By Ana Mikatadze
The influence of modern times is probably most noticeable in the Georgian music industry. Apart from the development of the electronic music scene, a lot of bands we don’t get tired of listening to started to pop up. So, we decided to approach Tato Rusia, the MC of one of such music bands called MokuMoku.
Tato: I am 25 years old and like any ordinary person, I, too, have goals and dreams, but all of them are connected with music. MokuMoku was founded in 2014 and we chose hip-hop because it turned out that it was the easiest form I could express myself with. Right now I’m just the MC, but earlier I was producing music as well before more talented people joined us. Now I do only what I know best – writing and singing songs.
How did the music industry change since your inception?
Tato: Everything has changed a lot. The use of the Internet made a lot of things easier in the show business. What took a lot of effort and experimentation before is now accessible for almost everyone. It’s easier than it was 5 years ago to share your creations with others. I have a theory that every nation has a renaissance in pop-culture but this always repeats itself.
During the Soviet Union, we had directors, composers that were successful in Soviet territories but Georgia as a free country never had a global renaissance in art, and I believe it is yet to come. Unfortunately, because of our geopolitical situation, only war and related topics leave our borders. I don’t have a problem with that, people should first learn about Georgia, but there is also an emotionally charged Georgia that is craving to be explored and that day will come. We will have our say on a global scale.
Do you manage to perform beyond Georgian borders?
Tato: We try to keep original everything we create. We took our first step last year actually and performed at one of the famous festivals called MadCool. Then we had two concerts in London and Briton. This didn’t have a big influence on the international scale, but it had on us. People were talking about it in the country and probably for the younger generation, it sparked hope that they could go beyond the borders.
Do you touch down on social topics?
Tato: Everything I do that involves creativity depends on my mood and perspective, it also depends on how calm or excited I am. Like it or not, what happens in the country affects my mood and my creativity – everything you do is under the influence of the reality surrounding you and there’s no escape from that. And if you want to escape, that’s also the influence of the environment. But, generally, MokuMoku spreads no specific political or social message.
Who has influenced you the most?
Tato: A lot of people. I still find that the biggest influencers are your friends. You can have an idol, but what you agree on with your friends has such a big influence on you that at the end of the day you realize that first of all, you learn from your friends. Then come all the rest. Musicians, actors even – famous and non-famous… I cannot name anyone, but there are a lot.
Today we come across a lot of problems in Georgia. Which is the most important for you?
Tato: Every problem, be it social, economic or geopolitical, goes back to the government because they are the people who can change stuff in a short period of time. People can always protest, make a revolution and change things, but first of all the government should fight for the good of the country, and not the revolutionaries. It should be in their interests to have a rich community, as few problems with its neighbors as possible, and lose as little territories as possible! Today it’s not like no one is doing anything, quite the opposite. Everyone is working, everyone is doing something, they realized how important this is and we can’t blame everything on that any longer.
Do you mean our generation?
Tato: Yes, first of all, I mean them because in reality the country actually stands on our generation’s shoulders. On our innovations and on our love for the country – that’s what the future of Georgia depends on. And our country shouldn’t make them hate it, you see?
What do you think, how big of a problem is drug addiction today?
Tato: I think that that was a problem in our parent’s generation, and not in ours. Obviously, there are some bad precedents, kids grow up fast and start taking everything sooner, but in other countries all that started in the 90s and those people who were raving back then now are raising kids, working in a bank, and some are even on pension. What I want to say is that nothing bad has happened to them, they survived. Maybe on individual levels, it’s a threat for someone, but in contemporary Georgia, I don’t think that we stand in front of a global pandemic of adults with no future because they’re using drugs. No, this sounds like the scenario of ’90s Georgia, and not 2010s and up.
Are you planning on leaving the country?
Tato: I do want to study abroad, specifically do Masters in Music Production, but I haven’t planned on anything yet. I want to be in Georgia and be happy, but I also want to be successful in what I do. Everything depends on how satisfied I am with my life and myself.
Okay, and now for the last question, if you were in my place, what would you ask yourself?
After some thought, he finally answered:
Tato: What would you give the statue of Mother of Georgia to hold?
And what would you give her?
Tato: What she’s holding is already quite heavy, so I would take it from her so that she can rest for a while.