One of the most prominent guitarists of the 1990s Serbian rock scene is nurturing a new generation of regional rock bands.
A host of young bands are rocking Belgrade’s alternative scene, gathering crowds of local rock connoisseurs in underground clubs and smaller venues scattered around the Dorcol and Savamala neighbourhoods. They all have one thing, or rather one person, in common: the guitarist Robert Telcer.
Best known for his work with two bands – playing guitar with Veliki Prezir and Partibrejkers from the 1990s onward – Telcer has built from scratch and now successfully runs a music studio called Samarcina in Vrbas, a town of 25,000 that lies 130 kilometres north of Belgrade.
An unusual place for a studio, it has nevertheless produced dozens of young, up and coming and well-established bands. New bands such as regional act Seine, Crvi and Crno Dete from Belgrade and Plastic Sunday and Igralom from Nis, but also well-known bands like Kanda Kodza i Nebojsa, Repetitor, and Artan Lili have all made use of Telcer’s studio and his skill and advice.
I wanted to interview Telcer in his studio in Vrbas but, as luck would have it, he was in Belgrade to promote his new album with band Hevi Hipi Bejbi. The band managed without much media fanfare to pack the Elektropionir music club last month, where fans mingled with around half of Serbia’s most influential musicians within the (admittedly not too large) rock and alternative scene.
Asked what he wants to achieve as a musician and producer, Telcer told BIRN: “You hope to produce the right kind of rebellion. It is mainly achieved through lyrics and music, of course, not aggressive but rather efficient, in its own way. “
“We have world class musicians who lack resources to present themselves in the right light. They need money to invest in instruments, to record songs, to enable themselves to do what they enjoy doing.”
Musicians who have worked with Telcer resolutely return the love, with the band Nicim Izazvan, who burst onto the regional scene in 2014 with singles like O tebi and Trideset, describing him as a “great man and a great musician” for whom “you could not find enough paper to write plaudits”.