Sunday, August 26, 2018

Sasha Darko Interview

1.Can you give us an update on what is going on with you and your musical projects these days?
All my previous projects were discontinued in the end of 2009. Since 2010, I’ve been releasing my works under the name of Sasha Darko no matter what genre it is. Any Earth Incubator / KIbanov / Headless Kamikaze album released after 2009 uses the old material recorded in 2007-2009 period, including the 2017 sludge metal collaboration with Russian band ВИРЬ.
There were several EPs released for Sirona Records back in 2011, I was making music for my own games and there was a full-length album Underwater with a single for it released on a split cassette with Hiroshi Hasegawa (Astro / C.C.C.C).
But in fact, I was silent. There are lots of unreleased tracks, including dark electro ones. After release of Underwater (2013) I had no idea where to promote the album and I was barely using social networking websites. The reviewers liked it a lot (Ambient Exotica and YIKIS), but I practically gave up on music after that. I was also just trying to survive, earning money just enough for food and rent, not much anything else. I still don't have my own apartment and in fact homeless.
In the end, the biggest yoga group found the album in 2018 and posted it. Since then, almost all VK yoga-themed groups have posted it, so it’s kinda become a local meme since the album is not about yoga at all. But it found its listeners, which is what I wanted.

2.Recently you have released a new album, what are some of the things you have done different musically with this recording that you where not able to do with your previous releases?
GENESIS is probably the only example of mixing old school witch house sound like Salem with YM2612 chiptune (the first three tracks), but there are many experiments in the past which sound crazy enough for people. It's what I do, after all.

3.What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects you have explored over the years with your various musical projects?
Practically everything. However, I’ve never written ballads about dolphins, so maybe it is time. There are topics I never touch, the boring ones. Like alcohol, drugs, etc. Never used any drugs, barely drinking any alcohol and I don't smoke at all. These are the ones people like a lot, but I'd rather write about being stuck in bytes of a .jpeg texture file in a room built of 28-mm film grain.

4.On the new album you had written a song in Enochain, can you tell us a little bit more about your interest in Occultism?
As of now, there's no interest at all, it's just a curiosity for me. I'm also interested in dead languages, old forms. Like Old English, Old East Slavic languages. It's more about linguistics.

5.Can you tell us a little bit more about the artwork that is presented on the new album cover?
I recently moved to a small town Anapa and was learning about the local people and local music projects. I stumbled upon a girl who has an Instagram account with photos having the same style. Not just a usual account, more like a unique photo album where every post is a story. We talked, met IRL, you can see me on one of her photos. I used one of the photos she took before for the cover. I think the photo is simply legendary.

6.You are also involved with other musical projects, can you tell us a little bit more about them and the musical styles they play?
The very first band was me collaborating with a screamo duo, we also played one gig, it all worked out just fine. Then there was a noise rock / folk project with just one member from that band, but it was just one improvised session, he moved to another town later. Same "just one session" can be said for another noise rock project recorded with another guy. It was also an improvisation recorded on tape under the label "Murder Avenue", but the master tape was lost (at least I don’t have it) and the guy was in a very distant city, we haven't communicated ever since.
There also was an international noise project of mine called All-Stars Noise Collective, with 8 guys from different countries and me mixing everything they sent. But only one full-length album was released ( I was also a part of a similar project called "H" (, which was organized by Djordje Matic, the owner of No Bottom Records.
After going full solo, I also had two duo projects with Norihito "NRYY" Kodama from Japan (Alexander Kibanov & Norihito Kodama, Techno / Avant-garde) and Sebastian "SMRZNIK" Crnich from Bosnia (ПотеряннаяГорла, HNW).
But I worked with many more musicians when it comes to certain albums and tracks. It goes from drone ambient and industrial to sludge metal and folk. Many different things were created.

7.A lot of your music is also recorded for Sega games, are you more a fan of the older games or do you prefer to newer ones?
There's no "retro" for me, I play everything I'm interested in that’s been published since 80s, doesn't matter if it's a small (indie) or big (AAA) game, when and how it was made, what platform was used. However, when you don't have a specific console, you simply can't play games released for them. I still have no PS4, for example.

I see people waiting for some new indie Zelda-like game ignoring games like Crusader of Centy / Soleil whose design / gameplay are better than in many modern indie games. It makes no sense to ignore it because it came out in 1994, it looks just as great now as it did then.

8.You have worked with both musicians and also solo, which one do you prefer?
Working with Norihito was more interesting because he makes all kinds of music aside from his noise project and you wouldn't guess what he'd send the next time or how he would mix your new material. However, Sebastian had perfect English, while communicating with Nori was pretty hard, the same can be said for many Japanese people I know. The languages are way too different and English seems to be really difficult for them. But once I saw a Japanese label whose owner spoke English fluently, it was really surprising. Don't remember the name, though.

9.On a worldwide level how has the reaction been to your recordings by fans of underground music?
When it comes to Sasha Darko’s material, it seems to be positive, but there aren't many reviews to tell about. The very first split tape with Noon on Neptune and Electric Typewriter (2010) was reviewed by Foxy Digitalis and I don't remember them liking my part, not like criticizing either, but still. It was 50s sci-fi ambient noise and can't say I like it myself, actually.
GENESIS is partially released worldwide now and I still don't know how to deal with the promotion, not many websites would review something like this and I'm not Aphex Twin. But in Russia I already see people creating beautiful things under the influence of my music and there are even love posts (made by couples) which use tracks from the album. I think it's extremely important when something you create inspires other people to create something, too. That makes me believe it still makes sense to continue.

10.Where do you see yourself heading into as a musician in the future?
There are no genre borders and no limits for me when it comes to music. It can be anything and it is anything now.

11.What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
Can't say there's an influence. I tried it. Say there's an influence of some track while I'm recording something, in the end it just turns out that I made something very different, it just doesn't work. And I don't want to copy something anyway, it's just boring. People do that for  easy hype, recognition and commercial interest. I'm much more interested in freedom in music, which people won't usually accept, though, usually expecting something stable and more of the same from the artists they follow.

Just like it’s always been, I listen to everything. I can play a gothic metal song, then it will be a Russian rap track afterwards, then it's Meshes of the Afternoon soundtrack with a disco punk song going after. The mood and random appearance of something here and there, things like that.

12.What are some of your non musical interests?
I have an extreme amount of interests, not even sure if I can just list them all here in just one line. But there is one that has unexpectedly caught my interest after I started to delve into it recently – it’s medicine. I understand almost everything without any guides and it’s getting more captivating. The active components and what they do, tests, side effects, how organs work being affected by something, etc. Not like being a hothead doctor wannabe, just getting knowledge.
But I was forced to start learning medicine on my own due to EXTREMELY DEVASTATING situation with it in Russia - even private doctors won't give any attention if it's something out of ordinary, no one gives a flying fuck about anything. There's also a system with a lot of paperwork for every doctor here (with a time limit), they mostly do just that during the visits. You either have a doctor friend with spare time to think about your case or you're fucked. I am most definitely fucked and that is the interest my life depends on.

13.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?
The thing is that I never have final words.

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