You played heavy guitar music in the ’90s, released IDM and played techno in the ’00s, and focused on experimental music in the ’10s. What unites your diverse music output?
For me, love for music starts with looking for new sound algorithms, unusual and strange, and with an experimental approach to creating and performing in general. Everyone is looking for their own way, and it is easier to find it in the realm of experimental music because there are no boundaries, rules, and restrictions.
Since childhood, I’ve been listening to different kinds of music, from Accept, Modern Talking, Depeche Mode to Napalm Death, Cannibal Corpse, C.S.S.O, Cryptopsy, Merzbow. I went from heavy music to electronic, as I was looking for something new and genuine, something not one-size-fits-all. The most important thing is to be in the right place at the right time, then your musical taste develops and you really feel what does resonate with you and what doesn’t move your body, mind, and soul. Humans are sound creatures, and they accept the music that resonates with who they are. It’s like the body itself, which is what you eat, what you do and what you live like. There is a lot of music that I do not understand at all, and when I accidentally hear it somewhere, I want to shout “why would you live like that, people?” Right now, I'm only focused on my music, I only have time for it.
Your music may sound rough and abstract at first, but the melody is important to you as well, which is particularly evident in your albums like Happy You and A Capella. What comes first, innovative sound or expressive melody?
Sound, melody or composition — I don’t prioritize anything. There is a mood that I try to capture, and a state that gives me an opportunity to do that, that’s it. The Happy You album embodies the character and mood of a particular period of my life. I wrote it 10 years ago, but only published it in 2019 because that was the right time. My melodic music functions as an emotional exciter — it pleasantly scratches the soul and brain. There is also other music: the A Capella album is something I couldn't hold back. The record is made up of chains of phrases, fragments, and the main instrument in it is my voice, which is combined with atmospheric effects. The meaning of the music I write can be fully grasped only by me because I am neither writing it on order nor trying to sound relevant.
What are your musical influences?
Mick Harris, ex-Napalm Death drummer.
If you mean his solo projects Lull and Scorn, was it him who inspired you to move from guitar music to experimental electronic music?
Yes, definitely. I started following him when he left Napalm Death. He inspired me to play drums in a student band, where I subsequently played for four years. I studied his style, listening carefully to each track. Dmytro Fedorenko from Kvitnu later brought him to Kyiv and I shared the stage with him at Cinema club. It was a dream come true!
Did you study music before you enrolled in the student orchestra?
My father was a musician and used to play button accordion. Mom used to sing, and my sister played piano. I played button accordion, harmonica, piano, and guitar. I studied at the National Aviation Institute from 1996 to 2001, and from 2001 to 2018 worked in the petroleum industry: started out as a gas station operator, ended up as a tank farm director. I was able to build up my home studio, purchase costly instruments, and familiarize myself with the way of life which was the exact opposite of what I was interested in. Music was my double life, music is like air for me, I can't do without it. In 2018, I quit my job and moved to Greece.
Your bio states that you’re a “magical workaholic.” What does your workflow look like?
I've been living in places with a lot of beautiful nature lately, everything is buzzing, droning and even when it’s silent, it’s very interesting. Sometimes, in the morning, I record the sounds that surround me, and each time you can find something to use in future compositions. When inspiration doesn’t come, I pick up a piece of hardware — a synthesizer, a sampler, whatever — and start learning its technical aspects, it’s working principles, and something interesting can be born in the process. It doesn't matter what you make music with, the only thing that matters is what you get.
So, you work predominantly with hardware now?
I only work with hardware, it’s much more interesting and lively compared to working in the box. Each instrument is a special robot that functions according to its own algorithm, has its own properties, tasks, and converts electrical energy into spiritual energy. Each instrument lives and breathes, has its own character and meaning of life.
What is your current live setup?
It changes depending on my mood. For now, I use Elektron Octatrack, Elektron Analog Four, Electro-Harmonix 45000, Memory Man with Hazarai, Strymon BigSky, Boss RC-505 Loop Station, Moog Mother-32, Teenage Engineering OP-1, Nux Loop Core, Nord Modular G2, Mackie 1202-VLZ3, a guitar, and a couple of microphones. This is something that can fit in a suitcase. Sometimes, I play the button accordion, I really enjoy this mini-organ.
You’ve played at now legendary venues like Cinema and Эfir, been to Xlib. How has the Kyiv electronic scene changed since then?
Эfir used to be a community of friends, a place for creatives, artists, and musicians to come together. I was there from the beginning, living and seeing with my own eyes its entire evolution. I have not been following the events lately, so it is difficult for me to imagine what is happening in the electronic and experimental scene in Kyiv. However, something is going on there, and that’s great, I hope everything is sincere and lively, and the music community is honest and genuine.
Apart from Kyiv, Kraków seems to be an important city for you as well.
In 2010 and 2012, I got Gaude Polonia, a grant from the Minister of Culture of Poland. In 2010, I worked on a project at the Kraków Academy of Music for half a year, and in 2012, there was a project with Kateryna Zavoloka and Dmytro Fedorenko. The result of our residency was the Kallista album, which consists of Kraków sounds we recorded during long walks around the city. The album was released on Kvitnu label and is, I believe, interesting and experimental. I also performed at Kraków's Unsound festival, which was an important experience.
You used to release on Kvitnu a lot. How did you meet Kateryna and Dmytro?
Kvitnu is more than a label to me. The collaboration began in 2005 at Detali Zvuku, the first electronic experimental music festival in Ukraine. Until then, I had already released several albums and had some experience on stage. Dmytro listened to my demo and decided to invite me. In 2007, Dmytro released my album Xquisite.Xcerpt on Kvitnu, and then a couple more of my works. After our joint release Kallista, which came out in 2012, we no longer met or talked like we used to. Sometimes, I miss them, but I know they are all right. They continue to support the idea of their label and live for music, and I respect that. Playing around with music and living for music are two different things.
You recently moved to Thessaloniki. Why?
I can't sit in one place, I get bored without self-development. My home should be a space that inspires me to create. When you get used to living a life you don't like, you become a body that does not feel the soul inside. It’s better not to be alive at all, then. When I’m on the move, when I’m in different places, I don’t have time to get used to it and to be sad. My friends Mykhailo Stadniychuk and Natalia Rumyantseva invited me to Thessaloniki. They have been living there for several years, working and studying at a film school. They showed me the world of the Greek language and the infinitely magical sea, they showed me the opportunity to study sound and image. It's never too late to start doing what you love. I’m 43 now, and I’m a student at the Ionian University, Faculty of Music & Audiovisual Arts. I live in Kerkyra, the tuition is free, so there’s financial security. Of course, it is not that easy to make a living with music, but still, it seems that I finally started living my life. You can find a bunch of reasons not to follow your dreams, but you can also pursue them without spending too much.
Tell us about Hitsyourself, a new project you’ve started in Thessaloniki. What's the idea behind it?
Mykhailo Stadniychuk, Natalia Rumyantseva and I decided to capture the mood that constantly takes us over in Greece, so we started making music and recording it on tape. Two EPs have already been released: Koudounoforoi and Agios Petros. We also have a sizable LP coming out soon. For some people, this music may sound too psychedelic and experimental. At the same time, we started creating images and videos, and have also recorded a radio show which is about to air.
You enjoy paragliding in your free time, and there’s also your other project, Lamineylf — techno created using samples of birds, animals, weather, etc. Nature is a big inspiration for you, isn’t it?
Lamineylf is an attempt to combine techno rhythms with the deep sounds of nature that surround us. Live sounds carry live energy. I really love nature: mountains, sea, and sky. I've been in love with sky and aviation since childhood. From 1993 to 1996, I attended the Air Force Military School in Chernihiv, where I got my initial fighter jet flying skills, and practiced parachuting.
Paragliding is an easy way to rise to the clouds, higher and higher, without any obstacles. A paraglider can fly for hours — warm air rising from the surface of the earth supports the pilot. Flying is a proper science, but for me, the main thing is the communication with friends who have shown me the shortest way to heaven. I haven’t brought the paraglider to Greece yet, but there are beautiful mountains here, so it’s coming.
What are your plans for the near future?
In the near future, I’m going to prepare the release of my new album Maurostahtara. I’ve received a master from Berlin recently which was done by Konstantin Gervis from ACL studio Berlin, a very good musician and sound engineer. This is a record from the time I just moved to Thessaloniki and started learning Greek. In 2019, I created my own DUN69 label where I plan to release my music and do collaborative projects. In the future, I want to release music on physical media. I am also studying visual arts: photography, video, drawing. I want to combine it with the sounds I make all the time. In general, I’m going to produce more interesting music and find new ways of sharing my vision.