Anusaya had a chance to interview the owner of net-label “GV sound,” which releases a lot of electronic albums, and self-named music creator SiJ.
Please, introduce yourself and tell us how your music career started?
– Hello. My name is Vlad. I have been sharing my life with music since I was a kid – vinyls, radio, cassettes, CDs and now web-releases too. I’ve come a long way from a listener of popular music to extreme genres of electronicica and eventually I was drawn into the creative process by beginning to make my own sounds.
When did you decide to start your own project to introduce your music to people? What projects are you working on now?
– In 2011 I recorded 2 works in the “noise” genre and uploaded them on a Russian forum immediately. Those albums contained only one 45-minute track on each – The names of albums are “B.J.D I” и “,.J.D II.” These pieces were completely not serious and I just wanted to see how people would respond. I was really surprised with what I got back.
SiJ is my main focus – I have had other projects, but right now I don’t have a reason to tell about them.
What kind of response was it? Did first listeners give you inspiration to continue creating music? Or something else?
From the beginning I didn’t have any plans to continue in music, but after that response it turned into a virtual friendship. That person was a real music fan and was making their own music with synthesizer. After some demos were shared, I was inspired to make new ambient melodies. Again, it was a really long song – about 50 minutes! But that time, I didn’t use any noise sounds – Just a 50-minutes ambient melody with sounds of rain and thunder. That album was named “There Will Come Soft Rains“, in association with the same named Sara Teasdale’s poem. After publication, the album received a lot of positive feedback on the same forum.
It was a collaboration wasn’t it?
– Yes, in fact, it was all teamwork. I used Anna Vorobyova’s demos as a base, editing and mixing them with recordings of rain and thunder. But anyway, the recording was released under the same name, I didn’t change it.
How many releases has SiJ had since 2011? How did they change during this time?
– A lot; 15 albums not counting compilations. But now, I think that most of them are not interesting and not deserving of any attention. Some of them have a lot of noise sounds, some of them are really raw and foolish. But anyway, I do not have the means or motivation to remove them from the internet. Each of them has its own story and if nothing else, people can compare them and make their own choice.
Over these years my compositions have turned away from noise, to an ambient sound.
This is really a lot of work over quite a short period of time. Can we make an assumption that SiJ’s music will be progressing in any other genres? Which genres do you prefer?
– I have a lot of recordings, but not of quality. Therefore, nothing I would share. My first work was different, and the sound quality of the album “Deep In Space” is good.
By the way, that was a solo-work, because at that time Anna left the project. This album combined all genres of previous works – noise, drone, ambient and a little bit of exotic pulse-ambient. I like a lot of genres of music, perhaps, except for hip-hop, Chanson and some different non-electronic music. I think I’ll be continuing to make not major electronic music, while sometimes mixing it with quite popular down-tempo beats for example. Also, I use the word “music” when describing my work, but I don’t consider myself a musician. And this, will never change.
SiJ’s music is clearly instrumental, but can you name some things you put in your melodies? What feelings would you like your music to excite?
– That is a very difficult question. Every person has his own perception and hears different things in the same sounds. I associate my music like a soundtrack to a place or event – which is contained in the album or song title. But truly, that only pertains to works after “Deep In Space.” Early works do not have any particular thing in mind, they are just sounds. Regarding moods, I think my music is quite dark generally. But, I have some light and kind melodies too. But anyway, listeners hear even in them some dark elements.
And how is a soundtrack created? What helps you to make the music?
– Perhaps, I said it wrong (soundtrack)? Actually, it’s just a simple track but in my mind it is a soundtrack. A lot of ideas come while reading books (as a rule), while watching movies, or those things associated with some happening things in my life. If you have an idea, you have a purpose to make something new.
Do you have some inspiration among other musicians – Maybe someone who has influenced you since that day you started to create your own melodies?
– From the beginning, my inspiration from Bad Sector, a one-man musical project. I respect him too. Sometime ago, I was trying to imitate his sound, but that was an error on my part. People have compared my sound with many musicians and bands within that genre.
For example, Astro, Lustmord, Stratvm Terror, Blood Box, Biosphere, Oophoi, Throbbing Gristle, Telomere, Robert Carty, MooZi, Mathias Grassow. But actually, at that moment I didn’t know any of them. I didn’t have any aims to copy their sounds. Therefore, I can’t say who’s really influenced me.
As we can see you have a lot of collaborations with other musicians. How did those alliances begin?
– Yes, I have few works that were recorded with other authors. Sometimes, those collaborations began spontaneously, and sometimes they were thoroughly prepared. Every collaboration, comes after close acquaintance with musician’s works, or after we had short or long conversations. Any collaborated work is a really nice experience, because everyone has their own views, and sometimes it’s really hard to combine different ideas. I’ve worked with musicians from the Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan, Poland, Portugal, and Italy.
Do you have any plans to explore your genre limits and would you consider working jointly with somebody whose music is really far from your own style?
– If, I like that person’s music and I’d have a possibility to work together? Why not. It would be interesting. Concerning genre limits, perhaps if I got a chance to make something really new – I’d try to make it real.
Why do you want to share your music only for free? And why don’t you consider yourself a musician?
– In my opinion, a musician is a person who graduated music school and have a musical instrument. But I have a technical education; I am a computer system engineer. I am making music depending on my hearing ability. Due to this reason, I have to make money with my specialty, but not with music. Music; is just a pleasant hobby.
I like creating music. Therefore, when I upload my music I really want people to hear it. And one of the ways – is make it a free download. Now I seriously use Bandcamp with their system “pay if you want,” because people can choose the price they think the album deserves. In spite of this, I have two works that are unavailable for free. First – album “Influence of Darkness,” which was released by Moscow label “Radiodrone Records” on CDs with limited copies. Second – album “Vale of Forgotten Sounds.” It was released by Romanian label “Ancient Language Records” on different digital distribution sources. Anyway, you can listen to both albums online for free.
Recently, I formed plans to share digital versions of these albums for free and to release each of them on CDs with limited copies for people who prefer music physical copies of their music.
Is SiJ performing on the live sets?
– I haven’t had a chance to do a live performance yet but I’ve been inviting too. Unfortunately, I couldn’t take part in those events due to being too busy. I have been invited to the festivals “Space Of Joy” in 2012, and “Биоритмы” (Biorhythms) in 2013. But because of some unexpected developments, I couldn’t accept either.
Are you playing on any instruments?
– I have a synthesizer, guitar, accordion and a lot of percussion. But I think I can’t play them skillfully. I just derive the sounds using them to my further work. Also, I’m using a portable recorder “Zoom H1” and contact microphones that were made by me.
Along with the music you are the owner of the net-label “GV sound” – How did it start?
– In the beginning it was a SiJ project. My first albums gave a birth to the label. Then other artists started writing to me asking me to publish their compositions. At first I was a little confused, because I’ve never thought about creating and continuing a label for everyone. A little bit later; I was inspired to work with other musicians and the label was founded at the end of March 2011.
Who can join the label? Who will be refused? And why?
– In fact, any author who wants to share his music with listeners can join. But it must be music in the following genres: ambient, dark ambient, drone in general, and also idm, tribal, downtempo, etc. I do not accept “noise” and “black metal.” The important criterion is a quality of music, and of course, I need to like it. It’s totally hard to write refusal to author who sent a work. It’s difficult to write an objective reason of refusal and to give a critical review. Therewith, some authors can’t meet with a refusal response and get angry.
Why are you interested only in uncommercial distribution of music?
– It has the same reasons why I’m not selling my own music. And I think any good music must be heard. Many musicians are very little known, even if they are creating a really wonderful music.
– Is it possible during the time “GV sound” will outgrow limits of the net-label and will start to make commercial production for its artists?
– It will never happen, at least under name “GV sound.” Every new release uploads on archive.org, where anyone can download it for free.
– Has label some active authors who constantly distribute their music through “GV sound?”
– Yes, of course. But I do not have reasons to name them.
– You are from Ukraine. First of all, is label focused on local auditory or all over the world listeners?
– Music of the label is available from any places with internet access. Label has pages on facebook, bandcamp, tumblr and archive.org – a true international sources.
Where do “GV sound” authors get their most valuable feedback?
– Analyzing the internet sources mentioned; facebook, bandcamp, tumblr, archive.org, including Russian social network VK and rutracker.org forum. A lot of positive ffedback comes from former Soviet Union countries. Nowadays, music here is abundant and very often listeners don’t want to download anymore music, and don’t really want to write reviews. Moreover, Russian people very often negatively criticize music and a label’s catalog too. But I’m trying to ignore such negative and motiveless responses. People from other countries give truthful and constuctive reviews, even if they do not like something.
How many foreign musicians are working with label?
– A lot of musicians are from the former Soviet Union countries. With regard to the world, the label has artists from Argentine, USA, Poland, Japan, Romania, etc – on the genre specific compilations you can find music from almost all countries of the world.
Anusaya and I, wuld like to thank Vladislav Sikach for this interview.
Russian version is here.