Pryzma is the latest in a growing line on innovative artists to come out of the former USSR republic. Drum & bass from the region has typically been experimental and often taking heavy influences from techno and electronica. This is true of Pryzma's work. With an EP on Kos.Mos.Music. It was about time we sat down with Belerus' hottest export...
You have just released your "The Galaxy In Danger" EP on Kos.Mos. Digital. To those that are new to Pryzma, can you tell us about yourself, your musical influences and being the latest in the line of the ever increasing amount of Russian artists alongside the likes of Electrosoul System and Subwave to be releasing enduring intelligent drum & bass?
Hello everybody! My name is Artyom and I live in Belarus, a former USSR republic. I am a 32 years old guy who has a family, full daytime job and makes drum and bass at nights. I like the sound of electronic music and generally, it does not matter which tempo it has, it can be anything from downtempo, to house and techno, from dubstep to idm. And of course drum and bass.
As for "the latest in line": In the last five years the Russian drum & bass scene has made giant leap ahead. And here in Belarus, being close neighbour to Russia, I don't feel alone. The border between our countries is nominal. Belarus and Russia speak the same language so we share knowledge, experience and ideas as well as communicating very intensively. Of course the same is applied to Ukraine as well. So I am sure, I am the latest in the line only for now. You'll hear a lot new talents from the former USSR republics in the future.
The EP is being released by the Kos.Mos. label, the original home to artists like Abstract Elements and Bop. Since 2007 arguably the premier output for Russian drum & bass, there must be a certain pressure attched to the responsibility? How did you get involved with the label?
I started making drum and bass approximately at the same time as Kos.Mos.Music released their first 12"s and their work always pushed me to make music. I always was into Sci-Fi, space, rockets and aliens, so the label called Kos.Mos.Music ('kosmos' is 'space' in Russian) naturally was always the first place to send my tunes to. So I sent them every track I made and finally Roman Paramonov, the label co-founder, contacted me.
It was decided to release my EP, and also I was asked to remix Milkway Odyssey by Electrosoul System & Cutworks. I made two different remixes and soon after I had sent them to Roman, he offered me to be one of the residents of Kos.Mos.Music. That fact makes me think that my music is rather good!, hahaha! But seriously, this is a great responsibility indeed, so I do my best to create more good music.
The EP has a very electronic flavour to it, with sound scapes not unlike Pariah, Future Engineers and late Omni Trio. As a musician and electronic producer, which artists have been the greatest influence in shaping your sound?
When I was a kid, I used to listen to a lot of Kraftwerk, Jean-Michel Jarre and Depeche Mode so my musical tastes came from their sound mostly. From time to time I still re-listen good old Airdrawndagger, Sasha's album. The sound of Trentemoeller always attracts me, but I like the music of Eric Prydz most of all.
It's not drum and bass, but it really does not matter what tempo music is, what rhythmic pattern it has and so on. What really matters for me are the melodies, the arrangements, synthetic sounds, some special feelings I get when I listen to it, and my goal is to make every listener to feel the same in my music.
As for drum and bass, Electrosoul System, is one of my all-time favorite artists. Also I like the music of Camino Blue and Absys to name a few. Technetium EP by Future Engineers was very impressive for me, but when Bop's tune Skepticos was out on Kos.Mos.Music it was some kind of shock: I have never heard about him before and have never thought that drum and bass music can sound like This. That tune really broke my perception of drum & bass and although I never tried to be the same as Bop, I started creating my own sound, electronic, synthetic and cosmic, bringing something that I can hear extremely rarely in drum & bass these days.
Mainstream drum & bass has been popular in Russia for sometime now, with very large events regularly pulling in artists from the UK and Europe. Less is known about the more intelligent/ deep drum & bass scene in Russia. What are the key events? And who are true innovators in your opinion?
Well, unfortunately I can't tell a lot about events in Russia, because I really don't know how the things with intelligent drum and bass are going there. What I know is that Kos.Mos.Music parties called Steppin' Session and Phuture Beats are taking place. Steppin' Session is the oldest series of events in Russia, Many artists like LTJ Bukem, Big Bud & MC Mike Romeo, Blame, Nookie & Five Alive, Future Engineers, Mark "Ruff" Rider & Strictly Underground Crew, Depht Charge a.k.a. Octagone Man, Marcus Intalex & DRS, Icicle, Survival, DJ Marky & Stamina MC, PBK, Spectrasoul, Makoto & Deeizm to name a few, were brought to Russia for the first time on these events. Phuture Beats is another series of events by Kos.Mos.Music, that take place in the smaller clubs but the athmosphere is always great there.
As for Belarus, the drum and bass events usually take place in small clubs or cafes, sometimes in big clubs, which are few here. Last year because of the difficult economic situation, we did not have many guests from abroad. However, from the other side, the most part of our dance culture went underground because of this. I spent last summer on the raves which took part in the forests and abandoned buildings. Just imagine, up to 5 dancefloors playing techno, dubstep, drum and bass, and psy trance, almost no light effects, the decorations are mostly the graffities on the broken walls, up to 1000 people, everybody is happy and the experience is unforgettable: I have never been on early underground UK raves but I think it is very similar to that. It is not about the money, it is all about the music, like "in good old days"!
True innovators... This question is rather difficult for me, because the number of guys who produce something interesting and unusual is constantly growing. In my opinion, Elecrosoul System, Subwave, Bop, Abstract Elements are the true innovators. Also I like the music that Getz and Nuage make very much. Also, I can't help mentioning Cutworks, whos production skills are absolutely incredible and the sound is crystal clear. Speaking about the very experimental side of drum and bass, I think Microfunk Crew (Bop, Oak and Jalex) is the most interesting project (performing live by the way - quite a rare thing these days), although probably the term "electronica@170bpm" describes their music much better than "drum and bass".
What can we expect in 2012 from Pryzma?
Last autumn was very good for releases: I had four releases in three months, and this year may not be as productive as the previous one.
I think the nearest release will be an EP called Andromeda Nebula, and it will come out on Santorin Records. Also one of my tunes will be featured on the next On A Mission EP on Kos.Mos.Music. Also I just have recorded my guest mix for Kos.Mos.Music's Phuture Beats podcast (http://www.44100.com/podcasting/14472/) which is out now. That's pretty it at the moment.
I do have a number of unreleased tunes and a lot of sketches, but my current goal is to create a good material for my future album which is to be released on Kos.Mos.Music of course. I hope It will be ready by the end of this year, maybe earlier, maybe later: time will tell!