Cxemcast 090 – Signal From Militia
Interviewed by Amina Ahmed.

Cxemcast 090 – Signal From Militia
Interviewed by Amina Ahmed.

Zavoloka — Edyna (2003)

Скрябін — Інтро (1999)

Uлiя Лорd — Шукаю світло (1998)

Dopes Ov Air — Summer eventide (2002)

Sidhartha — Аlfa Moon (Re Mix by Golova278) (2000)

Da Sintezatoros! — Paris '98 (2000)

Взрыватели — Чьи мы (1998)

Danilkin — Trance Of Love (2000)

Yozsch — Day, Night And Day Again (2000)

Zavoloka versus Kotra — Charming (2006)

dunaewsky69 — & (2004)

Скрябін — Клей (Мікс 3) (1999)

Zavoloka — Siyaty (2003)

Hi, Andriy! For starters, tell us where you were when the full-scale invasion started. Did you evacuate somewhere?


I was in Lviv. I had been wanting to relocate there from Kyiv for a long time. I had spent the previous winter there, and this year, I went there as well and was already going to look for a job, think about my future there, etc. But when the war started, I, conversely, was restless there: you walk down the street with all the tourists and restaurants being open, then open up the news — and it’s brutal. Around the tenth day, I decided to go back to Kyiv. Came to the train station, got on an empty train, and walked home from the station. I think it took a couple of months for me to come to my senses. Before that, I had been in a very strange state: not understanding what to do and how, also always checking the news — a very erratic chapter. 


Why did you want to relocate? 


I got really tired of Kyiv. This is normal. It’s like having the same job for 40 years straight. You already know everything, been everywhere, walked all the districts except for something like Pozniaky. At some point, all these balconies and marshrutkas started to get annoying — you go outside and just want to cry. 

Lviv is also a Ukrainian city, everything within the borders of the same country, but you come there, everything is different, and your heart sings with joy. Even when you walk through a bedroom community such as Sykhiv, everything is so new and interesting there. 


You’ve mentioned elsewhere Soviet design studies. Tell us about your practice of visual collectorship. 


I think it goes back to the Soviet times. My older brother collected stamps, badges, calendars, newspaper clippings — the whole enchilada. My father collected books, coins, etc. I think I just picked it up, but in my case, it’s virtual. I loved collecting logos and typography at flea and second-hand markets, finding shop signs and printed matter from the past. But the problem is that I’m not making use of it hundred-per-cent. Sometimes I blame myself for the fact that it turns into a feast for the eyes. You just sit and look at it — it’s beautiful. Yet something has to be done with this material: zines, posters, art books This is a unique reference. You have to make use of it, explore it. 


Where does the name Signal From Militia come from? What period does this project cover?


When I started researching music, I had the constant feeling that I am missing something. World’s music is an endless universe that cannot be fully explored, there is no beginning and no end. I thought I had to pick a niche, something so unique that no one else has, and be knowledgeable about it. At the time, I was listening to a Soviet new wave album and suddenly realized it was it: the ’80s, the ’90s, I was there, I lived it though, I know the context, so it can be this unique content. I began downloading stuff, collecting, browsing forums, and then I saw a notice “Your boy has received a signal from the militia, he is misbehaving” and thought: this is a perfect name. 

Within the scope of Signal From Militia, I’d like to explore movie soundtracks, digitize conversations from movies, and create sound landscapes. The first selections were dominated by guitar music, postpunk, but now I’d like to create stories with my mixes, to have a tentative script, to arrange excerpts from films: sounds of nature from a movie, a track, a voice memo, etc.


Your mixes are dominated by Russian music. Why so? Are you going to continue exploring the music of this time period? 


Historically, it so happens that Soviet and post-Soviet content is mostly Russian-language, and Moscow served as the hub for it all. I don’t want to spell the death of research of Soviet and post-Soviet music, but in order to continue working on it, I have at least to see our victory, rethink this experience, and live with it for a while. 


You were the denizen of the Xlib club (Kyiv) in the 2010s. Tell us about this community and the music of that time. 


I think talking about the ’90s and the ’00s is more interesting. In the ’00s, I started working in a music store and made friends with people who listened to noise music. At that time, I wasn’t even aware of this genre but soon began going to various noise parties. Maybe that’s what was my upbringing. I was shocked: I didn’t get the music, it was something exotic for me at the time, but what surprised me the most was the atmosphere. Everyone was cool, unusual, and stylish. The visitors of those parties were mostly Kyiv-Mohyla Academy students because the events often took place in their film club or in the main building of the Academy. Interestingly, at those parties, everyone sat in the lotus position with eyes closed even if dance music was playing. I was startled and didn’t like it, because I wanted to dance for real. 

It was the beginning of the millennium: the first Zavoloka and Kotra shows, Violet’s performance at the Barvy club, the Detali Zvuku festival had just come into being. I don’t understand what happened to all of it. Now we have nothing but techno. Parties are all-night and all the same. Nothing happens in the evening, nothing intellectual where you can just come and listen to music. 


When did you decide to become a DJ? And why did you quit DJing?


I think I started playing sometime in 2007. It so happened that all my friends were playing music. We were working in a music shop together with DJ Borys, music everywhere, always music, so I began learning how to play, although I think never mastered it. Still, in the last 8–10 years, when I come to a party, I wonder: “What am I even doing here?” I’m not interested anymore, I’m growing up, my preferences change. This is normal. 


What’s the idea behind the selection you’ve prepared for us?


A few years ago, I created a folder with Ukrainian music, but it seemed to me that everything was pretty bad: too few tracks, just a 20-minute-long mix. Now, by the way, there are a lot of compilations with Ukrainian music, but they often look like compilations based on purely geographical criteria. Conversely, I wanted to collect some material that sounds modern, interesting, without Terytoriia A stuff. It proved to be a challenge. 

After 24 of February, I got into high gear, ’cause I understood that it had to be done urgently, but in such a way that you listen and constantly wonder: “Did we really have such music? Why don’t we have something like that today? Why contemporary Ukrainian music mostly mimics the Western sound?” Back then, it was unique, original, naïve. In this mix, I think I managed to conduct an archaeological study of the sources of Ukrainian electronic music and create an instrument for understanding the historical moment of its formation. To show, I hope, the unique Ukrainian content in all its glory. 


Early Skryabin is definitely a legend. Why do you think they moved away from the experimental sound? Or is it a common problem of the Ukrainian scene?


I realized that I have my own time frame for music research. Roughly speaking, from the beginning of the ’80s till, say, 2005. I noticed that when cheap and fast internet appeared, it all turned bad. Not sure why all the post-Soviet countries are united by this trend. Still, it influenced the music a lot, influenced its quality. You listen to something from the ’90s, in it’s so raw, in a good way, so unique, interesting, and really mind-blowing. 

Speaking of Skryabin and the experimental sound, I think that people in general change with age. There probably is only 10% of people whose taste buds don’t degrade with time and are still able to produce something relevant and new. 


What got you interested in the performer Uлiя Лорd?


I've been really into the '90s and '00s trip-hop recently. Uлія sounds like Ukrainian Portishead, basically. When I listened to this track, I was shocked: both the vocals and the actual music are amazing. I just blossomed.


Tell us about the other artists. Not much is known about them. 


Danilkin made his debut at the first of the Torba raves, which took place in Kyiv at the House of Cinema. Sidhartha is a project of Andriy Kyrychenko, who is, by the way, one of the few examples of an individual who has been consistently doing interesting IDM music for 20 years straight. Da Sintezatoros! — a really cool band, their music videos were on Terytoriia A. Basically, Ukrainian Orbital. Yozsch seems to be playing to this day. This is a project of Oleksiy Babanskyi, I first heard his track on the Summer SALEction 2000 compilation I happened to buy in 2000. It feels like each artist from this compilation has only released a single track, to be included in this compilation. No information about them, no albums, no nothing. But when I listened to it, I was shocked. This sound, I don’t even know what to call it. This is an extraordinary material. 


How do you look for music? Where do you find it?


When the war started, I stopped listening and looking for music. Usually, I searched everywhere: from Soulseek to torrents and VK. Sometimes, you google a band, find a forum, but it’s inactive since 2007, so you read through all the messages, look around, write emails, ask for mp3s. You often get answers, by the way. This is how I found the Da Sintezatoros! track, for instance: on a Ukrainian psytrance forum, there’s a message from 2006 where some guy looks back to 1998, writes about the good old days, and mentions having an mp3 of the band which he will gladly share. He wrote it pseudonymously, so I googled the name and realized that it was probably a co-producer at Da Sintezatoros! Then I found him on Soundcloud, wrote him, and asked for albums. He uploaded it to Google Drive and sent me a link.


At this point, a lot of people are sorting through the archives of ’90s music. Do you think it will have an impact on contemporary artists? 


I think that such archives are like a museum: everyone can be interested. Maybe it’ll inspire someone to create something new. At least, a revival of the Ukrainian is guaranteed. In a recent interview, Sylvestrov asks himself a very apt and painful question: “Did a disaster have to happen so that people would perform my music?” You can replace music with graphic design, typography, or cinema and try giving your own answer. 

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