Exclusive Interview With Andrey Pushkarev and Anatoly Ivanov - Silence In Music & The Kvadrat Movie
- Published on Thursday, 06 November 2014 17:07
The Kvadrat documentary is an interesting insight into the realities and silent side to dj’ing. Watching the documentary, it becomes alarmingly apparent that to some degree, ironically, the extrovert environments in which DJ performances take place, can be perceived in a very different light. Have you ever considered the atmosphere from the perspective of the artist? A dark, loud, unfamiliar room, divided by a console and dance floor that separates him or her from the audience. What does the artist do before the event, and where are they going afterwards? Despite being surrounded by people - how long have they really spent alone? Monotonous aviation, travel, sleepless nights and uncomfortable surroundings is the reality that Andrey and Anatoly have so elegantly tried to demonstrate. Fittingly, the silent film shows a true representation of the long durations the artist spends alone providing a realisitc insight into the gold brushed perceptions of Djing that the public hold. Exotic travel, fantastic locations and constant opportunities aside - there is more silence in music than one would expect.
I was blessed with the opportunity to speak with Andrey Pushkarev and Kvadrat director, Anatoly Ivanov, about the messages of the film and the hidden realities of the music and Dj industry. This a weighty piece and I would strongly recommend watching the documentary to fully gage the sincerity of its purpose. Some inspiration, read on..
The Kvadrat film was very interesting to see the realities of DJing. What gave you the idea to make the footage?
DJ Andrey PUSHKAREV: Hello Meoko Crew, thanks for offering to take part in the interview! The idea came from my friend Anatoly IVANOV, who was starting out as a film director at the time, in the beginning of 2011.
Director Anatoly IVANOV: Yeah, I had just finished my first ever experiment in cinema. An unplanned, short, 30-minute film in Cantonese Chinese about tai chi. After seeing it, people started asking me whether I had an idea for a full-blown feature. I was also asking myself what it’s like to make a “serious” film, how would cinema work for me as an artistic medium, what does filmmaking really mean to me as an artist?
And as I’m a very “hands-on”/ a “just do it” guy, I decided to go ahead and shoot a feature and experience everything myself.
The theme for Kvadrat came naturally as electronic music is at my core. It radically changed my life in autumn 1995 when Radio Station 106,8 opened. I wouldn’t have become a professional photographer without it. My first shoots in 1997 were in Moscow night clubs, done without a flash, on a tripod. Crazy times and crazy colours.
So, techno DJing was a subject I could easily visualize and plan in 2011, without extensive research and location scouting. And sound-wise, I listen to techno music all the time, I have about 500 hours of it in my iTunes library, it resonates with my work as an artist. That’s how I met with Andrey, through music. I just wrote him an e-mail in 2008. I had a huge collection of his mixes, and we shared similar tastes in music.
We had interminable discussions about the DJ profession, its perception by others, the hype and the myth surrounding it, the lack of honest and realistic information about it… so I just expanded that and suggested we make a movie out of it and the music that inspired both of us.
Kvadrat is also a sort of a tribute to both my still photography beginnings and all the years of positive things that techno music has contributed to my life. A way for me to give back.
How was it being followed by a camera crew for such a long period of time? Did you come to realize the realities more the longer they were with you?
DJ Andrey PUSHKAREV: First of all, there was no crew, there was just one guy — Anatoly. Of course the hardest was the beginning, the first day of shooting. But then, gradually, I got used to it.
In the film, you and your friends seem very interested by the idea of Day Parties. Why is this such an interesting concept for you guys?
DJ Andrey PUSHKAREV: For me it’s very important to see the faces of the people in the audience, to feel the contact with them during my performance and for this reason it’s a lot nicer for me to play during the daylight. And no less important is the fact that our perception of the environment and the music is completely different during the day.
What would be the ideal location if you could choose anywhere in for a day party?
DJ Andrey PUSHKAREV: I think there are lots of different options, but one that comes first to my mind is somewhere in Switzerland, in the mountains, with a view to the nearest lake.
Is there anything that prevents these kinds of events from taking place in Russia - Is it common for the local councils to close down dance events?
DJ Andrey PUSHKAREV: I don’t have any experience as a club promoter so I can only presume that it’s not easy to organize events like that in Russia.
The film shows the impact of continuous flights and long journeys on the mind and body. What is the worst part about flying for you?
DJ Andrey PUSHKAREV: Honestly, I really love flying! But as years go by I feel that it’s getting more and more difficult for me to sit in one place for more than 2 hours. Then there’s the jet lag and the acclimatization, they add to the problem.
What is it about the club environment and dj culture that makes it less social than people think?
DJ Andrey PUSHKAREV: In reality a large percentage of the club industry is quite social, but the thing is that I’m not in that percentage and for me as well as for some other DJs, there are aspects other than socializing which are more important. In my opinion it’s like this in other industries too, including the film industry for example.
The film shows DJing from a different perspective to understand its reality, but all this aside, what is the best part of it for you?
DJ Andrey PUSHKAREV: To me, the best part is the ability to share my musical vision with other people.
Why did you decide to remove dialogue from the film?
Director Anatoly IVANOV: For several reasons.
A person sabotaged the technical process of gathering audio during filming. So I couldn’t use lavalier (tiny on-clothing) and overhead (on-boom) microphones. So, most of the dialogue scenes that I did film (and I did film quite a bit!) have unusable sound. These include dinners with promoters, discussions with fans, conversations with fellow passengers, etc. You just can’t hear what they say!
I’ve also bumped into the same wall that frustrated Kieślowski while making his documentaries – some things just can’t be shown with non-actors. Even though extremely interesting and revealing, a lot of dialogue recorded during the Kvadrat shoot concerned living, working people. All their rambles, dissing, unprofessionalism and bullshit on the wide screen would expose them to serious trouble, in the best case costing them their jobs. I know I could have shown the stark, terrible weaknesses of those people, but my ethics just don’t allow me to do that. I never intended Kvadrat to be a crunchy reality TV show.
Moreover, outside of Russia, Andrey’s English is, unfortunately, not good enough for protracted, articulate dialogues. And same goes to the local promoters / drivers / club people. Often their dialogues are “Hello, how are you?” and “Hotel check-out at 10:00, at airport at 12:00” and “I love your music”. That’s about it. The language barrier is there, that’s not something I’ve done on purpose for the film.
A lot of dialogue happened in cars, over terrible car-stereo music we could not use as sound-track. Contrary to what people may think, taste is a huge issue in the music industry. And some drivers just don’t care if it’s the local radio or Havantepe, as long as it keeps them awake at the wheel. So we had to replace the on-location sound (and hence, dialogue) with other tracks and ADR the car sound (create separate non-location sound).
Having said that, I think the music is the main character in Kvadrat, so I let it do most of the talking.
Where did you get the budget for the film and what was the aim?
DJ Andrey PUSHKAREV: When Anatoly suggested to shoot the movie, while I stayed at his place between several of my gigs in Paris in February 2011, I asked him how much money would be required, and he guessed something like 20 000 Euros. After which, he lied down on the couch and started staring at the ceiling… while I started washing the dishes! And thinking about where to get that kind of money. But then I told him that we could do it, we probably could assemble 20 grand. Upon my return to Moscow, I made a few attempts to meet several people who were active members of the underground clubbing scene in the mid 1990’s and who are now more business-people than just party-people. But I didn’t get any understanding or support from them. They’d tell me such a film was never going to work!
Director Anatoly IVANOV: Yeah, on that IKEA couch… which I still have… I thought we could film with a Canon 5D on a simple hand-held rig and complete the whole film in under 5 months, including post-production! I also thought the airlines, the rail companies and the clubs would finance stuff like food and tickets and hotels. So I estimated 20 000 EUR would be enough.
I was, of course, totally wrong! It took 100 000 EUR and almost 2 and a half years to make Kvadrat.
The only excuses I had for making such a huge budget miscalculation were my total lack of cinema experience or education at the time, and the lack of a professional film producer in our team, who, no doubt, would have told us we were completely nuts!
To find the money, I first googled for “how to finance a film” and started on Wikipedia. There’s a lot of articles online about it. And then I just basically ran through all those lists.
The government organizations supporting film in France and Russia (I’m French and Russian) all said “no” because of the obscure topic of the film and no clear cultural tie. Kvadrat is not a typical French film in French about the French or a typical Russian film in Russian about the Russians. It’s an international film about international music.
The classical cinema financiers were not convinced by the lack of sex, explosions, adventures and action, or at least a prominent political or social conflict, like versus some oppressive regime, or maybe a struggle with drug abuse, or at least a sexual minority story. Even the music was not something hugely popular, like, rock-music, or even EDM or even jazz. Deep techno? What the hell is that? No way.
The more “artsy” financiers thought the film would not be artistic enough, not brainy enough, not bizarre enough, in other words, not elitist or preachy or incomprehensible enough for a good art-house movie.
In other words, Kvadrat did not fit any standards and trends, and the cinema industry people had a difficulty finding a marketable category for it.
So, I just started asking everyone and anyone outside the film business to lend us 5 000 EUR here, 15 000 EUR there and so on. My sister helped a lot to secure the budget, she asked and convinced her friends.
As a result, Kvadrat is all privately financed by debt to friends and family. I also sold all my photography gear and poured all my savings into the film. We cut costs everywhere we could. No one got paid, everyone volunteered. I cut my food to 2 meals a day to save some money. We always shared a hotel room with Andrey to reduce travel expenses.
And it wasn’t 100 000 EUR in one go. No, we first assembled 20 000 EUR, then reevaluated it to 25 000 EUR when it turned out the Canon 5D was unusable in low-light conditions of the night clubs and a more expensive Canon 1D was needed.
Then, after filming in Russia for a month, I discovered that the Canon 1D was heating up during the shoots and burned “hot pixels” — bright pink dots — in the middle of the frame, ruining the video. So we needed 5 000 EUR more to buy a second Canon 1D so we had a cold camera body to swap for a hot one.
Then it turned out we needed extra gear to build a compact rig. Then we had to pay for additional travel to Udmurtia in Russia. Then, after we wrapped the shoot and I started editing, I realized that we needed more than just a 13 inch MacBook Pro to edit and color-correct the film, we needed to pay extra rent and food because the post-production was taking more time than scheduled (1 year instead of 3 moths), and on, and on and on…
For the whole length of the project, every 2 weeks or so, we were on the brink of financial collapse and I would go looking for more money. It was gradual, constant pain and uncertainty.
So Kvadrat was the extreme opposite of what people think about filmmaking, especially about filming Hollywood blockbusters.
When the music is the main dialogue its selection is even more important. How did you select music for the film and did you and the director have any conflict in opinion?
DJ Andrey PUSHKAREV: Already during the initial process of selecting the music I realized that my perception of the footage and what I thought should be the music that goes with it was completely different from the director’s! So we had to gradually find a compromise. Special thanks to Anatoly – he knows how to convince people with solid arguments and facts.
Director Anatoly IVANOV: Oh wow, music selection and editing was epic!
The tracks in Kvadrat may sound smooth and natural and obvious, but it’s a result of an extremely complicated, deliberate and lengthy process.
First of all, while we share a lot of similar traits and tastes, Andrey and me are very different regarding work processes. I’m much more strict, methodical, demanding and used to exact delivery dates. And whereas DJing allows for a lot of free-form “inspiration” and “improvisation”, cinema is a much, much more controlled, constrained and precise process. It’s also cultural: I have a very strong Swiss background, which is quite different from the Russian way of doing things.
Moreover, while Andrey is very selective about his music, I’m even more selective. If he selects maybe 5% of all non-commercial techno on the market, I select maybe 1% of his 5%! Quite extreme.
So, first, I asked to listen to all the 5000+ vinyls in Andrey’s collection to make a large selection of track candidates for Kvadrat.
He told me it was impossible. Inhumane!
But I’m the director, so I insisted and we did listen through them all. First Andrey would put a vinyl, side A, track 1, and I would say “no!” after the first 10 seconds or even less. Then track 2 — "No". Side "B" — “No!”
Luckily, I have rather good musical memory and had classical music training in childhood. I need only several chords to recognize and categorize stuff and can re-arrange music in my head to “hear” it work with the picture.
So instead of hearing a stream of “no”, Andrey played each track for 10 seconds, going through the piles quite fast — he’s much better with vinyl manipulation than I am, you know — and waited for a rare “yes!”
I basically down-voted a huge part of his collection, which, as you can imagine, was not very pleasant for him. But that’s my job as a director. It’s not about being nice. It’s about making a great film.
We selected only tracks we both liked and both thought would work for Kvadrat. If one of us would not like a track, we would discard it. We ended up with 302 vinyl albums, which we then digitized.
But the real challenge was to narrow down that selection to the 35 tracks used in Kvadrat!
Some choices were easier than others. For example, Andrey suggested Manoo’s “Abyss” for the film opening, and I agreed. Also, we had already selected Havantepe’s “Air” for a film’s preview cut in 2011 and decided to carry it over for the trip from Zurich to Moscow via Geneva. Mick RUBIN’s “Mauna Loa” actually played in the car during the ride to Saint Petersburg’s Barakobama. It somehow worked perfectly and Andrey was nodding exactly to this track during the shoot. It was also Andrey’s idea to use Charles WEBSTER’s “Be no-one” for the end-titles and I agreed, although I had some strong contenders.
For all other tracks, Andrey was waiting for “inspiration”, for the tracks to somehow magically fall into place where needed, while enjoying the view on the Jura Mountains…
I’m much more realistic and methodical about this, so I first categorized all 325 tracks into “travel scenes” and “club scenes”, then rated each track (out of 5 stars).
I then started with the travel scenes. I’d drop all 5 and 4 star tracks (about 175) into Ableton Live and play each scene along with each track and rate again, but in context of that scene. So 175 times per scene that required music, and we have 11 of them in Kvadrat! Paying close attention to the video editing, to the rhythm of lamp posts zipping by, to the on-location sound, to the ADR sound waiting to be created… to the overall film progression. It’s a lot of work! Meticulous and global at the same time. An approach that would drive Andrey crazy. He would go: “Man, where’s spontaneity in all this?!”
It got harder and harder as I eliminated the contenders, to a point when I had 5-7 tracks which all sounded absolutely stunning. That’s when I’d pass my headphones to Andrey and get his opinion.
For some scenes, we were totally divergent on the mood and interpretation of the footage, like for example the trip preceding his gig in Korona. He was all for Pino Shamlou’s “Black Forest (Frankman Remix)”.
But the toughest was the club mixes and the interlinking of travel and club tracks. That’s where I pushed Andrey very hard, way beyond what a normal DJ would do. Cinema sound is very different from club sound, you know?
For example, he told me Green Thumb vs JV “Grand Theft Vinyl (JV Mix)” would never mix with Kiano Below Bangkok’s “Tobacco (Alveol Mix)”, especially at different BPM. But I did it anyway, in a way that a DJ would most probably never do in a club. Same thing for the Minilogue’s “Ahck (Jichael Mackson Remix)” — I mixed it in by ear, and at a different BPM.
So Andrey would make a club mix, then I’d listen, tell him it’s not the right atmosphere, not short enough, not punchy enough, not housy enough, not dark enough, not trashy enough, doesn’t match my video cuts, the musical apex is in the wrong place, the expression of the crowd does not match, etc, etc… and ask him to re-select the tracks, re-mix. Sometimes he would just despair in the kitchen — we worked in a 1 room flat in Geneva, with me in the main room and him in the kitchen, each in headphones. Then he’d do it. Again. Hundreds of times. Each club was a battle, except maybe for Korona, where the first Andrey’s draft worked best, even after we tried other variants.
We were seriously stuck several times. At some desperate point we relistened to all the sound recorded in clubs throughout the shoot (more than 24 hours), plus all the 302 albums.
But it was never a shouting match. We’re close friends and persuade each other with honest feelings, rational arguments and sarcastic jokes, even when it seems like we hit bottom.
When working on the film, since the proposal right down to the premiere, what was the hardest part of the process?
DJ Andrey PUSHKAREV: For me personally one of the toughest moments was probably the process of filming. In clubs and elsewhere. Apart from doing my job as a DJ, for example, playing a set, during my club performances, I had to control several other processes simultaneously (like being in the role of a location manager or a director’s assistant). So that Anatoly could get something to drink or eat or to get a member of the security personnel to stand next to him while he filmed.
Director Anatoly IVANOV: Besides having to contain the whole project from start to finish in my mind and not being able to share everything with someone, especially the major fears / risks that could kill the project, the hardest part for me was having zero film professionals on the project. No executive producer, no line producers, no location managers, no continuity supervisor, no focus puller, no grips, no sound recordist, no film editor, no sound engineer, no DIT, no VFX artist, no compressionist, no lawyer, no accountant… I was the only “professional”, because I had 15 years of professional still photography behind me. But in reality, it was my first feature!
So, yes, as Andrey has just said, we were simultaneously doing several jobs we normally should not have been doing. We just had no money to hire a professional team.
What kind of response did you receive to the film after it was launched?
Director Anatoly IVANOV: Uhh… well, it’s easier to read what people say online. But to summarize, the response is very polarized. People either hate or love the film. There is no in-between.
I’m actually quite surprised by the force of the reactions. It’s borderline creepy. Kvadrat provokes reactions so much stronger than I thought possible… without me as a director saying a single word or showing something explicitly. In many instances it has opened up the worst in people I thought I knew well. And in other cases it brought in complete strangers very inspired by Kvadrat. It’s a kind of a litmus test.
Also, it seems everyone is a professional film critic. I never had so much feedback about my photography or design or even painting. With cinema, it’s like they all know what they are talking about. Maybe it’s because films are a mass-consumption thing? And everyone feels like they’re part of it? I don’t know. It’s so weird.
DJ Andrey PUSHKAREV: I agree with Anatoly.
I’d add that the response to the film from people around me, I mean, in the Moscow club industry, is also pretty weird. Most of my colleagues have just ignored Kvadrat. I mean, they had zero reaction to it! As if I had never even participated in a film. My impression is, perhaps they don’t want to tell me their opinion straight to my face? Did they like Kvadrat? Did they hate it? What do they think about it? It’s business as usual, nothing. But, honestly, I wasn’t really expecting any huge support or understanding.
Sometimes I get across someone writing online that I “built myself a crown”… or that we had no right to describe Kvadrat as a film about techno… Although dub techno is a subgenre of techno! Havantepe’s “Air” that Anatoly mentioned earlier, and a ton of other tracks in the film, what is it? House? And what about “Running Man” by Petar DUNDOV? Or Rhauder’s “Live Jam 1”? OK, I’m a DJ, it’s my job to be well-aware of musical genres and trends, but anyone can read a Wikipedia article about dub techno, don’t you think?
But again, I get this impression that the people writing those comments haven’t even watched the film, or haven’t watched it till the end. Maybe they just read the film’s one-paragraph description and react to that?
Kvadrat is not a hyped-up film about me as a persona; it’s a film using me as an example to show what vinyl DJing really is. That’s a huge difference. And I’d even say that Anatoly’s vision of me isn’t particularly flattering or sympathetic. Moreover, when we were planning Kvadrat, the idea was to film the entire DeepMix.ru crew, the studio in Moscow and everything, but it all fell through because its programming director just fired everyone on staff literally a month before we started shooting.
What’s really heartening — and I think Anatoly will agree — is to get feedback from international DJs like Christian LINDER saying how much the film reminded them of their own experiences, their own gigs and touring. If Kvadrat was a lie, or a self-promotion ego-trip, the real pros would never identify themselves with it.
Honestly, I’m also pleasantly surprised that Kvadrat was so warmly received by people on Facebook and VKontakte, it’s something I wasn’t expecting, their feedback about the beautiful shots and soundtrack.
Now when I'm touring, a lot of the situations remind me the film and I look at many things sort of through the lens of Kvadrat. My life is as in the film and the film is like my life.
And the last time I was flying from Berlin, coincidentally, by SWISS, which is Kvadrat’s official airline, I was standing in line at the boarding gate in Tegel and then I heard someone behind me talking in German and mentioning my family name. I turned around and saw a young couple that were staring and smiling at me. I felt very embarrassed and confused at the same time! And then they told me they’d just recently seen Kvadrat and have recognized me, because I looked exactly like in the film, standing in line waiting to board yet another plane.
In how many films you would like to be involved? How many films you would like to do?
DJ Andrey PUSHKAREV: For the moment — only one. But honestly, I have to say, with Kvadrat, one of my dreams has come true, because since childhood I’ve always wanted to be in a film. But I realized it only mid-way through our work on the film, that my dream had actually come true. I don’t want to limit myself, of course, so we’ll see if something else materializes, but in my opinion, I’m not much of a good actor.
Director Anatoly IVANOV: Ha ha yeah, I have to say Andrey is honest and correct about his acting. He is an excellent DJ, though!
Ideally, I’d like to make 1 feature film every 2 years till either I die, or till I find something even more difficult to do (but it has to be artistic). My limits are money and lifespan. I have enough ideas and energy for a ton of projects.
I’m currently finishing post-production of my second feature documentary I shot in autumn 2012. A short I shot in 2011 is also waiting to be edited…
And I’m already in pre-production of my next 5 features and 3 shorts. I need serious help (crew and financing), so feel free to contact me!
I presume you had a lot more footage for the film. How did you choose which seemed most important?
Director Anatoly IVANOV: Yes, we shot 62 hours of video total, of which only 1 hour and 42 minutes made it into the film.
It was easy to discard some of the footage that was out of focus, some that had easily identifiable people, some that just did not make sense as part of a story, and some that was way too boring. Yes, I know a lot of people think Kvadrat is boring, but believe me, I could have made it even more boring!
As it was my first serious film, we made a lot of mistakes, with camera placement, coverage, exposure, focus, sound, continuity… a lot of stuff was impossible to cut together when editing. It would have been much easier if we could film with a 2 or even 3 camera setup. I also had to throw away a lot of footage that would have looked much better on a steadicam, which I could not use because we had no focus puller.
But it was much more difficult to cut out a lot of the really gorgeous, crazy and funny moments, due to film duration constraints. Cinema is ruled by the bladder, you know?
Do you feel a new sense of respect for cinema art since filming?
DJ Andrey PUSHKAREV: Yes, without a doubt. I became more attentive. My perception of interesting moments has changed and I also notice much more problematic moments.
The dreams tormented protagonist during the movie, what is this about exactly?
DJ Andrey PUSHKAREV: I think it was a wonderful idea on Anatoly’s part to show the dreams in this way. But really, these aren’t dreams – they’re a reality in which I’ve been since my childhood. All the “dreams” in Kvadrat were filmed in the area where I grew up and which I left for Moscow in 2000.
The episode with the Yak-42 wing is a view over the vast fields and forests of Udmurtia (not far from Izhevsk).
The fragments where I’m swimming by the moonlight and later sitting in the grass… they show the large river Kama near where I lived. And the fragments where I’m walking on a dirty road with puddles – that’s one of the streets of my hometown Votkinsk (which hasn’t really changed at all since I was born).
It’s also the sadness and the longing for home combined with hallucinations from fatigue and sleep deprivation. And at the same time the dreams are a recurring reminder about my past, which has undoubtedly influenced me and my musical perception.
Director Anatoly IVANOV: Yes, totally. For me, it was important to show Andrey’s background.
But I wanted to avoid the “let’s talk about your childhood” clichés, the sepia family photos and all the classical attributes of a documentary. So I used the tools more frequently found in fiction film to hint at the dichotomy and conflict between his DJ work, playing for huge crowds of people in huge megalopolis, and his true “habits” and “habitat”, which is being alone and in nature. A conflict between past and present, city and nature, civilized Europe and uncivilized provincial Russia… maybe also between the passing trends and the universal values.
And it’s how Kvadrat ends — his dreams rejoin reality, he’s alone facing the sea, finally back to nature, but are the conflicts solved? Or remain unchanged throughout the film?
Music and Radio
Was there a big focus on underground parties when you were younger? I see your home towns club was closed down which led you to move.
DJ Andrey PUSHKAREV: In my hometown there was only one club where you could listen to techno music. The one where I debuted as a DJ in 1996. I think we could call that place “underground”. It closed in 1998 due to the Russian financial crisis, which hit Russia at that time. The only way for me to find out about what was happening in other cities was by reading Ptuch, an experimental independent magazine published in Moscow at the time. It was a bit early for the web and so basically Ptuch was the only source of information. I think the so-called underground back then was much more powerful and people were filled with more enthusiasm.
Have you always worked for radio stations and played a lot of your music on air?
DJ Andrey PUSHKAREV: No, not really. I had experience working for my school’s “radio” but I don’t think we could call it a full-scale broadcast radio. I also had 5 years of experience working for DeepMix.ru but that was already web broadcasting, not FM broadcasting.
How did you come to get involved with Deepmix Moscow Radio?
DJ Andrey PUSHKAREV: A friend of mine introduced me to the program’s director and after that I got an offer to play the first live stream (httpss://www.mixcloud.com/andreypushkarev/andrey-pushkarev-obo-hobos-studio-04072006/). Then I got another offer to play, and then again, and later it became a regular thing.
Did your time working for Traum Baum influence your music a lot? I see you collected a lot of records during this time that probably gave you a good base of knowledge to progress?
DJ Andrey PUSHKAREV: My work for Traum Baum (https://www.traumbaum.de) was quite timely (2006-2009) for me in many respects. First of all, it was a huge channel of information and an opportunity to widen my social circles, to network professionally as a DJ. A large part of my collection was created during that period. In those 3 years I never got paid with money — only vinyl. Yeah, and that’s what I had for dinner as well. Vinyl. As a result many of the sets on DeepMix from that period came about because of Traum Baum.
How did you go from no music training to gaining credibility in Moscow?
DJ Andrey PUSHKAREV: As I said earlier that was partly thanks to Traum Baum and also thanks to my broadcasts on DeepMix (which at that moment was actively gaining popularity) and my residency at the after parties in Paparazzi club (which for two years, 2008 and 2009, were organized by the DeepMix team, me included).
What are a few of your favorite underground labels from Russia? Any of whom you expect to break into the global scene?
DJ Andrey PUSHKAREV: My answer is going to be quite subjective, but for me the most important criterion is the presence of vinyls in my DJ bag. Which releases are with me? What labels? At the moment I’d like to mention Pro-Tez Records and Bodyparts Records, but I’d like to stress that the last few releases that I bought from these labels are all by foreign, non-Russian producers. As for Russian artists, I think Deep Square and Denis Kaznachaev, one of the members of the Easy Changes project and co-owner of Nervmusic, they have the potential to achieve success in the near future.
Would you consider Russia to have a signature sound in dance music much like how Romanian techno is categorised?
DJ Andrey PUSHKAREV: Actually this is a very serious and a very complex question. In my opinion, we can expect to see only exceptions – isolated artists and labels – which have little in common sound-wise. Nothing to do with an overall, “signature” sound. The kind of massive wave that happened in Romania (and I’d like to reiterate that this is my subjective opinion) is highly unlikely to happen in Russia.
What are you plans for your career? Start a label or will your heart always lie with radio?
DJ Andrey PUSHKAREV: The idea of a label has been on my mind for about 2 years. I think that’d be the next logical step, which I’ll take in the near future. And, of course, the Master Plan to continue spinning vinyl and conquer the world remains in place.
ANDREY PUSHKAREV MEOKO MIX HERE
WATCH FULL MOVIE HERE:
By Ell Weston