¡Forward, Russia!

¡Forward, Russia!
¡Forward, Russia!

Playing live at Summer Sundae, August 2006
Background information
Origin Leeds, England
Genres Indie rock
Alternative rock
Post-Punk Revival
Years active 2004–2008 (on hiatus)
Labels Cooking Vinyl / Dance to the Radio/ Mute North America / Vinyl Junkie
Tom Woodhead
Rob Canning
Katie Nicholls

¡Forward, Russia! were an English alternative band from Leeds, formed in early 2004, though are currently on hiatus. Until 2006, the band only named tracks with numbers, in the order that they were written. The band has used Faux Cyrillic, with its name occasionally typeset as ¡FФЯWДЯD, RUSSIД!.


Band members

  • Tom Woodhead – vocals, synth
  • Rob Canning – bass guitar
  • Katie Nicholls – drums, vocals, shouts
  • Whiskas – electric guitar, shouts, synth

Katie remixed I Was a Cub Scout's "I Hate Nightclubs"; her remix was released as a bonus single available exclusively online. She has also been nominated for the Peta 2's (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) 'World's sexiest Vegetarian 2007' but didn't win.

Whiskas remixed Howling Bells "Low Happening" under the name '¡Constructicons Form Devastator!' and his remix was released as a bonus single available online and on 7".

Tom reached the final of the British Air Guitar Championship, held at Camden's Electric Ballroom in 2004. He also has an electronic side-project AnteAter, with one release to date, "Final Lekky" on DTTR's 3rd compilation Something I Learned Today - released March 2007. He also performed the vocals in the chorus of the Yes Boss song "Tongues In Knots" from their album Look Busy.


¡Forward, Russia! formed in early 2004 from Leeds band The Black Helicopters, of which Tom and Rob were members. They joined siblings Katie and Whiskas (previously of Leeds band les Flames! amongst others). The band performed their first gig in April, closely followed by demos which received reviews from prominent music magazines such as Drowned in Sound and NME, who called it "Convulsing punk-funk brilliance from Leeds".

Give Me a Wall

In April 2005, ¡Forward, Russia! released "Nine", a split 7-inch single with This Et Al, released on guitarist Whiskas' label Dance To The Radio. This single was reviewed by NME, who put it on their 'Radar'. By summer 2005, Nicholls had finished college and others had quit their jobs to take up the band full-time.

Single "Thirteen/Fourteen" was released in August 2005 on White Heat Records, accompanied by a UK tour. Also during 2005, the band was featured in NME as one of Leeds' forerunners in the so-called New Yorkshire scene (alongside The Research, The Sunshine Underground, The Ivories and Black Wire). This was followed by several support slots and culminated in the band's first headline UK tour, which took the band to 37 different venues.

The band's next release, "Twelve" appeared in January 2006, on Dance To The Radio, entering the UK Top 40 at 36. Their next single, a new version of 'Nine', was released in May, and preceded the debut album Give Me a Wall, released on 15 May 2006 in the UK. Around this time they toured with We Are Scientists and played alongside The Automatic, The Long Blondes, Howling Bells and Boy Kill Boy on the 2006 NME New Music Tour.

"Eighteen", the fourth track to be lifted from the album in the UK, was released in July on CD and two 7" formats, reaching number 1 in the Indie Charts. The video for Eighteen features cameo appearances from members of The Pigeon Detectives, This Et Al and The Playmates.

"Nine" was featured on the soundtrack to the 2007 PSP game Burnout Dominator. The original version of "Nine" was produced by Richard Green, previously of Ultrasound & The Somatics.


2006 included a short UK tour and numerous UK and European festival appearances. The band played in Leeds and Reading at the Carling Weekend Festival, appearing on the NME/BBC Radio One Stage.

At Belgium's Pukkelpop Festival, the band debuted their first post-GMAW material - "Don't Be A Doctor" - also the first song with a non-numerical title. Doctor was recorded by GMAW producer Paul Tipler in September 2006 and released as a white label one-sided etched 10" on 12 February 2007. The track was released digitally for the first time ever as part of Dance To The Radio's compilation Out Of The Woods and Trees. The compilation also features rare tracks from Howling Bells and The Pigeon Detectives.

¡Forward, Russia! played the MTV2 Spanking New Music Tour in November 2006 alongside Wolfmother, The Maccabees and Fields. "Nineteen" was released as the final single from the album to support this tour. The band headlined a short UK & Irish tour in February and March 2007 to wrap up domestic promotion for the debut album.

Life Processes

Following a secret show to preview new material, the band recorded new material with producer Matt Bayles in Seattle, USA. On their blog of studio updates, numerous working titles for the songs were mentioned, including 3 songs previewed on the early 2007 tour. The album is entitled Life Processes and was released by Cooking Vinyl in the UK on 14 April 2008, Mute North America in June 2008, and Vinyl Junkie in Japan on 26 March 2008. The Japanese release includes exclusive bonus tracks “Reflection Symmetry” and “Don’t Be A Doctor”.

Outside the UK

The band are signed to Mute Records in North America, where Give Me A Wall was released on 19 September 2006. A digital single of Thirteen, as well as two EPs with lead tracks Nine and Eighteen have been released to support the album. ¡Forward, Russia! have visited America four times, all in 2006, to play South by Southwest, the CMJ Music Marathon and tours with Scanners and Snowden .

In Japan the band are signed to Vinyl Junkie Records.

Dance to the Radio distributed Give Me a Wall for the rest of the world, through an agreement with Cooperative Music. The album was on the most part released in late September/early October, with the band touring most of Europe around the period.


On 13 August 2008, the band announced via their forum that they had "decided to take a break from doing ¡Forward, Russia!", and that the band wouldn't be playing or recording "for the foreseeable future". The reasons behind the split are seemingly due to a lack of interest from members of the band in touring or recording new material, teamed with drummer Katie moving to Nottingham for art college and lead singer Tom doing work on other projects, namely producing fast rising Leicester band Minnaars. They played their final show at the Brainwash festival at the Brudenell Social Club on 17 October 2008. In February 2009 it was announced that Whiskas was joining Duels as a full time member.[1]


Studio albums


Title Release Date Label UK Singles Chart Album
"Nine" April 2005 Dance to the Radio
"Thirteen" / "Fourteen" August 2005 White Heat 74[2]
"Twelve" January 2006 Dance to the Radio 36 Give Me a Wall
"Nine" May 2006 40
"Eighteen" July 2006 44
"Nineteen" November 2006 67
"Don't Be A Doctor" Feb 2007
"Breaking Standing" 7 April 2008 Cooking Vinyl 195 Life Processes


  1. ^ http://www.duelsmusic.co.uk/2009/02/now-we-are-five/
  2. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 208. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 

External links

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