Interview: Elena Savlokhova
Photo: Benas Baranauskas [BAR]
What is the enemy of creativity and how do you fight it?
Boredom. I fight it doing something outside of my normal routine, ideally something I never did before. Then I go back to the studio and I write about those experiences.
What do you miss the most about Rome?
Get on my car and drive to have lunch on the beach in a Spring sunny day.
You’ve recently had your debut at Village Underground and played alongside Karenn, who had a significant effect on you in starting your own live project. What was it like for you?
Was a dream coming true. Seeing Karenn playing live the first time blew my mind. Before I saw them performing I had no clue what a live set was about; I was living a moment of boredom about dj sets as I felt them too impersonal and not allowing me to create the music journey that I had in mind. After seeing them putting so much rough energy and communicating in their own style, I decided to start playing live sets. When eventually at Village they complimented me after playing, I told myself ok “I guess I am doing things right after all” 🙂
What is your personal perception of beauty?
What is one thing that people tend to over-complicate ?
What limitations do you face both in life and in music?
Time and fears.
Do you enjoy going out to clubs these days when you’re not performing?
I love raving, especially in London, the techno scene here feels like a big family where everyone knows each other. Everyone is really lovely and every time you go out there is a good chance to go back home having made a bunch of new friends or having deepen the relationship with existing ones. We are trying to bring this community together even more by running the monthly parties at 93 Feet East with Superstition. Each of us residents, curates a gig with a guest and also giving space to up and coming artists from London. This aims at strengthening even further the sense of community we have here by supporting the local scene.
What disappoints you the most in your field of activity?
Hard to find people that are professional sometimes. Lots of chit-chats, lots of broken promises.
Photo: Luca Crescenzi
Why do you think there is an urge to associate techno with darkness and aggression?
Often people just see the superficial side of techno, without really understanding the real sociological and historical context from which it developed. I think techno has the meaning of freedom more than aggression. If you look more in depth, any musical movement has come somehow with the need of a generation to fight what was before and needed a change. I am not talking just about electronic music, but this applies more broadly to many cultural and musical movements. In the DNA of techno, we can find Detroit first, followed by Berlin when the wall came down and people and right now Tbilisi when the country is out of political turmoil. Music can be seen as a non-violent expression of freedom and ideas. A way to react against a government, a culture and a society that imposes rules that are not necessarily right for everyone. A way to be free to express themselves. So I don’t think techno is about aggressiveness, but about empowerment and freedom.
What is your family like? Are they into your music?
Luckily they are not into my music, otherwise I would have probably dropped it ages ago 🙂 But I am lucky to have a beautiful and loving family that inspired most of the values that I hold today.
You’ve said that the idea behind Ways to Die is ‘destruction’, whereas Metempsychosis is ‘construction’ and thus the two ‘create a new existence’. Would you say that this concept reflects or resembles your inner self or your own approach to life?
Not really my inner self, but more how our world works I guess.The concept behind the labels is development, self-improvement and willingness to change. And I believe in order to go through this process, two conditions have to be satisfied: destruction and construction. Ways To Die helps to see things that necessitate a change in the society now: economic and social elements such as a materialism oriented lifestyle, media dependence make us feel insignificant in front of the dominant mainstream system. Depressing states, alienation and willingness to “stop thinking” as things are very bad and lead to the annulment of the persona. People feel forced to live in a society where creativity is more often than not, non-compatible with the 9-to-5 default life. This state needs to be acknowledged, fought and destroyed in order for the world to move on and grow. So Ways To Die represents ‘destruction’ in this sense.
Metempsychosis is the next stage of this process and aims at inspiring people to make a change in their lives. And we are trying to encourage this through music and stories. The focus here is on pursuing freedom and ‘construction’ rather than self-destruction. Action rather than reaction. Metempsychosis represents a space to build something new, to improve what we have and to shape the world as we want it to be.
What do you appreciate the most about End Train and what did you learn from him?
His perseverance and his extreme positivity toward life. He is the type of person that can always see the positive side of any situation. He never gives up, no matter the obstacles. He will always find a way to gets where he wants, and while doing it he is able to inspire people around him to do the same. He is my best friend and seeing his face first thing in the morning makes me happy. I am lucky and grateful to share with him many laughs and adventures everyday.
What is the most challenging thing about running two labels?
Learning how to run them on our own. None ever told me or End Train how to do it, we just jumped in these projects because we felt it was right. And this is doable, but obviously when you both have another full time job as well as your own artist career to take care of, the time is really limited and you need to make sacrifices, keep working on it and be patient.
What were you passionate about as a kid?
Just being a kid. Just living. Nothing more than playing, enjoying life, eating, reading, chilling, spending days with those I love. Pretty much the same as now.
What is one thing about you that would surprise us?
People often tells me that I look intimidating, because of the way I dress / act/ play music. But the reality is that I am quite shy rather than being an asshole. But I like connecting with people, and when I do I am anything but intimidating. Ah, I am also very much into yoga and meditation.
What storyline goes on in your mind when you’re playing a live set?
My aim when I play a live set is actually trying to not have any storytelling in my head. Is when I get to that stage of absence of thoughts that I can play at my best. Is a form of meditation to me.
The unique sound that you’ve created for Flaminia is also supplemented by your personal style. Do you see fashion as a possible aiding tool that could help form the aesthetic of an artist?
My music is an expression of myself and fashion is naturally the same as is a form of communication with the outside world. The techno scene in London is kind of an hub that brings together a variety of creative minds of which many are involved in fashion. This allows me to be in touch with talented designers and stylist which are experts in expressing art through apparel. I like to be inspired by their styles as well as having their expertise to help me express my personality.
What bad experience turned into a great one?
A couple of years ago a record label signed few tracks that I made with End Train and which were supposed to come out on vinyl as our debut record. We’ve been waiting for months to then find out that the label canceled the release without a clear explanation. They did the same with our friends Tapefeed. We were all let down about these events, and eventually tried to make the most out of that experience: Tapefeed’s music deserved to be released and we decided to put it out ourselves anyway. The happy accident is that that this actually became the first vinyl release on Metempsychosis. And more importantly, this allowed us to create a beautiful connection and friendship with Tapefeed who today are amongst my best friends and constantly inspire me musically 🙂 [check the record here]
What do you think the next stage of your life will be like?
I like this stage of my life, I like to live in the present and I am actually doing a lot of work trying not to think too much about the next phase of my life. It really helps fighting fears , anxiety and all that.
What question would you want to be asked at an interview and what would your answer be?
What colour is happiness? Yellow.