Ukraine in Focus… To celebrate our collaboration with Eurovision we are delving into the musical careers and minds of some of the amazing Ukrainian Artists and Projects that will be going live on Melodic Distraction this month.
In this edition of Ukraine in Focus, we chatted to Hidden Elements, an incredible electronic music producer about his influences, production process and earliest musical memories!
1) First of all, can you tell us a little bit about yourself to introduce yourself to our readers and listeners?
Hello! I’m from Kyiv, Ukraine. I started producing music as Hidden Element in 2011. Since then i released a bunch of digital/vinyl/CD releases on labels like YUKU, Med School, Alphacut, Pinecone Moonshine, Silent Season and many others. I’ve also made some remixes including an official remix for my favorite DnB producer London Elektricity and Ukrainian singer Jamala, who won Eurovision in 2016. I also lived in LA, California from 2018 to 2019 and played as a DJ in a local rock band.
Besides producing music for Hidden Element I’m also create music, production & songs for Ukrainian pop singers and artists – music is all i do right now.
2) You are an amazing ambient, breakbeat and techno producer, blending all 3 together beautifully, can you tell us how you first got into music production?
I pirated FL studio back when I was in high school. I got a lot of practice since then, haha.
I started listening to D&B and IDM in 2009. I was completely blown away by the likes of Squarepusher, Fanu, Paradox and other breakbeat/experimental Warp Records stuff.
I always love complicated rhythms combined with lush ambience & atmospheres. The perfect example is Alaska (Dev Pandya). Perfect match between broken beats & ambient.
I can’t really say I’m that big of a techno fan. I don’t listen to it much, but I defo love the more experimental branches of the genre. A good example of what I like would be the French producer Ténèbre. His production skills and music ideas are amazing and non-trivial.
In the end these are just the music styles that I like a lot and can express my emotions within when combining them.
3) I love your track ‘Right Now’ on Soundcloud, can you tell us a bit about the backstory to that track and how it came about?
That’s a track that was supposed to be included in a forthcoming LP in 2023. Unfortunately Russian aggression against Ukraine changed that as well as everything else in my life.
I decided to release this tune on the second day of the full-scale invasion. I was in Kyiv and remembered the rockets and explosions around my head. I tried to spread the information about what was happening in Ukraine – so I chose a random photo with the Ukrainian flag, uploaded the track to SoundCloud with an official donation link to the Ukrainian army. I didn’t expect much, but the feedback was huge. Hundreds of people messaged me saying that they have donated. I could not believe it.
Big thanks to every person who donated, regardless of the amount. Huge thanks to everyone who wrote “How are you? Hold on, everything’s gonna be alright!”
I never thought that such simple words would mean so much for the people of Ukraine .
If you think that words don’t mean that much these days, trust me – they have more power than all the bombs that russia is showering our cities with.
4) As a producer, can you give us a quick overview of your production process and your parts of producing you find most enjoyable?
Mainly I make tracks using Ableton only. But I love having fun with my small collection of hardware. I have a few Korg synths: Minilogue, Microkorg & XD. Plus I have Octatrack and a few guitar pedals like Eventide H9 with great reverbs and TRex Replica Delay. I am not a hardware geek, but sometimes it helps me finish the tunes. I often record the synth notes and bring them to Ableton Sampler.
For me the most enjoyable part is the creative process itself.
5) Where would you say you draw your inspiration from both musically and non-musically?
The new knowledge, books, art, noir movies. The people. Every person in my life is not coincidental, so I’m trying to generate my new experience with them into tunes or melodies.
6) Taking a trip down memory lane, can you remember what your first musical memory was?
Prodigy ‘The Fat Of The Land’ for sure. I remember when I was 6 y.o. My elder sister brought me the cassette with a weird crab on the artwork. Igor Kirilenko: I put the cassette into the old soviet player ‘VESNA202’ and then it just completely blew my mind. The brightest musical memory I have still to this day.
7) What can our listeners expect from your Melodic Distraction mix?
It’s just a mix with my upcoming tunes and tracks that i love. A lot of fresh & unreleased stuff from my friends from Kyiv. Thats it
8) Can you recommend 5 of your favourite Ukrainian artists / creatives for our readers to check out!
01 – I would love to recommend a newschool jazz band from Kyiv Hyphen Dash. This trio has a unique sound, they are blending elements of jazz, hip-hop & art-rock together.
02 – Bohdan Burenko is an amazing graphic artist based in Kyiv. He did the artwork for my latest YUKU release. I’m big fan of his paintings!
03 – Sunchase/Na Nich – powerful producer, I deeply respect his musical and engineering skills.
04 – Bunht – my mate! He is an experimental electronic artist from Kyiv. Love his sounds and music ideas.
05 – Lostlojic aka Volodymyr – just lovely guy with great music!
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