the groove is good enough, and the cover (in Russian) of the Mamas & the Papas' "California Dreaming" offsets the unfamiliar tunes - Cleveland Scene

"The New Yorker"

You don’t need to be able to read Cyrillic to understand this Russian band—a fluency in groovy post-punk and edgy guitar rock is all that’s required. The foursome, based in Vladivostok and Moscow, fires off sparkling pop songs that keep its young chainsmoking fans dancing. - The New Yorker

"LA Times"

…A nuclear meltdown of the Bravery, Tom Petty and the Afghan Whigs - LA Times


Still working on that hot first release.



As home port of the Russian Pacific Fleet, Vladivostok's returning sailors provided the locals with tantalising glimpses of a world beyond the then Soviet Union.

Mumiy Troll founder and frontman Ilya Lagutenko remembers, "They came from Japan, Singapore, and Hong Kong and would bring home Western albums. They didnt really follow the charts, they brought the ones with nice artwork. Thats why my first encounters with Western music were bands like Genesis, Motorhead and Duran Duran."

With his imagination fired by whatever illicit sounds he could get his hands on, a teenage Ilya formed Mumiy Troll in 1983. At the time, however, there was no sense that the band could ever amount to more than a kid's game.

Consequently, Mumiy Troll existed throughout the '80s as a semi-clandestine hobby. Two self-recorded albums were distributed among friends and like-minded people, and gigs performed to the same, necessarily limited, audience.

But as the '90s dawned, the Soviet Union had indeed begun to change. With restrictions on work and travel lifted, Ilya was able to realise his long-standing dream to "dissolve myself in a different environment".

Being fluent in both Mandarin and English, Ilya lived for a year in China as part of his degree course, and then, in 1994, in London, where he recorded Mumiy Troll's first official album amid the heady atmosphere of the nascent Britpop scene.

Armed with a headful of ideas and the album which would make him a superstar at home, Ilya returned to a Russia newly liberated by perestroika. Not only did making a living from the band now seem like a realistic option, the internet was beginning to offer alternatives to the traditional industry model.

Mumiy Troll weren't just one of the first bands anywhere to launch a website, they became, in 2000, the first with a sizeable fan-base to give away an album as a free download; seven years before Radiohead's supposedly pioneering move with In Rainbows.

"We realised that our biggest revenue was touring and that really depends on music distribution", says Ilya, many years before the idea had taken root in Western thinking.

In grasping this new reality so quickly, Mumiy Troll found themselves at the forefront of the digital revolution which would transform the music industry in the decade to come.

Starting with the release of their first official album in 1997, Mumiy Troll rapidly became one of Russia's most popular and influential bands, and have clocked up more than 100 million downloads to date. They were the first to appear on Russian MTV, represented Russia at Eurovision, and have won every native award going including Best Russian Band of the Millennium.

Their success continues unabated to this day, with tours selling out as a matter of course and their most recent album, SOS Matrosu, topping the iTunes charts.

As befits a true pop cultural icon, Ilya's interests and influence extend beyond music. He recently starred in a feature-length movie, which he also co-wrote, co-directed, and co-produced, and is the Russian representative of the Global Tiger Initiative, which campaigns to save wild tigers from extinction.

Having conquered modern, oligarch-era Russia, you might think Mumiy Troll would be content with a comfortable routine of domestic touring, casino residencies, and private shows.

But to do so would be to ignore "the mentality of the Vladivostok sailor", which Ilya insists has always been his driving force.

Embracing this literally as well as metaphorically, Ilya took the band around the world by ship to record their 14th official album, SOS Matrosu, stopping off in places as diverse as the USA, Japan, China, Singapore, South Africa, Germany and France in his unending quest for musical inspiration.

This spirit of adventure, the old Vladivostok sailor thing, has led to Mumiy Troll becoming a truly international band, with collaborators coming from all over the world.

Ilya's love of oriental food was responsible for at least two. He met new keyboard player Sasha Ho (aka DZA) in a Hong Kong noodle joint, while Keefus Ciancia (T-Bone Burnett's pianist) was persuaded to get involved over a bowl of Tom Yum soup in LA, the city where Ilya is now partially based.

Asked to describe SOS Matrosu in a single sentence, Ilya calls it, "My vision of the modern pop world from urban Asia to rural Africa modern rock music from outside traditional rock territories".

Clearly, Russia was only the beginning for Ilya Lagutenko. This Vladivostok sailor now has his sights set on the whole world.

Band Members