The first question is an easy one. How is it going with Wicked Bass?
Not bad, I guess: two new records have been published recently. Definitely better than last year, when there was a long pause due to the change of distributor and problems with currency exchange rate. Once again, we have the opportunity to release records more often, new releases until the end of this year are almost ready, which is truly pleasing.
Do you sell many records in Ukraine or does everything go to record shops abroad?
I’ve had a miserable experience of direct record sales twice, when around two dozen people preordered the records, but, in fact, I had to either deliver these records by myself or ask something like „so you're buying it or not?“ many times. The whole process was stretched for one or two months. So, in the end, I decided that everything should be sold in stores. That is, there are people who would buy the records directly, but the game is not worth the candles. At least for now.
It turns out that being a honcho in Ukraine is not that easy, is it? Even despite having strong releases, positive reviews and, after all, label’s good rep.
Why do you think so? I don’t really suffer from the lack of sales in Ukraine. Or to be precise, I don’t suffer financially, it’s just a shame that we don’t have vinyl culture on a proper level. I'm not even talking about the lack of record stores! Moreover, delivering ten records for sale, you know, is just not so interesting because of delivery costs. Nevertheless, I'm optimistic!
Have you ever thought about what would come after vinyl and where is the culture of releases moving in general?
Of course, I want to believe that vinyl will still be in use, at least within a small group of people, even as an object of fetish. However, it is simply impossible to ignore the current pace of development of digital technologies and their impact on music culture. Thus, nowadays the format of listening, and releasing, is just a matter of choice, and I like them all.
Don’t you plan cassette releases?
I was expecting this question. Perhaps, cassettes are the only format that I don’t really understand. It is kind of amusement or hype. However, if there is demand, there is proposition. I don’t plan anything, even though I have a couple of gift cassettes; they look nice. However, I don’t have a cassette player and I doubt that I will get one in the nearest future. Moreover, cassettes are not cheaper than LPs.
Nevertheless, the music is still the main component in a release. How do you find artists and music for publishing? Maybe you have some funny stories or legends?
Sure! I mostly look for music at Soundcloud or among demos sent via e-mail. Nothing new, a standard process for almost any label. There are no special legends or fables, except for maybe the latest release of Hüpnosaurus. The archive of their old tracks, once presented to me by a Moscow friend, was gathering dust in my computer for quite a long time.
Do you receive a lot of „dirty“ hype stuff?
Yes, they send a lot of it, but in most cases it happens to be an uninteresting copy of what was already done before. That’s the music Borys famously calls „computer lo-fi“. Or maybe it should be called „cheap lo-fi“.
Let's talk about the mix. You still cherish bass music traditions, do you?
I would rather call it love for broken beats, electro and stuff. Nothing interesting has been happening in bass music for a long time, except for what the guys from Livity Sound and Hessle Audio are doing.
Maybe everyone just returned underground, where they actually came from?
Everyone has simply begun to write techno.
By the way, what do you think about this techno wave? Worldwide and particularly in Ukraine.
I remember how similar things happened to house, when everyone abruptly started writing and playing this kind of music, albeit in the most hideous ways. However, I don’t think the same sad story will happen to techno. It appears to be more difficult for most people to master, so we won’t witness techno-Disclosure anytime soon.
Did you try to write music as well?
Borys gave me a couple of practical advices and constantly hinted me, a bummer, to come to his studio. However, it hasn’t gone further than peace and harmony and childish editing of tracks.
You have a strong b2b with Borys. What did unite you?
Borys is a really nice guy and my favorite Ukrainian DJ, with an unusual taste in music, from whom I learned a lot of important things during the years I know him. I really like to play together with him, especially music which isn’t typical for me. I can’t help but admit that we needed a long time to get used to each other, but each following joint set turns out better and better. You never know what track he’s gonna play next, what else will he surprise you with… It’s like going to music school.
Who was your last half year’s discovery?
It is difficult to choose someone within such short period, but among the new ones it is surely Rébeval, who turned out to be no rookie at all. There are also Karen Gwyer, who I was able to listen to properly only recently, and Glyn.
London, Berlin, and the US...
Oh, and also Lockertmatik!
Do you often play abroad?
I often play in Russia; I only played in Europe last summer. Though artists from other cities I communicate with often ask me to give them a notice when I’m „around“. However, speaking of going somewhere to play on purpose, that didn’t happen to me so far.
You communicate with many artists from abroad. What do they know about Ukraine? What impressions did, for example, Ron or Lee Gamble have after visiting Ukraine?
Someone knows more about Ukraine, someone less. Some people are interested in politics, some people are absolutely not. Of course, they all read the press which never provides accurate information, and look at everything from Western European or some other perspective. The thing is, all those who came here had a lot of fun. It's a fact.
Did many refuse to come because of an unclear situation in the country?
Previously, there were more refusals, but the situation has dramatically changed recently. A striking example is Helena Hauff, who refused to come two weeks before the party in the spring of 2014, but recently had a cool performance at Strichka. What I mean by that is now it is a non-issue.
It would be even nicer if there were more resources to bring artists.
On the other hand, we already have local breakthroughs. We have parties with local DJs; promoters who no longer depend solely on foreign artists — hence there are more producers, since their music is in demand. Or what?
I agree, but here’s the problem: I don’t see significant growth of quantity (and quality) of producers. Hopefully, this situation will change soon.
There are rumors that you are planning some releases of local artists on your label.
Yes, I do plan it and communicate with a few guys, but that’s not 100% ready. But this is my idée fixe, so I’m sure everything will turn out well!
As a label boss and a DJ, what advice would you give to young people who have also embarked on this thorny path?
Listen to as much different music as possible!
Nazar, which track will you play at the next Схема?
It will be St Germain – Modus Vivendі.