"When you listen to nature, you can hear those sounds – it’s music." Exclusive interview with Russian DJ Andrey Pushkarev
- Published on Friday, 13 September 2019 09:50
Hey Andrey! Thank you for taking the time to chat with us! Starting at the beginning, when did you first realise you had a passion for music and what were you drawn to at the start?
Drum & Bass was the first electronic music genre I came across thank to a friend who used to travel to London often - she brought me cassettes from her travels. It sounded different from everything else I listened to at the time and it made me feel like I could be part of something bigger. We were a group of schoolmates in a tiny town of Russia - there was no internet in 1995-1996. Tapes, Cassettes, Films on VHS (“Trainspotting”, “Hackers”, “Acid House”), Russian magazines “Ptuch”, “OM” were the only sources from which we could gather information about music culture.
Growing up in the small town Votkinsk in regional Russia, where we you finding inspiration?
I feel a strong connection with nature since I was a child. Votkinski is a small town but there, because the nature surrounds the city, I could find inner peace and unlimited source of ideas. Trees rustling, rain falling, thunder and lightning, waves crashing. When you listen to nature, you can hear those sounds – it’s music. The natural world has inspired composers to write many famous works of music. At the same time melodies, harmonies, rhythm, tempo and musical dynamics can combine to create the image of the variety of landscapes. If we allow ourselves to spend more time far from the cities, we can hear nature all the time.
Fast forward to today, whenever you play there’s always a very palpable creativity and admirable feeling of ‘freshness’ that not many can sustain over a long career. What are your current sources of inspiration?
There are moments in life which have an impact on your overall state - sometimes we seek those moments because we feel the need of a change, and other times they just manifest by themselves. Those “moments” can be related to a person you meet, a trip somewhere, a dream or just during a solitary walk. Every moment is new and different from the moment before - I feel that if we manage to align to what life brings us every time, we will always be a different & “fresher” version of ourselves.
Having been a touring DJ for the best part of a decade, you’ve had more experience on the road than most. What are the most important lessons about this lifestyle you’ve learnt over time?
Eating healthy, staying hydrated, and trying to keep a regular sleeping schedule when I don’t travel. Being kind to everyone you meet on your way. Keep the focus on what really matters in this music business - it’s easy to lose sight of what’s important and the real reason why you chose to live this career.
I read a while ago that you were particularly drawn to day parties. Is this still the case? What environments do you feel most at home playing in?
Daytime parties have a different energy - people are more in line with their biological rhythm and therefore the mood, emotions and social interactions are completely different than going out at night. I feel they create generally a much more relaxed atmosphere and enjoyable experience.
With a record collection well in excess of 8000 records, how do you approach packing your bag ahead of a gig?
I pick my favorite records of the moment and periodically revisit my collection - I always find something that still surprises me long time after being released.
How much of your time is spent digging for new music today?
I would say between two and three hours per day, sometimes more - it depends on how many promos I receive.
When it comes to the music you play, there’s an admirable amount of diversity (with everything from vibrant house to driving techno and breaks) but always a distinct character and emotive mood. Do you find this is something that comes naturally or are you conscious of it when selecting?
It’s a combination of intuition about how the audience feels in a certain moment, and a conscious decision on the atmosphere I would like to immerse the people in. It’s like taking someone on a journey: you have an idea of where to take your guests but leave room for spontaneity, ending up in places outside of the planned route.
It seems that this ability to create cohesion amidst music that can be so stylistically different is something that distinguishes the truly talented selectors. This brings me to the recording you’ve kindly provided us with, from your back to back set with Stpjche at Echiwaves. Can you tell us a little about this experience?
For me b2b it’s a pretty intimate thing, cause first of all I always trying to “read” my partner, what he is doing while playing, and what he is playing, to make a transiting more smooth. I experienced playing accidentally b2b sets and I must admit that weren’t so smooth (from my point of view). I try to choose very carefully with who I share the decks keeping in mind the musical taste, personality and more generally vision about life. I feel that when three elements are aligned you can build up something really nice, like our set with Roger Gerressen and Exos.
Lastly, looking to the future, what are your goals for the remainder of the year?
I’m preparing myself for the upcoming All Night Long tour At the same time we are working on a new release on Luck of Access with young and talented Russian producer.