Interview: Elena Savlokhova
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What have you learned through Rvde on a personal and professional level?
Vasco: Certainly the importance of commitment and perseverance, commitment and having clear objectives.
Frank: Could be strange but since we play as Rvde I improved myself to be more social than before, in real life I mean. I became more patient yet determined than before, trying to see other views besides my own. Also, I learned to approach an easier way to life: considering one trouble at a time, each time. This could also be applied to the way I like to work in the studio – clean and without any rush. I think composing as Rvde helps me a lot in getting better knowledge and production tips, also approaching things as a duo opens up new soundscapes due to Vasco’s influences.
What is the enemy of creativity and how do you fight it?
Frank: I think the worst way to approach production sessions is that any time you “must” do it but honestly you don’t have that particular sound or beat in the mind. Usually, it happens when I have too many things to think about. Often there’s no time to produce but lots of ideas, and then when you’ll get the time you want to do a thousand other things. Bad… But the best way to fight this, as I just said before, is to focus on singular things every time. Multitasking can be very productive but, in order to be creative, your mind has to be free.
Vasco: Personally feeling too safe and satisfied does not make me express at best, I must always have a bit of “dissatisfaction” to push me then it brings out something valid.
What disappoints you the most in your field of work?
Vasco: There are so many things you realize over the years and they are not the way you imagined them to be. But the important thing is not to lose sight of the only important thing in this whole game, which is the passion for music. If you are very clear, everything else does not matter.
Frank: If you mean into my main job… To have three bosses instead of just one, many heads together that are not working the same way, is always a bad thing in taking one single decision. …oh, and to not be paid regularly. If you mean our role as DJs and producers in the “techno business” I can’t think of something specific. I mean, I like this music and I still find it exciting to play it around. I feel pretty creative, and I’m still interested in experimenting with audio techniques, so it’s ok eheh. I enjoy what we’re doing and how we’re doing it and I’m always grateful for that.
What was the last thing youíve done or experienced for the very first time?
Frank: Last thing I’ve experienced in my life is living really by myself. I was used to being in relationships since before my 20’s, I just experienced living outside, living in a home as a couple and all that stuff. Only lately I’m discovering how it is to share feelings, emotions, good or bad things of life with myself. Yeah, I still have someone in my family, but it’s different from living every day with the same person for years. It makes me very excited, about what could happen every day, but I have to admit there are certain moments in which I think about my entire life – all those bad but also good moments that are gone.
Vasco: Oh fuck, it’s a really tough question. A new experience that I had (and that I won’t do again because I thought I was going to die) was throwing myself down from a mountain of about 2400 meters with a downhill bike. I also crashed.
Could you share an awkward or a funny story from your career?
Vasco: Once I remember having played at an event (I will not say which one) and having returned home without the understanding of who was actually the real host of the evening. We had met a lot of people but not those who had physically contacted us to play there, very much strange.
Frank: Yeah, not that much happened really, or can be remembered at least… Yet every time I tell the same story about playing in front of five thousand people in Paris and that time the police and fire police stopped the warehouse party while we were playing etc… Thinking of Paris, I remembered that time that we got two separate double rooms even though we asked for a single double room in our contract. We were playing very late that time so around 1:00 AM I was woken up by reception, they told me that two guys were waiting for their room in the hall, and their room was the one I was in. They did a mistake, so I took my stuff and went down before going to Vasco’s room. I met the guys who were waiting for more than an hour, told them that I was sorry but it wasn’t my fault. Oh, and they were Ghost In The Machine and they were playing the same night. It was a funny way to get in touch!
What do you appreciate the most in each other?
Frank: One of our key points is our differences I think. I like Vasco’s determination. Speaking about studio experiences I like his way of seeing how things are going only in black or white; no time wasted on hundreds of grey shades. Only when we focus on a common sound that we recognize it’s the right sound we’re looking for – then we can start to shade and blur and make that sound exciting. I’m more into listening to a loop for a couple of hours when I work alone, and making small tweaks only to make a slight difference. Yet every time I come down to the conclusion that I was wasting time on details before the track is ready. Lately, we have this common idea that the first rough version of a track or a session is always the better one. The challenge is to improve ourselves and redefine all the stuff for a better first performance eheh.
Vasco: For sure the dedication to the project. We have been in this for so many years and we are still here to carry forward what we’ve set ourselves to.
What is the most beautiful thing youíve ever seen or experienced in your life?
Frank: Travelling is the best. I was lucky enough to travel a lot since I was very young playing in a hardcore punk band. We toured Europe about three or four times between 1996 and 1999. And at that time I was still a teen. Also, I discovered traveling for pleasure: doing lots of very long trips by car and camping around. I learned lots of things on a personal level during those years. Then we started to play quite often with Rvde about four years ago, and once again I have to say that going somewhere for a weekend, or just a night every time we play is still one of the best experiences: discovering new places, people and just turning off your head from the everyday routine is awesome.
Vasco: Music gives me continuous satisfaction. When you are driven by a great passion (maybe, many times you’ve felt misunderstood), and then to finally see people who understand and appreciate what you do – that is magnificent.
What do you think really matters at the end of life?
Vasco: Everything and nothing. I personally believe that being satisfied and not having a lot of remorse helps to live well with everything else, like the family, love, friends, and passions… It’s very good in theory but less good in practice.
Frank: It’s a cynical thought but I think what really matters in life is tricking our own brain.
Throughout our lives, we create a lot of ambitions, but we know very well that only a part of them can be satisfied and fulfilled.
I believe that the important thing in life is to maintain a sort of balance between what we would like to have and what we know or can satisfy. Any distraction that occupies our brain distracts us from this thought and so I imagine that habits, vices and the worst defects of each of us are born from that.
How would you describe your work and its aesthetic to someone who is not yet familiar with it?
Vasco: We make club music, no ornaments, no compromises, no philosophy from techno prophets. The important thing is to make people dance.
Frank: Today our sound could be defined as modern techno influenced by rave and 90s sounds. Lately, they have united us to certain trance sounds of those years, but I believe that all this does not fully reflect us. It must be said that since we started as Rvde our approach has been quite experimental. We started with the simplest things to be able to work and create more characteristic sounds. While increasingly enriching the sound with various distortions and dirt we came to produce what was then called industrial. We soon realized that many were going in that direction and soon it would reach such saturation that it would be overconsumed – a competition for those who pushed the most. We then focused on greater danceability and our live performance, opting for greater cleanliness of sound and perhaps increasing the bpm a bit. Less sound but more effective is our guideline today.
What do you think the next stage of your life will be like?
Frank: This is a funny question at the moment. If you asked me the same thing a couple or so years ago, I’m sure I would exactly know how to answer. I was used to making plans for my life. During the last years, everything changed. I can’t see what it will be like in a few years and I’m not even sure what I need and what I want to do in my personal life yet. Time will tell for sure…
Vasco: I really don’t know what awaits me, life so far has been really a surprise. I hope I always have time to devote myself to my affections and passions.
What film would you recommend and why?
Frank: Uhm, not due to its cultural content or serious themes, but I was thinking about ‘The Goonies’ some days ago, and I was also thinking that there are no more movies like that nowadays. A story developed in a single day, edited in a couple of hours, in which lots of unreal and magic stuff happens, managed by “normal people”. It’s so addictive to who is viewing it because it just makes you dream (when you’re 10-14 at least). I think everyone should watch that at least once.
Vasco: Lately I don’t have much time for movies, unfortunately, but I’m a lover of heavy stories.
Is there something you are still trying to prove to yourselves?
Frank: Definitely. I’m trying to prove to myself every day that I’m still alive and it could be even better. I like to follow small targets in my life that I can reach day by day. Whenever I won’t have these targets anymore, I will consider myself an old man. Those sort of ambitions make you alive.
Vasco: That we must not give up what we believe in, we must not be distracted by the obstacles of life and aim straight at what has always made you dream. We must not give up.
What qualities do you value the most in people? Would you say that you stick to those qualities yourselves?
Vasco: I really appreciate the humility and simplicity in people. I don’t like people who push it, I don’t think there is too much need for words or images. I still think the substance is important, even more so in these times without substance.
Frank: I think I’m pretty good at understanding people, at least according to my own scheme and order of principles. I think the quality I value the most in a person is trust, from a certain point of view we can define it as honesty or morality. And I think I’m a very honest person. This does not mean to be on the right side every time, indeed … The eyes usually tell me a lot about the person, and at my age, I think I have learned who to trust and those I can’t – I’m just not looking at them.
Things you canít unthink (things that are constantly on your mind).
Vasco: Work, the real one with which you pay your bills and do the shopping. It takes over. The boring and predictable reality that is imposed on me, that steals precious time from life, that doesn’t allow you to live to the fullest.
Frank: The obsession with the passage of time. It is one of the few things in our everyday lives with which we absolutely cannot intervene. With other things we can decide not to consider them, to stop them temporarily.
I constantly think that in every moment time could be used in a more useful way. But then I realise that it is all a question of priorities and points of view. So nothing that I constantly think about can be deemed important. And focusing on the moment makes you lose sight of tomorrow. But programming too much tomorrow means not living in the now … Intricate, it’s a continuous struggle.
What question would you like to be asked in an interview and what would your answer be?
Vasco: I’m really chatty, but I’m not strong with interviews.
I would still like to make it clear that there is nothing to be taken for granted, that behind things there is always a lot of commitment and dedication. I would like to make it clear to those who approach this world and are distorted by a stereotypical image of things.
Frank: How old are you and what’s your real name… And my answer could be “How old do you think I am and Frank. Or Charli. As you want”.