What does Dego stand for in your moniker?
Some time ago I registered on a web forum and I had to invent a unique nickname. That’s the first thing I figured out. Then it just somehow latched on me, and I did not mind it. Recently I have changed it to SomeDego because it turned out a lot of people know who the original Dego was.
You are a programmer, aren’t you?
UX Designer. Long story short, I try to make applications more user-friendly, so user doesn’t need to think twice where to click. It’s a specialty at the junction of engineering, psychology and design.
How do you combine your work with music?
I just don’t. Actually, I love music because of it.
How long have you been playing music?
Even at school I was responsible for playlist at all parties. First attempts to put on music in a club were somewhere in 2000. Then there was a long break, and I stand at the turntables more or less regularly since 2008.
What music do you prefer to play?
I have always been a music lover, but when I need to buy records, I have to choose.
You only buy “working” music?
Not only, but mostly. I have both Coltrane and old drum’n’bass on my shelves.
How many vinyls do you have in your collection?
Is there a lot of Tresor?
It's never too much Tresor.
Do you write music?
No. I don’t have enough time even for DJing. It is better to do one thing, but do it responsibly.
Do you DJ casually then?
Well, I can’t live in a DJ squat in Obolon like I could 6 years ago. I definitely do not want to — there are new values at the forefront. Work and family now take more of my energy, so I have to maintain a balance. Now it's rather a hobby but it's difficult to imagine my life without it.
What do you mean by "a DJ squat"?
There were five people in a three-room apartment. Someone brought turntables, someone brought sound equipment. Each one had their own collection of records (it was mostly dubstep). We played at parties a lot. We would come as a entire team with bags full of records to Cinema club or under the Bridge and play there. There is a lot to remember. I guess it was the time Anton Texcut got acquainted with techno music.
And what is everyone doing now?
Even at that time we were able to find good office jobs: someone was a programmer, someone a designer, someone a social media manager. Then someone got married, someone went abroad. Someone did both — like me.
By the way, you moved to the Czech Republic, did you? Settled in Prague?
In Brno, actually. It is a small quiet town where it’s nice to live with little children, as we do. But we will not stay here for long — the rave hormone does not rest, there is a lack of Cxema parties.
Have you already played in Czech Republic?
Yes, I have. Czechs do not dance at bars, but in clubs the audience is pretty kind.
Techno culture is probably not very popular there, is it? If someone wants to party, they can easily go to Berlin.
Locals say that big raves have already quieted down since 10 years ago. There is a hypothesis that young people in small cities suddenly began to obsessively educate themselves instead. I do not know if it is true, but here in Brno it is unlikely that you could gather 500 persons in an abandoned location for a techno party.
In Prague (the only city in the Czech Republic with more than a million citizens) things are different: you feel the proximity of Berlin, you have black outfits at techno parties and producers from Berlin are also popular. I would like to make more in-depth conclusions, but I have not lived here long enough.
Do you think we will have the same situation in Ukraine?
I do not think so. Kyiv is a city with a special pace of life. I remember all my friends and me would complain constantly that there was nowhere to go and the only place good music could be heard was somebody’s kitchen. Now we have got a lot of music for almost any taste. I wouldn’t go deep into the causes, but it’s not accidental. People who are in charge of our clubs and parties are not the first year in this business. It's hard to imagine that new generation will suddenly choose books and stop attending parties.
We can assume that the Czechs, after the Soviet Union had collapsed, were more successful in cleaning up the mess in their country. Then they tasted the freedom, which led to the explosion of rave culture (we are still far away from that). Hedonism is also the cause, but now it has a different manifestation — not the one we are used to hear and see in Kyiv. But, of course, we shouldn’t measure the whole country by its capital.
But the best music is still played in the kitchen, isn’t it?
I would rather say: every music has its own time and place.
What do you think about cross-genre events?
I still don’t know my way around what's happening in the city. Here you can easily access only commercial events.
Let’s not talk specifically about Czech Republic. What do you think about this type of events in general?
I'm all in it. In any case, everything has started in someone's kitchen where were more than two listeners.
Could you tell the story about your first record?
People usually tell stories like this with piety. In my case, there were about ten Juno recordings I’ve got somewhere in 2007. I remember exactly that there was an Octave One album among the others.
What music do you prefer to buy nowadays?
My raids to the stores are usually quite spontaneous, so it is hard to spot some sort of a trend. One day it can be a couple of house releases from Juno, and then in three months I would buy seven oldschool techno records at Berlin’s Space Hall.
Okay then, what have you included in your mix?
I wanted to put on some techno, but not like what I usually play at Cxema. This is a mix from a techno-daddy made in isolation. Seriously, I wanted to put together records that I have almost never played — at least at Cxema. This morning I was walking around the city with my daughter listening to this mix in a light rain; I guess, it works very well in this weather. I hope you’ll enjoy it.
Why doesn’t anyone play this music at Cxema? Maybe there is a problem that we lack the courage to experiment?
It's not about the experiment. DJs don’t have any reason to be ashamed at Cxema raves — there you have the kindest audience in our breadths. I guess, in case of my mix it's rather a matter of my mood. At a big rave I love to play powerful techno, I just can’t help it. Like I said, any music has its own time and place: so when you make a mix at home, the walls call for another kind of music.
So, the emphasis is not on music but on dance?
Techno dance is not just a dance. During the rave you can forget everything in the world for ten hours while dancing among people who seem to experience catharsis. Even the word "catharsis" in this context does not seem too pretentious. Our emotional states — joy, anger, depression, etc.— directly affect our body.
And this trick works in the opposite way: I could dance for a few hours at a party, and then the whole week or two I’d have a feeling like I’ve had a cool vacation. But on vacation people usually build up their visual memories, while after a rave there is nothing to remember — just a pure state of mind. However, speaking about the values of techno turns out to be something like dancing about poetry.
Psychology of dance, that’s understandable. But this way we can conclude that people only need a pulse/rhythm. Four on the floor and that’s it for techno, right?
Rhythm is one of the most effective ways of communicating. Of course, it’s not the only way, and a DJ should choose how to limit themself.
Do you prefer mixing seamless?
Probably yes. That doesn’t mean I don’t like to listen to experimental stuff.
It seems that for many musicians and DJs to experiment is to have an opportunity to play up to their own vanity: it is often kitsch or parody with a very serious face. What is the real experiment for you?
I don’t really like the word "experiment" when it’s related to music. Experiments are carried out in laboratories without understanding what exactly will result. A musician or a DJ like me on the contrary has to understand clearly what they want and by what means it could be achieved.
Do local musicians and DJs have enough self-irony?
Well, we won’t have our local DJ Koze or Uwe Schmidt any time soon.
Is it because we lack courage?
We can be proud of our musicians and DJs — now our scene is much bolder than 5 years ago. That would rather be a nice "cherry on top".
Whom would you highlight from the locals?
Oh, I am always afraid to offend someone and now I don’t have enough time to track everybody because I haven’t been to Ukraine for six months. However, I remember a few names: I always liked the sound of Stas Tolkachev — the guy does not pay attention to anyone and because of that many appreciate him.
If we talk about DJs, Borys continues to amaze me, so keep that up! The activity of Peauty-fute parties is also worth attention. I could mention someone else if I try to dig into my memories for a little bit longer.
Do you think about bringing somebody from Ukraine to the Czech Republic?
I thought about it but I don’t have enough acquaintances and connections right now. Apparently, this is the decisive factor here.
Sometimes connections and acquaintances harm musicians, DJs and producers by blocking them to show themselves. What do you think about it?
It is a filter that may turn out to be a positive factor for beginners who undergo a peculiar selection at “masters council” before entering the party with their music. In Kyiv, however, everybody plays at parties — digital format has significantly lowered the entry threshold. You can, by the way, feel sorry for it: quality suffers; but here we are.
Does it matter for you what format DJs use to play music?
I do not see the point of dividing the DJs into two camps only by what format they choose. For example, vinyl is my personal passion but I’m okay with CDs, flash drives etc.
What do you like in Cxema?
Cxema is the perfect party for me. The best thing that happened in Kyiv with techno — location, sound, people. It's not easy to make it happen, so thank you so much, Slava and everybody who helps!