Cxemcast 049 – KiK

Which instruments did you use for the live recording process? What idea and aesthetics did become the basis for the recording?

We have a studio, which we have been putting together for a long time and are still modernizing, always changing something and adding new instruments. For example, I have been collecting Soviet synthesizers and various devices since school. Naturally, not each of them fits in: if I don’t use something for a couple of years, I switch to another device, thus the closet accommodates approximately the same amount of technical equipment as the studio does.
Regarding the instruments - now it’s hard to recall exactly what was used. The dramaturgy of playing is formed during the process that, in the end, leads us and tells us which of the available instruments would be the most expressive means. All our gigs usually flow like that, not articulating anything precise, we start playing and after a while, there appears a common beat, which develops harmoniously further on. Sometimes, it doesn’t appear immediately. It this case, we put it on pause because there is no point to continue. We drink tea, talk about books, movies, science, well, about anything but avoiding the music theme. Much of what we record, appears just like that. Sometimes we use sketches, which are modified each time, developed in another direction and sounding differently. This living element, but not an endless repetition of the same thongs again and again, is an honest attitude to what we are doing, as for me.
With Pavel, we have been collaborating with various interruptions, for almost 15 years, 10 of which are dedicated to electronic aesthetics. But there is no difference whether we’re playing guitars or synthesizers - the main thing is the presence of a pulse between us or its absence. A year ago, we recorded everything on tape or reel recorder and then cut pieces afterwards. There was a compilation, released on NYH label, but much material was lost because of incorrect recording process, so we switched to 16-channel controller recording (our friend have just given us an old G4), so that you can edit the material.

Do you think you could manage to create the same material with the means of computer, but not the analog?

I do think so. It's more a matter of preference. There was the time, when we played only on computers – it didn’t hurt music much, however while working with software, it is necessary to maximally expand the frames of internal self-restraints due to a variety of expressive means.

How did you meet Pavel?

Kursk local independent scene has been actively forming in the 90’s and Pavel was one of its milestones, it was impossible for us not cross-pass. In 1996, I presented my project programmed for Spectrum ZX in the club, where Pavel worked. Afterwards, we talked a lot and eventually began playing together.

How big is music scene in Kursk?

In Kursk, there are several emerging musical movements, but mostly it’s all just peacockery – in order to make a cool profile picture for social networks behind the controller or with a guitar. Any producer or musician can be spotted from afar, even if he absolutely can’t play or mix material. However, if the artist is honest, it is a decisive factor for me to reach out and help any way that I can. Nevertheless, there is the heavy artillery of people with impeccable taste who know exactly what they do, without any regards to trends. As a rule, we make good friends with such people: for example, DJ Killer, around who everything, worth paying attention to in terms of dance culture of our city, has been turning for the past 15 years.

Tell us about Kursk independent scene of the 90’s. How was it?

It was a vast and mixed crowd, which was united by frankness and honesty towards the audience and the work itself. My friend, the music critic Victor Pinyaev, has written few articles about the fact that this scene was unique on the entire territory of the [Soviet] Union. The uniqueness of some groups still causes respectful awe, as they anticipated the trends, which came into fashion much later. Of course, basically, it was a guitar culture, but with a very strong undercurrent of dance.
An integral part of any concert were dancing to a tape DJ after the bands performed, as there was no separation and segregation - it was a cultural environment, clear and understood by everyone. That is why I had no fears to present electronic works after a live show - the message and content are far more important than the form, which it is submitted in. Honesty of the most important personalities of the scene is also confirmed by the fact that the majority of them is in the forefront of cultural and musical life of the city until now.

It turns out that the scene is still there, but only a few people know about it, and everything is self-isolated  from the outer world and from the younger generation?

The younger generation, as it should, fills its own bumps and invents own bike, but for those who are interested, the door is always open. We are faced with the fact that age, as it turns out, may be the dividing line. Some people, who listen to our music, are greatly surprised that we aren’t 20. Although, I’m used to perceive art apart from age, residency, eating habits or other contingencies.

Does your city host musical events often?

Exactly as often as we do them happy - if we talk about parties and concerts, worthy of attention. Throughout this spring, our team prepared an abandoned bomb shelter on the outskirts of the city for a series of measures to give permission and putting the forces and finances in this case. As a result of one, but a very powerful get-together took place, so that our guests and we were very happy.
In terms of general cultural events, much more concerts are happening now. Interesting artists, pianists, orchestras, jazz bands come to us, the flow of European and American touring bands touches our city on the way to Moscow. I'm trying to select the ones that close to me by content and enjoy them.

To which extent can the influence of Moscow on Kursk be felt?

Talking about popular culture, there are more similarities and intersections, however since we're on the other side of views, we don’t feel any effect.

Can we say that the periphery has certain charm, which seeps into electronic music in an interesting way?

Perhaps, I would talk about provincial openness and credulity in this case, however only the human element turns out to be fundamental. I’m familiar with steep metropolitan musicians who are open and easy-going despite their level and reputation. At the same time, I meet some local arrogant and haughty producers and just can’t help but wonder how such behavior can be justified.

In other words, the place where you live and work as a musician, producer or artist means nothing at all, does it?

Absolutely. It isn’t necessary to look better than you really are. It is important not to lie to yourself and, as a result, to others, do your work honestly, not worrying about gaining hundreds of weeping fans. Perhaps the meaning of your life is to help a specific person with your music, which is much more important than many other things.

Is it your sense of doing music?

It is my sense of existence and music is a way of expression, to which the same common principles of life can be applied. The point of our reality or universe rather doesn’t exist, we’d like to engage into creation of meanings, but there is not enough time. Basically, we just play basing ourselves on intuition and cultural background.

What if it's just graphomania?

Graphomania means the existence of a single consumer, who is the author himself. We, making the product exclusively for ourselves, often find it at unfamiliar places.

Do you have many releases?

We don’t keep score, but we try to send all the stuff, which comes out worthy, on labels, so that it doesn’t get lost, at least. Release is definitely a physical medium as for me. This is something we are still working on and will certainly start to keep score of.

Why do you prefer physical to digital? Do you mean vinyl while speaking about physical medium?

Vinyl, cassette, reel, wax cylinder - all the touchable things, sound of which will have its own color and specificity. We have a release on vinyl, which I haven’t even seen. It is a hand recorded mono disc. However, the track is not purely ours- it’s a joint project with "Pochemu Komutator Molchit" ("Почему Коммутатор Молчит", Rus. – Why Commutator is Silent).

Does tactility still matter in Internet era?

It is more important now than ever before. Foreplay consists of putting ‘likes’ under photos today, not touching; music is mastered to fit notebook speakers. In the age of Internet, that is, in an era of unlimited access to knowledge, it is so desirable to touch the result of your vision of the world.
We also practice ‘micro parties’ for friends, where one to twenty people gather at our studio and we play for them, so that they can experience the waves and dashes in the same way, as we do, rather than how it goes on the record or sounds on Internet. This sensation of sound is also a kind of tactility.

What are your plans for the future?

Sometimes we may confuse dreams and plans. Therefore, we plan to continue to move towards the formation of our own language and filigree the sound to express ourselves more clearly. As for the dreams – we want to dive into rave-travelling and to play live outside the studio more often.

Interviewed by Bohdan Konakov.