Nautilus Pompilius (band)

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Nautilus Pompilius
Nautilus Pompilius in concert, late 1980s.
Nautilus Pompilius in concert, late 1980s.
Background information
OriginUSSR, Russia
GenresArt rock, post-punk, new wave, gothic rock, alternative rock
Years active1982–1997,
Associated actsU-Piter, Televizor, DDT
Past membersVyacheslav Butusov
Dmitry Umetsky
Ilya Kormiltsev
Aleksey Mogilevsky
Nikolay Petrov†
Albert Potapkin
Andrey Sadnov
Igor Goncharov
Aleksandr Zarubin
Anastasiya Poleva
Viktor Komarov
Vladimir Nazimov
Aleksey Khomenko
Yegor Belkin
Vladimir Yelizarov
Igor Dzhavad-Zade
Aleksandr Belyayev

Nautilus Pompilius (Russian: Наутилус Помпилиус), sometimes nicknamed Nau (Russian: Нау), was an influential Soviet, and later Russian, rock band[1] founded in Sverdlovsk in 1982 by Vyacheslav Butusov and Dmitry Umetsky. Butusov disbanded the group in 1997, after multiple successful albums and several different line-ups of the band.


The band was originally named "Ali-Baba and the Forty Thieves" (Russian: "Али-Баба и сорок разбойников"). In 1983, at the suggestion of the band's sound director, Andrei Makarov, the band's name was changed to Nautilus. In 1985, under the initiative of Ilya Kormiltsev, the name was lengthened to Nautilus Pompilius to avoid confusion with other Russian rock bands that were also named Nautilus at the time, such as the Moscow group led by Evgeny Margulis.

The band later elaborated on the name, saying "The band is named after the nudibranch mollusc, which is naturally beautiful and charming."[citation needed] Nautilus pompilius is the scientific name of a species of cephalopod (mistakenly called a nudibranch by the band) commonly known as the Chambered Nautilus.



Vyacheslav Butusov and Dmitry Umetsky took the first steps towards forming Nautilus in the late 70's. At first, the band performed at small events, covering songs by foreign performers and famous native performers like Mashina Vremeni and Voskreseniye. The band was formed by Butusov and Umetsky while the two were students in the Sverdlovsk Institute of Architecture (now called Urals Academy of Architecture).

In 1982, the group made its first attempts to record its own songs. The band's first album, Pereyezd (Russian: Переезд), was released in 1983. It included some songs which had been recorded in 1982, as well as new material. The album was strongly influenced by Led Zeppelin.[citation needed]


The band was active in various incarnations from 1983 to 1997. Nautilus was an influential band in the post-punk, new wave wing of Russian rock music and also a landmark of the "Ural rock" style with their philosophical lyrics. Some of their early hits are popularly associated with the Perestroika period.

The band's music was prominently featured in the 1997 movie Brother (Russian: Брат). A version of their popular song, "Bound by One Chain" ("Скованные одной цепью") appeared in the 2008 film Stilyagi. The band hired English guitarist Bill Nelson to produce their 1997 album Yablokitay (Russian: Яблокитай), on which Nelson also plays the guitar.

Since the group disbanded, Vyacheslav Butusov has launched a successful solo career.

Even though Butusov composed most of the band's songs and wrote some of their lyrics, poet Ilya Kormiltsev was a key contributor as a songwriter and producer.



Year Russian name English transliteration (translation)
1983 Переезд Pereyezd (Resettlement (or Highway Crossing))
1985 Невидимка Nevidimka (The Invisible One)
1986 Разлука Razluka (Separation), a name of a Russian folk song featuring in the album
1987–1988 Ни Кому Ни Кабельность (LIVE) Ni Komu Ni Kabel'nost' (pun; nekommunikabel'nost' means 'lack of sociability' (a loanword, from communicate and -able-) and nikomu ni means 'to nobody'
1988 Князь Тишины Knyaz' Tishiny (Prince of Silence), after a poem by Endre Ady
1988 Отбой (LIVE) Otboy (Lights-out)
1989 Человек без имени Chelovek Bez Imeni (Man With No Name)
1992 Чужая земля Chuzhaya Zemlya (Foreign Land)
1994 Титаник Titanic
1994 Титаник-LIVE Titanic-LIVE
1995 Крылья Kryl'ya (Wings)
1996 Лучшие Песни (LIVE) Luchshie Pesni (Best Songs)
1997 Яблокитай Yablokitay (China-apple, Dutch etymologization of Russian apel'sin 'orange fruit')
1997 Атлантида Atlantida (Atlantis)

Among their most well-known songs are: The Prince of Silence ("Князь тишины"), "Walks on Water" ("Прогулки по воде"), "The Last Letter" ("Последнее письмо", also known as "Goodbye, America"), "The Glance from the Screen" ("Взгляд с экрана"), "Hlop-Hlop" ("Хлоп-хлоп"), "The Khaki Sphere" ("Шар цвета хаки"), "Bound by One Chain" ("Скованные одной цепью"), "I Want to Be with You" ("Я хочу быть с тобой"), "On the Shore of the Nameless River" ("На берегу безымянной реки"), and "Wings" ("Крылья").


  1. ^ Nautilus Pompilius // Encyclopaedia of Contemporary Russian culture, 2013

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