Interview: Ljubov Dzuzhynska
Photo: Joeri Thiry
What excites you the most in what you do?
The miraculous moment when things take shape and an accordance of sounds you never heard before comes to life. Whether this is in a live context or in studio work. I live for that…and a few other things of course.
What does it feel like to acknowledge having power over a crowd on the dancefloor and being able to set a certain vibe?
It’s certainly a potent experience. Very primal at times. In this sense, I like it when you succeed with unexpected material. The automatic, certified formulas for ‘bangers’ can be a little bit boring at times. A powerful dancing ritual with some edge, I’m very happy when I see one happening. Very liberating.
If you could go back in time with the knowledge that you have now and change the course of history, what would you change?
You mean like a god? Like Dr. Manhattan in the Watchmen?
I’d probably fuck it up big time, but I guess I’d try and completely reverse the whole tide of history. Tear it up and turn it upside down. Make esotericism the main concern and exotericism a minor phenomenon. Turn Patriarchate into Matriarchate, or maybe Biarchate, Gender-Freearchate, then allow traditional, so called “primitive” societies to develop at their own rhythm without being invaded, pillaged and destroyed. Block any possible development of all sorts of expansionist tendencies. Replace the materialist obsession inherent to modernity with a substantial quest for meaning and transcendence. Just to see how things are. That would be a fun ride regardless of how unsuccessful it will probably turn out to be. Sincerely though, maybe I’d try changing the human brain, just a little alteration could help a lot. We’re always so selfish and greedy. Today we’ve never been so close to material comfort and efficiency and yet we’re even more selfish and greedy than ever. I’d like for more humans to practice humility and stop thinking they are at the centre of everything, or indeed of anything at all. That would be a start.
You present your perception of the underground as a “gnostic cultural tradition” and as a place of resistance to and independence from established cultural dogmas. What modern trends, that might become dogmas bother you?
All of them – despite the fact I find most of them interesting. Once a thing is established it becomes an institution, grows too big and becomes arrogant, it starts losing its true purpose. André Gide once said that he believed in the virtue of the few, that the world would be saved by a few. Whilst the mystic Simone Weil (not to be confused with the minister Simone Veil), a beloved influence of mine, wrote that the world would be saved by the past, at the condition that we would truly love it. Loving as understanding.
But of course, “saved” might just mean that the world wouldn’t lose all its light, as dark as it may become. Maybe it’s all about faith and chivalry, it doesn’t matter if the cause seems lost. The great Simone existed, and she fought her spiritual wars, elevating the whole thing with her strength and her humility. René Daumal did too.
I’m as miserable and hedonistic and short sighted and shallow and small and meaningless as most people. But I give my perception and resistance a thought every now and then. It is not enough, but that awareness does exist.
What’s the most bizarre or unexpected thing about running Idiosyncratics?
I stopped the label a while ago since I’m too busy with RAUM, Orphan Swords and Figure Section but it is an entity I still think about. Before the label existed, I wrote to a few artists and the first guy to answer me was Charlemagne Palestine. He said, “sure I want to be part of your compilation!” which helped me convince all the other artists I wanted (thank you very much Charlemagne).
When the CD had been produced, I suggested meeting up in order to deliver his copies and he kindly invited me to his house where he played a concert on two Bösendorfer pianos with a Spanish friend of his. Both of their star signs were Leo so they called the concert “Two Lions On The Keys”.
I came to the concert/party with a girl I really fancied, and we had the night of our lives. Guy-Marc Hinant of Sub Rosa was there too, it was the first time I met him, he’s one of my good friends now. We drank wine and talked for hours. Charlemagne’s wife Aude told me that he had spent a week recording the track for the compilation, an endeavor that included going to a peep show and recording the sounds made there. After the party was over, we retired to one of the rooms of “Hotel Aude & Charlemagne’s” – as they called it – and made out in an unforgettable way. Making love in the house of a modern shaman is not your average one-night-stand experience. It was ten years ago but I still remember that whole evening with emotion. I’m still very good friends with her and we talked about it only once. It’s just a memory now, things have changed, but I won’t ever forget that night.
The track is called ‘La Beauté Et La Bête’, and the compilation is called Idioscapes. I still think it’s a very good compilation, you can listen to it like an album. It’s built like one, with a proper dramaturgy, so to speak. [compilation HERE]
What have you learned through your projects both on a personal and professional level?
In a market-driven society, there is constant confusion between “culture” and art. It is all about having a product and selling it. And its monetary success will establish its “quality” hence its visibility. “Branding is everything” – that’s what they say. I find it inherently biased, totalitarian and polluting. Anyway, it’s useless to whine about it. All I can do is keep on doing my best to make music I actually want to hear, share it and try to make it “exist”, at least for some people. What prevents me from becoming a hater of it all, giving up, playing chess with my dad until he passes away, then reading Emil Cioran and JK Huysmans in a rocking chair until I pass away myself? Well, it just feels right to keep on going at the moment. It is vital!
Does your music reflect your inner state and personality or it’s more of an external exploration?
Oh, it’s very much about establishing a strong bridge between the internal and the external, so I’d say yes, it is absolutely about inner life, in relation to experience. My concern is more about developing an art of living through creation than a purely formal form of research. Everything we do should be highly personal and intended because everything is so political, so linked to everything else, it says so much about our worldview, about who we are and about the context. That might be the reason why I have explored different genres within different projects but have never fitted them all together in an overly precise and taxonomic way.
I don’t have an obsession with being original or singular, but I have an obsession with integrity. This trait encourages creative decisions like singing in an unconventional way and producing 100% improvised modular sets in clubs, when I could just play on CDJs all the time and make way more money. I like it rough and adventurous, it’s like a wild plunge.
Who is or was your biggest teacher in life?
Apart from life itself: Olga Fedorova.
Why do you think there is an urge to associate techno with darkness and aggression?
It probably reflects the violence of the time. What I am mostly concerned about is how much we fail to escape mass consumerism, because that reflects mass alienation. We are a part of that process no matter how rich our countries are. For instance, I am not against experimenting with drugs and it is a part of club culture, but I’d love to see more people actually experimenting and achieving a deeper state of consciousness instead of repeating the same patterns all the time. I mean clubs as spaces for purposeful rituals rather than mere escapism and immature self-destruction.
I go to alternative clubs at times and witness elite consumerism, which is just the same but on a smaller scale, with hipper people, drugs, drinks and music, but still. It maintains the same paradigm. Sometimes I think it annihilates the subversive potential of the beautiful energetic people I see there. I hope I am wrong! They have such a strong potential to change society, and they are such nice individuals, generally speaking.
What is your life motto?
Stay true to yourself. It’s the only way. But crush your own ego and learn from it as much as you possibly can.
Do you think that creativity is something that can be learned?
To some extent. You’ve got to have a certain degree of curiosity and to have had some triggers pulled early enough. It’s a big stroke of luck to be creative. It transforms a shitty life into a fascinating one.
What do you think the next stage of your life will be like? What’s coming for you?
I love that my projects are broadening their audience because I love sharing the music we make. If my projects don’t keep on growing as they do now, I guess I’ll jump earlier than I planned into the not-giving-a-fuck part, I mean, being done with trying to promote anything at all. I’ll do my music for those who want to hear it and keep on learning and teaching. I also hope to have time to practice more soto zen meditation, see thousands of films and read about them, to read more about mysticism, and the (massively misunderstood) middle ages. I want to experiment with plenty of other things that I am curious and excited about of course. It is endless.
What was the wisest thing you’ve ever heard?
The no assholes rule of Anthony Bourdain and John Waters: ‘Real wealth is never having to spend time with assholes.’
What was the most memorable question you were asked?
Is it fun to be you?
What question would you like to be asked in an interview and what would your answer be?
I’ve been thinking about this so much and can’t come to a conclusion. It’s such a tough one. Be careful what you wish for, I guess. But anyway, I think I generally deliberately use interviews to say whatever I want, and your questions were excellent ones, so no need. Godspeed to all music lovers, freedom seekers and gentle souls.