This week, we’ll pop over to Serbia. And when we say “pop”, the pun was very much intended. Dubbed as the integral part of the so-called New Serbian Scene, Artan Lili are a noise-pop band. And they draw more than a few comparisons with Ekaterina Velika, one of the greats of Yugoslav rock scene of the 80’s.
Artan Lili are a four-member act from Belgrade, the hotbed of Serbian rock, pop and all other kinds of urban music. Curiously, they began as a trio back in 2013, dabbling in experimental music and even producing some tracks and corresponding videos. Things were about to change quickly for Artan Lili.
Noise-pop as a family business
Very briefly, Artan Lili were a five-member band, before some further line-up changes settled into the current four-piece composition: Marko Ajković on drums, Ivan Skopulović on guitar, Bojan Slačala on bass guitar and vocals, and Romana Slačala as lead vocalist. Sometimes, even noise pop is a family business.
That said, Artan Lili lineup is not some collection of snot-nosed college kids with nothing better to do. With the exception of Romana Slačala, all band members have gathered significant band mileage. To wit, their previous experience includes playing with bands like Stuttgart Online, Bitipatibi and the acclaimed Lollobrigida.
While some will dispute this, Artan Lili claim to be music production innovators as well. Namely, they released their entire first album piecemeal, one single at the time, using the Bandcamp platform. The self-titled album contains twelve tracks and its final tune was released in 2015.
As much as they are diligent in making music, Artan Lili are also known for their videos. As many as half of tracks from their debut album have videos trailing them, directed by up-and-coming Serbian directors. They continued this with their subsequent albums, landing a nomination for a regional music award for video for the song Oud.
To date, Artan Lili have released three album. The latest one, aptly titled Three, was sent out into the wild in 2019 and they’ve been touring various Serbian stages since, the covid plague notwithstanding, of course. And, in a sign that they are maturing into a staple of the Balkan pop/rock scene, they are now at the stage where they are increasingly recording tunes featuring stars from other bands. Case in point being their latest single, featuring Cane of Partibrejkers fame.
Balkan Express takes weekly trips into contemporary musical production of, you guessed it, the Balkans. Forget gusle and tamburice, this show is about rock, pop and a sense of humour. Well, at least there’s guitars. On air most Tuesdays in a new-and-improved time-slot at 1100 hrs. Usually. Your train conductor is Aljaž (aka @pengovsky) who once did the world a solid and decided never to sing again in public. Which is why he ended up doing radio.
TuesdaysWith : Aljaž Every Tuesday at 10.00
Balkan Express takes weekly trips into contemporary musical production of the Balkans.