How does Kropyvnytskyi, your native city, sound like? What is happening there? What problems do you face?
The situation here is difficult, both economically and culturally. The city hasn’t been developing for a while. There are barely any options to have fun for the youth that isn’t interested in boxing and gyms. For this reason, together with Sergey Oleynik from Techno.ua we decided to create a new collective. We invented a simple, but profound name: Yellowcake. They sometimes call our city the “uranium ghetto” because of the large number of uranium mines in the area. A “yellow cake” is enriched uranium in which sulfur is added in order to create powerful nuclear fuel.
Do you have artists in Kropyvnytskyi we should pay attention to? What about Ukrainian artists in general?
My friend Dima Danilenko writes true and minimalistic music. He records his hypnotic sequences along with overloaded 909 bass drum, gently modulating the faders manually. In Kyiv, Konstantin Lobanov has already recorded many thoughtful tracks in his own special style. Recently, he had live performance in Odessa and the audience gave him an A-plus. I also like music from Misha Shevchenko aka Enformig, Lesha Volosunov aka Hateyouall, and Kostia Karpin. All these guys are really worth listening to.
How did you come to techno? What does it mean to you?
All this is thanks to my older brother. In elementary school, I was listening to The Prodigy, The Chemical Brothers, Moby, and so on. In 2006, I stumbled upon a collection of techno, the kind of music which was trendy at the time, and realized that four on the floor at 128 beats per minute is my cup of tea. There were tracks such as Väth vs. Rother – Komm and DK8 – Murder Was The Bass. I could no longer listen to commercial techno, everything popular started to feel nasty. Old-school Detroit and modern Berlin wave have changed my taste, and black music showed me the meaning of those enchanting sounds, instilled love to classical instruments and dirty sound. You see, the Europeans have minimized this whole thing and destroyed high-tech jazz from the New World.
Are you more of a DJ or a producer? Is there a connection?
I’ve never called myself a DJ, I don’t like this word. However, I really like being behind the DJ booth. Besides, it gives me useful knowledge for creating music. When a producer makes a minute-long loop at the beginning and at the end of the track, DJing and producing become interconnected. It also seems to me that if you write techno for the convenience of the DJ, there is a bigger chance to release your music.
What does your setup consist of?
I have no analogue instruments and hardware processing units. I do everything I need in Ableton Live easily. My main weapon is sampling; plugins which mimic vintage sound also give me the desired result, the main thing is to understand how they work and where to apply them. Perhaps, I will get my hands on some hardware mastering gear in the future, but virtual devices are okay for decent pre-mastering.
Who did influence your music?
First of all, it was the Belleville Three and their colleagues from Detroit. However, I also found my voice thanks to Renee Pavlovich, Marcel Fengler and Zenker Brothers. These are the guys who perfectly combine ideas of the past with modern sound, and vice versa. Each of them is what turns me on and makes me write new music.
What can you say about Ukraine’s place on the global scene?
Everything is going well so far. Techno scene expands with each and every party. If I'm not mistaken, only four European artists have visited Kyiv over the past six months, but each of them has made a huge impression on the audience. Imagine what would happen if foreign artists would come more often, lighting design would be better, and the audience would grow! We are walking this path already and unlikely to stop anytime soon.
What are the most interesting trends in contemporary dance music?
Can’t tell you about all the dance music, but techno has already gotten a fresh new flavor. Don’t even know how to describe it properly, just listen to Lakker, Ontal, or Ascion. You might say that there is nothing special, but their broken rhythms and distortion on almost every instrument sound cool.
What problems do you face as a young musician?
I don’t think that challenges that stand before me are real problems. Everything can be solved nowadays.