Fashion’s dark lord Rick Owens: “I saw Winny Puhh on Eurovision. They have this wonderful over-the-top limitlessness and cheerful aggression. I asked them to play at my show, hoping it would create an otherworldly atmosphere. They’re just awesome.”
Witnessing a Winny Puhh show is a shock to the senses. With their spinning vertical drummers, Lycra wrestling outfits, guttural screams and frontman dressed as a fox, you can tell they really don’t give a fuck what you think.
The Estonian punk/metal six-piece formed in 1993, but gained a cult following this year thanks to the unbelievable performance they gave in a failed attempt to represent their country in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest. “It was very depressing,” guitarist Ove Musting says of the experience. “We started to abuse alcohol and drugs in enormous amounts.” But after seeing it, designer Rick Owens – ever quick to embrace the daring and deranged – invited them to perform during his SS14 men’s show in Paris, resulting in a Twitter explosion as his followers rushed to find out just who these punk eccentrics were. Now their videos have over a million views and a film about their journey is on the way.
Straddling the line between mind-bending music and live art performance, Winny Puhh are a thrilling example of what can be achieved if you’re free of mainstream stimuli. “Our influences are forests, swamps, fishing, mushrooming, ancient life,” says Musting. “In our childhoods, we didn’t have much music. We had to work on fields and our grandparents whispered some really weird songs – in those precious moments we got to know what music really is. And of course the sound of a tractor, sounds of plants growing, dogs mating and the sound of a cow giving birth... Those all made us who we are now.”
Their frenetically paced guitar riffs and shrill vocals make sense of the mating-dogs reference, but the real lure of Winny Puhh is their aesthetic. “We are like healers. We step on the stage with special uniforms so diseases can’t recognise who is the healer. It is a shamanic tradition in rural Estonia.” The band’s as-yet-untitled documentary will map their “rise and fall and rise” and provide an insight into the mysterious group’s worldview. It’s due to be released this autumn. Musting: “This documentary will be something mankind was waiting for, for centuries.” You heard it here first.