The Central Asian country of Uzbekistan is the homeland of Otabek Salamov (Bek), songwriter, composer, multi-instrumentalist, producer, and founder of the alternative rock/pop band NEEDSHES. Currently based in Moscow, the band – rounded out by Ivan Petukhov (guitar) and Alexey Manakhov (drums) – continues to expand their eclectic style rooted in David Bowie, Queen, and James Brown in 2020.
FEBRUARY 26: The new single “Road of Freedom” is based on a story the frontman heard during one of the rock sessions in his hometown of Tashkent. The escape from unfortunate circumstances – living in a Chinese bordel – turned into a celebrating ode to the beginning of a new life. The sound was inspired by a-ha, Alphaville, Queen, David Bowie, The Killers & Brandon Flowers.
Full quote: “It has started with a sound of an Organ in the intro. The idea of the song has been in my head for a while. Sophomore year, I met a curious couple of an Uzbek guy and a Chinese girl. The girl’s head was decorated with an impromptu veil made of beautiful white lace. I looked at them and felt like I was on Woodstock. He told me their story, and this song “Road of Freedom” is a hymn to their love. Unfortunately, I don’t remember the names.
The guy went to work in China, they were building something there. One evening they visited a local bordel in one Chinese province. He found her there, beautiful and timid. She told him how she got there. The bordel adopted her when she was very young. She told him how many times she tried to come up with something, and start a new life. One night they left this place forever. He brought her to his home. It’s not that simple – his parents kicked them out with a scandal. And here we are sitting in the courtyard of the bar where another session has just ended (that’s what we called small rock festivals). He’s telling me this story, how they will get on their feet, get married, go away to another country. They were full of enthusiasm. He was talking and the girl was smiling and kissing his cheek all the time. I never saw them again, but their story is with me forever.
Bek started his musical journey in early childhood. He attended the music academy in his hometown, Tashkent, where he was awarded the first prize for his precision on clarinet at the age of 13. As a teen, his interests varied, and he was drawn to compose metalcore. One day he decided to dilute it with melodic undertones. Soon he realized that the switch was something that gravitated to his liking. In 2013 he founded a melodic rock project, NEEDSHES, and moved to Moscow. Otabek gathered a full traditional formation around his project with the intent to create authentic rock music. In 2016 after several line-up changes, Ivan (guitar) and Alexey (drums) joined him and made it possible for the sound created in the studio to fully sound live.
Stemming from his childhood, he encapsulates his art for composing bluesy story-telling ballads with funk-soul anthems infused with swagger punk rock and suffocating alt-rock, trap tints. Someone once described them as a balancing act between the moody atmosphere of The NBHD, with dainty anthems reminiscent of The Killers, a bit of the oddball nature of Jack White, and the heartbreaking ballad skillset of Coldplay.
In October 2020, NEEDSHES performed online (video) at the socially distanced version of this year’s MONDO NYC showcase. With four singles released since 2020 started, the band has got airplay on idobi, KUTX Radio (TX), Amazing Radio, features on PopMatters, American Songwriter, RIFF Magazine, Digital Journal, UPROXX’s Indie Mixtape, to name just a few.
In June 2020, they won the Independent Music Awards, NY in the category “Song Used in Ad” with the track “Unbelievable” used in Lay’s year campaign in Europe. They performed at the World Cup FIFA Fan Festival and were a special guest at the concert of You Me At Six in 2019. Their tracks have been featured in international movies (“Break”, “She Sees Red” 2019), sitcoms, cartoons, and TV ads by Lay’s, Renault.
In January 2021, the band performed at the global event NAMM Global Livestream (CA), this year – virtual.
American Songwriter: “NEEDSHES expands their sound rooted in Queen, David Bowie and James Brown in 2020 with “You Make Me Feel,” an indie soul ballad of encouragement and comfort in a new environment.”
PopMatters: “Opening with colorful, see-saw synths, “Love” quickly locks into a tight groove as a distorted, funky riff playfully dances around lyrics.”
idobi Radio: “Pain” takes you on a journey through emotional turmoil, using intense synths to make sure all you can think about is the beat and the story it creates.”
RIFF Magazine: “You Make Me Feel” — The opening line sounds like Sister Hazel’s slightly raspy, nasally vocals, but then the chorus recalls Coldplay’s light, soaring sonics.”
Digital Journal: “NEEDSHES delivers on their latest piano-laden single “You Make Me Feel.” It garners four out of five stars.”
Born Music Online: “My Heart” is melodically wonderful and featuring an exotic flavoring of a killer production,”
IGGY Magazine, France: “U Babe” lacks nothing, everything is in its place to plunge us into a pleasant and successful musical retreat.”