This FEA(U)TURE is very special to me. Here I talk to a musician and a person without whom not only the existence of my tiny but mighty netlabel TTRR would be impossible, but quite possibly the very idea of promoting independent electronica on the pages of this blog would have been mercilessly abandoned. You may already be familiar with his work – if not from the latest release Blue Eyes (my microscopic involvement in which still makes me indecently proud), then from his multiple previous albums, EP’s and single tracks floating around the interwebs. His music has a quality that is pretty rare these days – style. And everyone seems to hear this style in a different way, which is also pretty amazing. Well, without further ado – coldreavers.
tipkin - When and how did it all start? Where did the interest for electronic music come from and how did it develop from an interest into the actual creating?
coldreavers – It began around the year 2006, – I didn’t have anything to do and I started working with sequencers and such. I didn’t have enough patience back then and until 2009 I gave up on it and was just a listener. Then in 2009 it all started spinning again, this time for real. At first the works were primitive, with time the level built up. I’ve been listening to electronic music for a long time, as all the other ones however, I don’t have preference to one genre.
t. – Then why in your work your prefer downtempo/experimental electronica, and not, say, techno etc.? Was there a particular influence? Or…?
c. – I just like more melodic and slow music, with BPM up to 100 maybe. And if it’s faster… it just doesn’t fit me. But there are exceptions, like if you take house, I just adore Beach House from Hed Kandi and some of the releases by Defected. I don’t know what influenced me in particular, – I’m not a huge fan of Massive Attack or Portishead, even though Tricky‘s first album I almost know by heart.
t. – Another standard question – what is trip-hop to you and what do you feel when coldreavers is being referred to as a “trip-hop project”?
c. – To me personally trip-hop has expanded so much so long ago that one can shove anything in it. I personally go by this line – Tricky‘s first album is a trip-hop perfection, I haven’t heard anything better. The rest is to some extent repeating it, but still cannot get even close. Well, he cannot get close to himself in his early years to be honest. Regarding coldreavers as a trip-hop project… well, I guess that’s what it is, what else?
t. – No, really, what else? Can you describe your style to someone who never heard your music?
c. – Well, if you think about it, it would probably be some kind of ethnic-hop, or what they called Four Tet – folktronica.
t. – OK, let’s leave alone genres and styles, I know artists usually hate talking about things like that. What is music for you at this point – hobby, passion, life’s work?
c. – At this point I’m sort of at the crossroads. On one hand I love doing that and don’t know how to do pretty much anything else, on the other hand I’m scared of what would happen if I dedicate all my time to music and end up with nothing as a result. I’ll see how the new album will do and then make the final decision.
t. – When a project is finished – an album or even a song, – what’s more important – that you’re happy with it yourself or that the others like it?
c. – It happened to me pretty often that when a song is finished – I like it, but the others don’t. And then the release comes out and the same people say, damn, the track came out awesome, did you change something? And I didn’t change anything. But the most important thing to me is the time. I mean, if I like the track after a week and after two weeks, it will end up somewhere, but if I don’t, then I won’t release it despite other people’s opinion. I’m not gonna take on the whole album, – I could hardly even get to the middle of other people’s albums – I either get annoyed or encounter that one song that I’d get stuck on for a long while.
t. – Speaking of finished works, – can we talk a bit about Blue Eyes – what inspired it, were there any memorable moments while working on it, are there any principal differences from the previous releases?
c. - Blue Eyes was inspired by lots of things – I was working on it for half a year. Mostly, as strange as it seems, I was inspired by rap music – new albums by Kanye West, Kid Kudi, Tinie Tempah. “Paradise Circus” by Massive Attack (the only thing that I liked on the album). Memorable moment and main difference for this album – vocals that were recorded specifically for my tracks. Before I was kind of too shy to show my works to vocalists, but now decided to do so, – and as a result all three of the works are remarkable to me. On the next album I’ll try to only work with live vocalists.
t. – And when could we expect the next album?
c. – I think in six months to a year.
t. – Let’s go back to the harsh realities of show-business. Do you think that with everything that is going on with the music world these days – distribution mostly online, the ability to sell your music in big online music stores etc., – an independent artist can actually make a living, or do you still need a contract with a major?
c. – I know a lot of independent artists who make music, and I haven’t heard that anyone of them had made a single dollar particularly from distribution. I think the best way now is to earn money by doing gigs. But I personally don’t know how I would play – I have a new vocalist on every track, plus all my gear is a netbook for 8 thousand [rubles - about $270] and headphones for 1,500 [$50]. So if I even start a track in the sequencer it’s gonna freeze in the middle, if not sooner.
t. – So, you would like to play live if not for financial issues mostly?
c. – Well, if I had money and enough listeners, I’d play. Would come up with something. Actually money isn’t that big of an issue – just a laptop for one night. Generally I’m not really into the shows where musicians start experimenting with music. When something that I heard before acquires a totally different color. I come to a show to experience with a crowd the feeling that overwhelmed me at home and I hate when people who cannot sing live are suddenly trying to do that.
t. - What are you listening to now? What did you like from the recent releases?
c. – I’ve been really into Mika for a few days now, – his vocals are pretty kick-ass. I like “Love Today”, “One Foot Boy” the most. As far as independent music goes, that would be Cleast Eatwood and their cover of MGMT – “Electric Feel”. I think they should be praised and not [James] Blake. Also the last album by The Streets is good. And the heavenly compilation Best of Bossa Lounge 2, almost everything is great there.
t. – What’s wrong with Blake?
c. – That his whole album is dull, the sounds are good on their own but it’s problematic to tell one track form another. The same mood everywhere and he, let’s say, paints with one color.
t. – What’s the state of the music underground in Saint Pete?
c. – It’s in deep shit.
On such optimistic note we ended our conversation. Please help to pull music underground out of deep shit – listen and share music by coldreavers and by other independent artists – not only they deserve it, but they will appreciate it a lot more. Visit coldreavers‘ official page, listen to and download his music here and finally check out this little collage by one of the aforementioned vocalists who were featured on the last album:
coldreavers – “Face In The Moon” (feat. MMAIO)