Interview: Esa Ruoho (Lackluster)

1. Hi, Esa! How did you came to music and then to electronica, as well? What artists particularly influenced you?

I basically grew up on computer sounds. My dad soldered together a computer from a d-i-y kit, and the first sounds I can actually remember are of a cassette tape loading up a program, maybe it was a game, that was piped into a speaker. We had a spherical speaker, and I believe those are the first kinds of sounds that I can remember - the sound of data being loaded into a computer from a tape.
I'm not actually aware if it was ever really popular to wire up a speaker into the tape machine, I never asked my dad why he did it, but apparantly he was interested in what it sounded like or maybe it just happened to be around and wanted to now if the soldered-together machine actually worked or if it was actually hearing the sound from the tape. Those were the first kinds of things I heard. Basically, having gone through fifteen to twenty different computers, from maybe 1980 onwards, I was really familiar with the bleepy-bloopy sounds that the games would make.

I would also listen to Finnish national radio, we had a few shows, there was one called «Avaruusromua» (fin. Space Debris) were people would play synthesizer-type music, found sound, ambient, drones, experimental music, maybe musique concrete and I would hear Kraftwerk and Tangerine Dream. While I was listening to computer music, music made with computers for games, or for demos for on the demoscene, I would also get into checking out some of the compositional programs for the C64 and the Atari 8-bit. Basically, I grew up on this very simplistic diet of Vangelis, Jean Michael Jarre, maybe Kitaro, Synthesizer Greatest CDs, and, just a tiny amount of contemporary popular music.

I would say that the artist that influenced me the most would probably be Aphex Twin. I bought his «On» CD in 1994, or 1995, and just had to get everything, like, before that I would have been listening to something like The Orb, Orbital, but once I heard Aphex, once I realized that all the good stuff that I had actually liked, that people had done on the demoscene was directly influenced by Aphex, I tried to collect everything I could by him. He is still a mayor influence. Not in the terms of speed, velocity and harshness necessarily, but just the kind of melodic taste, a flair for communicating an emotion. I obviously always liked his really agressive stuff but never got into that, making that kindof thing myself.

So, Aphex, maybe Global Communication, and Seefeel also. I remember, that I bough his EP called «Pure.Impure» because it had two Aphex mixes on it, but once I heard the Seefeel sound, it was really kind of inspiring and moody.

2. Tell us about your plans in project this year.

I am going to be rebuilding a DOS PC in order to run Impulse Tracker on it. After all, that's always been my favourite music compositional tool, because you can't really add many effects, you can't process stuff with it, so you're stuck with composing actual notes, running — using the sounds that you have, and I haven't had a DOS PC running for about, let's say, four or five years, and I'm really missing it.

Since then I have been mostly messing around with Renoise, Ableton Live and Logic, and they have movable windows and any kind of effect — you can add anything anywhere and do anything, but I find that it is not conductive to making music with. I like a static grid, three view-modes and no movable windows or frames. I'm really looking forward to that, having a great hopes that it will be really inspirational, and get me back on track that it'll win the endless battle against having a lot of tabs open on a browser and diverting yourself by social media.

I've been contacting some festivals, getting in touch with them and sending also some live gig recordings, we'll see if any of that pans out, I've already played a couple of gigs this year. Let us hope I have a gig every couple of months, or even every couple of weeks, that would be splendid. Maybe I will get to play in Russia eventually again.

So, the other thing is becoming more knowledgeable with a red box that I have - a tiny red box, patching up more patches with it, I am thinking of buying some new bits of gear, they will be electromagnetic field recording devices, and very low frequency field recording devices.

Photo by Antti Mutta
For this year, I am waiting for one remix to come out that I did for Russian musician Sapphirine Phlant last year. There's also this mix that a fan did of my really early things, something that I just mentioned in the previous answer, and we're gonna try and push it out because it's kind of like historical Lackluster material, some people might really like it, some might just think it's quaint. I am supposed to be composing a demo for a specific label, we will see what happens, and I am obviously practicing for future gigs, and let us see if there is any time and space to actually do art installations.

3. Which labels you consider the most relevant and interesting at this moment?

I don't really know. I don't know how to answer that question, because if you would have asked me about, a decade or a decade and a half or two decades ago, it would have been really simple to answer. My answer would have been Warp, Rephlex, maybe Sähkö, but I have no answer to that question. It's mostly passes like this: I follow specific smaller labels, not even specific smaller labels but specific artists, and I like their stuff, and I try to be comprehensive in collecting what they produce. I think, let’s say something like Stones Throw is interesting to me, I checked out that documentary called «Our Vinyl Weighs a Ton» and I liked it, liked their attitude, and it's sweet that they're still producing vinyl. Obviously vinyl is a bit more popular than it was maybe a while ago, but from a viewpoint or from a kind of concept point of view, I think Stones Throw is pretty neat and I still like bits of Warp, but I'm also just checking out if there's any Autechre, Aphex, Flying Lotus, like the old, old people. I have no idea what the new stuff is like, the new artists, the new signings - I don't really. I haven't checked that out.

I don't really listen to any of the Brainfeeder stuff but I was surprised to see that they released that Kamasi Washington record, like a double-LP of full-on jazz recordings. It was some of those were like ten-fifteen minute long, and a friend tuned me onto that, and I thought like if Brainfeeder is releasing stuff like Thundercat — produced by Flying Lotus, and Kamasi Washington, then I'm gonna rate, and I checked out a Thundercat gig in Helsinki and it was plenty enjoyable.

4. Do you have a favorite track that you're willing to listen too many times?
This question is a bit vague. I wouldn't really know if I'm supposed to talk about my own stuff... because, when I'm making it, I tend to listen to it tens and hundreds of times, even more if I'm actually making minute small detail changes to it or maybe changing the mixing or something like that. One thing that has really stuck, has really stood the passage of time is Aphex Twin's Selected Ambient Works Volume 2. It is as refreshing now as it was before, it is as nightmarish and bright and dark now as it was back then, and I have that tiny short interlude track of Richard's called «Untitled 17». Actually, my girlfriend and I both have it as our alarm tone, so we always wake up to this track from Aphex. It is a lullaby one and pleasant and its way better at waking you up in the morning rather than anything else.

I like listening to something like that, but the thing is that I listen to such a small amount of new music that when I come across a track I like, and I mostly recognize it in about ten-fifteen seconds of hearing the track, I will actually listen to it endlessly until I wear it out.
I'll actually hear a song I really like and then I'll keep on repeating it endlessly until I know it inside and out, and then I'm kinda sick of it, but it will still like come up on a playlist every once in a while. The thing is that especially with the new favorite tracks I might come across a new song that I am interested in via Apple's Beats 1, which is interesting, I did not expect it to work like that. Therefore, one track I have been playing that made a great deal recently was Jamie Lidell's Pink Light - I think it's still on Soundcloud.

Actually if you're interested in the kinds of things I've been playing a lot recently, you should check out my Sunday Morning podcast for DJ Danny Daze. It's fairly eclectic, hardly anything out of it is truly electronic, there's a bunch of Flying Lotus, Jose James in there, some Tom Misch, and other kinds of things. My friend who is a purist and only listens to ambient and electronic music said: «Yeah, it's a nice mix, but there's so much R&B and Soul in there» (laughs). And I'm thinking like: Well, there's music with vocals in there but it's not, you know, it wasn't supposed to be Autechre's greatest hits or something like that, it was just supposed to be something that you listen to on a Sunday morning, when you wind down after a gig, or just want to relax.

I'm more into actually like, albums and some albums really stand the test of time. The thing is that my listening tastes have changed a bit, so if you would have asked me this in or around 1996 or 1997, I would have said Aphex's «I Care Because You Do», I would've said Squarepusher «Hard Normal Daddy», maybe «LP5» from Autechre, Two Lone Swordsmen, endlessly on repeat, and the Boards of Canada album on Warp. Nowadays it's more like, I will come across some of it, and then I will listen to it for a while, but not really that into it. Like, I really loved Arovane's «Tides», but I completely wore it out, and then kind of re-discovered it as being not that deep, not as deep as «Atol Scrap» is for instance.

The main issue is that I do not actually listen to music that much anymore that is why I kind of tune on to Beats 1 to hear some new stuff and it is interesting.

5. What are your hobbies besides of music?

I am still reading books, various kinds of books; I am currently reading this book by Ed Catmull, called Creativity Inc. It's about the life-story of Pixar Animation Studios (as I'm a big fan of Pixar movies) and the other book right next to it is Richard Feynman's Surely you're joking, Mr. Feynman and I'm really looking forward to starting that as I seem to be a big fan of his stories.

In addition to that, for the past twelve years I have been interested in Free Energy... Free Energy and the all the various inventors relating to that. I was kind of archivist – have digitised old books, old documentaries, old articles and making them available online. If you actually google my name you will come across various articles that I have rescued from oblivion, and some pictures. I have visited the Nikola Tesla Museum, the Viktor Schauberger museum, an Earthship, couple of Free Energy conventions and I am looking forward to visiting other ones. I have developed a kind of a fanaticism of Nikola Tesla and the other inventors and discoverers like Walter Russell, John Bedini, Stanley Meyer, John Keely, Ed Leedskalnin and Karl Schappeller. I am yet to build anything and the interest kind of ebbs and flows. Sometimes it is right there and I will spend a few days looking into various things and maybe writing a little review or report or something or go a bit deeper, or maybe even write a small article and sometimes I am somewhat just wearing a t-shirt and forgetting about the whole thing.

For instance I have a bunch of shirts for Energy From The Vacuum DVD Science Series, from the Irish Steorn Orbo, and the Wilhelm Reich Museum in Rangeley (USA, Maine) – visiting it is still on my bucket list. Obviously, once we get to the Coral Castle in Miami, I am really looking forward to visiting that place and seeing what it is like even though apparently there's hardly anything left out of it.

I was big into what Richard Buckminster Fuller was writing, but turned off when tried to check out any documentaries on the life and times of him or any of his talks. I have Tinnitus and Hyperacusis, so it grates on my nerves to hear someone yammering on and on for hours and hour without there being a transcript of it. Especially since I do not currently have any software to process the audio before hearing it, I used to have that kind of thing on a Windows PC but don't really know how to do that on OSX. I mean, obviously, when it comes to Free Energy, Sustainable Energy, Sustainable Living, Alternative Energy, that kind of thing, I would be interested in what Tesla Motors are doing. We've gone and checked out the Tesla Model S a couple of times, taken it for a test-drive, I'm looking forward to checking out the Tesla Model X, I don't know if these are really interesting hobbies, but there you go.

I'm Apple fan, I'd say. I am into checking out their patents and checking out what might be coming, and maybe even writing a small blog-post of what I think is coming, I like to see how they develop things, what happens, and what kind of an influence they have. All my stuff are on Apple Music, including Spotify, Tidal, but that is kind of beside the point.
I am kind of interested in social media marketing a bit, but that's kind of on the back-burner, especially for Lackluster, so I'm not promoting it that much. Yeah, as hobbies would be something like alternative medicine, meditation, esotericism, but also movies, animations, got a bit queue on my Netflix.

I would currently say that one of my hobbies is making music. I used to make music daily, so we will see what happens in this spring.

6. Which musical software you support?

For live gigging, I mostly use Ableton Live, sometimes mixing it up with Renoise in ReWire mode, but I mostly compose with Renoise, Ableton Live, Logic Pro X and sometimes Audiomulch, and other applications. The majority of the tracks that I have done recently and released are all with Renoise.

I would not say that I actually support them or that I am sponsored by Renoise, but I do like it, and mess around with it quite a bit. It is refreshing but I am hoping that in the future I will be going back to Impulse Tracker, as I said and Ableton Live. I have been playing live gigs for the past 13 years, so I think I am going to stick to using that for live gig performances. It does what I need it to do, if that I need to prepare in addition to it, I can always just tag it in, place it in or plug it in easily, so is like the perfect solution for me at least.

Lackluster Live at Altparty (2007)

7. As we know, you are quite often on tour to the different corners of globe. Which one of the performances is the most memorable for you personally? And what country would you like to visit especially?

I hate to sound like a broken record; I really liked my debut gig in Dublin, Ireland in 2003. I was a second headliner there; the others were Felix Kubin, Colleen, Wevie Stonder. And it was just so unique playing at a festival that's near an Irish castle. It was my first trip to Ireland itself, and the crowd felt like it was really up for it. The next few gigs in Dublin were inspiring, I felt like I really liked the atmosphere, the people, they just seemed to be ready to feel the music and respond to it and some of them danced and it was just inspiring and somewhat exciting too, so I really liked that.

Obviously I like it when, even though I am staring at the screen, I can still feel that the audience is paying attention. Sometimes when I'm staring at the screen, and improvising the gig, and guiding the gig, I get so busy that I don't actually see or look at the audience, so I don't know if they're liking it or if they're not, if most of them are moving or something. If it were like a dance-floor situation then it would be easier, easier to realize that there is something happening, something I can see out of the corner of my eye.

When it comes to which country I would like to visit, that is a difficult question. Let us say I would like to play in Scotland or Australia, Japan, USA, Canada, Switzerland, a few gigs in Russia, maybe Czech Republic, Denmark and Sweden again. But if you get there and there's no-one there, and no-one even heard about the gig, and no-one's coming and people are just like standing around, scratching their chins, paying a lot of attention, kind of analyzing the gig, then it doesn't matter how, in what kind of a place you're playing at , in which country you're at. It is the same kind of cold harsh analysis of «What is he doing? Is it interesting to me on a rational logical level? Is this complex enough, what is he actually doing? What about the controllers? Are they good enough controllers? I impressed by this on a technical level? » - if there is people like that there, it does not really matter where I'm playing, because it's the same kind of vibe, there's just people in there to judge.

Lackluster Live at Artmospheric Festival (Bulgaria) (2009)

It really depends on the ambience and the kind of a place I am playing at. Like what is it for, a four-to-the-floor danceable set of techno, or is it a listening set, like is it a little bit of anything, is it like a cafe, are people talking all over the music, or are they actually there to listen to it.

Obviously, I would like to play in every single country in the world. I have only played in Russia twice, so I have never been to Denmark. We will see. There is always someone promising a gig in Poland or maybe Czech Republic.

8. When Lackluster will visit Russia?

It is not a case of Lackluster not wanting to visit Russia, I am interested in playing in any kind of Russian city, as long as it's safe, I can get there and back, as long as I don't have to pay for the travel costs food, lodging, as long as there's some kind of a fee that makes it worthwhile. I'm guessing it'd be possible to have some sort of a gig, like a tour, playing around, maybe in Moscow, maybe in St. Petersburg, maybe in other places. It's not up to me. Not being from there, from Russia, I cannot just start emailing gig-owners, venue-owners, or festival-organizers out of the blue. It’s gonna have to be someone local who gets in touch with people and organizes it. I don't care if you take a percentage out of it, if you want me to play in Russia, just organize it, make it kind of attractive to me, you know so I don't wind up in debt because of trying to travel to Russia and come back.

I can bring records, I can bring CDs and vinyl, I can make up for sale, if you're willing to help me do that. I've only been in Russia twice, once in 2003 in St. Petersburg, it was Club Finchiki, (Brothomstates and Crankshaft were playing there too) and in 2014 I played at the Fulldozer Festival and that was really nice, and I liked visiting St. Petersburg again.
I mean, I'd love to see what Moscow is like, and, just get in touch if you feel you want me to play a gig in Russia, let's get it going.

9. Now, many people consider that IDM has long outlived it's usefulness. What is your point of view on this?

If we are talking about the so-called IDM from the mid 90s until the beginning of the 2000s, you could easily that that kind of an era of a sound is slightly gone. What's interesting is that a lot of people have, people who were making that kind of thing back then, some of them have moved on and they're doing different kinds of genres now.
Like, I think the best two examples are Phaeleh and Machine Drum. From my point of view, the first record that I heard from Phaeleh, the original record that I heard, he was releasing with a different name, I think it's in my EggBox 01 podcast mix.
He was doing a kind of 97-ish Plaid-type stuff, like something that would've not been that foreign from being on say Plaid's album «Not For Threes» or «Rest Proof Clockwork». It was a very traditional British Plaid-type sound, if we have to call it something so that you would be able to recognize it, even if you don't know what the name of it is. I think, he was releasing as Preston, and maybe the name of the track was Time.

Anyway, I was listening to that, and the interesting thing was, now obviously, I came across Phaeleh a bit later, like I came across his collaborations with Soundmouse, when he was doing this kind of Lovestep/Chillstep/Dubstep kind-of thing, but really deep Dubstep - not Brostep. So I got into the Phaeleh sound, and then it occurred - then I was somehow informed that he had done a previous album, and the thing was that It had the same sonic aesthetics, the Phaeleh thing and the Preston thing. Even some of the same sounds, but Preston was definitely IDM, it wore the badge on it's sleeve, so to speak. It was very IDM-ish, it was of that era, but Phaeleh was - it still had - that kind of aesthetic, but the beats had changed and it was more for the dancefloor, it was more - a newer sound, so to speak. To me, that's someone who was making IDM in the mid-90s to the 2000s, inspired by Warp and IDM and other IDM artists, moving on to what they like now. Now he's doing Lovestep, this kind of Dubstep/Chillstep thing, and it makes sense.

Like, you grow all the time, you can't just be making the same thing over and over again. Let's say for instance was Machine Drum – he was releasing on Merck, doing this kind of, glitched-up hip hop with some IDM influences, and then he kept on moving forward. I bought that album of his called «Room(s)», published on Planet Mu, and he had taken his sense of melody, of harmonies and that kind of thing with the grooves and everything and updated the beats, and moved into kind of Lovestep/Dubstep/Chillstep/Halfstep area...

So, I feel like when you call an artist an IDM artist, you might be labeling or boxing them up a little bit. You might think that they're always going to sound like 90s or 2000-area Warp Records – kind of glitched up beats and melodies with a ton of reverb on it but people actually change, something you should really appreciate and accept especially if you claim to be a fan of them (chuckles). And, I feel like there's a lot of music out there, even popular music, that has some elements of IDM, some influences from that. Not necessarily like: «okay, this pop-song sounds like Aphex». It could be also related to software, synthesizers and gear. that you know there was this time when people started doing specific kinds of interface features like drum machines where it would be easier to repeat a drum pattern, drum sound and do these kinds of really quick trills and those kinds of things. The same thing have passed with the mobile phone games and the 8-bit games – is kind of fed and filtered into the current state of things.

So, if I listen to something like Beats 1, if it's like the newest popular stuff, some of it has it's roots from people probably listening to something like IDM, something like electronic music, experimental, Warp Records stuff, but it might not at all have anything to do with that.
So I feel like, I wouldn't say that I'm making IDM music, I don't think I'm doing that, because that's such a restrictive label, I don't feel like I ever really made IDM. I made something and I liked.
So, I feel like the label IDM doesn't really mean anything and if you're kind of sitting around going like «Well, I'm an IDM musician», and it's 2016, either you're really pushing it forward which I find hard to believe. You don't have to push it anymore, you don't have to try and go to the outer limits of music. Now, obviously you can do that if you like, if you're Autechre or Richard Devine, but if you feel like you wonna do something that's more like something that you want to listen to, then go for it. I hope I never got trapped into thinking that I'm making IDM. I hope I always got trapped into thinking that I'm making melodic music that I like.

I don't know about outliving it's usefulness, but it doesn't mean what it used to mean back then. If it's used to describe your music, then you should take a long hard look as to what you're doing and whether it's really actually what you want to be doing, or if it's just something that you're doing out of habit.
I know there's a lot of people who hate that term, I don't mind. If you call me IDM, I don't care, it doesn't matter to me. Just listen to the music. If you recognize some influences out of electronic music, experimental or IDM or 90s-era Warp Records or whatever, sure, okay, let's go with that.

10. Esa, what is your advice for the novice electronic musician who decides to associate himself with the experimental sound?

The most important thing is to just keep on making a lot of music, a lot of tracks, a lot of sounds, never stuck into sounding like someone else, just develop your own tastes, develop your own sound, just do what you like. Just do as diverse things at the start as you like, or just always keep on doing and testing and checking out some new things. If you hear something that sounds interesting, try and do something like that or, influenced by that. Just make music.

If you were to make something like hundreds of tracks, or even loops, like thousands of loops per year for a couple of years, or even a couple of months, finish some of them, finish all of them, finish none of them – just start as often as you can, get stuck in the middle as rarely you can.

Don't spend three weeks fixing a track that doesn't feel like it's going anywhere. Don't waste time, just make new stuff all the time. The faster you start with new stuff, when you build it up a bit further, the quicker you'll be able to start producing.
When you're basically in learning mode, don't care about what you don't know, just do what it feels like, what feels good, and embrace all the possible happy accidents that could ever happen.

From my point of view, never get rid of any samples, loops, beats, melodies that you've created. They might speak to you in a different language later on, like maybe a decade from now, or five years from now. You'll discover that that specific thing that you sampled, that didn't seem to make any sense, actually sounds amazing on top of something that you've created just now.
Just, keep making stuff, don't really compare to other people, especially if you have any friends who are making music too. It's your own race of bettering yourself, just keep making tunes.

Don't ever get hung up on other people's comments, or any kind of commentary, don't make a 20 second loop and give it out to 50 people and ask them for their opinion. During that time that you're waiting for them to say like «It's nice», «It's OK», or another one sentence response, you could've made 50 such loops.
Whatever thing you're doing right now, or the next thing or the tenth or the thousandth track after it is going to be better (hopefully). Get into a process and into a routine of making at least a couple of things every day, or as many as you can, because now it's possible just to make anything with anything. You have access to all the software all over the place, just have a lot of fun, be productive and never get hung up on what anyone else is doing.

11. Does exist some certain thing that inspire you to write music?
Basically, for me the most inspirational thing is trying out some new sounds, trying out a new method, but I think the overall, the carrying thing, the red thread that I've always had, is when you hear something, you have something playing, and then that dictates the direction you're going into, pulls you into a specific place. Let's say, kind of like, I'm sending a ping to the software or the synthesizer, the synthesizer pings back or the software responds back and I get influenced by that. And then it's like a continuous feedback of communication between me and what I'm crafting, and at the same time that thing that I'm crafting is crafting me, so basically you're rewiring your brain to do something, to reach a different kind of a state, a certain kind of mood or emotional state. Like you get inspired by sound, you get inspired by maybe hearing a song that sounds just about right, but you'd have done it differently. Maybe is just a place, or maybe just a sound outside that you happen to record and then you use it. Very simplistic things. I get influenced by sound, that's about it.

12. Tell us about the experimental music scene in Finland. What genres are particularly developed?

This again is a bit of a difficult thing to answer, because I don't really go to gigs, don't really hang around with musicians. There's quite a bit of ambient drone music out there. Ambient, obviously IDM. There's a lot of musicians who used to live in Finland and moved to other countries and live there. I'm going to say that Sähkö record label is still alive and feeling good, and there's quite a bit of deep house going on. Drum'n'bass obviously for Hospital Records, someone like Muffler, there's Fanu. There's obviously Bad Loop, Planet Boelex, Recue and all those kinds of guys. There's quite a bit of musical scenes out there. There's Skwee, obviously Tes La Rok, Desto and Teeth and other kinds of guys going the halfstep, dubstep, deepstep route. Every single country has it's own kind of thing going on and most genres are kept, are done and kept alive by various producers. There's quite a bit of techno and four-to-the-floor kind of an experimental sound, and a lot of people building modular synths and doing whatever like with it.

Obviously, Eero Johannes used to release on Planet Mu, and there's been an onslaught of new labels like Etherwerks and others by various people. Actually, one interesting thing you could go and do, is check out this documentary called «Machine Soul» (fin. Konisielu). It was recently released and it's a kind of one director's taste and viewpoint of the Finnish electronic music – the rave, techno-scene, current producers, previous producers. Jimi Tenor, everyone being interviewed, people from Pan Sonic being interviewed too – as far as I can remember - there were so many people there, producers being interviewed, club-owners, and gig-organizers being interviewed. Check that out, that'll give you a better view.

13. Esa, which one of the members of Finnish experimental scene you strongly recommend to listen?

I believe the answer is very simple. For me personally, the best and the brightest was always Brothomstates. Hunt down everything he ever did, get over whatever you think about what he sounds like. I know, his albums were used by Warp-centric reviewers as re-hashed Plaid/Autechre/BOC/Aphex, but if you actually give him some time, give him some space in your mind and check out his melodies and harmonies and stuff, you'll discover that he was one of the best things released on Warp Records in 2001 and elsewhere too.

Some of his melodies and harmonies might be mixed a bit low, but he was, in my opinion, always the best producer in Finland.
And, if you're into the classic traditional electronic IDM music influenced by Brothomstates and all the other people who came during his reign and after amd were influenced by the same things - check out Blamstrain.

14. Esa, how well do you familiar with the Russian electronica and whether there are those who particularly impressed you?

I'm actually not that familiar. I remember that in the 2000s, I was on the same Merck Records compilation as EU and Fizzarum, and I seem to remember those guys. I don't think I ever spoke to any of them, but they seemed to be doing a kind of quality stuff. And, apart from that obviously I've collaborated with Sapphirine Phlant and Sleepy Town Manufacture, and I was in touch with Novel 23, and there's that Sapphirine Phlant remix that I'm still waiting to come out on a label, let's hope it comes out this year..

I was asked to do remixes for Novel 23, but I could never really get around to it, because they sent me 2 CDs worth of music, which was something like twenty to forty tracks, and they told me to pick one to remix. That's not how I work so I was unable to do that. I don't think I've actually been to a Russian IDM gig yet, but surely, I'd be interested in hearing some stuff, whenever I'm playing in Russia, seeing what people are doing. But, to me, it doesn't really matter where the person is from as long as the music is good. So I can't really say «Hello, listen to this, this is what I like».

15. With whom would you like to perform together?

Well, for me performing together would mean that we'd be collaborating and playing live together. I've never actually played live together with anyone so it would require some preparation, some contact way before actually holding a gig.

I don't know. The closest I've come to working with anyone is that someone sent me some samples or loops, someone else lent me a synthesizer. I'm kind of a lone wolf when it comes to this kind of thing. I'll let you know when that changes, when I'm actually collaborating with someone or working with someone, but never say never. I have no-one that I especially would like to work with, Russian or otherwise, but hat could change. That it's not a door that I've opened thus far, maybe I'll open it this year, it could be interesting. We'll see.

16. Esa, tell us about your guest material (live improvisation), specially prepared for our podcast Data.Wave.

This is a live improvised set. I think what I'm going to do is pick a bunch of tracks, a few very specific tracks from older Lackluster material, and re-do them or kind of re-treat them in the way that I do at my gigs. I'm thinking that maybe I'll pick such tracks as Starcell UK and So Short, but I'll also see what other things.

I recently got a report from Rumblefish, which is one of those monitoring services, that pay royalties for YouTube plays, so I will check out the Rumblefish report and see which tracks were played the most, I already know that Starcell UK and So Short were used the most in YouTube videos so I'm gonna try and do those.

So, basically, I will approach the live recording from using the same methods and styles as what I do when I play live, so it's it will be a stems of tracks, parts of tracks, parts of parts, maybe parts of drums, I'm going to spend maybe about an hour or two, preparing each track and then get going. Let’s see if I can tease out something fresh, something new out of them, or show them in a different light, different pitch.

17. What would you like to wish to our listeners?

I'd like to wish good health, good moods, less depression unless if you know what to do with the depression, if you're able to use it as fuel for creativity or productivity, and it doesn't get you down, then sure, go ahead, be depressed. More hopefulness, space, calm, and patience. All good things, basically.


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Questions: Ilya Kudrin/Krib
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