Cxemcast 055 – CHSZM

Let’s start with your set. What material did you use in it?

The set combines songs written from 2015 until now. Among them are reworks of audio editions of poetry: Caroline Bergvall’s Ambient Fish, and Khary Jackson’s How To Make Love. There is also a remix of the new track of Kyiv-based ambient band Art Electronix.

I am currently working on my first full-length album. The release is planned for 2019, but there are several pieces from it in this set. The set is very close in sound to my live program, with which I will go on tour to support my new EP Bee Pole in the beginning of 2018.

Judging by your music, it seems that you’ve got a collection hardware, don’t you?

I fundamentally renounce everything except my laptop.This decision is motivated by the fact that computer, as I think, is a self-sufficient instrument. My opinion is similar to that of Holly Herndon, who has said that computer is the most intimate instrument. It is a multifunctional personal space, and due to its capabilities a unique product, which listeners then experience, is created.

What waits for those who visit your performance for the first time?

Sounds of children’s fight, sincere and cruel.

How to dance to your music? Is it necessary at all?

I don’t impose any conditions of listening to my music. It is dance music for those who have desire to move, and with whom it resonates. And it is not dance music for those whose bodies are calm, and who are feeling comfortable during my performance. Although, I don’t think anybody who was on my lives could say that I try to build a comfort zone for my listeners.  

How do you imagine World Championship in Meditation (The name CHSZM is an abbreviation for WCIM in Ukrainian)? Who will win this competition?

In this neurotic world of post-truth the winner is the one who genuinely doesn’t want to win.

Where did the idea of this nickname come from?

In the middle of 2013 I thought that World Championship in Meditation (CHSZM) sounds funny. Four years passed and the name of the project has been changed to transliterated abbreviation.

You have posted on Facebook a list of your favorite records of 2017. How do you choose the music which gets into your player? And how this music does influence your work?

I follow several small labels on Bandcamp and Soundcloud, and usually that’s enough for me. I spend much less time listening to anyone’s music than making some myself. My biggest influences are Kanye West’s Yeezus and Grouper’s Ruins. I like to think that my music is somewhere at the intersection of these works, at least for now.

Vanya Samokrutkin from Odessa-based System label has told us about your release there: «Generally, it is cute experimental music which works very well in podcasts and at live performances. It is quite experimental in sound and feelings it brings, but it doesn’t scare away those who would like to dance». Did you anticipate your music to have such an effect?

I didn’t plan to evoke any specific thoughts about my release. For me it is a record about the fight between natural forces and modern technology. Therefore, there is a lot of patterns, electric screeches, and underground water noises.

What do you think about modern day ukrainian experimental music scene? Where do you find yourself in it?

This «scene» does not exist. There are different ukrainian artists whose work gives the people freedom of choice. Experimental music is called experimental just because it is hard to describe its function and meaning in a country where «dance music» is totally dominant.

Nowadays the most popular type of electronic music event in Ukraine is the rave. The rave, at least as I see it in its contemporary form, is quite an authoritarian phenomenon, it forces the listeners to distinguish between only two types of music: «dance» and «non-dance» music. This simplification also impacts the demand for electronic music.

I’d rather not attribute myself to any niche. I have a feeling I will be where I belong regardless of what happens in music nowadays in Ukraine or worldwide.

You are from Kharkiv, a big city with a very small number of music venues, at least as it seems from outside perspective. What do you think about this disproportion?

Actually I am from Sloviansk, and there were no music venues as we know them. When I moved to Kharkiv in 2014, I expected that I would dive into new environment with plenty of musical events and sites. But I’ve been living there for more than three years and I should say that there aren’t many places of this kind in Kharhiv because local artistic community is rather inert. There just haven’t been any long-term initiatives to fill this cultural vacuum.  

The whole Kharkiv city has  only one recognizable club and it’s most popular events are either clumsy clones of Cxema or post-punk concerts which exploit the «new ukrainian music» hype. Although I assume that large ukrainian cities develop unevenly, someday Kharkiv will have music venues on pair with those of Kyiv. The problem is, no one knows how long it will take.

Kharkiv, Kyiv, Moscow, Lviv. How did you feel about performing in these cities this year?

It was equally cool both in Kyiv and Moscow. In the first case it was presentation of my EP, in the second it was presentation of beautiful artist Zurkas Tepla’s LP. My other trips were night convert lives with  great musicians and my friends John Object and Sasha Very in the lineup.

Lately you have published a music video for your track Fake Cough. Why would you shoot videos for your tracks in 2017? And which music video you have watched recently do you find particularly appealing?

In my opinion, music videos as a format of creative thinking imposed on music composition will have a potential for development even in 2027 and will die only when cinematography would have been dead for long. The video that Deomrad has shot for my music perfectly illustrates the way I imagine contemporary music videos. Generally, after this work had been published, I’ve got this feeling that I have a new part of the body — now I can speak with my listener not only in the form of live performance or downloaded.wav-file.

I rarely watch music videos. When I was a kid, my favourite one was video for Depeche Mode’s song Wrong. My today’s favorite is music video for Félicia Atkinson`s track Adaptation Assez Facile from her album Hand In Hand.



Interviewed by Darko Lisen.​