Recently, a number of death-inspired cult collectives have disbanded – from Death Grips to Crystal Castles. Fortunately, this hasn’t yet happened in Russia. One such example of these young Moscow-based groups is electronic duo IC3PEAK who recently released their EP, Vacuum, on the French label Stellar Kinematics, and have already embarked on a full European tour. Not only do they produce music, they also create all the visuals: photos, VJing, and videos.
M24.ru spoke with IC3PEAK, and found out from the artists their thoughts on death, visualizations, terrorizing the internet, and musicians’ greed.
You guys have a whole tour in support of your EP – where are you performing?
Kolya (Nick): After Moscow, we’ll be in St. Petersburg, and then in Europe – Paris, Bordeaux. Afterwards – Riga, Helsinki. That’s the plan for now. And then we’ll travel around Russia.
How did you break out in Europe?
Nastya: The EP came out on the French label Stellar Kinematics – they were the ones who organized our European tour.
They release the same type of witch-house?
Nastya: (Laughs) At first it was funny that we bring to mind these associations.
Kolya: Yea, we’re not witchy at all (laughs). Yes, we have a dark atmosphere – there are witch-house influences in the early tracks – the synths, the saw. But we are no less influenced by noise and industrial music. It’s just that when people say we play witch house, we get a bit insulted. Although at first it was funny…but not for long.
Recently the label came out with an EP called Opale – they are two ladies. Also Mathematique has a great release and a cool video. Overall, I have heard a lot of good things from this label.
How would you then define your music?
Kolya: We don’t really like to do that, but if we have to – experimental electronica. A concept which should explain it, but doesn’t really say anything.
Nastya: Experimental pop, you could say.
How long did you work for on your last album?
Kolya: Eight months max, probably. It’s just that, during that time, we were also writing other music. For other releases, to be exact.
Nastya: When you’re making an EP, it’s important to have integrity. In general, Kolya makes tracks pretty fast – as in, in a day. So on that day I can already record the vocals. And usually we have a finished song right away. The same goes for the clips since we have an audiovisual project, meaning the visual and the audio parts are equal. I think that, as a media artist today, it’s impossible to make music without visual content. The same way as say, for example, it is difficult to understand information using only sight or only sound. All the visual material starts at zero and carries a particular message which corresponds to our concept. Be it a music video, GIF, VJing, or photography, with which we “terrorize” the Internet space. It’s figurative terror – the visual content is aggressive and the viewer doesn’t choose what he sees – the information is imposed from without.
Tell us then about the last video for the Collapse track – did you film it all yourselves?
Nastya: Yes, that’s our second such attempt. The first clip we shot from beginning to end on vacation in Goa. With this one, we had help from friends, though we directed and edited it ourselves. In other words, all the post-production is us.
Kolya: We’re having another video come out for the track Vacuum soon – it’s going to be great, it’s been ready now for a month and a half. We’re waiting for the label to okay everything.
Why did you decide to step away from the gloomy themes finally?
Kolya: It’s the times (laughs).
Nastya: That all comes from within, but from surroundings as well.
Does the underworld attract you? Do you believe in reincarnation?
Kolya: I’m not attracted to the underworld. I don’t believe in reincarnation and other esoteric types of fear-based thinking. Death is the thing that forces me to act, because it will inevitably come.
Nastya: Kolya and I studied at the same university, at РГГУ*, to be translators. Kolya was already into music, he was doing a harsh kind of dubstep. At that point it was just him singing and he needed a female vocalist. I tried to sing. Soon we got tired of it because the music was very morose and not very extroverted.
Kolya: I started with the projects Oceania, which is still active. But honestly, it’s better not to hear it. It was all too constrained into a frame. “You have to do it like this, and no other way.” Then I was suffering from some sort of academicism. The whole spectrum, everything about it. When we got tired of it, we started writing some weird sketches, and then the track Quartz came about. We decided we need a new project because the track just wasn’t fitting in.
Did you have some sort of additional education or was it all self-taught?
Kolya: I was studying sound engineering, but it probably hindered more than helped. It took up a lot of time.
Nastya: I never studied it but as far as I remember I have always been singing. My mom is an opera singer. To be honest, I’ve always had a complex because of that – anytime I went anywhere, everyone would say, “Oh! Your mom is an opera singer, sing something for us!” By the way, she likes our music – I’ve got an open-minded woman!
Kolya: Well, yes but we don’t really listen to them. I couldn’t even tell you the name of any one of their tracks, to be honest.
It’s just that I have read somewhere that people are calling you the Russian Crystal Castles.
Kolya: About the comparison – it doesn’t feel good. We never liked them, nor did we ever listen to them. We are worldwide IC3PEAK, not “Russian Crystal Castles.”
So what do you like? What have you been listening to lately?
Kolya: The last thing that really got me was The Knife and their album Shaking the Habitual. I started to get really into them – I didn’t listen to them before.
Nastya: Besides music, they have really amazing performances.
They are over as well, by the way.
Kolya: Yes, and RIP to Death Grips, they are all dying out.
Nastya: Besides that, we like stuff from the label PC Music, like Hannah Diamond and Sophie. They have a completely different aesthetic, it’s such dance-y music that you just can’t dance to. They’re probably being ironic.
Should we be expecting any new releases from you anytime soon?
Nastya: We have plans to raise a lot of money through crowdfunding for a new album. So, no, not really.
Kolya: Yes, there will be another EP, and then we’ll get busy for a full length album. All the musicians are doing it like that, collecting money for a release, as if it’s necessary.
Original article can be found at http://www.m24.ru/articles/58395
РГГУ or Российский государственный гуманитарный университет – RSUH, Russian State University of Humanities in Moscow, Russia