I Forward Russia (¡Forward, Russia!)

Members: Tom Woodhead, Rob Canning, Katie Nicholls, Whiskas

Active: 2004 - present


i Forward, Russia! are an English Indie band from Leeds, formed in Spring 2004. The band were particularly well known for its decision to only name tracks with numbers, however the band have decided to stop this tradition, and did so after the release of Give Me A Wall with the track "Don't be a Doctor". The band is also famous for its ?! logo, which is an increasingly popular T-shirt design.

i Forward, Russia! formed in early '04 from the embers of Leeds band The Black Helicopters, of which Tom and Rob were members. They joined siblings Whiskas and Katie, and the band performed their first gig in April, closely followed by demos which received positive reviews from prominent music magazines such as Drowned in Sound and, more importantly, NME, who called it "Convulsing punk-funk brilliance from Leeds".

In April 2005, i Forward, Russia! released Nine, a split 7-inch single with This Et Al, released on i Forward, Russia! guitarist Whiskas' label Dance to the radio. BBC Radio 1 and 6Music DJ Steve Lamacq was a fan. This single was reviewed by NME who put it on their 'Radar'. It was this kind of media coverage that led to the single selling out in a week, and now becoming a coveted collectors item for fans.

The band then began to get their first major breaks in the summer of 2005. By this time, Katie had finished college and others had quit their jobs to take up the band full-time. Tour supports for Editors and VHS or Beta, whilst also appearing at major festivals such as Truck and the Carling Weekend

Double A-side '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. 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.

i Forward, Russia!'s next release, 'Twelve' appeared in January 2006, on Dance to the radio, and became their first chart hit, entering the UK Top 40 at 36. After further touring, the band announced that their next single, a new version of 'Nine', would be released on May 1 2006, and would be followed by a debut album Give Me A Wall on May 15 2006.

The band toured with US band We Are Scientists in early 2006 and they played alongside The Automatic, The Long Blondes, Howling Bells and Boy Kill Boy in the 2006 NME New Music Tour.

It was around this time that the first signs of Toms' electronic side project, AnteAter, began to show, with Woodhead making a MySpace page for it in early February 2006. Featuring no vocals on the tracks previewed, fans are still unclear on the direction of the venture.

Scotland's T in the Park festival was graced by the Leeds quartet, playing at the "Futures Stage" tent on the Saturday evening (8th July). They also played Hi-Fi North Festival, opening at the main stage to a disappointingly small audience (to quote Tom "the next song is Nine, which is about how many people we have watching at the moment").

Eighteen, the fourth track to be lifted from the album, was released on the 24th July on CD, coloured 7" and regular 7". B sides are Six and Fourteen, and remixes of Eighteen by Yes Boss, The Rollercoaster Project, :( and Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly.

Towards the end of the year, the band are scheduled to play in the MTV2 Brand Spanking New Music tour along with Fields, The Maccabees and Wolfmother. They also played in Leeds and Reading at the Carling Weekend Festival this year, appearing on the NME/BBC Radio One Stage.

i Forward, Russia! performed at Holland's Lowlands festival in August 2006, where the band performed their first non-numbered song. Instead of being called Twenty (the twentieth song the band have written), the song is called Don't be a Doctor. It is expected that other songs will continue to be named instead of numbers.

A recent mailing list e-mail indicated that i Forward, Russia! plans to release an EP based around their already twice-released Nine, featuring four other non-album tracks and remixes. The CD was expected to be released in the US during October 2006.

According to Whiskas, the last single taken from Give Me A Wall shall be Nineteen, a song not previously heard or released before the album, and still to be performed live by the band.

It was later confirmed on the band's website that Nineteen will be released in the UK on November 13 accompanied by the B-side Ten as well as a remix of Thirteen by Duels.

The band have recently announced a UK/Irish tour for February '07.


2006 - Give Me A Wall


2005 - Nine

2005 - Thirteen / Fourteen

2006 - Twelve

2006 - Nine

2006 - Eighteen

2006 - Nineteen

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