The Jagermeister Indie Awards (JIA) has only been around for three years, but it's already the main barometer for independent music in Russia. There are plenty of other awards, but they are mainly concerned with music that gets airplay on major radio stations and national TV, not what Moscow's youth listens to at parties or summer festivals.
The JIA ceremony took place last week at the BEREG District, located on Savvinskaya Naberezhnaya, next to the infamous Soho Rooms. BEREG, housed in a 19th century industrial space, is quickly becoming a rather popular venue for these kind of one-off events.
Russia is not the first country to have JIA — a similar awards ceremony has been running in Australia for more than a decade. JIA has a traditional list of nominations that include rock, hip-hop and electronic music. There is also a special "Young Blood" award for the best new band chosen by online voting and experts. The favorite who emerged from online voting was electronic artist Woodju, while the experts' choice was St. Petersburg punk band Angelic Milk.
Moscow's avant-garde post-punk rockers Glintshake received two of the main awards — rock artist of the year and the band of the year. Glintshake used to sing in English, but switched to their native language and released their first Russian album last September.
Hip-hop artist of the year award unsurprisingly went to an uncontested leader in this genre — Oxxxymiron, who can sell out the largest clubs and even stadiums. He released his second album Gorgorod at the end of 2015 and has spent much of this year touring the country to support the record.
Griby, an internet sensation from Ukraine, received several nominations at JIA, but their only award turned out to be “Single of the Year” for “Intro,” which has almost 7.5 million views on YouTube, an astounding result for a Russian language band.
Video of the year award went to Tesla Boy and his video “Nothing,” shot by American director Ryan Patrick. Tesla Boy is probably the most popular English-language indie-pop band in Russia, known for a mix of synth-pop and new wave.