Cxemcast 039 – Buttechno
You used to play "guitar" music before. When and why did such a transition to electronic music happen?
I came to the current sound gradually and wouldn’t like to separate music into electronic and non-electronic. It's more about the development of sound and the search of something new - but the instrument itself doesn’t play a major role here. When we had a band together with Savier (founder of NII (Rus. - НИИ - abbr. Science and Arts, a popular club and multifunctional space in Moscow) club), we actively used synthesizers, samplers, and a chain of Moogers on bass guitar. When Savier started making music under Burago pseudonym, he bought Roland SH-101 synthesizer and some more instruments. I came to him and tried to play. Now I'm starting to be more interested in acoustic instruments, more often sitting with a guitar.
The band itself, as far as I understand, no longer exists, doesn’t it?
We are gathering, but rarely. We’ve had a concert recently and a lot of people came because we haven’t performed for quite a long time. The small room of NII was fully packed, we played only twenty minutes - people creeped so much that they threw the equipment down so that it broke.
It seems that everyone threw their guitars away and switched to synthesizers, do ou agree?
No, I don’t have such an impression. The percentage of good artists at all times was the same, like the percentage of those, who just want to stay in a trend. A good musician won’t limit oneself to genres, he or she will rather pay full attention to things, which are interesting to work with and research on.
I use different instruments, despite the fact that most of the tracks are written exclusively on computer. At the same time, what you use for writing music can’t determine its quality - it depends on strange things, especially when we talk about music that is now called electronic. In this regard, the words of Mika Vainio from Pan Sonic are close to me: “Techno becomes irritating when it's not working. There's a lot of techno stuff that's somehow, mysteriously, it does not catch the groove. Techno is a curious thing. Small details make a track work. Somehow techno has lost its spark for me, but I'm sure there's a good and interesting stuff coming out”. The keywords here are ‘somehow’ and ‘mysteriously’, I think they speak for themselves.
Doesn’t the way how electronic music, particularly techno, is in trend now bother you?
I don’t understand how this fact can interfere with creativity - there is no difference what is fashionable or not. It can interfere with other things, but not creativity.
What did appear earlier - Johns' Kingdom label or your project - Buttechno? And what does this pseudonym mean?
The first Johns' Kingdom party took place in September 2014, where I played under another pseudonym. Buttechno appeared in the end of December 2014. As for the meaning of the word ‘Buttechno’ - it's more of a consonance, phonetics, rather than it carries a specific meaning.
Do you have any other projects?
Now I'm focused on Buttechno. But soon, the record, signed simply by my name and surname, is going to be published on Gost Zvuk label. I'm not attached to the names and I think that they can be different for different material - it's still clear that you and your music are inseparable.
Which side of yours will you show in the new album?
It will be music representing various stages of my work: from very old sketches to the latest experiments. All material is united by an important place on the map for me, even by the state of mind it gives me. The album will be called "Yalta".
Recently you have performed at CTM Festival in Berlin. Tell us about your impressions.
I got the impressions rather not from my own performance, but from the places I’ve visited, from the live performances that I’ve seen. In particular, I was very impressed by the performances of Pauline Oliveros, Stephen O'Malley, Iancu Dmitriescu & Hyperion Ensemble. I'm glad that I had the chance to see so many grandiose shows in just one week.
Do Kyiv or Moscow scenes have a potential to achieve the same festival level?
I think the guys, who stand behind Outline and Save festivals, are close to organizing something at similar level, but they pursue a slightly different format. However, having something like this here seems unlikely to me. We can host a concert of Sunn O))), but the festival, where the avant-garde luminaries and today's main representatives perform on different locations every day, can’t happen no so much for cultural, but rather for economic reasons. However, it is already very cool that periodically we can see such events as Strichka with Alva Noto and Murcof, Save with Pierre Bastien.
Who would you highlight from Russian scene?
Vtgnike, Flaty (also AEM "Rhythm-Cascade"), Lapti, Nocow, Piper Spray, DJ Kassir, as well as all those guys, who are published (and will be published) on Gost Zvuk label. In addition, the label of NII club will appear soon, on which a lot of interesting music will be released. I’m also glad with the Siberian movement- Klammklang label. I’ve forgotten somebody for sure, but it's these are first ones I thought about.
Do you often play abroad?
I did last year.
Many people say that the crisis has contributed to the development of local artists. In particular, they are invited to perform more, isn’t it?
I don’t understand how crisis could positively affect this situation - I think of it as individual matter more. Of course, the environment is needed for the development, but it also seems to me that the time you dedicate to searching and listening to new music is important - the musician can’t develop without it.
Could you share your latest discovery with us.
I constantly find something new in what I think I know well. For instance, Jamal Moss has many side-projects, which you can dig into more and more. I also listen to old radio programs about the avant-garde classics, where each second track is from an author, unknown to me. I dig into old mixes and lives, selections on Discogs. Recently I’ve decided to listen to Keiji Haino from the very beginning of his career - there is enough music for a few years ahead.
As the artistic director of NII, could you tell us how do you see it in two years?
I can’t say how I see it in the future. The important thing is that it exists right now, it’s already pleasing. In many respects, it is its concept - to reflect the current state of music. Moreover, not only dance music - we organize different events: from evenings of ethnographic researchers from Ored Recordings label to free jazz improvisations.
This mix consists of your unreleased tracks. When were they recorded, do you plan to publish them?
This is the working material recorded over the past few months. I can’t say anything concrete yet about their release - the task was rather to show music that hadn’t been published before nowhere else.
Interviewed by Bohdan Konakov.