DMCWORLD heads to the Ukraine to check out this budding techno producer and DJ who is about to explode. A resident at popular streaming project Radio Intense and one of Kyiv’s biggest clubs’ Heaven, we catch him at the perfect time as he takes his next giant step with his new release on IAMT…
Thanks for taking the time to chat to us today! For those of our readers who don’t yet know you, would you be able to tell us a bit about yourself?
Hi, guys – thanks for having me, really glad to be telling you my story! Throughout my life, there have been so many things going on, ups and downs as I changed course, but over time, I realised I’ve got three projects in my life – one for the soul, which is music, one for my mind, which is business, and one for my heart, which is exploring myself, exploring this world and all that’s around us.
I was born in a small town, a province right in Ukraine’s central part! Growing up, I was into sports and was also mad about music. My father would play reel tapes with various artists’ songs, and I’d dream of learning how to play. My gramps had this German button accordion, and I’d often try it to make some clumsy tunes. See, my grandfather didn’t play so there was no one to teach me. When I was about eight years old, I was at my neighbor’s and I got hold of a guitar he had. I didn’t know I was supposed to tune it, so I would just strum stuff, mainly on one string. Once a week, they would show on TV, some Spanish and Italian guitarists and other artists, and each time I’d wait for this show to start, pick up that guitar and just try to play along, copying what they were doing. It wasn’t even close, and that guitar was badly out of tune, but I did try hard – I really wanted to learn. So, my parents took me to a friend of theirs who tuned my guitar and I memorised four main chords he showed me right away. I’ve been playing guitar ever since. However, as tapes with Prodigy, Chemical Brothers, and Fatboy Slim started emerging, revolutionising our world with their electronic music, they also had a dramatic impact on me! I realised that this was my thing! So here’s a huge shout out to those guys for letting my electronic journey begin!
When and how did you first get into music? Has your music preference changed over the years?
I listened to various music styles, I was a really avid music lover – but still, I loved Techno the most! Back in 1995-2000, we didn’t have much Techno around. There was no Internet and we always lagged behind the progressive Europe in our provincial town. Whatever new songs we got to hear on tapes would have already been old records in fact.
For a while I listened to Break Beat, Drum and Bass, and Acid – these were all totally new styles, something me and my friends had never heard of before. I absorbed everything like a sponge – I loved everything! It was all so astonishing to me. I wondered how they managed to extract all these sounds – maybe they used their mouth or some kind of special tools, I couldn’t guess. I just dreamed of seeing how it was made! I didn’t have exact preferences to anything particular but I just subconsciously felt that Techno was the least annoying music, and the coolest too. I realised I might need to be in a certain mood to listen to other stuff but Techno – I could enjoy at any time.
You will soon be releasing your first official EP ‘Red Channel On’ alongside one of the industry’s biggest names, Spartaque, how did this collaboration come about?
Wow, this is a long story, really – I can elaborate for days! I’ll try to make it as brief as possible. I used to perform in our province in 1998-1999 – I played tapes. We had one club where my boys and I would organize events on our own! All youths from eight schools across town would hang out there. Soon I became quite a “popular guy”, the coolest DJ in town. Besides, I loved dancing! We would set up dance battles too!
But I was craving to get out of there, to get to Ukraine’s capital city of Kyiv! My family didn’t have much money so they couldn’t just finance my studies in some Kyiv-based university as was the case for many of my friends. But once I graduated from school in 2002, I still managed to make it to the big city of my dreams. So, I came to Kyiv! I hustled around and switched jobs here and there, trying to get by. I would go around clubs trying to get residency spots. Eventually I was employed by one of Kyiv’s clubs, not a bad one, as part-time DJ and part-time waiter. In day shifts, I would wait tables and at night I performed there as a DJ. That was exhausting, really, and those jobs didn’t pay much, either.
Our DJ industry was poorly developed and paid very little so I struggled to get by. I figured I couldn’t go on like that for too long. So, I decided to do some business to actually make money. I shifted toward business where I’ve stayed for a rather long time. Soon, I got promoted to become a top manager of a large company, then I changed several jobs in the sphere and at the age of 25 I finally opened my own business. Having made some money, I bought myself all kinds of DJ software to make music. One of them was FL Studio, but now I’m working with Ableton. Besides software, I was buying other gear, so within five years, I already had a small studio where I wrote tracks and sold them.
Most recently, I upgraded my studio with Korg Minilogue xd series. Throughout this time, I’ve been writing Techno. I’d piled up a bunch of stuff I would show my friends. All my friends would say to me: “Bro, you gotta play this stuff!” But I never thought of myself as the one creating anything that truly stood out… Of course, I can’t help but note that sometimes it takes me a couple of days to come up with some creative sound or I can sit all night through working on some particular sound until something interesting comes out! After a while, constantly hearing all my friends trying to make me come out of my shell, I thought it was time to try my luck at one of Kyiv’s top clubs, Heaven! There I met its art director, an acclaimed DJ Key M. I pitched him some of my pieces, he liked them and also told me I’ve got talent. I remember I told him: “Bro, let me try it this way. I’ll come out and play in your club and if people really like what I do, l’ll just keep playing and giving it 100% of what I got.” I prepared a set and killed it! I played alongside Key M from 6am to 2pm. The crowd would simply not let us leave the stage. It was a real blast! I realised that I needed to do this again!!! It was my thing and gave me goose bumps! I was so happy then! So that was how it all started.
Key M introduced me to Spartaque, the guys invited me to play at Codex, and I just couldn’t believe everything was starting to unfold so successfully. Thanks to those very cool guys, Spartaque and Key M, who by that time had become my great friends, I played together with them at Codex events in Odesa and Kyiv. I was blown away! Those guys are professionals, so I had something to learn from them!! That’s how we started rolling!
Can you tell us a bit about the production process behind the EP?
As the EP was being created, we took as a base the style inherent to Spartaque’s works and Codex in general. It took us several months – the work seemed simple and complex at the same time! Being the true professional that he is, Spartaque of course, made many adjustments, which made the piece truly unique.
Do you have any plans to release again in the near future?
I have a plenty of tracks I’ve produced in stock. Now I have more then 50 of them. Of these, about a half were noted by professionals as interesting material. Now I’m set to gradually finalize and release them.
Who have been your biggest influences in the electronic music scene?
I always listen to a wide variety of artists from my home country. I keep watching their work, their perfect craft, so to speak! Among the foreign artists, I like Christian Varela, Ben Klock, Oscar Murelo, Adam Beyer and of course those ladies Monika Kruse, Ellen Allien, Amelie Lens & Charlotte de Witte, honestly there are so many of them. As I listen to their music, I try to combine the incompatible.
You performed at the Codex showcases in Odesa and Kiev, how was it to be able to represent such an established label?
As I mentioned earlier, it was something special for me to perform at Codex! I’m happy the guys noticed me and gave me a chance to show what I’m worth in my art. They inspired me so I’m really determined right now. I believe Codex will one day be the world’s No. 1 label!!
You secured a residency at one of Kiev’s most revered clubs, Heaven. How did this come about and what was your experience of performing there like?
Yes, I fell in love with Heaven immediately. It has a great team of DJs, and the staff were awesome. Led by Key M, the club will keep up its upward dynamics! I respect and appreciate the club’s owners as they do their best to develop the venue and make sure people love what they’re doing. And everyone sees it, too! They are doing a great job! I’m really glad that the Heaven family accepted me and is now giving me the opportunity to grow alongside them!! It’s a special feeling! A team working as a family is extremely important for any type of business!
How are you spending your time during the current lockdown?
I do business, too. I have two businesses, actually. Amid the ongoing quarantine, I keep doing my work, also actively producing new tracks. I really do want the whole world to hear them!
Any final words for our readers?
I’d like to tell everyone that they should remain human beings, respect and value others like they do themselves – each of us is the link through which the world can become a better place! I would really ask everyone to take two or three days off just to chill back and reflect on who you think you really want to become, and then just give it all you’ve got in the efforts to achieve your goal! It is imperative that you find your calling and sense in life!
When I do a gig, I just want each of you to break free from routine and all concerns you have, that each of you would catch your sense in life, open up, and be free, while becoming your true self! Even if this sensation doesn’t last long, I wish you could experience what it’s like to be your true self, while rejoicing and uniting with other free people who also came there. I’m happy to give you this sense of freedom, this kind of drive. Your life purpose may be deeper than you think – but you still need to find it! Good luck to y’all. See you at our events…