Artemiy Artemiev: Interview:  

You started creating music because the process of manipulating with the sound impressed you? Isn't music a kind of magic and making music is like being a magician?

I started creating music not because of the process itself, no, I think it's because of my surroundings. My mother is a professional pianist & she & my father decided that it was necessary to teach me playing piano from the age of 4 years. At this time they even didn't think of me as a composer. So at 7 I went to musical school, then musical college & at last I graduated from the conservatory as classical pianist. During my studying at music college I also played keyboards in various Moscow rock-groups & even formed my own group "Doctor" but in 1989 I left the group, quit rock music & began experimenting with sounds & samplers. For me it was more interesting then playing rock. Also in 1989 I began scoring films & collecting equipment for my future studio. I consider my father to be my first teacher of electronic & film music and of course his music influenced on my activity. I saw how my father worked with instruments, people & I tried to understand the process of creating electronic music. For me it was magic. And my father was a magician - surrounded by various apparatuses, synthesisers, lamps, etc. who was making all these machines to sound. I tried composing electronic music while I was playing in my rock-group "Doctor". Together we made 4 albums & in each album I tried to make something special with sound, to make music sound more electronic & experimental. My last recording with this group - "A Look Upon Life" (1988) - practically was my first solo album (hope someday I'll publish it on "Electroshock Records" label). I composed all the music & made this project sound experimental & electronic. I left the group immediately after this album. The guys decided to play rock - I rejected this idea as I was interested in electronic music. And during this time I began scoring student films (our rehearsals base was in the institute of cinematography & many future film-directors came to our rehearsals & asking me to create sounds for their films or scoring them). It was a great practice for me & besides many students became my friends & later on (after their graduation from the institute) I continue working on their films.

You said that electroacoustic music is a music of imagination... so I would like to talk about few visions - my visions - which appears during listening to Your CD's. Perhaps the "MYSTICISM OF SOUND" as first. The titles say that You were impressed by pictures of Breugel and Bosch. Which one? For me it was like the paintings of Michael Wrubel. For example the series of Demon paintings? Or the one called "ZEMCHUZINA" (look for Russian spelling), where is chaos and the colours, tones glitter and flit by. I like some of Russian painters and Your music remind me of them. "THE WARNING", "COLD" or even "THE POINT OF INTERSECTION" for me present pictures taken from the Russian romanticism landscapes, and some fairytales (as "THE FISHERMAN AND GOLDEN FISH" or this about Swanprincess). Can You tell me about Your impressions and thoughts during creating this CD's?

I'm very happy to know that You liked my music. As for "Mysticism of Sound" then I could say that there is only the first track dedicated to the pictures of the Bruegel & Bosch & please note that I dedicated this track to the activity of the artists & not to the concrete pictures.{ Yes, but most of people know only one or two pictures of those artists - not their all activity...}. Now about Your question concerning impressions & thoughts. Well, first of all I want to say that my first CD "The Warning" was a collection of my music from the motion pictures that I scored & that I united in one music project with the help of various sounds of the street, footsteps, gunshots, tuning of the orchestra, etc. So here we can't speak about special images. This music was created for the special scenes of this or that film & then included into CD. As for the my other projects then I could only say that music on these projects was written as always spontaneously. I mean that I never think about pictures or sculptures, or at least poems. No I sit down put my hands on the keyboard & begin playing & searching for the timbre. When I find what I need, I write it down to the computer sequencer. Then I begin experimenting with this track & add other timbres, samplers, noises & make something special from the sounds. So step by step I record 10-30 tracks into the memory of my sequencer program & after that I begin mixing & editing. And believe me I never think about images. They come with the music. I only think about whether this timbre or sound suits other timbres or sounds in the sequence.

"SPACE ICON" and "DREAMS IN MOVING SPACE" are not so related to Russian culture - I think. Is it true? These records are more about people at all, about feelings and things that we have inside. You have said that it depends on the composer where the listener will fly... is it true? Do You always thing about how Your music will influence people? Where it can conduct them?

I never think about how my music will influence people & where it conduct them. Their hearts & souls responsible for that because one person could hear things that other never find in my music. We all are different. We have different souls, different hearts, different minds, different feelings. We hear differently, we love differently, we hate & taste differently & of course we understand music also differently. For example for me music means sound structures & timbres united in one composition & I treat music as mathematics task - more completed - more interesting. It's interesting for me to hear how music is made by the artist then what he wants to say by his tunes. Of course I'm delighted to know that people like my music & hear it, though it's not so easy-listening music. The main difference between them & me is that they draw images in their heads & souls & I'm solving timbre & sound-tasks - how to make all-that-God-knows-where-to-go track sounds.

As for my two latest collaborative music projects with Peter Frohmader & Phillip B. Klingler then I can say that they made in the same manner & style like I did all my solo music projects before but the one with Peter is more commercial. I can't say that my music is pure Russian music which is belong to Russian electronic music school. No, I'm afraid not. It has more international meaning of this word.

During composing music, do You create some stories, Your personal fairytales, or You treat it rather really as a process?

To be honest I never create stories or personal fairytales during composing music. For me the process of composing music itself is mechanical process. I find timbres, various sounds. See if they suite each other musically, then I record each part on its own track in computer sequencer or ADATs multitracks digital tape recorders & only when everything is in computer or in ADAT, only then magic begins. This is sound engineering & mixing. You add various delays, reverberation, pitch changes, paning & various effects. Now You're in the music & make it sounds like You want. And this is real magic.

What do you think about Scriabin's "Poem of Ecstasy"? Do You think it was a good ideal to call a new invention (ANS) in honour of this composer? If not, would You like to suggest another name?

Scriabin's composition "Poem of Ecstasy" (1907) & "Poem of Fire (Prometey)" (1910) are really great works. They sound modern even nowadays. Alexander Nicolaevitch Scriabin was the only Russian composer who began experimenting with sound & light at the very beginning of the XX-century. He gave each note its colour & during concerts he experiments with different colourful lamps. So I think it was a perfect idea to call "ANS" (the first Russian synthesizer, created by Eugeniy Murzin) in honour of this famous Russian composer & I couldn't even think about other name.

You like films made by Bertolucci, Fellini, Schlondorff, what Russian film directors do You admire? What do You think about the specific style of Tarkovsky, for whom Your father had worked? Maybe You could tell us something about some not well known outside Russia artists. And do You think that more magic is the film or the theatre work?

I like films by Andrey Tarkovsky, Nikita Mikhalkov, Andrey Kontchalovsky, Sergey Bondartchuck. Tarkovsky was a genius & I was happy to know him personally. You could see his films for thousands of times & each time You'll open something new that You missed in Your previous review. There're few film directors in the world who could realise the ideas of Bible in their films & Andrey Arsenievitch Tarkovsky was the first one among them. Remember his "Solaris", "Stalker", "Andrey Rublov", "Nostalgia", "Sacrifice". In each film he tries to show & tell You very necessary things that could be clearly understand only after 2-3 reviews of the film.

To be honest I like cinema more then theatre as I think that modern technology now can make such "magic" things that could impress people greatly. The main idea is combination of various arts in one. Remember "Blade Runner". Here is everything perfect: idea - great thinking film by great master Ridley Scott, music & sound atmosphere of the film - genially scored by Vangelis, great visual effects by Douglas Trumbull & at last amazing work of the stars - Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young & Edward James Olmos. I don't think that such works of art are possible to stage in the theatre.

You are rather conservative in subject of the history of art. You said that people did not know who Michael Angelo had been, and it scarred You. But are there any Russian artists (writers, painters) You think young people should know?

Of course - Russian writers Pushkin, Lermontov, Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy, Russian artists - Vrubel, Surikov, Kandinsky, Kontchalovsky.

And why those artists ?

Because they all are classical artists of Russia. They are the best in their genres of art.

These are questions for number called "mystic"... tell me please what is mystic for You?

Well, good question. Personally for me "mystic" means things that people couldn't clearly understand & explain. Sometimes it's also action that lies beyond the minds understanding. But if we speak about abstract things, sound for example, then here we should speak about some different aspect of the meaning of this word. Here the word "mystic" means charming image that could be provoked by mans' mind while listening tunes, music or palette of various sound forms united in one composition. Especially electronic or electroacoustic ones. This could awake some dreams, hidden thoughts or recollections of the past, or at least simple tears. Sometimes these thoughts pleasant, sometimes not but the process itself, I mean getting peoples' dreams from far away parts of human soul, could be called "mystic", 'cause only art (music, pictures, cinema, poetry, literature, sculpture, etc.) or love, that could be considered as part of art, could stir up tears on the faces of humanity.

So, creating thoughts is mystic? Some people thing that death, the end of life is mystic... is it so for You? And cats? Are they mystic, too?

Personally for me death is another substance of a man's being. It's not mystic. What comes after the death? When people die their soul flies to those places that some people call heaven or hell, other - space. I only can say that when You die there sure will be the transformation of a man - its body & its soul. As for cats then I think that these creatures are very mystic.

You have a cat, Dikusha as I remember, is Your cat exerting an influence on You? Or he helps You in a special way as most of cats do?

Yes, I have a cat. His name is Dikusha & he's not the first one. I had two cats before him & they all were called Dikusha. I don't know whether they all influence on me or not. All I can say that I love cats & with each of them I find contact. This cat - Dikusha-III is also called "General Manager of the Studio" because he loves to sit on DAT machine on top of the rack & listen, sorry, sleep while I'm working. Thus I think he helps me in so-called special way as most cats do.

It was a great shock for me as it started to rain every time I was putting the "FIVE MYSTERY TALES OF ASIA" record on. Did You know that it has such effect on the weather? Or maybe it is only my personal magic?

Believe me I never heard before about such collisions with my music & the weather. You're the first one who informed me about such events. I don't think that it's my music that has such effect on the weather I think that it's only Your personal magic. I think You'll be a real magic woman soon.

What things make you fill like You were in a dream?

To find myself somewhere at the north of Russia or Finland, or Sweden standing alone on the hill above the lake, surrounded by woods & greeting sunrise & the birth of the new day. This is a dream & I'm trying to spend 2-3 August weeks in this dream.

By Lucja Agnieszka Plawska


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