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Watch Pussy Riot's Powerful Video for "Refugees In" Shot at Banksy's Dismaland

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By Kim Taylor Bennett

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All exclusive behind the scenes photos by  "Vianney Le Caer for Pussy Riot"

We're excited to premiere Pussy Riot's powerful new video for the song "Refugees In"— shot recently at Banksy's Dismaland installation in the UK. Musically it's an ominous collision of darkly forboding, electronica—complete with an anxiety inducing stampede of drums—while the girls move between eerily sweet refrains and forceful sing-speak. Backed by the squall of the crowd, rising up like a swarm of furious bees, Pussy Riot's lyrical mantra leaves no question as to their intent (Scroll down for the full lyrics.) As for the video itself, the visuals are denote chaos, rebellion, and the clash of ideals. It's an assault on the senses that doesn't so much reel you in, as smacks you in the face. We talked to Pussy Riot's Nadya Tolokonnikova about shooting the video, the lyrical inspiration, and she weighs in on the recent attacks in Paris.
 

 
Noisey: How involved were you with the video treatment? What did you want to communicate with this video?
Nadya Tolokonnikova: I’m 100 percent involved in all Pussy Riot’s ideas. I’m not a big fan of the "fast-food" industry of artists who have no involvement in the production of their work. I believe that, after Marcel Duchamp, an artist doesn’t have to do everything by himself, but, as Ai Wei Wei told me: “Factory can do a piece of art for me, but I should be in charge of idea.”

Pussy Riot’s video “Refugees In” is built on the footage from our performance at Banksy’s Dismaland show at the end of September 2015. I asked my friend Ralf Schmerberg if he wanted to film the performance and do a full music video out of the footage, and Ralf agreed. Ralf has a belief in getting talented high-profile professionals (film directors, designers, publicists) to give their time for free in the interest of the cause (the return being good karma!), which is really great. Due to this principle he has previous experience in filming riots, so he was probably the best eye who can catch what was going on during our show at Dismaland. 



Dismaland’s slogan says that this park is the most disappointing experience, and how disappointing is it to come to a political punk-band’s show and looking at the police brutally beating protestors? This fight is disappointing, but it’s a significant image and a model of how government and society works: you should always stand up for you rights, and never stop. Freedom is not something that you could take for granted. Lewis Carroll says in Alice: "My dear, here we must run as fast as we can, just to stay in place. And if you wish to go anywhere you must run twice as fast as that."

We wrote the song “Refugees In” in two days, when we came to London in order to prepare our Dismaland’s performance. Music producers bretonLABS and Ten Ven worked with us on it, and the lyrics are a result of our collaboration with Mike Snelle, a London-based artist, who is part of The Connor Brothers art-group, which is focusing now on helping refugees. After meeting with one young guy, who fled from Sudan and came to London risking his life in the back of a lorry and after we read all the news coverage about thousands of people who are dying on their way to a safe place we had no doubts that the main topic of our event should be a pro-refugee, pro-free-traveling, multiculturalist agenda. We cannot and must not turn our backs on these people. We cannot allow our elected representatives to place a monetary value on human lives. Ethics and not economics should be our guiding principle.

Why Dismaland? How did your collaboration with Banksy come about?
I was so excited when Banksy asked Pussy Riot to perform at Dismaland! And we decided to do our first organized, legal concert at Banksy’s place. It is a big deal for Pussy Riot—to perform first time not in the middle of Red Square, but at an official event. It’s as important as losing your virginity, and we gave ourselves to Banksy. Later we worked on video edit, and we collaborated through e-mails. 

Do you think music and art can actually inspire change?
There is a lot of protest music which really inspires people. Sometimes in order to be able to understand protest music we need to step away from eurocentrism. Last year I’ve met with political activists from different countries of Africa and they told me that for them music is an essential part of every protest action. 

How can the average person contribute to helping with the refugee crisis?
You can donate your time, you can donate your money—to build shelters in refugee camps, to help people find accommodation, jobs and the simplest goods like food and clothing to survive. You can become a friend and show them around. You can open your home and give a room to a refugee or ask friends who have a spare room. The main rule is that if you want to have energy and resources—you have to spend them. Greed never helps you to gain more energy and inspiration. 

I heard you're going to Calais building houses for refugees…
Yes, we are going to Calais in the beginning of the next year to build shelters. Our fellow artists The Connor Brothers have already done that several times, and they told me that it was a really tough, but important experience for them. When you see how people can really join their efforts in difficult situation you improve your believe in people, believe in solidarity.  

What's next for Pussy Riot?
We are recording a lot more music currently, for release next year alongside weird and unpleasant videos. Lyrically it’s all political of course, musically it's dark and electronic. 

Nadya also had this to say about the recent attacks on Paris: 
It’s been thousands of years that the hate towards an Enemy in the burning hearts of the votership draws the diagram of ratings. Pontius Pilate knew this mean rule very well and this is why he sent Jesus to Golgotha to be crucified.

Politics is a polygamous bitch, and her bitchy rules are pretty cynical. It makes one anxious to be a politician. And if the fear to lose the power starts to dominate in the politician’s personality he launches a new game—on the field of greed, hate, and dread. In fact it is much easier to arouse that side than understanding, patience, love and active compassion.  
When Marine Le Pen awakens the fear of something unknown, something coming from other culture, something alien she uses the same dirty method as Pilate did. And the same as Vladimir Putin has chosen, infusing the belligerent anti-Western ideas into Russian minds. Putin, Orban, Le Pen will eagerly tell you that there is an enemy. An Enemy. It exists. Conservative religion implicates the presence of an Enemy as unconditionally and dogmatically as the presence of God.

They will also tell you that We are not Them. It’s a different world. They are not sanatorium babies. We will rub them out in the outhouse. It is primitive, it is dumb and it does impress. As much as a gunpoint of a Kalashnikov looking into your face. ISIS thinks and acts emphatically, aggressively, without any halftones. This binary dividing combatant thinking of Pilate, Putin, ISIS and Le Pen runs like clockwork. Because it is easier to comprehend a black and white world. Life in a colorful world is much brighter, fuller, richer with senses and emotions. It is also more troubling but still wonderful. ISIS will win if the hate against refugees in the hearts of Europeans defeats the mercy to despaired people fleeing their destroyed houses in panic. Their Syrian and Iraqi houses occupied by the assailants. ISIS will win if Europe rejects the value of multiculturalism being terrified by the threats of extreme right politicians, closes its borders and tumbles back to the previous century, the era of nationalism.

If Europe closes the borders hundreds of thousands of Muslims putting on the line everything they have to escape radical Muslim state will never be able to see another world. Some of them will join that very ISIS, being embittered and disappointed in the good will of European states. If we want to attract Middle Eastern people with our Western values there is no other way but to accept them. Accept and save those who flee the country occupied by terrorists, those who run to Europe as to some promised land.

The time of grief for the dead should not become a time when we betray the belief of hundreds of thousands in the humaneness of the European world. Our grief should not teach us to aim for revenge, war and hate. It should teach us to help and show real compassion to each other.

"Refugees In"

Met in Europe by razor wires, Governments here fucking liars Desperate people who need to flee Seeking refuge by land and sea Push for borders, get no peace Fuck the police like we’re in greece

Cage me in cage me out
Refugees in, nazis out
Governments here should feel the shame Fucking liars, you're to blame

Fuck the police
Like we are in Greece Destroy piece by piece This conservative disease

Huff and puff and smash it up
Burst, blast, blow it up
Cage me in cage me out
Refugees in, nazis out
Governments here should feel the shame Fucking liars, you're to blame

Cage me in cage me out
Refugees in, nazis out
Governments here, should feel the shame, Fucking liars, you're to blame
You're to blame

Cage me in cage me out
Refugees in, nazis out
Governments here, should feel the shame, Fucking liars, you're to blame
You're to blame

Cage me in cage me out
Refugees in, nazis out
Governments here, should feel the shame, Fucking liars, you're to blame
You're to blame

Bombing people out of homes
We want peace, not fucking drones Push, push borders away!
Push borders, do it today!
Human beings - not a swarm Injustice - government norm

Cage me in cage me out
Refugees in, nazis out
Governments here, should feel the shame, Fucking liars, you're to blame
You're to blame 

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