Atomic Simao interview with Jora Valchuk, Dima Dudko, Nikita Gavrilenko, Andriy Volkoff and Andriy Dvoryashin

May 29, 2014

Atomic Simao interview with Jora Valchuk, Dima Dudko, Nikita Gavrilenko, Andriy Volkoff and Andriy Dvoryashin

Atomic Simao represent a freedom seldom scene in the music
industry these days.  Harnessing
powerfully psychedelic landscapes and melding them with rock and acid jazz,
every song seems to be a journey.  Where
that journey will take you though is open to interpretation in this writer’s
opinion.  Some people are going to
gravitate to the more tripped out guitar driven instrumental psychedelia of
Nodo while other jazz and improv enthusiasts will instantly glom onto the undulating
rhythms and melodies of Sphyro that coalesce and converge into powerful, funky
explorations into the sounds that Atomic Simao are capable of summoning from
the ether.  At once brash and impulsive
and simultaneously harmonious and insanely catchy, from the moment you hit play
it’s obvious that Atomic Simao are a tribe of young individuals out to explore
the boundaries and limitations of what people expect from a song.  In short, they’re a group of people
interested in doing their own thing and sounding the way that they want to
sound, which is a hell of a refreshing thing in a time when so many things are
just recycled reiterations of things we’ve all heard before; and quite often
done better.  Atomic Simao summons trance
like hypnotic altered states from the hazy soundscapes of their music, echo and
reverb feeding back on themselves like the thunderous crash of waves against a
cliff in the distance.  After a few
lineup changes and some much needed reflection on their sound, a lot of things
have and are changing with Atomic Simao but one thing that remains a constant
is their doggedly unique and persistent musical voice.  It’s been months in the making but I’m
absolutely stoked to finally give all you lucky Psychedelic Baby readers the
skinny on one of the trippiest things I’ve come across in years; Atomic Simao.
while you read: http://atomicsimao.bandcamp.com/  
What is Atomic
Simao’s lineup?  If I understand
correctly you went through a little bit of a change as a band last year.  Can you talk a bit about that?
Jora Valchuk – drums
Dima Dudko – sax
Nikita Gavrilenko –bass
Andriy Volkoff – keys, fx
Andriy Dvoryashin- percussion, kaos, vocal

Zhenya Sophiychuk – guitar
Dima:  The last lineup
changes started like this: there was a gig last summer where we agreed to
participate.  We were really interested,
but the band members from Kharkiv suddenly couldn’t arrive.  We didn’t want to cancel, so in order to take
part in the show we invited our old and new friends that were in bands and came
up with some songs for the show.  Among
them were guitar player Jenya Sofiychuk who returned to the band after a long
break and a bass player Nikita Gavrilenko. 
This was after Sphyro had already been recorded.  Andrey Dvoryashin used to play percussion for
us from time to time and he started playing keys at the gig that summer.  Keyboard player Andrey Volkov later joined
the band with me on sax and our drummer Jora, and that’s what Atomic Simao is
today.  Before those changes our
colleagues from Kharkiv were playing with us: Artem Janovsky and Andrey
Listratenko both on guitar, Vova Sitnik on keys, Oleg Kasianov on bass and
Jenya Garbuzov on percussion.  This is in
addition to such former band members as Vova Yakovenko and Vanya Volokita on
Jora:  If we’re
talking about the beginning there were four of us thinking of starting a band:
Zhenya Sophiychuk guitar, Ivan Volokita bass, Lyosha Rogachov keyboard, guitar,
and vocal, and me on drums.  Then we had
a gig in Kharkov, but Zhenya and Lyosha can’t go with us.  That day we met two guys who were also were
playing at that gig as members of the Janovsky Featuring Givotnoe band and
their guitarist Artyom Janovsky agreed to play with us.  After that day we decided to play together in
spite of living in different cities.  Our
first album Nodo was recorded with Janovsky on guitar), Vova Sytnik on keys and
pads, and Ray Listratenko on guitar. 
After that we had a gig in Kiev, but our Kharkov colleagues couldn’t
come…  So, we decided to find new
members.  Nowadays Atomic Simao is:
Jora Valchuk – drums;
Dima Dudko – sax;
Nikita Gavrilenko – bass;
Zhenya Sophiychuk – guitar;
Andriy Volkoff – keys, pads, samples;
Andriy “Bart” Dvoryashin – percussion, kaos pad, vocal
Nikita:  I’ve been in
the band since the summer of 2013.  Our
lineup now is the universe, passed through our mind and soul.
Volkoff:  The band’s
lineup went through a string of changes. 
I, personally, entered the current lineup in September 2013.  Hooray for that!
Dvoryashin:  Nope, I
just joined this spring; I was only featured before.  I can honestly say that I love all the guys
and am very grateful for being with them. 
Yes, meetings were occasional to say the least while half the band was
in Kharkiv.
Are any of you in any other bands at this point?  Have you released any music with anyone else
in the past?  If so can you tell us a
little bit about that?  I love playing
musical connect the dots; but as much as I love playing everyone knows there’s
nothing more fun than getting to cheat ha-ha!
Dima:  There have been
a lot of bands and projects, as well as local self-releases.  Among them, solo projects, Sonym, DoZa,
Violet and Atomic Simao side-projects.
Jora:  I’ve been
playing in different bands for fourteen years. 
It was a good experience for me, I had a lot of good practice!  I should note one of them, called DoZa.
Nikita:  At the time I
received the invitation to join Atomic Simao I was speding my time making home
recordings and playing jamming with my friends at the house.
Volkoff:  Other
bands?  Quite probably, yeah, I played
the drums in a small formation with our bass player, Nikita, and this
long-haired guy called Rodion.  Before
that, I made some bedroom sounds by myself.
Dvoryashin:  Not much
to tell about there.  My talent mostly
finds a place on the streets, you know, while hangin’ out.
Where are you
originally from?
Dima:  Chernihiv,
Jora:  Kiev, Ukraine.
Nikita:  Zaporozhue
City, Ukraine.
Volkoff:  Kiev,
Kiev/Crimea, Ukraine.  Earth.  Universe.
How would you
describe the local music scene where you grew up?  Did you go to a lot of shows when you were
growing up?  Do you feel like it played a
large role in your musical tastes or the way that you play today?
Dima:  At that time in
Chernihiv, traditionally we had classical music concerts and local metal
shows.  That was quite a community, it
was nice.  Sonym even played a few shows.  Then, there were a few jazz, funk, fusion and
rock shows in other Ukrainian places. 
Those things played a role, but most of the music that influenced me
didn’t necessarily come from those shows.
Jora:  Our local scene
is like one big depression for me.  Thank
God, it hasn’t influenced me at all.  
Nikita:  I’ve been
playing music in different bands for about ten years, which has had a great
influence on my musical tastes as they are today.  My musical childhood in Zaporozhue was, in
the spiritual sense, something like America in the 60’s with their
free-mindedness and rock’n’roll.  We all
had long hair and there were less than forty of us in the whole city.
Volkoff:  Certainly,
there were some notable musicians and shows here.  But, for sure, my musical tastes and my way
of playing were mostly influenced by British and American music.
Dvoryashin:  I went to
a lot of shows, but I still found more inspiration in records from abroad.  Alternative rock parties were very fun
Was your home very
musical growing up?  Were your parents or
any of your relatives musicians or extremely involved or interested music at
that point?
Dima:  Yes to all of
the above.
Jora:  My dad (rest in
peace) introduced me to a lot of cool music from the 60’s, such as Led
Zeppelin, The Doors and Grand Funk Railroad. 
He also played bass guitar during his youth
Nikita:  My sister is
a music teacher.
Volkoff:  My musical
tastes growing up were affected by my dad’s collection of LPs.  “Bicycle Race” by Queen was among
the first tracks I ever heard.
Dvoryashin:  I didn’t
have a parental music background but my mother has a good voice and so does my
sister.  She even graduated music
school.  I began buying tapes as soon as
I started getting money for weekend apartment cleaning from my Mom; that’s
their part of my musical endowment.
What was your
first real exposure to music?
Dima:  The first music
I listened to?  My parent’s vinyl of
Bach, Vivaldi, The Beatles, ABBA, the Soviet jazz fusion band Arsenal, Paul
Mauriat, Joe Dassin, Count Basie, some Polish jazz and Soviet musical tales for
Jora:  It was a
cassette tape where Queen was on the A-side and Michael Jackson was on side
B.  I clearly remember Pink Floyd on
Volkoff:  My primal
scream right after birth…
Dvoryashin:  First I
listened to and loved songs that my father sang with friends after a good
evening.  Then, he gave me a tape with
western themes.  I used it to pieces.
If you had to pick
a single moment of music that redefined everything for you, changed all the
rules and opened your eyes to the endless possibilities of music, what would it
Dima:  It wasn’t just
a single moment.  Maybe it was something
like an accordion in my hands when I was a child, or later on getting new
instruments.  Or, discovering some bands
that impressed me for a long time.
Jora:  Yeah, it was
when I heard Red Snapper!  
Nikita:  I don’t like
to describe music with words.  Words
never say enough.
Volkoff:  Tough
question…  It’s hard to pick one single
moment.  Every time I play any musical
instrument is that kind of moment, really.
Dvoryashin:  It’s
about spontaneously born harmonies…  Like
a quantum leap.
When did you
decide that you wanted to start writing and performing your own music and what
brought that decision about?
Dima:  Like I
mentioned earlier, that happened when I was playing the accordion as a
child.  I was about four years old and
it’s caused an ingrained habit of having fun making, and playing, my own music.
Jora:  When I was a
kid I was dreamt about a band, but wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to play or
where I should find the other musicians at the time.  As I was growing up my musical taste changed
I was playing in a band as a percussionist.  One day I decided to start my own band to
play what we liked without any stylistic boundaries or limits.
Volkoff:  I started
writing and performing my own music at school. 
It was caused by The Beatles and my classmate who showed me some
When and how did
you all meet originally?
Dima:  I met our
drummer Jora when we were both working at the CD store in Kyiv.  That was about ten years ago.  Some of the others studied together at school
or were good friends.  I was mostly
acquainted with everybody before the last lineup change.
Jora:  The universe
connects likeminded people.  
Volkoff:  Initially, I
met our drummer Jora, a long time ago at school.
Dvoryashin:  I met
Jora in 2002, I guess.  It was a time
when my tastes were transforming and it’s been a big step in my evolution.
What led to the
formation of Atomic Simao and when exactly was that?
Dvoryashin:  The time
had come.
Jora:  My enormously
optimistic view of things. As I said before, I played in different bands
and one day, I think it was 2010, I decided to start my own.
Dima:  The main cause
was Jora’s constant activism, obstinacy and his long search for colleagues and
supporters with whom he could share his musical energy.  I think it was 2010 when he met them.
Is there a shared
creed, ideal or mantra that the band lives by?
Dima:  Musically maybe
it’s to relax, improvise and not to bother much, to have fun if you can.  I don’t think it’s just about the music in
our band.
Jora:  Pure
meditation.  The main idea is to
improvise; I call it “catching a wave”. 
We all enjoy what we do and we’re all having fun when we see each
other.  If you’re surrounded by musical
soulmates, you just need to push the record button!
Nikita:  Every one of
us has his own powerful practices. 
Volkoff:  Our music is
our mantra, our collective journey through beats and frequencies.
Dvoryashin:  We’re
very different.  I think that’s a big
advantage to our creativity, bringing in individual elements and collaborating.
I imagine this
bizarre psychedelic bomb of some sort every time I hear your name, what does
Atomic Simao mean or refer to?  Who came
up with the name and how did you go about choosing it?
Volkoff:  Jora, the
drummer, made up the name.  Simao Sabrosa
is a famous football player from Portugal; I know that for sure!  
Dima:  I guess Jora
will tell you.  He said it was just a
random combination, but he’s also a football fan (Simao), a fan of a Portuguese
speech and likes creative exaggerations and grotesque metaphors.  As for me, I mistakenly thought he meant some
kind of a Basquiat character early on, with a slight allusion to Simeiz which
is a popular hipster place in Ukraine. 
Later we laughed at that assumption together, but we kind of consider it
as an alternate meaning to the name.  The
bomb version is also nice due to the initially unexpected, audience feedback to
the music and the worldwide activity it’s caused.
Jora:  Once upon a
time, I had a trip to Crimea by train.  I
was staring through the window, admiring picturesque landscapes we were passing
by, and then I decided to write some words in my notebook.  It was just a random list of different words
written in two columns.  After that I
began to connect one word with another, just for fun.  So, that’s it!  Just two words which sound nice
Where’s the band currently located at these days?
Atomic Simao:  Kiev,
Are you very
involved in the local music scene?  Do
you book or attend a lot of local live shows? 
Do you help record and or release and local music?
Dima:  Yes to all of
the above.
Nikita:  It’s very
hard to describe the “local” Ukrainian music scene.  I don’t understand it.
Jora:  We’ve had a lot
of shows over the last four month.  They
were in the “underground local scene” mostly. 
The typical, local, mainstream mind is afraid of Atomic Simao.
Dvoryashin:  I’m
discovering a lot of interesting performers. 
I think Ukraine is very rich in talent.
Do you think that
the local scene has played a large role in the history or sound of Atomic Simao
or do you feel like you all could be doing what you’re doing and sound like you
do regardless of your location or surroundings?
Dima:  I think it
played that role only partially, considering our major influences come from
worldwide music.
Jora:  The local scene
helped me understand what music I was never gonna play.  I don’t think that location plays such a
large role in things if you have strong understanding of what you’re aiming
Nikita:  One-hundred
percent regardless.
Volkoff:  We just are
who we are.  Personally, I don’t think
the local scene had played a big role at all. 
I think that music is art and therefor I’m just not
convinced that it belongs in these little boxes under these convenient labels
that we like to assign it, which is usually okay but when it comes to having to
describe a band to someone who’s never heard them though it makes things a
little bit difficult. Rather than me making some strange and awkward attempt
and describing your sound, how would you describe it to our readers who might
not have heard you yet in your own words?
Dvoryashin:  It’s
trippy, rocky and stormy.
Jora:  I call it
“soundtrack music”.
Dima:  Traditionally
we joke that, “this is pure meditation”.  
Nikita:  It’s an
Eastern method applied to Western music.
Volkoff:  An Eastern
approach to Western music…  Or
soundtrack music; you can direct your own movie in your head using our sound!
You guys went a pretty radical shift in your musical
tones between your two releases and while there’s definitely some middle ground
to say the least it was a noticeable and drastic change. The main reason I
bring this up is it kind of showcases how diverse the pallet of your influences
has to be to draw from such varied musical styling’s and switch between them.
Who are some of your major musical influences? What about influences on the
band as a whole rather than individually?
Dima:  Considering
said band creed, you’ll understand that relaxed playing brings out those
influences more.  Jora and I always
enjoyed music like for example Red Snapper, so now the new album is closer to
that.  The whole influence thing is hard
to talk about because we have an approach to songwriting like a free
conversation rather than a thoughtful monologue.  It’s useful to mention 60’s and 70’s blues,
rock, funk legends, some music from 90’s, also some electronic and some more
contemporary stuff.  So, as a band as a
whole influences may be something obvious like Hendrix, Red Snapper, Pink Floyd
or Radiohead.  Individually though, that
list sure would expand!
Jora:  Tough
question.  There’s an ocean without a
shore, if we’re talking about music that inspired or influenced me.  I would definitely mention Prodigy, The
Chemical Brothers, Red Snapper, Massive Attack, Radiohead, Bjork, Amon Tobin,
Jimi Hendrix and Future Sound of London though… 
Oh, and Funk music of course!  We
think of our music as a kind of “state of mind”, a closed-eye journey into
Volkoff:  Lots of
personal influences…  As a band, I
would pick Pink Floyd as an influence, but I know that my band-mates will name
Radiohead for sure!  
Can you talk about
Atomic Simao’s songwriting process with us a little bit?  Is there just a lot of jamming and exchange
of ideas between band members when you all get together to play music or is
there someone who will bring a somewhat finished riff or idea to work out and
compose with the rest of the band?
Dima:  Several songs
with the current lineup are jams that we came up with easily and approximately
repeated.  The rest are fully improvised
at shows or during the recording of the record; this was the most common case
for us with Kharkiv friends.  If the song
is a jam that anybody can be an author.
Jora:  We’re all the
authors.  I agree with Dima about the
jamming.  Our first album Nodo is
one-hundred percent spontaneous creation; we caught the wave!
Nikita:  It’s
“catching the feeling” of the band.
Volkoff:  Our playing
and songwriting is a communication between the band members.  Call it “jamming”, or call it
“meditation”, but we can do it for hours and hours…  That’s a hundred to one!
Dvoryashin:  Yes,
waves boiling in a studio cauldron of jams give birth to our music.
Do you all enjoy
recording?  I mean I know as a musician
myself that most of us at least, can really appreciate the end result.  Holding an album in your hands knowing it’s
yours, you made it and that no one can take that away from you is a pretty incredible
feeling.  Getting to that point though,
getting the material recorded and the release prepped, especially when it comes
to working with an entire band can be a little bit stressful to say the least.
How is it recording for Atomic Simao?
Dima:  During the
process of recording with the band the idea is to relax.  So
it flows.  Breaks are done for the
relaxation, no because of stress.
Jora:  We have some
smoking rituals before recording.  No
stress my friend! 
Do you all utilize
studio space to record or is it more of a do it yourself kind of thing you do
with your own equipment in your own space?
Dima:  Mostly the
Jora:  We found a
great place for recording in Kharkov; Driben Indie Records.  Our own equipment in our own space sounds fantastic
though!  Maybe one day we can afford it.
Does Atomic Simao
do a lot of prep work before you record music or is it a lot of improvisation
and you just kind of try and catch lighting in a bottle?
Dima:  Mostly the
second option.  
Jora:  Nodo and
; 90% improvisation.  But we’ve
prepared the material for a new EP, or maybe even an LP.
Volkoff:  As a new
band member I believe that we’ll record our new material very soon… Then I’ll
tell you if you want.  
Your first release
that I’m aware of was 2013’s digital self-release Nodo.  Can you share some of your memories of
recording the material for that first album? 
Was it a fun pleasurable experience for you all?  Where and when was that material
recorded?  Who recorded it?  What kind of equipment was used?
Dima:  It was recorded
in the end of 2012 at the same studio we sued for the second one, in
Kharkiv.  Only two our present members
took part: Jora, and our Kharkiv colleagues. 
This was the lucky result of suddenly finding musical supporters in the
city.  There was no bass player, so
guitarist Artem Janovsky recorded the bass part at home on his own.  He also facelifted the material, mixed it and
put it in order.  I was in the band when
it was released, but didn’t take part in this album.  As for the equipment, it can partially be
seen in our studio recording videos.
Jora:  I remember when
Artyom called and said, “Dude, come to Kharkov for a record.  We want to do some jams, Hendrix style”.  After we finished talking I went right out to
buy a ticket.  I can also remember when
we came to the studio there wasn’t a bass player, which was shock for me!
You followed up
the Nodo release with another digital only release Sphyro late last year
(2013).  Was the recording of the
material for Sphyro very different than the work you did for Nodo?  Where was that recorded?  Who recorded it?  When was that and what kind of equipment was
Dima:  Like I said, it
was recorded at Dribben Indie Records studio in Kharkiv, the same as Nodo.  The differences in recording were that more
people took part in it and that it was recorded during two different sessions
on different days in March and April with slightly different lineups.  The bass player for the first session was
Oleg Kasianov from Kharkiv who’s partially responsible for the sound of tracks
like “13”, “Sun in Everyone” and “Bye” (check out a side-project featuring him
at the Sailtale Dubhe Bandcamp page). 
The second session of bass recordings belong to our Kyyiv friend Vova
Yakovenko from In Red, Descending, Vacancy on Flight etcetera, who brought in
some prepared ideas for the record as an exception.  Sax for the second session tracks was
recorded in the studio and at home for the first session.  Almost all the editing, mixing and premastering
was done by Artem Janovsky.  There’s also
some unreleased material from those records we’ve kept for a possible later
release.  In my humble opinion Sphyro
contains more changes and variety when compared with Nodo’s more solid concept,
which is nice.
Are there any plans for a physical release of either one
of the albums or are they going to remain digital only for now?
Dima:  Yes, for now
there are plans but no hurry.
Jora:  I agree with
Dima, we’re going to release Nodo on vinyl near April or May of 2014, but we’re
in no hurry.
Does Atomic Simao
have any music that we haven’t talked about yet, maybe a single I missed or a
song that appeared on a compilation or something?
Dima:  There’re a lot
of drafts and older, plainer sounding material that came before Nodo which
included the participation of our guitarists Jenya and Artem, some rehearsal
drafts from different times featuring Vova Yakovenko on bass, our sitar player
Roma and Simao’s first bass player Vanya Volokita, who also toured with us at
different times.  Besides that, there’s
recorded LQ audio and video from a lot of our gigs and recording process in the
studio.  Moreover, some material recorded
for Sphyro wasn’t released, and some of that was posted on YouTube and our
Facebook or VK group pages.
Jora:  There’s a lot
of unreleased material.   You can follow
us on our VK page to find some new videos from our shows as well.
With the release
of Sphyro not long ago in 2013 are there any other upcoming releases planned or
in the works at this point?
Dima:  For now it’s
only a plan.
Jora:  Spring.  
Where’s the best
place for our readers to pick up your music?
Dima:  Bandcamp.
And where’s the
best place for our readers to keep up on the latest news like upcoming shows
and album releases from Atomic Simao at?
Dima:  VK or Facebook.
Are there any
major goals that you all are looking to accomplish in 2014?
Dima:  For Atomic
Simao I guess, it’s to go on.  Go
Nikita:  Making the
music is a major goal.
Jora:  It’ll be great
to take part in some local and or international festivals.
Volkoff:  To record
our new material with the current lineup and release it, to play many shows
across the Ukraine and outside of our country, to participate in foreign music
Dvoryashin:  To me,
and I think to all of us, it’s necessary to record  material we’ve got at last, to fix it, and to
start working on new stuff.  And I’m
willing to be on Jazz Koktebel open stage this autumn.
What, if anything,
do you have planned as far as touring goes for 2014 so far?
Dima:  Can’t tell for
the whole year, but currently our schedule is about five shows a month.
Volkoff:  We have a
few shows in Kiev this month (January). 
Then we’ll visit Lviv and Ternopil… 
I hope there’s more to come!
Jora:  Like Volkoff
mentioned, we’re going to visit Ternopil and Lviv, a picturesque pearl in
Western Ukraine, and then we’ll go in to Sumy and return to some gigs in Kiev.
Have you all
toured yet?  If so do you all enjoy
touring and what’s life like on the road for you all?
Dima:  There have been
no great worldwide tours for us yet. 
We had a couple of shows across
the country and have played abroad, but it isn’t like five gigs in a row, in
different cities.  These trips were
always fun, nice experience for us. 
There’s something new to see, some interesting places to visit, people
and colleagues to meet, funny stories, etcetera. 
Nikita:  It’s like
having some kind of rest.
Volkoff:  Touring’s
like an adventure!  We had a great show
in Belarus last month.  We played in a
very nice town called Gomel. 
Jora:  Touring is
always fun.  New cities, new people, new
atmosphere, new emotions!  I love it!
After this last trip, we’ve become a family.  
Dvoryashin:  Touring
with Simao was really fun and really an adventurous time.  That was a great trip to Gomel.  It gave me a fresh and free feeling of
life.  It was a really, damn good time!
Who are some of
your favorite bands that you’ve had a chance to share a bill with so far?
Dima:  A lot of them
are good.  For example, DoZa, Polska
Radio 1, Penguinsmeat, Bomg, Curse of Vendigo, Johnny Be Gut, Keepleer 18…
Jora:  Polska Radio
One, DoZa.
Volkoff:  Polska Radio
In your dreams,
who are you on tour with?
Dima:  Don’t
know.  I think for me, ‘how’ is more
important than ‘who’, but I enjoyed touring with my good old friends Keepleer
18.  It was nice to meet them there after
having not seen them for ages.  
Jora:  Amorphous
Androgynous, Radiohead, Red Snapper, Massive Attack, Oscillation…
Nikita:  “Atoms for
Volkoff:  Iggy Pop and
The Stooges, Todd Rundgren, Amorphous Androgynous, Air, Tame Impala and many-many
Do you have any
funny or interesting stories from live shows or performances that you’d like to
share here with our readers?
Dima:  Maybe these are
small details rather than whole funny stories but, herons flying in front of
our stage during a Simao show at daybreak, us coming out onto the stage right
from our beds in our tent right next to it, or the stage falling to pieces
during the performance and fans bathing in the mud.
Volkoff:  Every our
performance is like a funny story. 
I can share two funny moments;
the one with a hat which can be seen here, and the drum fall episode which can
be seen here.
Dvoryashin:  Well, it
was Gogol Fest.  It rained a lot and rain
was dripping on our stage through a bunch of holes in the roof.  So we played in puddles and I hid under an
umbrella with a kaossilator, so people could only sometimes see my head on this
dark stage.
With all of the
various mediums of release available to artists today I’m always curious why
they choose and prefer the various mediums that they do.  Are there any plans to release Sphyro
physically in the future? If so do you have any idea on what medium?
Dima:  We were asked
by the fans regarding CD and vinyl.  There are plans and some propositions.  It’s just a plan so far.  It seems that these mediums are in demand.
Jora:  Vinyl is a good
one!  We’ll be looking for a label in the
near future to release Sphyro.
Volkoff:  I’d like to
see our records on vinyl and cassette tape.
Dvoryashin:  I can
only be proud of owning Soviet vinyl.
Do you have a
music collection at all?  If so can you
tell us a little bit about it?
Dima:  Too big to go
into details.  It all started with the conscious purchase of
a Thriller cassette during my childhood.
Volkoff:  I have a lot
of different music in various formats; LP’s, CD’s, tapes, digital.  The LP’s are my dad’s collection from the
past.  The CD’s, tapes and digital music
have been collected by myself; a lot of different genres, really, too much!
Jora:  A lot of music
on cassettes, CDs and a ton of digital stuff. 
Sometimes it’s useful to hear the silence. 
I grew up around a
fairly large collection of music and I was always allowed to listen to anything
I wanted as long as I didn’t mess it up. 
There was always something amazing about wandering over to the shelf,
pulling something at random off, popping it into the player, looking at the
artwork, reading the liner notes and letting it transport me away to another
world.  As a result of this experience I
developed an appreciation for physically released music from a fairly young age
and don’t think I’ll ever fully kick the obsession.  Do you have any such connection with
physically released music?
Dima:  Yeah, I remember
creating something like self-made records with artwork when I was younger, it
was really fun.
Nikita:  In my early
years I listened to music on cassettes. 
That wasn’t anything special though, I love to feel the music inside
never mind the format.
Volkoff:  I had the
same kind of connection as a kid.  But
now music is almost completely digital, the magic’s disappeared…
 As much as I love
my music collection I can’t take it on the go with me, or at least I
couldn’t.  Digital music has taken care
of that problem almost overnight bit there’s no cure all’s and with the good
comes the bad.  While digital music may
be exposing people to a whole new world of music that they otherwise wouldn’t
be privy to, and this interview is a prime example of that as we are separated
by great lengths and a language gap but I still found your music and am able to
instantaneously communicate with you, but illegal downloading is running
rampant and music is being turned in to a more and more disposable commodity
rather than a proper product even.  As
musicians during the reign of the digital era what’s your opinion on digital
music and distribution?
Dima:  My opinion is
positive and you’ve described a lot of the advantages.  Everything’s good as long as the proper product
still appears and finds its listener.  I
don’t think that existence of some people who think of it as a disposable
commodity cancels out good music.
Jora:  It’s a great
chance for everyone to share their music all over the world!  I think it’s wonderful.
Nikita:  I think that
music should be free for anyone who wants to hear it in digital format.
Volkoff:  Personally,
I like the “name your price” approach, so ever listener can pay any
price they’d like to pay.  There’s too
much legal involvement by major labels and their bosses.  Like David Crosby sang, “Music Is
Love”…  Digital music must be free
to share and paid for voluntarily.
I try to keep up with as much good music as I possibly
can but there just aren’t enough hours in the day to do it.  As a result I rely more and more on bands
such as you for good reliable tips on who I should be listening to.  Is there anyone from your local scene or are
that I should be listening to I might not have heard of before?
Dima:  Keeping in mind
different styles, maybe something like Gadzzilla Project, Mazzafunka (ain’t
sure they still exist), Coreadore, etcetera.
Jora:  Polska Radio
One, Snakecharm, especially their last release Mandala, DoZa and Landmark.
Nikita:  Have you
heard this band? 
Volkoff:  Check out
that Russian band I mentioned before, Polska Radio One.  I, personally, listen mostly to foreign, and
frequently old, bands so I can’t give you much advice about the local scene.
What about
nationally and internationally?
Dima:  If you like
Atomic Simao, you should try RayJa Expedition from Kharkiv, which are both side
projects of our guitarists from Nodo and Sphyro.  I’ve mentioned some of other interesting
Ukrainian and Russian bands earlier.  I
recently discovered an interesting and partially Ukrainian band Ummagama.  Additionally, Hedgehog In The Fog, The Toobes
from Belarus and Cats Park from Russia. I won’t go any further internationally
because I think there’s just too much music to talk about, for a short answer
at least.
Volkoff:  Last year’s
discoveries for me are two Australian bands, Tame Impala and Pond, and then
there’s Lilacs & Champagne.  Also, I
discovered the old DIY-band The Cleaners From Venus which is currently being
reissued by Captured Tracks label.
Jora:  You should hear
the new bomb from Amorphous Androgynous! 
Their latest soundtrack album The Cartel is awesome!  Also, I discovered The Oscillation; great
Thanks so much for
doing the interview, it was a real pleasure to catch up with you and talk about
where the band’s heading and everything you’ve already managed to
accomplish.  Before we sign off is there
anything that I might have missed or that you’d just like to take this
opportunity to talk about with me or our readers?
Dima:  You know, for
me it’s interesting and surprising to see how music can cross borders and can
have a life of its own regardless of the author’s expectation or design,
figuratively speaking.  It can find an
audience that can appreciate and value it even more than the author and those
people find something that the author didn’t even know was in the music.  The listeners can see it from another perspective
and there’s always an audience for any kind of music.  That’s what I find interesting; it’s always
surprising and nice.  For me, it’s like
music has more power than I as the author can ever imagine.  That’s why I say to all the people who appreciate our music, thank you.
Volkoff:  I’d like to
say thank you to every person who reads this material.  Stay tuned to Atomic Simao!
Nikita:  You didn’t
ask the question about the meaning of everything, but I’ll answer it
anyway.  It’s love.
Jora:  We really
didn’t expect that our music would go so far. 
We appreciate the interview,
 Keep calm and listen
to Atomic Simao!  Cheers!
(2013) Atomic Simao – Nodo – digital – Self-Released
(2013) Atomic Simao – Sphyro – digital – Self-Released
Interview made by Roman Rathert/2014
© Copyright http://psychedelicbaby.blogspot.com/2014
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