Does your artistic identity remain the same whether you are playing techno or creating special projects like this one with the 4D?
I guess yes – but first we have to define what artistic identity means – it’s something like a personal filter through which you want to express. It still comes from you so I guess this identity is still the same but the approach is a little bit different.
What about the goals?
No, the goals of course are different. The main goal is to travel somewhere [laughs] but I think what changes is the approach to things and also the subject, obviously. When I play techno it’s still more of an entertainment and of course it’s a club-dance orientated event – even if my approach was giving it all my love – maybe it’s a little less personal I would say. In terms of identity, the A/V shows are more focused on the subject itself – there is a story behind it and it’s less compromising. It shows different aspects of music.
Is there a chance for these two ways of reception to merge? Can you imagine a 4D rave?
Theoretically yes but technically it’s a bit more difficult. In techno the repetitive bass in space wouldn’t work the same way as if you have a stereo sound system, then it’s kind of just the physicality of sound. But it should be more abstract and it would work much better than straightforward techno.
How did you get in touch with the institute? What was the link?
It was actually a project called Techno Is Space, based in Amsterdam and then we kept the contact.
You were playing gabber back in Russia.
Yeah, I had my moments with hardcore.
So you went radical?
I think it matched my age because I was 18. I mean I’m still interested in different kinds of music but I had my way against my emotional state with this sort of rage. The music got more violent it so felt good to me but it passed.
Do you think political environment influences techno artists as well?
I’m sure it can have an influence on some people but I don’t think personally that music should be too political or only political. There should be something else like the bases of a human desire, it’s even something more than that. Of course it can happen both ways – the music also could somehow create a movement like punk or whatever – it could be political or the opposite, you know, like a response to reality. But it’s not only that, and I think when it’s only that, then that’s kind boring [laughs]. I think music is way beyond politics, it’s bigger than that.
And if it’s it the case how could it appear in music?
There are no political bass lines. The element that could become political is actually words. You could say ‘I hate violence’ for example or ‘I hate repression’ in a different way. You could visualise it or write a track, but still you need to verbalise it.
Tonight the entry was 25 Euros. For example in Berlin this fee would be totally accepted but in economically disadvantaged countries like this one some of the youngsters and students cannot experience this kind of music due to financial issues. What’s your opinion on this topic?
I understand the point here. Sometimes it’s difficult to access culture. But you have to see the perspective if you want this kind of projects to exist there is no funding. There are such limited spaces.
Could the value of art be relative to GDP for example?
I want to support culture. I do shows for free and I do come for a little money of course in a proportional way. You know, if the rave is big and there are sponsors you get paid well. I have certain aspects, of course – for example there was an event in Lithuania; they didn’t have the budget and they said we really want to do this. So I went for it for the passion.
You might be bored of this question but how do you see woman’s situation in the electronic music industry?
I think it’s getting better and I think we should stop moaning about it like ‘oh it’s a male orientated world’ although it still is, but instead of crying, you should just do things and keep doing them. I believe that if you are persistent and good enough and have a minimum of talent or something to show, it will come out one way or the other. There are some who say ‘they don’t want to book us because we are women’ – nonsense.
But there is the other side of it as well when the female artist gets objectified for example in promotional texts. You know, like when they write ‘the princess of techno is arriving’.
I think that’s ok, everybody is a prince or princess of techno. What I don’t like for example in French sometimes they write ‘DJane’. I hate this word. Disc jockey is disc jockey. You don’t need to specify the gender. Now there is a quota for the festivals in Canada for example – they have to include women in the 50% of their line-up.
What are the ups and downs of running a record label?
There are only downs [laughs]. The ups when the record is coming out. Fullpanda is a very small label I’m not pushing I just release music I like basically. The downs are we never make money on the record or we’re just luckily on zero.
How long does it take to release a record?
Sometimes it’s long. Right now the next records should come out in ten days – we are two weeks late because of the factory and there was a problem with the cover as well. For the next record Lars (part of Lada) did his own artwork. From the moment the masters are ready it takes two or three months at least. But before that, first I need to listen to it for six months or a year and that’s why sometimes I’m really slow in releasing music. I’m very picky [laughs].
How would you categorize the sort of music you are looking for?
I need to hear a personality. Of course it’s still subjective and also it’s techno but not some functional techno that makes you dance immediately. It should be more cerebral, more emotional and not so obvious. There are great obvious tracks which I would listen to and maybe play but for the label that’s not what I’m searching for. It should have this little twist. Fullpanda is interested in a piece of art or someone’s twisted personality. The label is still young and developing, I think. My taste is changing. Nothing is static.
Could you name some of the active artists?
At the moment Lars has a solo project and Stephanie Sykes – who is kind of constant – and I used to have Stanislav Tolkachev but that couldn’t work out. I still love his music. Artistically I was in love with it but unfortunately it was an unhappy love.
You are on the market for eleven years now and you are still up and running. Do you have any advice to those who are running or creating new labels?
I don’t have like a specific advice. Just keep it sincere. It’s not about how big you are. Search for something personal – not just for the sound of the moment or the hype of the moment.
Is it possibly to avoid sponsored content? I mean if you silently release series of quality material could it be discovered by the public?
It’s even a dilemma for me. I never ever paid any promotions for Fullpanda. Nowadays it’s so much information and it’s more difficult than it was ten years ago. The way this system functions – apparently – you have to bring it out to be heard. I don’t believe the hype but it does work.
Which sides of the music industry are shaping the forthcoming trends?
I think all elements. It’s the musicians the audience and the blogs at the same time. Brian Eno has a great definition of it. It’s called ’scenius’. It’s a term that he invented. Collective genius means ’scenius’. It’s not about one single man who is genius because singularity is genius. It’s about a group of people.
Like in network theory?
Exactly. There are some elements that accidentally work. Everybody plays a role.
What could these trends be?
I think electro is coming back. The Drexciya kind of electro I mean.
There are 16 tracks on your latest album, 16 phases of troublesome but very deep sleep. Was this particular number of tracks consciously chosen?
No, actually there was one more track which I had to throw out from the album. Just because technically it wouldn’t fit to the CD and also because the track was questioned. The recording was a track for cello which I recorded with an electronic cello. The label suggested that I would record it with a real instrument, so I did. But it sounded too warm.
Would you recommend us a contemporary classical musician and a techno producer as well?
I really liked the last album of Grischa Lichtenberger – I think it has some very interesting pieces. In classical music, I have another moment of Maurice Ravel and of course Ligeti if I’m in the right moment.
Lastly; what are you reading now?
Right now: The Sorrows of Young Werther by Goethe.
Thank you very much Dasha and have a good time with AnD at Malta next weekend.
The interview took place after Dasha’s 4DSOUND show in Budapest. Thanks for the support of the organizers.
The photo is taken from Raster-Noton.