You used to play guitar music. When and why did you turn to electronic music?
I worked my way towards my current sound gradually and would rather not draw lines between electronic and non-electronic music. For me, it's more about development of sound and the search of something new. The instrument itself doesn’t matter. When we had a band with Savier (founder of NII club), we actively used synthesizers, samplers, and a chain of Moogers on bass guitar. Then Savier started making music under Burago moniker and bought a Roland SH-101 synthesizer and some other instruments. I used to come to his place and experiment. Now I'm starting to be more interested in acoustic instruments again and find myself sitting with a guitar more often.
The band itself no longer exists, does it?
We come together, but not as often. We’ve had a concert recently and a lot of people came because we haven’t performed for quite a long time. The small NII club room was fully packed, we managed to play for twenty minutes only: the crowd went crazy and broke our equipment.
It seems that everyone has got rid of guitars and switched to synths.
No, I don’t have this impression. The amount of good artists stays the same at any given point in time, as well as the amount of those who just follow the trends. A good musician won’t limit oneself to genres, they will rather pay full attention to things which actually matter, are interesting to work with, and research on.
Although I write most of the tracks on computer, I use different instruments. What you use to write music won’t determine its quality. The latter depends on “strange things”, especially when we talk about music that is now called electronic. In this regard, the words of Mika Vainio from Pan Sonic resonate with me: “Techno becomes irritating when it's not working. There's a lot of techno stuff that's somehow, mysteriously, does not catch the groove. Techno is a curious thing. Small details make a track work. Somehow techno has lost its spark for me, but I'm sure there's a good and interesting stuff coming out”. The keywords here are “somehow” and “mysteriously”.
Does it bother you that electronic music, especially techno, is so trendy nowadays?
I don’t understand how this fact can interfere with creativity. It doesn’t matter what is fashionable and what isn’t. It can interfere with other things, though.
What did appear earlier, Johns' Kingdom label or your project Buttechno? And what does your pseudonym mean?
The first Johns' Kingdom party took place in September 2014, I played there under another pseudonym. Buttechno appeared in the end of December 2014. Speaking of the word “Buttechno”, it's more about consonance and phonetics rather than about specific meaning.
Do you have any other projects?
Now I'm focused on Buttechno. But soon a record signed by my name and surname is going to be released on Gost Zvuk label. I'm not attached to names and I think that they can be different for different material. It will be clear that you and your music are inseparable anyways.
What’s the idea behind your new album?
There will be music from different time periods: from very old sketches to the latest experiments. The material is united by a place which is important for me, or rather by the state of mind I find myself in, while being there. The album will be called Yalta.
Recently you have performed at CTM Festival in Berlin. Tell us about your impressions.
My biggest impressions are not from my performance, but from the live performances I’ve been to. In particular, I was very impressed by the performances of Pauline Oliveros, Stephen O'Malley, Iancu Dmitriescu&Hyperion Ensemble. I'm glad that I had the chance to see so many grandiose shows in just one week.
Do you think a festival of the same artistic level can happen in Kyiv or Moscow?
The guys who make Outline and Save festivals are close to organizing something of similar importance, but they pursue different goals. Having something like CTM Berlin in Kyiv of Moscow seems unlikely to me. We can host a concert of Sunn O))), but a festival where avant-garde luminaries perform at many locations every day, that can’t happen. Not for cultural reasons, but for economic ones. However, it is already very cool that we can often see events such as Strichka festival with Alva Noto and Murcof, or Save festival with Pierre Bastien.
Whom would you highlight from Russian scene?
Vtgnike, Flaty (also AEM “Rhythm-Cascade”), Lapti, Nocow, Piper Spray, DJ Kassir, as well as all those who are published (and will be published) on Gost Zvuk label. In addition, the label of NII club will appear soon, on which a lot of interesting music will be released as well. I’m also fond of Siberian scene and Klammklang label. I must have forgotten somebody for sure, but here we go.
Do you play abroad often?
I did last year.
Many people say that financial crisis has contributed to the development of local scene. In particular, local artists are invited to perform more. Do you agree?
I don’t understand how the crisis could positively affect the situation, for it mostly affects personal matters. Of course, you need the environment to develop, but the time and effort you dedicate to searching and listening to new music is important as well; a musician can not develop without that.
Could you share your latest discovery with us?
I constantly happen to find something new in music what I think I know well. For instance, Jamal Moss has a lot of side projects which you can dig into endlessly. I also listen to old radio shows with avant-garde classics, where every other track is by an artist I don’t know. I dig into old mixes and lives, and also collections on Discogs. Recently I’ve decided to listen to Keiji Haino from the very beginning of his career, and there is enough music for a few years ahead.
You’re the art director of NII club. How do you see the club in two years?
I can’t say how do I see it in the future. The important thing is that it exists right now, which is already pleasing. In many respects, my view corresponds with the club’s idea — to reflect the current state of music. Not only that of dance music, we organize various events: from events with ethnographic researchers from Ored Recordings to free jazz improvisations.
This mix consists of your unreleased tracks. When were they recorded, and do you plan to release them?
It consists of working material from the past few months. I can’t speak of releasing anything, the idea here was to show music that hadn’t been published before.