It’s been a while since we FEA(U)TURE’d anyone. But don’t you dare thinking that I have abandoned this category, – I still find it one the most (if not the most) important and interesting sides of this project. It’s just there’s not enough time for anything anymore. “Thanks” to that, while this FEA(U)TURE was in the works, the musician moved from the far Khabarovsk (Russia) to closer (to me) Los Angeles, CA. But let him talk about it (among many other things) himself.
tipkin – Traditionally, let’s start with some history, – when and how did everything start, where did the name come from? Where is the project currently located?
Sin Smiley – My solo career began (I remember it as if it was yesterday) in the Summer of 2009. At that moment our beloved pop-punk band 2day, still existed, in which I was occupying the position of lead-guitarist. However, constant disagreements and schedule conflicts have done it, – the band was still alive but didn’t show any activity. It was a pity, – we were getting ready for that season, worked on and already started rehearsing the new material, and then all of a sudden that was it, – no calls to each other, conversations along the lines of “Hi-Bye, how-are-you-good-how-are-you” – and nothing more. I’m sure that that moment affected all of us, I in particular first started looking into electronica and modern classical music, tried working with FL-studio… Gradually something started to appear and I decided to give “to the people” a little demo-album under the moniker Sin Smiley (Sin – my ancient internet nickname, going back to early 2000’s). To be honest, those “people” were the only one to hear that “lil’ demo” – it was too embarrassing to show such crude piece to the wide audience. But be that as it may, this point can be considered the beginning of Sin Smiley.
Currently I live in Los Angeles, CA.
t. – My understanding is that (before moving to the US) you used to be the only representation of the trip-hop movement in the region. Where did you find support/listeners/critics for your music?
S.S. – I Khabarovsk region (just like in Russia in general) trip-hop and modern classical aren’t very popular, but if you manage to find listeners, they will continue to listen to it almost throughout their entire lives, no other style of music is capable of giving such feelings as those and their other derivatives, it’s like something very close to your soul… Later I was able to get hooked on those (it sounds like a drug dealer’s monologue) the beatmaker 9Crime, whom we are friends with since college, and with him we released our first more or less listenable-sounding disc Fyrsta (“first” – Icelandic).
t. – What are your main sources of inspiration? Are there any particular musicians/bands that influenced your style?
S.S. – Our snowy winter, gloomy weather that takes up most of the time. Moments when you’re not doing anything but lying and thinking about everything and nothing in particular, – I source inspiration from everything that cennot even provide it for me. I don’t sit down to write music just “because I must”, this how things come out that critics usually pick on. From the artists I would note the sensei Akira Yamaoka, Wax Tailor, Yiruma, Rowan Converse, Alexandre Desplat, Emancipator (cannot do without Douglas), Arms & Sleepers, Sigur Ros, God Is An Astronaut, Normand Corbeil, as well as the classics of the solo piano genre.
t. – Speaking of style – how would you define it? What is trip-hop to you?
S.S. – My trip-hop is mutating with every new track, the boundaries are getting washed out more, but it turns out to be more interesting without them, – for example when I decided to dilute main compositions on Streets Of Night with piano sketches and reprises. I would describe it as “non-Bristol”, but similar sound with significant portion of classical sketches and interesting motions.