Nuage FWD Interview2017.10.09
Written interview with Nuage (Dmitry Kuzmin) for FWD.DJ 2017
- – You have a very eclectic sound which absolutely shreds the typical boundaries that box in most electronic producers. I know your general musical background (DnB and house) but what inspires you on an emotional level? Do you think other producers could take a note from your musical process to expand their own genre limitations?
For me, music generally is emotionally driven. You feel something important, record it and let it go. It then it reaches other people and they feel it in their own way. I feel like my sequencer is where the groove and emotion of my music communicate with each other. To me, the meaning and mood of the composition seem to be the most important part of it, and this is a bigger influence over the outcome of the song than anything else. Sometimes that approach creates music more ideal for headphones than the dancefloor, but that’s perfectly okay.
I’m taken by the idea of musical hypnosis, an intoxicating instrument that locks you in or a feeling that leaves a mark. So if you want to remember something important you play a certain track and it takes on a nostalgic quality. Emotion is an important feedback for any music, if people return to the track and say “yes, I heard that last summer while camping” or “at that festival” or whatever – then it works.
It’s important for me that every release has a visual image and I’ve held to that for all of my major releases. For example: City Echoes tells the story of the cold city, Wild takes inspiration from nature and travel, and Neida – from books and northern mythology. So it’s very interesting to create such worlds using sounds, to give the listener space for imagination. It’s like a book with cover art.
Recently I was struck by the realization that I don’t have enough music to describe all the moments or moods that happen every day. My emotional charge is also different day by day and I just don’t have enough time to write it down.
I think that’s possible to do a lot using just one style and not feel trapped. Sometimes a musician is hampered by stereotypes which certain genres may dictate and it’s hard to break away. So once in a while you should let those stereotypes go and change them. Don’t take your lead from a specific label, combine genre techniques, don’t be afraid to make the song develop instead of inserting a drop, or an ambient moment instead of beat – it won’t hurt if you’re a bit crazy! Try new stuff.
- – You’ve said before that you feel genres are a bit limiting to electronic music (and maybe in general). How would you go about classifying electronic music differently?
I’m not sure that possible! I guess now genre limits are becoming increasingly vague, and it’s becoming more and more noticeable… electronic music either goes lo-fi or takes on a jungle sound, then moves onto minimalism or classical sounds… influences are definitely mixing, it’s like a big soup. Musicians are looking for something new, mixing old and new sounds, and drawing from their own personal experience. Probably, it’s important for every musician to come up with his or her own style, or simply not to think about styles so much, because we all make music.
- – The underground dance scene is generally very tolerant of different societal elements and personal expressions, but your home country is not renowned for that perspective. Does this influence your musical perspective or does it change the way you might play music in Russia vs abroad?
I actually don’t’ really run into any prejudice or conflict of this nature or in places where I play or people I associate with in St. Petersburg (where I live).
The Russian electronic music scene is relatively young compared to the rest of the world. Despite this fact, people who grew up in the 90’s are increasingly open to new things: locations, festivals and more. They come and follow the music they are interested in, and lots of musicians and performers in Moscow and St. Petersburg are excited to be a part of the global movement.
I agree there are problems but generally I think the situation in the electronic music scene here is positive. The main issue I’ve run into is that playing and touring here is still too small to build a career on.
In general, I would like to focus less on location… or maybe only as an inspiration. I’m focused on making quality music that can be appreciated all over the world and to be a Russian musician on the world scene. You can introduce the music of a country, its culture and views to people only by making the local underground scene a part of the world movement.
- – Your music sounds very personal/emotional and at the same time it’s very polished and immaculately produced. How did this style evolve and what are some tips you would have on the production side for people looking to express their own version of this?
When you’ve been working on music for a while you get used to hearing the details of the songs. I love the details! I work with each track for about two weeks and fill the sketch with sounds and layers. I can use the equalizer less as the production goes on, because each new added sound adds harmonics to the track. It’s important to pay attention to the space for each sound in the composition, its role in the track, and not overload the mix. For example, to increase the volume of a synth or percussion I often use white noise or cut noise from old records instead of just turning up the gain.
- – What’s your general studio setup? Software/hardware/processing?
I’m into Reason/Recycle + Ableton + Microkorg in general. I learned early on how to get the most out of the minimum – and so I really keep myself content with the basics that I know inside and out, That said, I’ve incorporated some new techniques, like the automated sidechain feature in Ableton, but this is this not totally comfortable for me. While it does add liveliness to the music, I don’t generally like it when everything is built on computer algorithms.
- – I hear you have a new release coming up! Can you walk us through the inspiration for it and what listeners should be ready for?
I do have a release that I’m finalizing deal terms on, but I can’t discuss it at length because it’s not confirmed yet. That said it’s inspired by this last summer. Generally, the summer was cold but still inspired me a lot. It will most likely something between house, electronica and techno.
- – Really excited about your mix. How was it recorded and what should our listeners know about it?
For this mix, I decided to record my performance on a recent Project Mooncircle showcase here in St. Petersburg, there are a lot of re-edited tracks from my last album ‘Wild’, there’s also fresh unreleased stuff, a few exciting sketches and some older material.
- – Any live gigs coming up for you that people should go check out?
I’ve just been working hard in the studio lately so nothing to announce right now but keep an eye on my Facebook and I will announce gigs as they get confirmed!