Cxemcast 049 – KiK
Which instruments did you use for live recording? What idea and aesthetics were the basis for recording?
We have a studio, which we all have been putting together for a long time and still modernizing it, always changing something and adding new instruments. For example, I have been collecting Soviet synthesizers and various devices since school. Of course, not each one of them fits in: if I don’t use something for a couple of years, I switch it 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 what exactly was used. The playwrighting of our performance is formed during the process that 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 just start playing and a common beat appears in a while, harmoniously developing further on. Sometimes it doesn’t appear immediately; in this case, we take a break because there is no point to continue. We drink tea, talk about books, movies, science, well, anything but music. Much of what we record appears just like that. Sometimes we use sketches, modifying them each time, developing them in another direction so they sound completely different. This is an element of life, but not an endless repetition of the same things again and again; this is an honest attitude to what we are doing, as for me.
We have been collaborating with Pavel for almost 15 years with some interruptions; 10 years were dedicated to electronic aesthetics. But there is no difference whether we’re playing guitars or synthesizers; the main thing is the presence or absence of some pulse between us. 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 lots of material was lost because of the incorrect recording process, so we switched to 16-channel controller recording (our friend has just given us an old G4), so we still can edit the material.
Do you think you can manage to create the same material with the digital means instead of the analog?
I do think so. It's more a matter of preference. We used to play only on computers during some time– it didn’t hurt the music that 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 independent scene has been actively forming in the 90’s and Pavel’s music was one of its milestones, it was just impossible for us not to meet. In 1996, I presented my project programmed for Spectrum ZX in the club, where Pavel was working. We made friends and eventually began playing together.
How big is music scene in Kursk?
There are several emerging musical movements, but mostly it’s a complete show-off for making a cool profile picture for social networks behind the controller or with a guitar. It is quite easy to notice any musician or producer who can’t play or mix at all. Still, honesty is a decisive factor for me to reach out and help in any possible way. 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, who has been concentrating everything worth paying attention to in terms of dance culture in our city for the last 15 years.
Tell us about Kursk independent scene of the 90’s. How was it?
It was a vast and mixed crowd, united by frankness and honesty towards the audience and their work. Victor Pinyaev, a music critic and a friend of mine has written few articles about the fact that this scene was unique for the entire post-Soviet territory. The uniqueness of some groups still deserves much respect, as they anticipated the trends, which came into fashion much later. Of course, it was mostly about guitar culture, but with a very strong undercurrent of dance.
An integral part of any concert back then was dancing to a tape DJ performance after the bands’ show, 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 music works after a live show – the message and content are far more important than their form. The 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 is known to a few people. Is it really self-isolated from the outer world and from the younger generation?
The younger generation is more concerned about creating their own scene afresh (as it should be); still, our door is always open to those who are interested. As it turns out, the age may be the dividing line. Some of our listeners are greatly surprised that we aren’t 20 years old. Although, I’m used to perceive art apart from age, residency, eating habits or other contingencies.
Does your city host musical events often?
Talking about parties and concerts, worthy of attention – they appear as often as we make them ourselves. Throughout this spring, our team was putting all efforts and finances to prepare an abandoned bomb shelter on the outskirts of the city. As a result, we have a very powerful place to come together, so that our guests and us were really happy.
Also, much more concerts are taking place now in terms of general cultural events. 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 try to select the closest to me by content and enjoy their performances.
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, we don’t feel any influence.
Can we state that there is a certain rimland charm, which seeps into electronic music in an exciting way?
Perhaps, I would talk about provincial openness and credulity in this case; though, the human element turns out to be fundamental. I’m familiar with some incredible 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 an artist means nothing at all, right?
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 making music?
It is my sense of existence; music is a way of its expression, so the same common principles of life apply to it. I would rather say there is no general meaning of life: we are willing to engage in creation of meanings, but there is no time. Basically, we just play relying on intuition and cultural background.
What if it's just a 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 worthy stuff to labels, so we do not lose it, at least. As for me, a release is definitely physical media; 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 speaking of physical media?
Vinyl, cassette, reel, wax cylinder; I mean all the touchable things, which sound has its own color and specific features. 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).
So tactile sensation still matters in Internet era?
It is more important now than ever before. Modern foreplay is all about putting Likes on photos instead of touches and kisses; music is mastered to fit notebook speakers and so on. In the age of Internet, the era of unlimited access to knowledge, it is so desirable to touch the result of your vision of the world.
We also make small parties for friends, where one to twenty people gather at our studio and we perform for them, so that they can experience the music 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 tactile sensation.
What are your plans for the future?
Sometimes we may confuse our dreams and plans. Therefore, we plan to continue to move towards the formation of our own language and work hard on our 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.