Interview: Taavi Laatsit (Galaktlan)

                                          «Back than I was thinking of a word to
                       describe the citizen of Galaxy. 
                       Estonian, Russian, Martian
                       – they are all Galaktlan»                           


1. Hi, Taavi! Tell about your project Galaktlan. In what consist its main idea? What is the meaning of its name? Does exist some difference with the Uni's music concept?

Hello! Galaktlan first started around 2000 as my side project to Uni and it is my main project now. Actually, it was first meant to be for only one perfomance at a special private party in an abandoned rocket base. But it was well received and I had a lot of ideas to go further, so the project continued. Musically, there are similarities of course, but initially Galaktlan was meant to be more experimental. And, Uni was a duo, whereas Galaktlan is my solo project. And as for the meaning of the name, back then I was thinking of a word to describe the citizen of the Galaxy. Estonian, Russian, Martian — they are all Galaktlan.

2. Us we now, in March you published new Uni's album together with Hendrik Luuk. It's just desire to publish already recorded material or we need to wait something new?

I had this 15 years old material on my hard drive and we thought, it's better to share it before it's gone for good. It has already miraculously survived two hard disk crashes and I was afraid it would not survive the next one. At the moment, there are no plans to record new material as Uni.

3. What's your attitude to russian electronic music? Do you know something about it?

There are quite a few artists from Russia whom I follow in Soundcloud. Ambidextrous is the first name that came to my mind. Sometimes I also listen to 16Bit.FM net radio. I also check some Russian netlabels occasionally.

4. Do you associate your music with specific genres or just want to be independent in this case?

I usually do not produce music with specific genre in mind, but it still ends up in what people call IDM, ambient or electronica.

5. Who is your authority and inspiration as a musician?

Estonian composer Sven Grünberg was my childhood favourite. He is a renowned film music composer and I remember recording movies from TV to tape just to listen to his music. Later, when I started with Galaktlan, I was a big fan of Arovane. And I am really glad he is now making music again.

6. Tell us about the current trends in ambient music. Are you impressed by the fresh releases? If is not a secret, name them.

I think ambient music lately has become more complex and layered. And also, as analog synths and modular systems have become prominent again so there’s also a lot of new stuff recorded with those. Personally, I think it's nice to listen to the same album again and discover something that you have previuosly missed. The latest releases I have bought are Purl & Sinius «Oceans of Sound», Bvdub «Safety in a Number» and I would also recommend another Estonian procject called Tehnoloogiline Päike, who recently released their third album «Technological Sun».

7. What place you would like to choose to live performances? (country and also place, for example: coast of Atlantic Ocean, bunker and etc.)

I have performed in various places around the world over the years, but I always liked private parties in special places. Currently, I would more prefer to work in my studio. But if all goes as planned, then this summer I will perform under the oldest tree in Estonia. I am sure performing under the oak tree born in 1326 will be something to remember.

8. What is your main message to the listener?

I remember my emotion when I was first introduced to experimental electronic music back in the beginning of 90s. Some music sounded so beautiful to me that I almost cried and thought «Where have I been? Why have not I heard it before? Why so few people seem to grasp the beauty of this?» I would like to offer the same sensation and emotion to my listeners as well.

9. Are you planning/aspire to publish new Galaktlan album? Have you started already?

I do have quite many unreleased tracks but I do not have the concept for a new Galaktlan album yet. But I am working with a collaboration with another Estonian artist called Kroma.

10. As it is known , the Estonian music scene is famous by its native talents since the time of being inside the USSR. How the things are going on right now? What genres of experimental electronic music are especially developed?

In the 90s, I probably knew personally all the electronic musicians in Estonia. Now, the scene is quite big and many are releasing under foreign labels as well. These are definitely good times for Estonian electronic music. It’s been said that the Estonian music festival Tallinn Music Week, which also hosts a lot of local artists, is one of the most important music events in Europe. There are developments in almost every genre.

11. With whom would you like to perform together ?

I would really love at least once to share the stage and backstage with the legends like Boards of Canada or Aphex Twin. Have a little chat, take a couple of beers with them. Back in the 90s, we sent a letter to Boards of Canada and asked them to join us in sauna in the wilderness of Estonia, but as expected, there was no answer (laughs).

12. What do you think about contemporary art? Do you have favorite artists related to this kind of activity?

My wife studied jewellery design and she occasionally also paints, though only for herself. But she is my favourite artist of course (laughs).

13. Do you think its necessary to use visuals (performance) at the events, or music must be perceived only with the help of human consciousness?

I think visuals are also important. Although music can speak for itself, visuals can help to open the new channels to go deeper.

14. Do you accept the free distribution of music?

Only if the artist has decided it to be free. I do not make music for money, but paying for the music you really like is an act of respect that every musician appreciates.

15. Do you have children? Are you trying to instill a taste in music to them?

I do have 2 children and they are still very small. But I already play my synths together with them and my wife is teaching them to paint. I think it's very important to introduce children to creative skills even if they will not become artists.

 16. Your music is the avant-garde/underground phenomenon or you think that this work may well be understood by the masses? What is your opinion on this?

I have noticed that there are a lot of people who find instrumental music difficult to understand. If they could only break this barrier, they would discover a whole new world of music. Galaktlan could also be part of that new world. 

17. Well-known Russian musician and actor, founder of the ensemble «Pop - Mekhanika» Sergey Kuryokhin one day said: «Art is something that affects and makes you think.» What is art for you?

It is true, no doubt. I have always thought that art and culture are something that are above politics and something that connects people. But sadly, the artists nowadays are in danger. Many of them seem to feel that they are not needed anymore and this is a very bad sign for the society.

18. Do you have some information about Hendrik Luuk? What he is doing at this moment?

He is raising his son and occasionally performs with his another project Popidiot. We are still good friends.

19. Tell us about your guest material prepared especially for our podcast.

All the tracks are studio live recordings performed for Data Wave podcast. The tracks sound different from the original versions and there’s a bunch of unreleased material as well.

20. What you would like to wish to the Data.Wave listeners? 

Please enjoy the show and support the artists you like.

Official Galaktlan website
Galaktlan on Bandcamp
Galaktlan on SoundCloud
Galaktlan on Facebook

Questions: Ilya Kudrin/Krib
Design: Konstantin Oathere