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 echo depth finders for cuemix magazine 







ECHO DEPTH FINDERS for CueMix Magazine

EDF: Digital One (Nikolay Zhmakin), Wrong MC (Anton Belov)
CueMix: Michael Muck

Echo Depth Finders, photo from AllNight.Ru

CM>>> You both live in Novosibirsk, Russia. Is your album "The city of dolls", or your music, influenced from vibe of the city Novosibirsk?
But don't get me wrong, it would be too simple if you read city of dolls and the first thing you ask is about the city the artist lives in. I mean it in the way like: a landscape or a feeling a city gives that can influence your work as an artist...

Wrong>>> Environment is very influential for any artist - that should sound quite banal, you're right. To talk about the place we found ourselves at, or especially about some “feeling” or “vibe”… well, it would be a long story. Let us just mention some crucial facts. Novosibirsk is one of the most populated cities in Siberia - it has more than 1.5 million. It's one of the world's most significant scientific centers. On the other hand - we get good education but cannot find a proper job, as science and hi-technological manufacturers used to be mainly funded by the government, and are mostly closed now. A lot of people have to move to a better place. Ones who left find themselves isolated - Novosibirsk is far from any points of large-scale business activity, intensive cultural networks, and so on. We don't see the situation changing soon. It's not a complaint. It's a fact.

CM>>> I've heard that Novosibirsk has the biggest theatre in the world. What about the cultural life in the city? Is there space for subcultures and electronic music? Or is your music kind of exotic in Novosibirsk?

Wrong>>> Hmm… am not that much into theatre - but I wouldn't say “the biggest”. Culture is not funded as well. Businessmen who were brought up in the post-soviet mess are usually too short-sighted to invest in culture - they prefer some other opportunities to make easier money. And the State doesn't care obviously. It sounds weird but foreign organizations and funds do more for the culture than the native ones. Nevertheless, we‘ve got some groups of artists working on a world level even having poor conditions. Theatres, academic music - we've got somebody to be proud of, true. So it's a wonder for their colleagues coming from abroad.
Electronic music is played in some night clubs - dance music like techno, house and drum 'n bass. But for me, there is no such thing as the Novosibirsk Electronic Scene. The interested audience is almost lacking. So the cultural pattern is absent, partly due to the lack of the interested investors. For instance, we don't have the place to perform.

D1>>> Agreed. I have to note that there are some electronic projects indeed; stylistically close to club dance music - house or trance. They come and go as there is no intention behind them but to copy something Western.

CM>>> From where do you know each other? And when did you start to produce music together?

Wrong>>> We shared the same interests and some common friends. So logically we met. It was about 5 years ago. Nikolay was a techno DJ. I was a graffiti-writer and a b-boy. Nikolay initiated the idea of our collaboration two years ago. It was a promising experiment. So I agreed even without having any appropriate experience.

CM>>> What is the meaning of the name “Echo Depth Finders”?

Wrong>>> The sense is in some special aesthetic found in these three words as they stand together I guess 8)

CM>>> And before EDF..... what about your musical roots? Did you have any other solo projects or collaborations before EDF? How did you get in touch with electronic music and hip-hop music? To be honest, I know NOTHING about electronic music in Russia.

D1>>> My first musical experiments were in rock. I am a drummer and I used to play in different garage bands. A short time ago, I finally lost interest in rock music. I used to play death-metal. It was evil and fast. After that time, I performed as a DJ (for a long time) mainly playing Detroit techno.
My first electronic project was minimal techno „8bit“. I was not into hip hop that time. I was into random synthesis, analogue reverberators and techno rhythm. After we split, I understood I wanted something completely new. Don't know how I came to hip-hop, I just felt like it. I spent long hours in front of the laptop trying to compromise between the knowledge and skills I've already had and the desirable results of my new work and passion.

Wrong>>> I was listening to different music since I remember myself. I used to study piano... but I never was a musician and still I don't think I am. Hope EDF will change it someday. 8) Concerning the Russian electronic scene - all names that are important for me are already signed abroad. So if you still don't know them - I don't think I will open you a brand new world.

CM>>> Your debut album, "The City of Dolls", comes out on the German label Meteosound at the end of May. How did you get signed with Meteosound?

D1>>> 2004 was the year of Germany in Russia. Thanks to the Goethe Institute, Russian electronic music fans have got the opportunity to hear to many interesting projects - performing live on stage. Who could imagine we would see Rechenzentrum or Tarwater. My crew, as well as some other projects, was included into the festival's program. I took part in Teichmann Bros.' Siberian tour, for instance. So we got closer after that unforgettable trip and before their departure back home, we exchanged our promo CDs. There were some EDF tracks on my promo that was given to Andy Teichmann. After some time passed, we got the proposal from Mr. Daniel “Meteo” Peters. The album was ready for publishing and we found the proposed conditions fit. So we agreed. That's the story.

CM>>> First of all, I personally would describe your music as a mixture between minimal techno/electronic music and hip-hop (yes, I know the press say post hip-hop.). But the feeling I had after I listened to the album goes in two different directions: fractional warm sounds we expect it from minimal/hip-hop music; and after all when you listen carefully to the lyrics and the sounds you feel a little bit lost in a big, big world - maybe like the huge variation in temperatures between summer and winter you have in Novosibirsk. Is this feeling I get after listening to your album part of the concept of "City of Dolls" or am I completely wrong?

D1>>> Michael, I understand your feelings. Sometimes this sound makes me wanna jump from the bridge.

Wrong>>> I am sorry to disappoint you, man, if you expect some smart answer this time...
Plainly speaking, we are not that much in conception when we are working with the sound. We just do it as we like it, without concentrating on stylization or making some special conceptual moves. It's good when music speaks for itself.

CM>>> Can you explain to me the concept of "The City of Dolls"? Is it all about stereotypes and a globalized world?

Wrong>>> I am not sure one should focus on concrete matters (like globalization) while listening to this album and thinking it over. It was a scary fairy-tale-feeling to share with you - the story that touched us; some paranoid images about non-probable future. Based on reality, these stereotypes shown as hyperbolized - that makes it totally unreal story, split from any concrete context. This “conception”, as you call it, is just a form, a media to express what we wanted. If you get some concrete associations, some special feeling, memories, thoughts - that's good, that is the part of the planned effect. But they are all yours, we didn't mean them.

CM>>> This leads me to the question: Would you describe yourself a pessimists or optimists?

D1>>> I think I am optimist. Sometimes it's no good for me – as there is time to stop acting and take it as it is.

Wrong>>> I think there is ultimate justice for all. So would you call me optimist?

CM>>> The first single is "On the Air". Is there a special story behind it seeing that this is the first outtake from your album?

Wrong>>> There was no special story behind it.

CM>>> Always the same technical question, but I am curious about this stuff: What kind of gear/hardware did you use to produce and record the album (what kind of hardward and software)? Did you use any products from Russia?

D1>>> First I have to shout out for the N.I. crew for the Reaktor. Smart program. They are talented people. Good to know there are some Russians collaborating with them - I mean LazyFish & Solar X. EDF sound is assembled on the computer base. Above the laptop, I have a Boss SP 202 phrase sampler, cassette tape-recorder and Russian “Lel” reverberator - enough for me. I often take the sampler with me to make some music in “field conditions”. You can make some original sounds even by drumming on an empty tree trunk, you know. We haven't got that “superwow” sound lab and an expensive bunch of wicked equipment. But I know for sure what I can create using what I already have.

CM>>> And how do you perform the album live?

D1>>> We can't perform some effects that were created in the studio. But we can create something else. Anton called that “digital turntablism”.

CM>>> Anton writes the lyrics. What about the writing process? Do you have a concept when you start to write down the lyrics? Or do you write about the things you see when you watch TV or walk on the streets?

Wrong>>> I have to confess that time I didn't need to look for a source of inspiration. That was actually one of the reasons I intended to be involved with this experiment. The reason was for me to start rapping since I never used to do it and never thought that this would be the thing I will be original in - but I HAD TO SAY something. So I concentrated to understand how to express it thoroughly. And we discussed it with Nikolay. We came up with the idea of the album and the idea of freestyling over the techno-like hip-hop.
One more thing – as I already said I try to avoid concrete context. I try to avoid mentioning real names, titles, trends, places… I try to put my concrete feelings about it in metaphors, in some abstract way. I guess that will help to perceive and to understand it better. I don't think I am the only one who is tired of people constantly trying to make me be involved in their personal worlds. I don't think that my personality is significant enough to do the same. I try to show my world but I show it with the sides that are close to anybody to make them to think it over once again. So I don't take these rhymes straight out of eating MY breakfast, reading MY books, walking MY streets, etc.

CM>>> What comes first the lyrics and then the music.....or first the music and then the lyrics?

Wrong>>> You should understand this album was a debut for our small collaboration. We are quite different. So it wasn't easy to produce some brilliant technology of the creation-process. Good thing is that we are closer to this after two years of work. :)
We usually work alone. I put some rhymes down. D composes the music. When we worked on “City…”, we tried to work in both ways: sometimes the music was the starting point; sometimes some text or idea of the track was. So when we met, we'd talked things over - trying to understand each other and to find some common point that will result in a track. Obviously, in some cases the image of the final product was incomplete, so we had negotiations that led to some version, but for both of us the track wasn't finished.

CM>>> Would you describe your music as a kind of political music? Are you interested in politics? For example Kazakhstan isn't so far away....

Wrong>>> What is so special about Kazakhstan? I am not a political activist.

D1>>> I've got a friend from Kazakhstan. Some of my relatives live not far from the place where some nuclear blasts took place. Yuri Gagarin launched his spaceship from Kazakhstan. Perhaps that's all I know about this country. :) If you look for some covered meaning in our music, you'd better look on its socio-philosophical side. I don't think there is any political message.

Wrong: You can start the revolution. We won't mind.

CM>>> In May, you will perform in Germany at Marke B Festival in Berlin. Do you have any other plans for touring Europe?

Wrong>>> You guys still have some time to invite us.

CM>>> Other countries you like to tour and visit?

Wrong>>> Japan...

CM>>> What makes you happy and satisfied? Music, friends, family......

D1>>> I am happy to make music. It's very important to me.

Wrong>>> Good people.

CM>>> For someone who lives in Germany, like me, it is very hard to imagine living in such a big country as Russia. How does it feel to have a capital city so far away and to have so many time zones and different people in one country? (Maybe a stupid question but I am curious about that feeling.)

Wrong>>> It's unable to grasp all the diversity. So you have to stay local and isolated like a Siberian. Moscow is so far that for some of us it is just a multimedia myth. As Lenin used to be...

Interview: Michael Muck
2005, CueMix Magazine


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 echo depth finders for cuemix magazine 

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