funeral doom / Novosibirsk "On a course in parallel to Esoteric into the darkness of insanity." ...

funeral doom / Novosibirsk
"On a course in parallel to Esoteric into the darkness of insanity."
We play doom metal for non-doom metal fans. It is important for us to convey the idea, the concept, and the spirit of this music, mainly, to a person who has no idea about the genre. Therefore, it is quite difficult to speak of a target audience.

From a musical point of view, we want to play doom in a new way. We want to use doom stereotypes and tools so that the music becomes clear to many people, not only to those people who are inside this scene and listen to My Dying Bride, Evoken, etc on repeat.. Extreme music is more accessible in the modern world, and the audience opens its perception to this kind of audio terrorism.

People experience less difficulty perceiving our music when we describe it using simple words. “Похоронный рок” (trans. note: wordplay, can be read in Russian as “funeral doom” or “funeral rock”), for example, but not “funeral doom”. Still, funeral doom and extreme slow music in general is equally incomprehensible for both metal listeners and for non-metal ones. So we might as well define it as: “Well, we play very slow and very heavy metal”. While you can just say “you don't listen to this thing” or “you won't like it”...

We are trying to adapt to the realities of our personal and professional lives. Station Dysthymia constantly faces geographical problems. The members often travel to many places, to Poland, then to Moscow, then to Mexico. There were such cases in Novosibirsk when bands broke up even due to the fact that a guitarist left for Akademgorodok, or, conversely, from Akademgorodok. In this sense we are very tenacious.

We had three different drummers, if we don’t count the drum machine. There’s a certain difficulty with them, usually we have none amongst our ranks. There is a fundamental problem: drummers don't like playing doom. They need some drumkick slotting, blast-beats and so on. Most of the drummers with whom he had to deal, not only within Station Dysthymia, looked and said, “uuh, why so slow?” We have to explain every time that playing slowly is more difficult because when you miss a little, not only the band notices this but the entire audience. And this very moment you realize you messed up when everyone realized you messed up, this moment lasts for a very long time, forever.

The eternal problem of the first albums is absence of a concept because the first album is composed of impressions, emotions and achievements of the band members for the whole life. But we tried to make conceptual Only Gray Days, it was built upon the visual impressions of winter in Novosibirsk and Akademgorodok. We wanted to capture the atmosphere of the snowy winter nights, when you walk down the Morskoy Avenue at 3 a.m, and everything around is covered with snow, lights are shining and there’s not even a soul except yourself; or when you hear strange mumbling on speakerphone at the “River Station” metro depot rambling about the railways, civil vigilance and terrorist threats. It’s the collision of inexorable nature and urban fuck up.

It really annoys that funeral doom only explores how crappy everything is all around, without rhyme or reason – crappy, and that's all. We want to approach the music and its mood from a place that hasn’t been explored in this genre yet. So we thought it would be interesting to use science fiction concepts on the second album. Actually, the name “Overhead, Without Any Fuss, The Stars Were Going Out” – is a quote from Arthur Clarke's short story “The Nine Billion Names of God”. We made an eschatological album dealing with an anthropogenic end of the world. One day, we rushed to the stars, wanted to escape from our cradle on the Earth, but finally got stuck in the false “values” of a consumer society and absolutely forgot to look at the starlit sky.

We’d like to express the spirit of the cold war and the arms race between the United States and the Soviet Union on the next album. Each song, as we see it now, will be dedicated to a certain figure, we tried to focus more on science personalities. One of the songs is dedicated to such an interesting dude, as Robert Oppenheimer. In his famous quote he said after testing the nuclear bomb: “Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds”, he implied something completely different from what is believed now. This is not the arrogance of the great scientist, throwing out crazy joullions of destructive energy, but the sense of powerlessness and fatalism before the execution of his role in that ruthless war. Extremely doom feelings. In fact, it’s our crucial flagship song on the album.

Some of our songs are not very thought through. They were rehearsed during several months in the cold garage, that smelled of potatoes and old rags. And we don’t like many things in them because of this very fact: not that they are spiritless, there’s a certain spirit there, but not so much as we would like.

We don't stand still, the technical side progresses too, now we can play a little faster. In fact, what we are talking about acceleration is not due to the fact that we're fed up playing slowly. We would like to have some contrast in our music, as opposed to what is often popular in funeral doom metal: “let's take one tempo and play a track not deviating from it”. While you're playing relatively slowly, you have a huge sound canvas, a large enough space to vary different tempos.

There is the golden rule: if your music is less than a third part original, then you have no soul if it is less than a third stolen, then you have no brain. In our case, it is important to mention Dolorian – a couple of times we had to relisten their entire discography just to make sure that we have written a new idea, not overheard it on an album of theirs.

We have sooo many riffs in one song, often absolutely unnecessary ones, stuck out of place. It was established historically within Station Dysthymia. The fact that it’s more important to write a coherent song we realized much later. It's like when you code: the more code you write, the more bugs you'll make. Less code – less bugs. So the third album will be more holistic and with shorter songs. About ten minutes.

We experiment a lot with structure. When we were making A Concrete Wall, our longest composition would play for almost 35 minutes, we had to unravel a roll of toilet paper along our rehearsal room’s perimeter where we were structuring the whole song. Pink Floyd had at least two architects, and when writing compositions, they assigned everything: here we need to raise the tempo, here to change the mood, there's something else... we do the same thing, actually, but not on a normal drawing paper, but toilet paper on the floor of a garage.
We have sampled bagpipes with five delays on the album. Once we were listening to a track by Neurosis that featured bagpipes. Our then drummer became very excited with this idea and constantly proposed to insert a bagpipe here or there, but there was nothing worthwhile. And when we were in Moscow and recorded our second album with another drummer, we needed some atmospheric synth sound which would put a stressful mood in a fragment. It was the first part of Starlit, the third track on the album. Little by little, we took synthesized bagpipes and imposed five delays on it. Sounds well.

A band doesn’t have to play music about just one thing. Many bands fall into the trap of a spectacular image, mood or theme once found. Look at the bands of the 70s, 80s – they had different songs and albums, but they kept their images and sound. The key point here is the perspective, the point of view. A listener is not just experiencing emotions imposed by the music, but he/she is feeling it through the prism of the band ideas. So the band doesn’t even show, “Look here!” – they want the person to stand among them and look together.

We like to call Station Dysthymia “Вокзал Хандры” (trans. note - humorous literal translation of the name to Russian). Many names were considered, there was topic of trains: “station” – stop, depot, terminus and so on. We thought it would be great to add some doom, just a little sluggish winter sulk from the first album, which we have already discussed. There is a term “dysthymia” – chronic low-key depression. So this turned into Station Dysthymia.

hard rock, heavy metal, stoner rock / Novosibirsk "Haven’t even heard it, and reposted for the name only." ...

hard rock, heavy metal, stoner rock / Novosibirsk
"Haven’t even heard it, and reposted for the name only."

Mister Dickson is a supergroup. That is, the band collects people that already played somewhere. Although, thinking precisely, all the Novosibirsk bands are supergroups.

We had the idea to call the band Witchcunt, but eventually stopped at Mister Dickson. It’s a great name, powerful, and what is the most important, absolutely universal. Not like some unclear "Witchcunt": what is “witch”, what is “cunt” – nothing is clear, but it’s better not to show this band to dad. While, Mister Dickson, in any language, is Mister Dickson. And it’s comfortable with parents if they ask: "You play in some band, right? What's it called?" "Mister Dickson". And it is all clear – Ok, Mister Dickson. The next time they can ask you, "How's your Mister Dickson doing?"

We failed at playing Stoner rock that is quite natural. The compositions were stoner-like only when one of us brought them to rehearsals, but in three minutes they turned into something else. It sounds cool – "let's play Stoner", but in the end no one wants to play it. Impossible to make ourselves do it, it’s boring.

In fact, we just pretend to be a rock band, we're just having fun. Because we are able to make another ten albums in English as we’ve already done, but it will always be a kind of fake. So it’s quite possible that we will switch to Russian language. It isn’t official, but the subject is being discussed for a long time in the band. To some extent, of course, it’s a challenge, and it’s much more difficult: you won’t be able to sing about dinosaurs and witches in Russian. But it’s not about the complexity of the task – it’s about honesty. You can either be a rock band or not. Either you have something to say and to sing or you don't. Otherwise, it's just riffs and screaming.

Lyrics in Russian are always more than just a text. It's impossible to sing off the cuff, it should be something poetic and deep. Have you seen the Soviet TV show Music Ring? There were some intelligent people in huge glasses, such ordinary Soviet citizens who came to talk to the musicians. They call, for example, Mashina Vremeni, and someone from the audience says to Makarevich: "Tell me, Andrey, why did you start writing so blurry texts? Do you understand that you're the voice of the generation, and you influence minds? Do you understand what a great responsibility you have?" That was the attitude to the texts in those times.

On the first two albums we've been making up some stories in our lyrics. For example, a matador got drunk, and he’s gonna fight with the bull – it’s Bull's Eye from our first album. The first song Down through the Sky is about a man jumping with a parachute which doesn't open, so the guy just dies. But on the other hand, there is Nothing Left in My Head, a pretty solid and dramatic song. This is what can be translated into Russian without any shame.

Sold His Balls was downloaded by three people. And the first poor guy bought it for more than 8 dollars. This was our price for the album, until our guitarist said: "Eight dollars for it, are you insane?" So, we lowered the price to two-and-a-half bucks. And the sales ran up – two more guys bought the album.

The first album cover is universal, so the mood is there is like: AAAh, dinosaurs, rock! The album seems to say: "I don't fucking care, I'm just orange, these are just dinosaurs, it's just a chick, and these are just some guys playing in a garage." But the cover of the new EP is quite different; it is actually attached to the plot. Although its design is very logical compared to the first one, we thought: "Let there be a pirate showing the middle finger." Now we gonna do such thing every time – putting the middle finger in the center of any composition.

Making such album covers is a cool tradition, our distinctive feature, it's not just some random pictures. It's like Iron Maiden, their covers are immediately recognizable. It happened so that the artist is our friend and we work together. We sat at the same table and together came up with the design of both our covers. The cartoon clip is also our work.

We recorded Devil's Bait live: all together in the same room, with headphones. We recorded everything separately except the vocals. As for the experience of such a recording, for the drummer, for example, there was no difference: metronome is ticking, and he is focusing on it. Anyway, the drive that everyone should experience while playing together with the guys, can be obtained with a metronome too. And you still can fail in getting it playing together with the others – it doesn't depend.

If you want to get "garage sound", then you first need to record everything superbrilliantly and then consciously make it worse. There is another approach: "Let's just add some fuzz here and play dirty, stretch it all." And while we were arguing, the sound engineers mastered the material in an absolutely different way. This is quite understandable; the guys have their own point of view. As the result we got a kind of an over-refined hard-rock sound, having almost nothing with garage and dirty.

We released the material in the form of EP, not the whole album because the guitarist said: "I should go abroad because of my job. I'm leaving." We had to record everything quickly, and we decided to record fewer songs but prepare them well. We had to remove half of the tracks, including those sewing the whole album together. As the result, the EP was pretty disjointed in terms of material and mood, but united in the sound. But if Sold His Balls was aimed to a greater extent to express ourselves, so the Devil's Bait is too different. Yes, let's say it's more mature.

We have no new record in the wav format. We still haven't taken it from the studio. Some of us downloaded this album from VK, someone from the share resources. It's the mp3 century, who really needs that Bandcamp? We wanted to upload the music there, but it requires wavs. We can convert mp3 into wav, and I wonder if anyone will notice it. People will probably download it for 8 dollars and say: "How the hell cool they waxed the sound. The equipment must be expensive."

The Unplugged album was recorded in two hours. We played in the Campus club, and recorded the sound via microphones. We got the tracks which were mastered later by Robert. We were going towards this recording consciously: arranged the deal beforehand, came to the studio with sound producers, customized the sound, listened to it. As the result we got what we wanted. Very cool thing, I wonder why no one does this.

We are all very spontaneous. When someone starts managing something, everyone starts to fidget at once: we need this or that, and this is what? And why here? When you try to be organized within such a creative chaos it becomes very pressing.

It's not good idea to make a video coming from the terms: "We need to make a video because we are a band." Another thing is when you quickly create a clip in two days because you decide: "Oh, I want a video for this song." And you don't even know how it will end, when the first five scenes have been already drawn. It is being built brick by brick like a house without the finished plan. And that's normal, that's natural.

Once we were called to play to an unknown place. It turned out that it was the birthday of the bike-club "White wolves". We went to some biker's den, which was located among auto-service buildings. The party was completely private: there were some old bikers and not very old ones, bikers' wives and women, and bikers' children. We looked there so weird. And got no feedback: you strike riffs with all forces and hear three claps after the song. We never saw a single gaze: that is, neither hate nor any support. Perhaps rock music in general was alien there. They're bikers, it does not mean that they are rockers. And we were called there, apparently, for just the entourage.

On the May Feast all members of the band played, with two guitarists. It was cool. We had just released the first album, and then, twenty days later we were on the May Feast. Guitars, of course, went down a little because of the weather, but it's didn't matter. There was a great drive, people sang along, in general, we had the feeling of the concert, which really makes proper impression on the audience, and the audience likes it and we like it, and everything is well. But most of the concerts were not like this, most of the concerts were, of course, like all of the ordinary concerts, when ten people come. But the truth is that, these ten really like it.

Our drummer is temporary unavailable. If we hadn't been sick and had come to the rehearsals, we would just have played and that's all. And now we do nothing but talk a lot. It's also interesting to talk, but if we had songs, we wouldn't have to talk, actually.

modern classical, neoclassical, instrumental / Novosibirsk "That case when you come out from the concert hall, ...

modern classical, neoclassical, instrumental / Novosibirsk
"That case when you come out from the concert hall, and have no will to put on headphones,
and listen to anything in order not to fade the impression. Incredibly beautiful."

Speaking about The Owl, it's an instrumental solo project with strings something like neo-classic. Earlier I avoided this word, showing off a lot, saying that the Owl is not neo-classic but anything else. Now it's not important for me. Call it anything you like, but I'll do what I do, that's all.

I have been accumulating different instrumental things since studying. Probably from the first year and may be even earlier. Initially I just wanted to gather them and record for myself. We recorded it at my friend's home on electric piano. I hadn't planned violins there but then decided to diversify the sound and brought the violin and added some improvisation parts. Then I made VK group and put the music there. I thought, if someone would like to listen to it - why not.

They say if you go from the concept, then this is not from your heart. You set a task for yourself and carry it out. I think if it's your music – how could it not be from the heart? No matter what motivated you if you go from a specific idea, so it inspires you, and if it inspires you, it's all right.

I think it is very important to convey all things exactly how you see it and not as it might be. My new album will be about some Northern country: there will be Scandinavian tales about elves, Northern lights, Scandinavian people. And obviously, it comes not real, actually, but exactly how I imagine it.

I can't say everything for me is so simple – to sit and write it within five minutes and give birth to a hit. But only I make myself apply more complex, more interesting parts in each next composition. Especially string parts exhaust me. I try to make it interesting for the musicians to play and parts to be twisted, polyphonic, contrapunctured. For example, the cello told, then the violins told, then the viola told, and they all are talking to each other.

When I listen to my stuff, I think it's cool. I did it, and – what's done is done, I'm pretty casual about this. Why worrying about it, let's say, in five years, sitting and relistening: "oh, god, what a trash!" and so on. You've got definite ideas in a definite period of time, and you implement them in a way you need it.

For me personally Telescope fits perfectly the album despite the fact that the instrumental staff is quite different there. It was also one of the home sketches, I even tried to record it myself: I have got a wooden lectern, and I attached one thousand ruble microphone to it using adhesive tape, and then sang and played. And of course, I wanted to rewrite this in good quality, so one could listen to it. Well, and I felt regret to throw it away or to separate from something, that's why I included it in the first album without leaving it stretching behind me like a tail.

I'm always nervous on stage. Especially when I realize that now is the moment to come out. And when I start to play, nothing worries me longer, being afraid to make a mistake. It is likely to be an excellent student syndrome, from the musical school times, when you play and think: "if only my hands didn't let me down now, only if my hands did not betray me". These are the psychological damages of musical education. That's why may be noone should study at musical schools.

I don't like when music goes on deaf ears, when forks and spoons are knocking. I had such a concert in Kemerovo: people sat at the tables, smoking hookahs... it's just upsetting that people buried into plates instead of listening to the music and plunge into it. So I try to hold concerts at those places, where people don't eat and drink.

In the conjoint track with Zimne my participation is really little. Haven't you recognized the track? This is Moon Saturday. They liked it and wanted to make some joint work. I just sent the material, Anton cut some places there and finally made it, Natasha came up with the lyrics and vocals. It was really cool. I liked that they treated the composition very carefully and kept the development, consistency and harmony. The worked with delicacy and respect.

There is only one clip. We had started filming it in May and finished in August. This does not mean that we were shooting all summer, it means that we once or twice came out in May, and then one more time in August. You can see even the difference in my hair length. I wanted to express the image of the Owl in this clip - the resident of the forest, its spirit. But it is a very lengthy thing that is difficult to be shown on the screen, so we did almost a detective story with a strange woman in the forest that was laying everywhere: on some dock, somewhere else and staring bugs.

One needs to think about the time to be limited. We procrastinate everything, and so do I, but I still sometimes think, "No. I need to stand up and do something right now". And people procrastinate endlessly – but then death comes. Well, as you will die, then at least do everything possible to be satisfied by your own life and enjoy some things. I think people who quit their jobs and move a desert island come to something like that before resign.

I won't come back to the grand piano hall for sure. I immediately feel as if everything there is too exaggerated, too pompous. Looks as if I am a true composer, just imagine! All this academism is killing me. I used to love it because my life was not like this, so I went out and played grand piano. And then I decided that it should be simpler, for anyone could come without costume and bow tie on; for no-one felt unsuitable at the large hall.

Now there is so much music and it's difficult for the listener to perceive the whole album. Few people think: "the album has been released, need to listen to it", – he sits down, takes a cup and listens to the album from the beginning to the end. Music makers often adapt to save listeners' time. For example, they compose one track and load and immediately into the net. So a neo-classic composer wrote something and posted: "Here's my new composition." Everybody: "Bravo, Bravo, that's great!" And then he joins all these tracks and gets the album. It's okay, it's not bad. But the problem may be that music makers lose a single thread of the album, and as the result it’s just a collection of tracks.

I dream of being invited to Iceland for a concert. Icelanders and their Icelandic children will come in their knitted sweaters, sit and listen silently, and then they will leave with feeling of excitement. And finally I will see Iceland, walk there, they will show how they knit their sweaters and geysers, and then I will wave from the plane window and will fly back to Novosibirsk. Maybe they'll like my music, and they will make me an honorary citizen of Iceland, and I will have a lifelong visa. It's such a vain dream, but let me have it.

I don’t aim for making as complicated as possible, I hate it. I think, making up out of whole cloth for more sophisticated moves, just to amaze someone is not very good. Power is in simplicity. And talent is in simplicity. Therefore, I believe that the most important thing is the ability to retain musicality, melody and do it with some interesting, non-standard harmonies, solutions. You're listening to, let’s say, some composition and you don't get the feeling that there is something complicated, but for real complicated is there. Or you think this harmony is obvious, simple, and it isn’t obvious at all. I think it ought to be done so perfectly that a person won’t have any internal dissonance with this music, that he won’t feel that there is something wrong, strange or unmusical.

Sometimes I perceive my music as if from outside. When you write a new track, all themes are born on piano. Then, when I write parts for the quartet, I don't know how it would sound all together, I’ve got only some idea of how it perhaps will sound. I can hear the result only when I rehearse with the quartet. We can say that this is the birth of music. This is probably the most important moment that I have, the most valuable.

All my notes are handwritten. I always write by pencil only and only for strings. I don’t write notes for piano, although I am often asked: "Give us the notes, we want to play it." I promise I'll do, but I don't want to do it really. First, because I'm lazy, and then, I think: "if they will play bad, and then more – spread the covers?" Or I will see afterwards that my composition was written by Mozart along with Beethoven and Rachmaninoff.

I think it’s good to be more restrained on each interview, but in the end I talk a lot. Anyway, I had said so much on interviews, sometimes I re-read in few years and feel shame.

There is nothing more exciting than to show someone the track. Look at a person and think "god, don’t rewind too fast, now there will be such a cool moment!" I always wonder if he or she liked this moment, or it’s only me who liked it. And god forbid, someone will start talking, it will be just karaul (Russian interjection expressing something awful (translator’s note)). What a word - karaul. Haven’t pronounced it for a long time.

post-rock, post-metal, progressive rock, instrumental / Novosibirsk "This is the real level. The level of ever...

post-rock, post-metal, progressive rock, instrumental / Novosibirsk
"This is the real level. The level of everything: material, sound, thinking. This is the
authentic, cool, brand Music, made with soul and love, here – in this city."

We can say that we write and perform instrumental music, but talking more seriously about genre limits of So Far As I Know, in general, we haven't any. We use all possible styles which we are interested in. Better to say, we just do not put boundaries. As a result we have post-rock and not post-rock, and progressive, and instrumental at the same time. Yes, all musicians are fond of saying that they don't have any particular genre and so forth, but it's true actually.

As journalists like to write SFAIK now has regular musical activities, including summer vacation, precisely vacation in sake of the work. This is not a project because a project always has a certain point at which it ends. We have passed this point, and now it's safe to say that it has grown into something more.

We don't improvise too much. Improvisation takes place, but usually it comes from something: initially we've got some theme from where everything is moving. It can be just some piece which turns into a complete song, and nothing remains of this piece.

Any music is an interaction between the performer and the listener. Art should make space for human fantasy, stimulate thinking and imagination.

In music, we put up only some chain of events, and a listener guesses everything else him(her)self. It's not the specifics, just the specified images that the listener has to respond somehow. You can't say that this music is about how, for example, elephants are running through the African plains.

When there are no lyrics in music, it's hard to grasp the idea that was originally put into. And the comments to tracks of our second piece of work 'Hidden Poetry' are a kind of clue. There's a certain concept, maybe a bit abstract, in our album. Comments read by listeners direct them and at the same they've got their personal images. And when they intercross with our idea, they get the needed interaction. We hope someone practice this.

We don't know why, but abroad our music is welcomed more readily than in Russia. We can judge it according to people's interaction, as we communicate with various media labels, send everything recorded wherever possible. Russian press and publics show no particular interest, because Russian labels, the majority of them, are targeted to what's popular at the moment. And abroad, on the contrary, there is the focus on some genre music; there are much more people who are not interested in what's in trend now, but in some specific and individual music. At least that's the impression.

The best variant you can get in the studio will take place if you gonna master it yourself. You need to spend a lot of time and need superskills for selfmade mastering. You need to be Steven Wilson, for example.

The second album could be released a year earlier if certain recording troubles hadn't appeared. It was created rather quickly, but the process was delayed. We were looking for dudes able to master material, and both abroad and in Ukraine they couldn't offer us something sensible. There was something sensible, but high cost, very high cost. Finally, everything stayed in Novosibirsk because at least you can come and oversee the process.

The lyrical hero of Hidden Poetry is the collective image of a human. The person is neither man nor woman, that is the hero could be both man and woman, it doesn't matter. The hero is located in a multiuniverse, traveling through the dimensions and appears there in different images and states. Each track is a separate state, a separate dimension. For example, the opening track Glowing represents the birth itself: there was nothing and suddenly something appears from the dark matter, something shining... And this may be the origin of life in the womb, and the origin of the Universe after the Big Bang. Further, in each track, the hero moves from one state to another. This can be interpreted as reincarnation, as a journey between the worlds or between different planets in space, if you think about distant future and so on.

Once we have noticed that people first stand and then take chairs and sit down, and they seem to get better. One should understand that our music is not built on breakdowns, if people like to sit – let them sit. You have the whole visibility: you see what happens, all the action, but still you perceive the music quietly, nothing distracts you. You don't even have to watch, you can just sit down, close your eyes, relax and listen if it's more comfortable so.

Talking about some kind of underground show business in Russia, we simply do not have it. Everything is being done through connections. If you have some contacts: if you know the right dudes organizing everything well, or local teams that can help you, you'll be able to make a good concert. But if you don't, you are likely to fail.

Expectations from the tour: cocaine, you're standing at the stadium, like Slash, you have a guitar hanging between your legs... And they all think, "Hell, the dude went on tour, he's a rock musician, he's a rock star." The reality: you're going on reserved seats with dudes you're ready to murder till the end of the tour. And much depends on the city and organization. For example, in Samara there were not so many people, but it was very sincere. In St. Petersburg everything was suddenly cool. In general we planned to visit seven or eight cities, but just before one day we were going to leave, the first three came off. Somewhere a club refused, somewhere an organizer gave us up, something like that.

We decided to issue the new album like a single visual and audial picture when only a couple of tracks had been ready. It was not such as we first had come up with the concept, and then worked out the details in accordance to it, everything happened in parallel. The first tracks had been made, and the last ones correlated with the general idea. Going back to our first record, initially there was no special concept: the tracks were made and compiled, and the concept was imposed above. And proceeding from this point we named the tracks, determined their ideas and so on. Now we are moving from the concept, let's see what will be in the result this time.

Let's be sincere – nobody buys CDs now. Nowadays disks are merch, you buy them not for listening. Relatively speaking, 10% of the audience want to buy merch, and the remaining 90% listen to music in Vkontakte service, download and so on. Therefore, we haven't got great runs of CDs. So, we come to the fact that people don't buy music worldwide. Even iTunes which was held on paid albums has got now the system of subscription – you pay just pennies, and you have the whole world online library available, including new albums. Now there is the reconstruction of the system, the industry is developing, and there's no need in hiding and no sense to be offended. We should understand that there's nothing wrong.

Music itself is depreciated now. If earlier, say, twenty years ago, you bought cassettes, trembled over each cassette, listened to the entire album, you knew by heart all the tracks, now you just flip the music-line and listen only five seconds of a track, skip it and list again to the next one and so on. And the generation of fifteen years old youngsters has a completely different perception of music and the world, that's why for them music is not an important art, as it was twenty years ago.

Not always you can realize how your creative works touch listeners. Once, after the concert in St. Petersburg, a guy came up and said, "Look, I copy the solo from Katie In The Forest, it's so cool, but I can't catch where's one note there". And you think: "Where's hell a solo there? I just sat down and played something". I mean, you never know what will come back in response to your music.

ambient, field recordings, electronic, experimental, folk, lo-fi, tape music / Berdsk "Diving into the magic and...

ambient, field recordings, electronic, experimental, folk, lo-fi, tape music / Berdsk
"Diving into the magic and fragile nostalgia."

The idea of Foresteppe concerned composing some quiet, atmospheric music for people and about people. The project started in 2012, maybe even in 2011, and at that time this idea was, I think, quite good. Then I heard the Michael Tanner's album Music For Smalls Lighthouse, being in a quite ambient music wave, but still it was completely different kind of music: there were more live instruments and more field recordings, and no waste space-ambient. And I thought, "Oh, how great - it's ambient about people, not about some fifth dimensions". Then I found Tanners profile on Last.fm and saw what he listens to. I was all unknown to me, and so, through this man, I entered a completely different space.

There was an idea to name the project Diafilms (Filmstrips). When I was looking for a general idea for what sake I gonna make music, then at some moment I found these filmstrips and was intended to write soundtracks for them correlating music with the subject, time and all other characteristics. And there would be albums called: Diafilms No. 1, Diafilms No. 2... But I realized that it may restrict me, and then the name Foresteppe came. But it's all banal here: in Berdsk near my house if you go right - you'll see the fields, and if you go left, there'll be the forest. That's the place where I live.

The first album "No time to hurry" is just the album of sketches. It may sound very complete, but usually I prefer to conceptualize everything, but this album hadn't got some general idea, though now it's possible to distinguish it somehow. It was pretty vague and abstract attempt to get pushed off what I did before, and the only appropriate generalization here is that anyway everything on this album is kind of a pen test. That period of time I strictly tended to express a kind of "russianness" and "acousticity". It was written quite well about the "russianness" in one of the reviews, that it's very subtle and rather international at the same time. So, you can observe this "russianness", I put it there, but still, you can safely listen to it without any references of that kind.

The second album, in fact, is the collection of filmstrips, and at the same time, it's compositionally organized. That's, you're not going to put all the action movies at the beginning and slow ones at the end, you need to alternate. And here is the compositional alternation: quite a joyful start, then a little kink... There's even, I'd say, a mystical thriller "Golden Hair" on Bazhov fairytale. And all ends up if not as much funny as at the beginning, but still more peaceful and blissful than in the middle. However, I wouldn't say that this composition contains a metaplot, which unites all the parts.

Diafilms refers to the impressions, emotions, and memories of the time when we watched filmstrips. This is not an attempt to go back, but rather an attempt to play reconstruction, to play coming back, let’s say so. I don't want to make a pathetic subject of my childhood with filmstrips, so wishing to go back when everything was fine. I understand that this is not a time machine, if speaking literally, and I understand that there are filmstrips, and there’s life around you. This is the game as you act according some rules, but at the same time, you understand that you just reconstruct something without cherishing any illusions.

At some point I got acquainted with the music that was created with tape, and I really got interested in this cassette and film aesthetics in general. As for lo-fi music, it automatically becomes "plus one": I listen to some indie rock band, for example, and hear the guys having been recorded on the tape – I put it by default to my playlist. Tape sound seems to be only a form, imperfect, but it adds so much to the content and for me, this form takes the same level with the content.

Lesostep (rus. Forest steppe) and Foresteppe is the same for me. Initially I decided to name the project Lesostep, but as I was interested in spreading my music and I translated the name into English. In such an original way. To my opinion no sacral loss took place, but it simplified the access to music for people from the other countries. I used to think: "I download all sorts of Chinese bands signed with characters, the others would be interested too". But no, for noncyrillic guys Cyrilic looks like characters as well.

I really put nostalgia into music, but if to talk about different albums it differs too. Well, as for filmstrips, surely, nostalgia there removes you somewhere to the depths of the nineties, to the childhood. And if we talk about some other things, they are as much distant as field recordings are. Nothing is happening there but I know the conditions they were made in. If I use this record in music, then I can say for sure which particular moment of time and space it reminds to me at it gets me back. In this sense, well, it's nostalgia for real, and it isn't just nostalgia like the general atmosphere, but the reference to the very specific moments.

I am strongly against the idea that the listener is a passive recipient who simply receives and that's all. Otherwise, a person changes what he or she is listening to. To give the attitude to listen my album in precise way, circumstances and terms - it's an attempt to restrain the interpretation of the listener. Let the person listen to it in his (her) personal atmosphere. The album is just an attempt to make something special from these terms that the listener initially has.

I don't think music is supposed to have an author's position which is necessarily to be conveyed to the listener. By the intransigence in this aspect you incline listeners for something more, let's say, to ironize upon your vision. I don't apply for the role of a prophet, I apply only for the role of a man, that is all. And I'd like my music to be just music with the face of the author, and not a piece of space ambient from the space depths. Everyone exclaims now: "Oh, an artificial intelligence has written the music!" So it's the most awful that can be.

Every time I am invited to an event, I start to think, what kind of audience there will be. It's not a desire to please, but I just know that I can play in different ways: I can play more experimentally or more accessible, or somehow else to be in the context. Maybe I think too much instead of listeners what they are likely to be fond of or aren't. In this sense, I am rather interested to do what would be the most appropriate at the moment and not to be embarrassed then for myself. I don't think it's the cheating of my creative ego. In fact, every concert is not exactly something completely new, but I did definitely play two same concerts. It never happened.

There was a great concert at Krasnoyarsk summer school, where I go as a historian for the third year by this time. In the afternoon there are studies, and in the evening there's some free leisure at the place called "Evening club" where you can come and show a movie and discuss it or talk about books and music. When I first arrived there, nobody knew my project and I decided to make a concert. It was very cool, although I wouldn't say that there was something super special. But after it the counselors came up to me and said: "Egor, I have one who has burst into tears after your event." It wasn't a concert in the conventional sense; I was quite unusual to play there and to get such a strong reaction.

Usefulness is the word that's important to me. There are people to whom I can play my music, and they won't pass by, for them it can be useful. Certainly, usefulness is not taken in the literal, everyday sense, but it is usefulness as food for thoughts and for some emotional experiences. I give the opportunity to get something from my music, trying to give people some perspective of the content they've got themselves. Actually, it all differs within different people. It's not a mission, of course, but if I get it, if it really brings people some benefit, then I must do it. And for me it is still the main reason why I go to concerts and drag my 24 kg tape recorders.

For one stage I'm too experimental, for the other ones not enough. It's about the question of classifying my creative works. On the one hand, I like that no tag box suits for me, for instance, some Russian electronics. But on the other hand, it turns out that I am everywhere and nowhere at the same time. Consciousnessly, it, perhaps, is rather rough position, that I don't fit anywhere, I am all marginal, but as a person I still want to have my own place and not to be somewhere between electronic producer and folk musician. This year, thanks to Shalash, finally, I have this feeling of place, because in the end, not abstract terms and enumerations are crucial, but particular people. Initially I had such a position that Shalash (rus. hut) is just a hut - my friends and me, not the label. It's more a game of label, because, again, I didn't want some pathos and missions, and just wanted to have something in between two polar categories: unknown Bandcamp, within millions of them, and a super label.

I use a variety of toy instruments primarily for the sound. Although, the moment of visual effect takes place too. When I'm going to a concert somewhere where nobody has seen me yet, I think about taking my little piano to show that I've got such an instrument and play it. The little piano is falling apart gradually, it cannot withstand all these flights. On the one hand, it is also important, as once I said in the interview that the instruments live because they die. I show that all these unknown, weird things, can produce sounds that quite logically and beautifully are being interwoven. Also I talk in the interest of listeners: it will be more interesting for them to look at me this way. I have nothing against people who use laptops during their performances, because I know that it's the same instrument as others, but visually people with laptops are Winamp DJs, somewhere deep in the subconscious there is still the idea that he just pressed the "play" button. In this sense, I'm more a glam rocker, because I need more visual effect; not exactly the effect, but some live action rather.

I met my music in the public for meditation that is quite natural, but the funny thing is that I saw using the track from the first album Pink Shorts in shorts sale advertisement. I also saw my song in the community of asexuals, there were their black-pink-white heart, some sort of manifesto and my song in the post. I thought: "okay." Actually I should express my indignation and say: "You have misunderstood me!" and so on. But I understand that once you've said something or done, and it leaves you and that’s all. It’s impossible to influence people’s interpretations.

For me music has to do with changing picture, because I'm listening to music along the way. Perhaps, in a way, my music can be perceived as a soundtrack, that is the musical accompaniment to some kind of movement in time and space; not that supernatural move, of course, but walks and traveling. Well, you can fish out of me words like: "Yes, it's the soundtrack, okay, you have disclosed me." I accept this position, it contradicts nothing, but it is only one of the points of views.

I'm embarrassed to read my own interviews, to be honest. I do not perceive an interview as an interview; I just take it as an amiable conversation. And then you read it, and there is subliminal feeling of some lurking: you were talking to a person, and suddenly you have been recorded. It’s totally irrational feeling, purely emotional. As for interviews and accompanying lyrics for concerts I’ve got the same attitude – you can manage without it. I am glad to tell something, if someone is really interested, but the last thing I want to do is to talk in the format "let me talk some more about my music".

ambient, electronic, abstract, atmospheric, chillout, pad / Novosibirsk "This is a great example of how musi...

ambient, electronic, abstract, atmospheric, chillout, pad / Novosibirsk
"This is a great example of how music can speak to you."
Limitless Wave was formed at the moment of another creative crisis. In general, all my aliases varied during creative crises, and then for probably eight months I didn't write anything. Besides, if you do something new, it is better to do it in a separate project and under a new name. Actually, while realizing my creative work Limitless Wave appeared quite accidently. I started with a very different kind of music: some kind of club music, electrohouse, hip-hop... I went from one extreme to another, but I realized that I'm fond of atmosphere and started making something similar to ambient.

I used to work alone, and Limitless Wave is my individual project. Several times I was offered cooperation, including writing music with a duo or trio using this name. I was against it, because I constantly make some changes to the music while working, and there's a rare person who shares my opinion.

Initially I had 1 gb RAM computer and an old monitor, very old, with the cathode-ray tube. And I tried to write somehow on it. Later I bought a MIDI-keyboard of four octaves, and actually it's still alive and perfectly runs. These are my main instruments are my computer, the MIDI keyboard, well, and now the recorder. I've got some certain base of synths that I use, actually I don't have hundreds of them, as many people do. There are about ten of them at most. Because all synths have mainly the same functionality and they can do the same thing.

My own studio allows me to make music much better. It was a very long way to this – studio monitors, studio soundcard, stuff like that... Now I am very comfortable to work with. My old computer monitors had no such sound and frequency capabilities, so when I bought these things, I set all in goose pimples for a week or so, even listening to my own tracks. I heard absolutely every mistake that took place in my music, and now I hear what I need to correct.

I mostly use my own samples, although I sample some other music. In this case I take some kind of melody or harmony and use my way of processing. I try to make it as unrecognizable, as it is as a rule done in many musical circles. But I seldom use it, only when I need to insert something really interesting.

I always carry a recorder in my knapsack. I hear some buzz on a street – record it and make from it something completely different. Or I go across the city streets and hear some interesting sound, for example, children running around, and it sounds so cinematic, so I adjust the sound and record it. Just recently I saw my girlfriend off at the station and recorded the sound of the departing train. I couldn’t help recording it. I gonna make something catchy with this.

Natural reverb is really a cool thing. Actually, I write voice and the environment. In the last track I used the recording of my listening to it. I put the recorder at the end of the room and switched it on. Then I inserted it into the final of the track. That was fun.

Remix is a pretty serious processing of a track. And rework is just bringing small changes in. It's not exactly a common concept, but it is used. In the same time some instruments can be changed, but the main idea of the track remains. I made two reworks on Hammock. Still I like them and listen sometimes both to original compositions, and reworks. I didn't bring great changes in them, left some of the details that I had been caught by. I was working with its background. But all in all, it's somebody else's music, and, of course, I don't take these tracks for mine.

I like rhythmic music, kinda broken rhythm, and at the same time I really like ambient music when you can just sit down and plunge into the sound and not to think. I can compose ambient too, and some chillout music within one project, under one name, because in the end, it will have its own unique zest and people will recognize me in both of those genres. I'm often said: "Listening to several unfinished tracks we recognize yours among them at once".

I start writing, when I realize that there's something new in my head, and I can transfer it into the music. Before that, I stop listening to this very genre of music at all for some time. One can say if you want to write some new material, you have to listen to a lot of other music, but I do the opposite.

Detachment and at the same time involvement in events is the main feeling in my music. Hope? Well, yes, it is, but it is not so much apparent. I constantly reflect on my work, on the subject of what I do write in general. And I once came to a certain point of view on this; I simply transfer my experiences and thoughts into music. I think most musicians act the same way, departing only from their experiences.

Bvdub had much influence on me and my creative works. His music is oversaturated with different features which sometimes I take and interpret on my own way. In lot of his tracks, for example, he uses vocals not simply for delivering some information, but as a musical instrument. I think it's a very interesting way of working with vocals. He has no tracks less than 8 minutes long, so he always reveals absolutely everything he wants.

I'm much surprised when people can't spell at once Limitless Wave. They say: "Limits? Limits Way?" – well, something like that, always distorting it. Sometimes "wave" is just said in Russian "volna". That is, they can't remember the name, although I think it's a simple name. Or they just say: "Maxim that..there's...wave".

It happens that some different music is signed by my name. I found these tracks several times on audio-search and thought: "Seems I never wrote it". Then I listened to – so this was not mine, but one's of the more promoted musicians. Of course, I'm pleased to be considered as the person who wrote this beauty, but it's not me. So, I have to inform people that they should delete it.

Relations with a label are formed in different ways. I've got a great partnership with the Endless Quest label which published my last album and Dima Uvarov, its Director, we are very good friends, we constantly discuss the tracks, both his and mine. Once I worked with another Internet label, and, honestly, the deal didn't work: they didn't pay for sales of my album. Well, I said, "Okay, if you don't pay to me, have your business and don't publish my album any more". They wrote to me then after some time, and said that they wanted to publish it on some physical media , but I said, "No, guys, I don't want working with you".

I tried to broadcast in Periscope. Just thought people might be interested in how I make music. People came, but didn't understand what exactly was happening there, and, obviously were not much interested. They need some "partymakers" to be played, or just to sit...and I don't know...to show kittens. Still you can of course just sit and talk about music itself. Sometimes I turn on some music I listen to, and people say, "Oh, what is it?" They're exited in a way.

Ambient is unusual because it exists everywhere, and yet nobody notice it. As the name suggests, it is "surrounding", so it must be everywhere, and people hear it everywhere, but they don't know what it is. I still try to convey to people that after all it is music, not the wind. Many people don't want to perceive music without drums or without vocals. They say: "Does this really exist?" and they think it's just the background. On the one hand, they are right in a way, it's really a background for some thoughts. You could even say that this is smart music, and if a person has no thoughts, he will listen to this music without understanding.

When people ask me about my music, I say nothing, but just immediately turn it on. If it's not possible, then I say that it's like music from films or something atmospheric and so on. Well, it still does not immediately reach out to the people. Only if I turn it on, they exclaim: "Oh! That's interesting!"

New material is enough for three albums, but I plan to release it as one longplay. I expect to make about 15-18 tracks and conditionally I divide them into three sub-genres. First, the ambient people got used to hear from me. Then there will be music more down to earth, as say more pop – with vocals, percussion and so on. And there will be even something like Burial, so called UK garage, maybe even something minimal. The album will be designed so that each track will flow from one mood to another. I'll do my best to perform this, to build a gradient to create the great contrast between the first and the last tracks.

I started writing my last album more than one year ago. But it doesn't mean that I'm sitting and composing all the year around. There are some moments when I work two weeks in a row, at such times I can make several tracks, and then, say, for a month, I do nothing, cause I just don't want to. This is absolutely standard situation. The incredible work has been done, and much more will be done, so I think that this album will be the starting point in my further career.

acoustic, blues, jazz, dream pop / Novosibirsk "This music reaches the depths of the soul." It w...

acoustic, blues, jazz, dream pop / Novosibirsk
"This music reaches the depths of the soul."

It would be great to gather with the band, but there's no band anymore. So I'll speak for myself, and I can only share my personal impressions and some of my thoughts. Will they have to do with the actual situation – I don't know. Actually, I haven't yet realized that Gatos broke up. Maybe we will get together, and even with the same stuff, and there will be some new wonderful music. But it's also possible not to happen. This decision was not a conflict: the development of any project, of any person, any civilization is either rising or declining, but it is impossible to stand still. So, it happened that for now all of us have some other priorities, in favor of which the choice had been made. Partly, these priorities cover music. That is, music hasn't been abandoned, on the contrary, we're just too busy and don't have time for everything.

Band creator – these are too big words. They are absolutely unsuitable for me. I had the idea of recording a mini-album, and I realized that it's impossible to do alone. I was looking for a guitarist: the concept was very minimalistic, so one guitar was enough for recording. I was searching for someone for a long time and finally found. We met, talked, started to play together, learned the songs that we were going to record. And we recorded them... It happened so that the other guys heard this music and expressed a desire to work with us, and we were very happy and continued the journey together.

All began with Holly, and the first album was released as Holly. Then came the name Holly&Gatos to emphasize a group of people who are together with Holly. Then wasn't needed in fact, we discussed the name and became just Gatos, "tomcats".

We recorded the album for two hours, while we were preparing for two weeks. The album was released under the name Dark Proud Strong. Actually it's called Black Flo. Why I decided to give it the name of another song which was recorded almost in the last day on my phone dictaphone while playing piano – I really don't realize. When I'm going to arrange somehow my creative work, it will be definitely called Black Flo. And the main song there is, of course, Black Flo, it is very old, I wrote it two or three years before Gatos, but with Gatos it became more polished. The guitarist, with whom we recorded this album – Nixon, very quickly grasped my ideas and then interpreted them, added something of his own. This man has a hang of cinematography, he brought some lyrical lustre into music, something cinematic. It definitely present there, and it's to his credit too.

Gatos is a team with its own material despite the abundance of covers. And the latter songs were written by all together. For example, Julia, a pianist, started to play, came up with the harmony, I put some text and vocal melody upon it, then guys were connected, and song was being composed. Sometimes happened that we wrote a new song right before the concert, during the sound check, and played it that same night.

It's impossible to listen to your own music like music. You can't relax. As if you're opening your wound, your history. In general I write songs not when feel well. Also you're listening and thinking: "Oh, it's awful here, and this is better, well, need to remember this place it may be useful". That is you're listening to it with some technical approach, analyzing, not relaxing, not thinking "Wow! It's awesome".

I don't sing about love. I sing, for example, about flowers. Or I don't sing about death, but about a black dress. That is, I sing about the abstract things that suggest associations to what I want to tell the audience. I thought a lot about texts in music and came to different conclusions at different times. Maybe about two years ago, I would say that the text is not as important as harmony, which creates from the words some sort of visual image, but not necessarily a clear story. Recently I would say that the text is all the meaning in the song, the most important and decisive. Now I think that it all depends more on the music and style of language. When I sing in English everything in the text is a sheer metaphor. And I haven't got yet many songs written in Russian to talk about it. But in comparison I get a little less figurative and a little more straightforward texts.

It is very difficult to describe own project in terms of style. There's something around-blues and near-jazz in the music of Gatos, but it's neither blues nor jazz. I tried to identify it by such words as dream pop at some point. Then it became something very eclectic. We even had a joke when asked about what kind of music we play, we are told – jazz, metal, funny.

Big thanks to the guys in "Truba", as they have given us the opportunity to develop. Probably they were disposed towards us because we performed there almost every Monday. Initially there was no agreement. Our first gig was there in July, then they invited us again... It was hard sometimes. Sometimes it seemed that all this was in vain, because of the lack of time, especially when some of us have had been studying and continue studying for now. We had no time to prepare something new at least for a week or two. There were different times, but still fine they were. Maybe they will be, who knows.
Our last concert was crucial. I did not even know that it was the last. For me it remains one of the most significant concerts. Seriously, I've never done all these things on stage. In the end we started improvisation, each made his own but keeping together. At some point I started to communicate with some otherworld forces, and it was wonderful. And people felt it, some of them for sure. There is a video of all this bacchanalia, but in fact, it doesn't reflect what was going on. I don't know how it sounded from the outside, but it doesn't even matter. It was something more than just a performance, I don't know how to express it, but then I shared something very personal, very intimate.

A dancing couple appeared on stage cause we wanted to add brightness. It was a tribute to Amy Winehouse, and her concerts, you could see two vivid Afroenglish, or Afroamericans, I don't know. They were generally back singers, but still they danced well, very positive guys – even when Amy in doubtful state sprawled on the stage, they created the right atmosphere. I thought, "If I have something like that, even if I'm going to mess it up..." Well, I'm kidding. Actually, I just wanted to add a visual element to make the others move to the rhythmic songs of Amy. It was just one-time experiment. Will there ever be something like that? Who knows, maybe.

I don't understand the word "manner". I was recently said, "You sing all in your only one manner". And I don't know what to say to that, I don't know how I'm supposed to understand it, I don't know what manner is. There are very expressive songs, and there are very quiet ones, neat ones, where you sing in absolutely another voice – quietly, softly. It's not of great importance what emotions you put into a song, but what you're feeling at the moment: anger, wrath, passion, hatred, love, tenderness... Even when a person is just talking, he's also always sounds different. When one is whispering words of love to someone it sounds different than when this person's shouting at subordinates. I exaggerated the examples, of course. But with vocals as well it all depends on the song.

My scat is still an imitation of the pipe, it is rather straightforward, and I don't hold to sax in some moments. I was fond of Bobby McFerrin from the very early age: he didn't imitate pipe, he imitated other instruments, a guitar, something else. He worked greatly with the resonators. And in quite young age the idea of the possibility od such things had settled in me. I once sang one blues song and forgot the text, and I started scating and scated until the end of the song. Did I try to do it before? No. You won't believe it. And that first scat was good, seriously.

Once, one comment crept me out. People wrote that my voice reminds them as if Lana Del Rey is being raped by David Gilmour. Here we go. And why so: there was our cover on Pink Floyd song where I was singing with the flower wreath on my head. People's associations switched on, so they reacted. In fact, it has nothing to do with my voice.

The last two concerts we played with the pianist. One of them was in Narymsky square. It was raining. It was a kind of rain that I thought: "Oh, I gonna be striked by current through the microphone". But well, not that time. I had my favorite wreath of white roses, but I didn't put it on, I thought: "There's a lot of people, I feel a bit constrained, I won't mount this kokoshnik on my head. What for will I attract excess attention to myself, I will be singing aside". And in the middle of the performance, between songs one of my friends came to me. It was an amazing moment when she gave me the wreath of dark-red roses. This thing really impressed me, touched my soul in a good way. This was something intimate, something beautiful.

Really, my name is Holly. You have no idea how often I answer this question.