I’ll start off by saying that I love how well these interviews are being received. It great to see an idea that started two years ago, now revamped for a new ZF blog is an overall success. It makes the work I put in worth while and trust me when I say, I’ve got something big in the pipeline coming at the end of this month. Back to today’s interview though, the artist in question actually read some of our earlier works and emailed me directly wanting to be a part of the 5 Minutes with… series. His name is Nikita Villeneuve.
Nikita is a Russian Lo-Fi producer/label owner that stands out from the crowd. His track Аутсайдер is an absolute rave weapon. The song comprises of huge piano stabs that will soar through any system with hard kick drums to compliment the overall rawness of this banger (It’s no surprise his label is called Raw Russian). This one will have your audience stomping the club floor all night long.
ZF: What would say was your first experience with electronic music?
Nikita: I began to make electronic music in 2007, it was really funny and confusing time. There was an Emo subcultural in Russia and all teens had that popular side sweep ego haircut and listened to sad songs. Then me and some guys were busy for creating baseline and dubstep stuff. Primitively, of course. And then we left this all behind and became emo. So cringey.
ZF: When did you start making electronic music and why?
Nikita: I became serious in music in 2009, at that time I made my very personal and favourite album “Тоска EP”. It’s personal because I tried to express my emotions and mind about the worst time, which can’t be returned to. It’s about 2000s, about the time we lived and about my motherland – Russia.
ZF: Can you tell me a bit about how your label
‘Raw Russian’ was formed and what’s its guiding purpose?
Nikita: Raw Russian is more than just a label. It’s a society, small world, where people find something personal and take ownership of that concept. Raw Russian is not only about raw itself , but is about having it in heart. You could say it’s some kind of post-modern on ruins of perfect types. A new cult, where people unite 2 things: their vision concerning modern music, (not only what we have on MTV) and their feelings about the new world, including Russia nowadays.
ZF: If you could sign any artist to your label who would it be and why?
Nikita: Raw Russian’s conceptual part is to release only Russian producers, but I’d really like to release two underground stars on my label: Chris Gray and Huerco S.
ZF: Living in Russia I’m sure that the underground music scene must differ to that of the rest of Europe, what are your thoughts on this?
Nikita: Our scene is very distinctive. The way we spend parties inside squats is still outstanding among the younger and often it’s condemned by the police, which makes such parties more interesting. Also every Russian producer has got his or her own unique feature-all of them work on atmosphere and soul more than just on mainstream stuff. Anyway, there are some disadvantages, folks don’t get the old school house in the outer provinces, but I think right DJs will find a cure for this problem in the future.
ZF: How would you describe the spirit of the 00’s in Russian art and culture?
Nikita: I think all these ideas and aesthetics are in minds of young ones, but it’s always necessary to have a guide in something new. So we’re trying to get into this role. To show the right way. It’s of course just words, but it’s cool that all these ideas/aesthetics are now conversing on to our offline life away from the screens. But why is all this happening? I think it’s all about obvious melancholy and nostalgia, about those cities which we never have returned to. But this option suits the twenty somethings, I digress. And then there are kids of Z generation, who know and don’t know about such things like pagers, prime time tv, etc. But sisters and brothers’ stories about “the horrible but interesting” 90s make them interested. That’s where they start their exploration.
ZF: You have just started a new sub label called Lo-Fi opposition.
Can you tell me the motivations behind starting this side project?
Nikita: There was time, early 2000s when we had really good and worthy hip hop projects, but sadly at present they are almost all in oblivion. I decided to recollect the time and regain the culture of “right” hip hop instead of the mainstream crap, which is everywhere in my country and world. We’re open for demo tracks from different hip hop performers. The requirement is that we accept only old school hip hop.
ZF: I have to ask, have you ever fired a AK47?
Nikita: Yeah, I’ve fired this gun once. It’s a big russian tradition, same as drinking vodka. We fire AK 47 at military venues. It stems from back in school, when kids like me have military practice.
ZF: Can you teach me one of your favourite Russian expressions?
Nikita: I like this expression “kazhdomu svoe”. It means that everybody gets what he or she wants to get and there is a purpose for it.
ZF: Which part of the year is your favourite and why?
Nikita: I love the summer time. Almost all my best stuff was made in the summer. This season is mystery for me more or less. That’s why probably I love it so much.
ZF: What is the funniest thing you can tell me about your country?
Nikita: Firstly, all Russians always complain about their salary, about their expenses and everybody complains and so on. But almost everybody has got a nice car, flats, etc. How did they get all this stuff if they haven’t got money? Who knows…
Secondly, most Russians are involved in one thing, that is called “ponytia” or AУЕ when they become older. It is like a bunch of prison rules they lead until the end of their lives. Such people are called “blatnye” and they live a life from jail to jail. Their life full of interesting stuff.
Massive respect and thanks to Nikita for
his time and effort in collaboration for this article