Edelis — Interview [transcript]
01. Where were you born and lived before moving?
I was born in the Saratov region, in a place called Novopushkino, and lived there until a certain point, I think I lived there till I was 20 years. It is a small settlement of urban type, a suburb of the city of Engels, the place is quite picturesque and cozy, among sprawling fields… there are even lakes not far from the settlement, very ancient… they emit hydrogen sulfide and people come to treat themselves… there are such interesting places. I had there many good acquaintances and friends. In principle, I still have good impressions about this place. Sometimes, of course nostalgia comes and I want to sit down on that bench at the door, where I used to sit when I was young… or whatever it’s called… youthful… to sit in the sandbox, to dig there, to remember childhood… of course I want to go, but as yet I’m not successful with it.
02. Vivid memories of childhood or adolescence?
I loved to seek interesting and mysterious places around the village. To explore, that is, to leave… to take some provisions, rucksack, and go ahead to the four winds. At first to explore south, and then to explore north, to explore west, to explore east… and I used to go to all to all sides, and everywhere I discovered for myself is something new. I had my own secret places. I loved fishing. I loved to find places where fish lives, but that no one knows… that’s… that’s kind of effect of discoverer… or how to call it… I do not know… I still have it with me… in general I’m attracted by places that need to be explored, discovered, about which nobody knows. I had to go far enough… and come back with such enthusiasm after a walk. These are perhaps the best, vivid memories of childhood. These are my adventures.
03. What moment in childhood was a flash, a discoveryr? How old were you then?
Well, I’ve had those moments… in the evening, when I went out to my yard, I began to learn how huge the world is… until then I somehow had the feeling of a small space… like something a little bit outside the village there is a small place… it seemed to me that further on there is something… that the Earth is big, but I could not imagine the scope along with the universe. And one day, coming out at night to my yard, I began to realize location of the planet Earth… I read some first book about planets… went out into the yard and for me it was the discovery that in fact we are like an iceberg in the ocean… I have long wanted to finally realize it… I looked at the stars… for me it was such a revelation that is… well, then I was probably nine or ten years.
04. Your first creation?
We made a birdhouse with my grand father, I painted it myself, and we hung it… It was probably my first creation, which I was proud with. I brought my friends to look at it… well… I did it with my grandfather… Perhaps it was my first work.
05. Your education? Have you got any musical one?
I have vocational secondary education incomplete, I have no music education, it so happened, but I have experience of learning in a music school.
06. Have you tried yourself in graphic arts?
Yes… since child, it so happened that… I discovered in myself this opportunity. I liked to draw and carry it all to a sheet and then, in the future, to a canvas, when I joined art school. I liked to draw, and still like it.
07. Do you paint now?
At the moment, I have painted some abstract pictures and all of them gave away. Now I don’t paint anything, I’m mainly engaged in music.
08. Why did you choose the path of composer, and not an artist?
Well, it went from inside. I realized that I am rather captured by sound, not by some frozen images on a canvas. In general, it seemed to me that it somehow… well… that music is more intimate. At first I did not expect that I have some abilities to write works, it all happened purely by chance. Everything changed in my life in terms of preferences. So the music, the sound is most important for me.
09. What instruments do you play on and what would you still like to master?
I play… My first mastered instrument was Russian accordion, folk instrument. Second mastered — piano, then most likely the guitar… maybe even guitar was the first, then piano… something like that. I would like to learn the flute. I just recently have bought a flute for my daughter. I think maybe my daughter will learn to play and teach me then.
10. How did project Edelis appear?
It appeared certainly not instantly. It all gradually was approaching to necessity to form some whole picture of some image in the music. This picture was forming gradually and the time came when I realized that it was time to give a name to my works. This formation lasted about three or four years. I was just looking for myself and then realized that it was time, you need to give a name to your creativity.
11. Your first music program and in what program are you working now?
My first program was on Sony Playstation and called Music 2000. There were samples of some com positions, melodies, sounds, all that I combined together… meanwhile there was opportunity to make a composition from scratch, using notes. In general, I was most of all impressed, that I can write music not from a library of samples, but create my own pattern using notes. It all started with such program… Then, when I got a computer, I moved to FL STUDIO. I wrote a very long time in this program and it seemed to me, that I shall find nothing better and I do not need. It was all arranged very nicely, nice interface, everything is done for a musician, everything is simple, but time passed and there appeared opportunity to study another program, it is called Nuendo and I realized that I knew nothing about such programs, which are in fact just «higher aerobatics for a musician. FL STUIO is certainly the initial level and this software is rather complicated compared to Nuendo, where everything is much easier and it’s all done for a musician. For me it was just been a revelation, I began to master this program and gradually moved on to Cubase and now I work in Cubase.
12. What are your favorite virtual instruments?
Yes. I have favorite virtual instruments that I always use almost everywhere. I take some atmospheric sounds. It is Omnisphere, the first place of course. Sampler Native Instruments Kontakt. Other instruments as much as possible, or at random.
13. How do the compositions come?
I thought myself recently… I started to reason about how origination of a melody occurs. First of all, I start from the main topic, define the melodic basis of the composition. In fact, everything occurs much easier than people think; they say music is a recorded dream. Maybe it’s so for someone, but I’m different. I go into a state in which I can continue a melody from a few notes. A feeling that this tune is somewhere and I just finish it. That is, if I hear just two notes played in a certain order, the continuation comes, a sketch appears, and from the sketch the composition is born. I just so happens with me. When I begin to write the next album or composition, I never know what would come of it, but there always comes out something interesting. I have a lot of such sketches and I can choose something from it, and somehow sort them.
14. How much time it takes to record an album?
This is a loose concept… really, it depends on how much I’ve got free time. If I have a free week, in principle, I can sketch a rough album during a week. Then, for two or three months to polish it up, to arrange, to improve sound and so on. Somewhere around three months.
15. Why are albums issued no more than once a year?
Here, as everywhere, in every sphere are very many preparatory processes. This is connected with the release on the label, and with compilation of material, because it is not enough to record tracks, it is necessary to professionally mix instruments to a harmonious picture. It turns out that on average it takes half a year to record an album. I know that it is no sense to hurry… somewhere half a year takes compilation and some time is spent to draw up release, to prepart for distribution, and all sorts of bureaucratic moments.
16. What projects have influenced your music?
I grew up with Enigma, she helped me a lot to understand… Jarre also contributed some such moments, thanks to which I knew I what I want to add to my works. More… Most likely, probably… Deep Forest, also has influenced strongly… I listened to it constantly. I liked combination of ethnic and electronic instruments so much… plus the addition of beautiful, mysterious melodies, I really liked such combination. Well, in principle, many other artists, now I can not remember. These performers perhaps have influenced mostly.
17. Can you have a creative crisis?
Yes, it happens. I do not know what the reason is. Probably some biorhythms in organism of a human… there are times of weal and woe, and so all it is always intertwined. It looks like it happens with all musicians, not just with me. There is a time when everything is very good at, and there is a time when nothing comes out. On what it depends, I do not know.
18. How do you get out of a creative crisis?
In fact, it all occurs by itself. Time heals, as they say… So if there is some period when I can not write anything, I just put off the record and do other chores. Then I feel that I have a desire to continue recording, I just sit down and work… no… time helps me… everything is so fleeting, I just do not focus attention on it… crisis is the normal state of existence for me and I an not sad for a long time.
19. Do you have tracks that you have not published yet?
Yes, there are compositions which I still need to work at. Why? Because there are many ideas that were formed after recording the first tracks and they just are not reached. But there will come a time when I recall these tracks and complete them.
20. Your favorite Edelis composition?
Oh… that’s a difficult question! In fact, perhaps half of my favorite compositions are Edelis compositions… half of favorite ones, it’s true, the most favorite. I shall not list them because to be honest I even forget what their names are. Most important things for me are sound, melody, perception, I know how it sounds and I listen to it. And there are compositions in which I like certain moments, I scroll to such a moment and listen.
21. Do you see the difference between your first compositions and present ones?
The difference in some maturity, I suppose. In the past compositions there is presence of some naivety and, by the way, I see that first albums of many authors are very naive… some childish view of the world, there is a feeling. It looks like it’s similar with me, but with age appear more mature, deep themes. So… there is a difference… yeah… between past and present compositions… in a more mature look at what is happening in life.
22. Why did you choose to use vocalism in the album Ether?
I thought it would be an interesting addition to the album… I tried, I really liked the sound and decided to leave everything as was planned, with poetry and vocals. I used in album Ether poetry of poetess Olesya, our family’s good friend, the rest of the vocalism are samples from different sources, now I cannot remember. I think I will continue to use in the following albums some verses of Olesya, because it is very interesting, unusual and beautiful with her. She can convey the image of light, happiness, good… music and poetry complement each other.
23. Is it possible that the project Edelis will be completed soon?
Edelis music for me is first and foremost the development… self-development… that is, as far as I am developing there will be music. As soon as I stop moving along the spiritual path of development… a spiritual path of development is to live honestly, to do no harm to others, to teach to love family and people around you, appreciate people, so the music will live on as long as I evolve.
24. What will be the next album?
In the next album, I tried to convey to the audience an atmosphere of calm. If to describe it in one word, it is Relax. Maybe I would have added to the name an element of meditation… Maybe it will be called just so — Relax and Meditation. The album will be very simple in arrangement, with minimum number of sounds. Solo instrument will be piano with accompanying light, atmospheric sounds which will create an interesting image and give compositions fashion trend. That it is not just a piano that will play, but in a beautiful, light arrangement.
25. Is Edelis your sole project?
Edelis is not my sole project. Recently there appeared a desire to create a second musical project which will be a little different image, spirit and emotions. If Edelis is happiness, love, earthly energy, then Ashterra will be space, mystery, some universal grief and the like, which also surrounds us in this world. So I decided not to combine. Desire has matured, there is opportunity to create a second project… a different style… so I separated Edelis and Ashterra… Merely Space and Earth.
26. What do you feel when you watch videos made by listeners?
I find it very interesting and I feel joy… I feel joy that people felt the music, and they wanted to make something beautiful… to create some videos with my music. It inspires me so much. I see that people do not just listen, they have a desire to transmit their images with compositions Edelis. Therefore, I am happy that it exists…
27. It is easy to download your music from torrents. What do you think about it?
I do not see anything criminal in it, because the listener must decide for himself, whether he can thank the author of works and how he can do it. To make people pay for digital content is difficult. I have calm attitude to it… maybe… the primary goal is that as many listeners as possible learned about the project Edelis… piracy helps in it… you can quickly download, share, listen. If someone has a desire to thank financially, it will a very nice gift for me. I shall at once feel that people liked the music so that they are even willing to pay for it and support development of the project Edelis.
28. Are you afraid of criticism?
No. On the contrary, I’m waiting for it! I love when I am criticized, and if the criticism is justified, it is all for me… how to say… I am very grateful to this man, he becomes for me almost a teacher in a sense. Any criticism is necessary to continue to move, not to stay too long, there is no limit to perfection, so the criticism I accept in any form and very well.
29. Do listeners write to you often? What, if it is not a secret?
In fact, listeners write to me not very often. I often find reviews and opinions on other sites. I read remotely about what people write. What do they write? Basically enthusiastic opinions and it also a little inspires me, it means I go the right way.
30. What letter stayed in your memory most of all?
I had a student who used to write to me. Most likely it was a professional musician; he pointed out errors to me. And after a while, when I had released some reconceived, reworked albums, this listener began to praise me. I thought that I could not make him sympathize with my music, as he considered it old-fashioned in terms of arrangement and suddenly, to my surprise, such enthusiastic reviews of the latest released albums. For me, it was some recognition that it… This letter was a special one… We corresponded for some time, and then he just stopped writing and now is just listening.
31. Do popularity and money spoil people?
I think that popularity does not spoil people. People are spoiled by desire to earn a lot of money, which most often spoil people… and of course it is music that suffers most and it has been proven… the more a man receives for his work, the less he starts to put into music, trying for the listener… not for the sake of money, but in order to show, to open for people new frontiers of perception… to help to move along the life path. So… yeah… the popularity is a good deal, but its consequences have detrimental effect for creativity.
32. What kind of person one must so that money could not spoil him?
That’s it! Just a man! I think that everything depends on people. In is impossible to write a specific recipe. One person will cope with this wave of money, the other will not be able, the pride will rise… it is a very common vice of humanity… it (pride) would just close those channels, where the composer draws inspiration. That is, it all depends on a man.
33. What else besides music do you do?
I realized recently, when I began to build my family estate, that I like to build houses. This is my second hobby after music and drawing… yeah… to build a house is for me a very sacred process… with my own hands… maybe even to apply some new technologies that have not previously been applied. For me it is also a process of creative search.
34. What is your favorite sport?
I love downhill skiing very much… everything that is connected with the mountains and skiing. I’d ski myself with pleasure, but somehow I am planning, planning and unfortunately it does not work. Always some worries absorb me.
35. How do you feel about cigarettes and alcohol?
I treat it just like any other drugs, which lead to degradation of a man and stop him on the way of development. We all know that drug is a poison for human organism… for the soul, for the body… so I believe that it is necessary to eradicate, to exclude it… but in general, I take the world as it is. If it is so fashionable now, then it must be so.
36. What is your favorite movie?
My most favorite movie?! Yes… I have a favorite movie… maybe even a few, but now I recalled one – «A man from the planet K-PAX». If anyone has seen this movie, he will understand me. Very philosophical, interestingly staged and played… this is my favorite movie… there is some hidden philosophy, which is to my liking. It is this look at the world that I have.
37. Do you believe in God?
Yes I believe in God, but in my concept God is not some man with a beard, it is a universe… the universe is God. The universe is a big, huge, boundless body, we just are not able to seize it with our mind, but it works, breathes, all the laws of physics, mechanics of stars and other… it is all work of some this large being called God.
38. What problems of modern society do you see?
Most of all, I think about the fact that humanity is not on the right path of development. It deviates from the path conceived by God that is the universe, and follows the path of degradation. The way of life is so arranged now that a person loses its purpose and becomes just a cog in the system itself. Benefits that he gets from it are certainly convenient, but the soul suffers… the soul suffers. I think so…
39. How would you like to see our World?
I do wish that half the population of cities, megalopolises, wanted to live surrounded by planted by themselves trees, flowers… it is to live, not to come as to the country, and to live… I want to see these people building their future with their own hands, thus coming to realization of their existence to wonder what do they live for… and habitat helps in it. Therefore, a man must create his habitat with their own hands…of course it is necessary to help him in it, I fully agree, including at the state level… it would be good to allocate a piece of land to everyone – a piece of his homeland, so that he began to understand… not some mythical homeland… I’m a Russian patriot… I have a homeland… but what is homeland he does not know. He knows only the figurative concept of the homeland. And when he himself, with his own hands ennobles this piece of land, for example makes some small pond for himself on his lot, plants beautiful, rare trees… maybe even not himself… maybe they will help him… may be so, but the main thing for him is live in this oasis on his piece of paradise — this will be his homeland. It will protect it. If you suddenly hard time comes, now are all sorts of times, he will know that is the homeland for him… it is an oasis created by him, a piece of paradise that he cares about where he can relax, where he will feel himself good.
40. Could you recommend listening to something similar to Edelis and Ashterra?
I want to say in honest, I wanted to find performers that are alike music Ashterra and Edelis. There are close ones, for example Amethystium, but music resembling Ashterra I unfortunately have not yet found. Something similar of course there is, but you need to look for.