10th Annual Dance/Electronica Song Winner
10th Annual Dance/Electronica Album
Vox Pop Winner
10th Annual Dance/Electronica Song
Vox Pop Winner
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Record Label: Sixteenth Republic Records
Home Base: New York, NY
Genre: Alternative Electronic Pop Rock
Categories Entered: Dance/Electronica Album, Dance/Electronica Song
Works Submitted: Automatons (album), “Automatons” (song)
Artists Featured: Adam Levy, Ilya Lagutenko, Fernanda Faya, Kevin Reagan
Label: Sixteenth Republic Records
Influences: Peter Gabriel, Depeche Mode, Meshell Ndegeocello, Pat Metheny Group, Erykah Badu, The Brecker Brothers
What’s the meaning of your name? The word “svoy” in my language is ambiguous and could mean “independent,” “local,” “one’s own,” “one’s friend.” There were no other contenders.
Describe your nominated work: Automatons, along with its title track, is my sophomore self-produced effort, a quintessence of various influences over the years and a snapshot of where I was as a writer, producer, performer, recording, mixing and mastering engineer, designer and art director at the time when this work was completed.
Why did you choose to submit this work to The 10th IMA’s? I feel strongly about this work and yearn for more people who love music to hear it. Independent Music Awards is a fantastic platform for new music to get heard and an opportunity for independent artists, who are yet to have the might of major label promotion behind them, to become more visible. It’s an honor to be nominated at the 10th IMA and a special one to be nominated in two categories.
Did you use any unusual effects or instruments in this recording? For this recording, a more fitting question would probably be “was there a moment where you did not use unusual effects or instruments” \:^) And the answer would be “yes” – track “One for the Road” was recorded as a single acoustic piano/voice take using only one microphone.
Were there any happy accidents while in the studio, or did everything go as planned? My happiest and most unpredictable accidents are my guest performers and collaborators – I am lucky to have Adam Levy (multi platinum-selling singer/songwriter, guitar master for Amos Lee, Tracy Chapman, member of The Norah Jones Handsome Band) and Ilya Lagutenko (frontman/leader of Russia’s superstar rock band Mumiy Troll, MTV Award winner, multi mega-hit songwriter/singer/actor) on this record. As well as Brazil’s extraordinary photographer Fernanda Faya and the legendary 3-time Grammy Award-winning art director/designer Kevin Reagan, who graced this album with logo design.
Did fans help you fund this project? I knew that my fans were expecting this album anxiously and that alone gave me a plenty of urge to complete it. And since this project is entirely self-produced, I was very fortunate to have “0” overhead (otherwise I would not have been able to afford it).
Who’s sitting in your audience? If I may, I would like to combine this and the next question – people with minds and ears open to the full spectrum of sonic and thematic experiences, open to searching, finding and exploring, trusting to be on any kind of musical journey with me. The kind of people that are sitting in Miles Davis, Pat Metheny Group, Meshell Ndegeocello’s audiences and beyond. And such people are indeed exceptionally unique.
Are there any songs you wish you wrote? Yup – Peter Gabriel “Red Rain”, Depeche Mode “Policy of Truth”, Meshell Ndegeocello “Liliquoi Moon”, Pat Metheny Group “Across the Sky”, The Brecker Brothers “Evocations”
What artists are you listening to that would surprise your fans? Anything that I listen to, hopefully, would not surprise my fans, as they are aware of how broad and eclectic my taste in music is. And hopefully so is theirs!
What is your dream show lineup? A group of talented well-trained musicians that I would trust enough to help me take music to a different place every night. They don’t have to be big names. Although I still do enjoy playing solo very much.
What are your guilty pleasures on the road? It’s very basic actually – my guiltiest pleasures are good food and good sleep.
Any close calls or mishaps while on tour? Everything seems to have gone very smoothly so far.
Do you have any rituals before you go on stage? Just a cup of good green tea really does it for me before going on stage.
Should music be free? I like the “pay what you want if you want” model. It seems the most reasonable. But this is only when it comes to recorded music, not to publishing, merchandise or live shows.
How has digital affected your career? It absolutely opened new horizons for distribution, since I can make my music accessible in all major music markets around the globe now.
Are digital singles vs. full albums the future of music? It probably depends on the quality of album material. I have been listening to TV on the Radio’s “Dear Science” in the past couple of days and realize it would be a shame to just hear one track from it, since the whole record is a finished one-piece work of art. So are most Meshell Ndegeocello or Erykah Badu’s albums and many great new and old records that are out there. And I do buy single tracks from time to time, too. This is an exciting era for music listeners and I am glad there is actually a choice between buying a single track or an album now.
Finish this sentence: The music industry is… transforming for better. It’s a thrilling change with its new exposure opportunities for both major and independent artists and its new revenue avenues and models for big and small entertainment business players. On a side note, what has always been the case and will remain unchanged is the necessity for artists to be both musicians and businessmen, to know how the music industry works, where it is going, and how to get the best out of it without sacrificing too much, be it artistic integrity or rights. But this is definitely a very exciting time for all parties involved – artists, music industry professionals and, most importantly, music listeners.
Thanks for the great questions!