"Ariu Kara" is translated as "black sun", stunning darkness or beautiful blackness. It reflects my music to some extent: there is a lot of darkness there. This darkness is beautiful. Our unconscious fears and dreams resurrect in the darkness. When you can't see anything, you start experiencing your own world. I like these two words not as a name of the project but as my name and surname. You can say that these words are my preferred name.
- When did you decide to write your own music and why?
I was always fascinated by the sound, ever since I can remember myself. I remember, that when I was I child, I used to stand near to the funicular station, listening to the screeching of spools, humming of the motor and hissing of pulling wires. I used to love the sound of coming train, clicking of rails, left by a tram. I always wanted to absorb these sounds and take them away with me. I imagined that everything had its own sound houses, mountains, sun rays, a pile of bricks, factories. Of course a factory at sunrise would sound very differently from the same factory at dawn or on a rainy day. This was obvious for me… Imagining an unreal world I used to imagine a sound picture for it as well. I never had a feeling that I am making music. Music in my understanding then was classical music (I used to study in a music school at those times).
In 2000 I had the deepest depression in my life. I am a person which easily gets depressed. It was a difficult period; two very close people have passed away. They both were kind and optimistic. It looked like the death came for me, but it couldn't find me, so it took them instead. It was the wrong timing for them.
It was kind selfish of me, I couldn't see people for a few months. I was disgusted by them, I was sure they want my death. I didn't talk to anybody, sat in a locked room, with no lights. I made then terrifying visions of the world devastated by war, with rusted, living machines instead of people. I wanted to picture it somehow but I didn't have any tools to do it. Then I remembered the sounds. Some of them I already recorded on dictaphone. I thought that I could put them together and add missing sounds using programs… This is how I entered this maze, where I am wandering up till now, looking for the best sounds for my visions.
- Which music influenced you most? Tell us about your favourite musicians from Russia and Europe?
As a teenager I used to love Pink Floyd and Depeche Mode, surely it was a good training before my submersion. I was fascinated with the works of Schnitke and Stravinsky, this was my first step into the abyss. It may sound strange, but my first darkness teacher was Robert Miles. This musician was tagged by many people as a pop musician and abandoned, without thinking, whether he made anything else apart from "Children" or not. His other three albums are full of experiments, which still make me excited. I'd like to mention his album called "Organik". This is the most depressing, dark and minimalist album of all I ever heard!
Then I found out about FSOL and Aphex Twin. I got to know about them later, when I started writing my own music. I think they are still influencing me.
Now I am listening to all kinds of music, from jazz and classics to noise. My favourite musicians are Zoviet France, Muslimgauze, Bad Sector, Somatic Responses, M2. Favourite Russians are Mewark, Starukha Mha, Species of Fishes. I like some tracks of Volga, often listen to In A Nutshell.
- We know that apart from being a musician you are also a photographer, you make videos of industrial sites, abandoned houses. What is the meaning of this sort of trips for you?
The meaning depends on where I am going. You can say that I am wandering looking for an object that I want to deliver to you through my photos and videos. All my visual art can be separated into different shapes: concept and aura. Most of industrial objects do not have any mood. They are neutral (if you aren't bothered by eco thoughts indicted into you by media) and they have interesting forms, details, blends of colours. Often I only picture forms. Forms separated from objects become completed works, close to abstract painting. Sometimes I shoot videos of industrial content. For those videos I prepare. This is a concept.
Most of all I like to picture aura. Demolished and empty houses, rusty pipes of shut down plants, sometimes lose mechanical parts and unfinished objects shaft unbelievable negative energy and sadness. Sure, they have their own memory, people just don't realise it. I can feel this memory. It is a strange feeling somewhere between sadness, fear and satisfaction. I like to feel it inside of me. I think this is the reason why trips around abandoned sites inspire me for music writing. I prepare meticulously for aura shooting. It takes me a while to choose the right angles and lighting. If you mess up all you are left with is form, without mood. Those who are going to look at the picture will not feel anything.
- Which books do you read? Which films do you watch? What kind of art is interesting to you?
I like to read modern classics. I don't read often, it is difficult for me to concentrate on text. I rarely go to movies. Cannot stand what they are showing these days. I watch films at home, mostly independent and art-house films. Among those I love Tarkovsky films (he was an admirer of aura places). I also love cartoons of Norshtein, some works of Jibly studio. But I don't like anime, it is too naive and geeky. Many times I watched a collection of short films called "10 minutes older". Sometimes I watch documentaries.
I am interested in painting, graphics, photo and classical music. Sometimes I go to exhibitions, concerts.
- Tell us what kind of concept, ideas and mood you put into your debut album "Medlenny scanner Stalkera"? What is the album about?
The album is about destruction. About its different kinds: destruction of the past by the present, destruction of the present by the future, destruction of the world by human and destruction of human of themselves by different methods. Also the album is about terrifying future, about the cold world in ruins with no human. The world that is going to come, considering our proclivity to destruction.
I have put my own appetite for destruction into this album. If I haven't done so, I would have killed myself or blew up something. Some people want to destroy more than others do…
- Tell us, what do you use when you work with sound. Do you record sound samples during your industrial trips?
Most of an album is recorded using sequencer program eJay and editor Wavelab. It may sound strange, but I wanted to do music instead of getting deep into programs. At a time, programs that I knew by heart, without thinking how am I going to do music, were ideal for me. I knew the result before starting recording. The only problem was with the sound. On eJay you can record only 16 mono tracks, so I had to write left and right channels separately. When this wasn't enough, I transferred everything to wav, separated the left and the right channels, put all back to eJay and continued the work. Of course, it influenced the sound, but I didn't think that somebody is going to realise that. I am not using eJay now. I am making music in Cubase, using VST. I program sound in Vaz modular, sometimes with CrusherX.
My dictaphone is always with me in all my trips, not only industrial ones. I record all interesting sounds. They often become an interesting part of my music. Usually I use a tape dictaphone. The background of a tape gives the feeling of volume of an object. Pure sound is killing the aura. I almost never use pure sounds in my tracks. They are not enough for me. Often I transform them, so that sometimes you cannot recognise the initial sounds.
- Can you name your favourite tracks on the album, the ones that have a special meaning for you?
For example the first track of the album called EON. I wrote it at the peak of my depression. This is my pain and fear of death. It reflects the feelings of person thinking in a dark room. His memories of the past are being broken by the anger of no-return and thoughts of a suicide.
He wants to destroy this damn world by a global war.
Another track is "Byt'?" (To be). I wrote it after a trip to Caucasus when I saw instead of the apple tree garden, where I used to play as a child, a vacant lot with machines hammering down piles to build another block of flats.
Track "stancii…" (Stations) has sounds recorded on a broken piano in an abandoned house. I think the track delivers well the aura of the house.
All the tracks are dear to me, every single one has a story behind, a real one or imagined.
- Tell us, some time later after your release, can you notice strong/weak sides of your work? What do you like and do not like? Are you satisfied with your work?
I can definitely say I am happy. There are a couple of issues, we all make mistakes. The weak sides will be very vague sound on some tracks. Back then I didn't have the best audio card. I wasn't bothered with the sound quality, the content was more important. Sometimes you can hear clicks - I couldn't get rid of this dictaphone tape sound… In general, I think that the work was as good as I wanted it to be.
- The first sounds of the first track EON take the listener to another dimension or to a remote abandoned territory. Listening further you keep on falling into catacombs of another reality, which is somewhere near. Did you think about connections between your music and other realities?
I am happy if you can feel that. This is what I wanted, to draw a set of sound images, which could be read. I think that it is the inner world of human that is another reality. Many people make whole world inside themselves. Some people leave them inside; some people can translate them into a language, language of sounds, for example.
Sometimes I feel that having transferred into the sound, these worlds do not obey me any more and are living their own life. A couple of strange events made me believe in an alternative reality.
- We know that during releasing of your album a series of strange events have happened. The album has direct or indirect connection with them. Tell us what happened.
Yes, some mystical atmosphere was always around. During the period of making the album my computer burned 4 times. A lot of tracks were lost. When we decided to release the album, we couldn't find a printer shop to print the art work. All shops doing this sort of work unexpectedly got closed. When we found the print shop, the printing template got lost. I couldn't find it in my computer either, where it always was. I made a new template, we started printing finally. During printing the printing machine broke on the 12th cd. A part of printed cds was lost. We spent 2 months only on printing. There were problems with cd recording as well. The director of the cd factory, who was supposed to make the cds has suddenly died. We have found a new factory and almost started making the cds … and the second director has died. The cd master copy got lost. I had a copy in my computer, so I recorded it again. After about one and a half years we finally did the printing. This wasn't the end. I was planning to have 11 tracks on the cd. The actual cd had 12 tracks! The last track was the track that I thought was lost after I damaged the hard drive on my computer! I don't know how it got there. I was looking for it later, but I couldn't find it on my computer! Maybe it decided itself to be on this album.
When I was playing the music from this album on a concert my laptop broke down. It is lucky, Leo was near. He had a copy of my music on his laptop.
These are the things I could remember just now. Don't know why these have happened? I hope that this sort of things will not happen to my future works.
- You can hear in your works ethnic music influence. Not really music, but its odds and ends. Tell us where they are coming from.
I think they are coming from Caucasus. I am from an ancient Georgian family, of Kutaisi lords. I was always longing to ethnics. This is how I am keeping the connection with the land of my ancestors. I visit places of my childhood every year, look at the changes. Old houses get demolished. Instead of them blocks of flats are being built, huge and faceless. It hurts me.
There are ethnic sounds on some tracks. You can hear them as fragments, echoes. This is how I wanted to show you how the past is squeezing itself through the holes between panels of blocks of flats and creeps along streets to die in the buzzing of cars and screeching of brakes.
- What do you think is happening with the world right now? Are you interested in it? Are you a participant or just an observer?
I am a former historian. I can tell that the world didn't change a bit compared to hundreds years ago. Everything is the same: people are fighting for power, money, start liberation wars, taking other peoples' land, punish infidels move from one place to another, irritating local people. People do not change, only tools, interior and weapons change. This will be happening always, nobody can change it. Maybe somebody will blow up the planet?!..
I am an observer, most of the time and not interested in what is happening.
- Are you interested in what is the world turning into? What do you think about politics, globalisation, anti-globalisation movement?
The world is overpopulated, therefore the war is coming. I read about scientists who did an experiment. They put rats in a cage full of rats. The new rats were forced out of the cage or torn apart. If the cage wasn't full of rats, new rats were welcome. The same experiment with monkeys had similar results. If you want to see this experiment with people, just switch on the TV… This is a defence mechanism against overpopulation - aggression and then war to get rid of overpopulation and get richer. Politicians are leaders full of secrets, thinking they can control everything. It is easier to live thinking this way.
Globalisation, anti-globalisation, these are all natural processes. A stronger society is always enforces its values into a weaker one. A weaker is trying to resist, but as a result it becomes the same as the stronger one. Traditions are kept only in local villages. Then the strong society gets rid of itself, and splits into several new ones. Each of which develop their own traditions and customs. Nobody ever thought why most Russians have Mongol type of teeth and why Russian language has plenty of Mongol words. Why most European countries have languages based on Latin and old Roman architecture. Why we have Greek and Armenian version of a Palestinian orthodox religion. This is the globalisation of the past… Thanks to my education I can talk about it for ages, but I won't do that. I am not into it.
- What is means music for you? Is it just your interest or something more?
I think that recording music for me is the way to avoid my problems. I am only making music when I am depressed. I think this is the way to overcome it. It is the way to remember the images in my mind. I wasn't thinking that somebody will be listening to it, apart from myself. I am happy now, knowing that someone else may like it. I want to know whether other people get the same kind of feeling as I do listening to my tracks. It would be interested to know.
- What are your plans for the future?
I am planning to go to another photo trip. Hope to discover something worthwhile. I'd like to find a bunch of people to travel together, visit dark, abandoned places. I also want to make some films or make a video... Also, it is my dream to make a party in some ruinous place. That would be cool!
- How do you see the world, yourself and your music in the future? Would you change anything in your environment?
Never thought about it. No doubt, my music is going to progress only, together with my experience. Hope this sort of evolution will be a development, but not a degradation. Maybe in the future, I will finally understand who I am: a musician, film maker or a photographer and will grow in one these fields. Or maybe I will invent my own kind of art (if there is one is undiscovered yet). For example, creation of 3D holograms, altering with a sound. A kind of hyper interactive installation. In any case, I hope not to become famous. Nothing scares me like increased attention to myself; I take it as an intervention into my soul.
In my environment everything is fine. It is moderately active, moderately humane and most importantly there is enough space in it to create your own underworld. There is always a possibility for everyone to hide in his own hole… I wish there were less of thick people. Don't know what to do with them though!
- During Lagunamuch community party, in the memory of John Balance many people got attracted by your videos. Tell us if we are going to see some more of that? Will we see more of them or more of short versions or video sets?
This is what I am doing right now, video sets. I don't want to become a VJ using different effects and MTV kind of schizophrenic mosaic where frames change every second. My videos convey the atmosphere of places, my music conveys its sound. I want to make a few subtitled videos; later I am planning to make a music video for one of my tracks. I have a few scripts on my table. I don't think they are finished yet, not sure what to do with them.
- We know that you are working at the soundtrack to a film. Tell us about the film and what you are doing.
Yes, recently I was asked to write a soundtrack for a film. This is an arty film, I would say it is a symbolic thriller. I won't tell you what the film is about, in case the director does not want to disclose it. Talking about the soundtrack he asked me to write an "industrial hell". I am trying to do it, don't know what is going to happen. I think the music in this film should also deliver the meaning behind. There are no words in the film. I am afraid that the way I see this film will be different from the director's point of view.
- Did you ever want to make an exhibition of your photos?
Sometimes. I never seem to finish it. We need to find a space to do it. I am very picky about places and think that the photos and the aura of the exhibition place should be in agreement. It would be perfect to make such an exhibition in an abandoned storage or in an obsolete house. It is difficult to define the topic of the exhibition. What is it going to be abandoned houses, industrial sites or conceptual photography?
- What do you want to convey with your music to your listeners? What kind of message?
I want people to see aggressive world, where there is nothing positive. I don't want to impose any morals with my music. This is only description, no positive, no negative sides.
- Lagunamuch records