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.
For our final instalment of Ukraine in Focus, we had a chat with Mystictrax about their record label, how it came about, the expression of art within war and some very exciting upcoming releases and compilations!
1) Mystictrax is self-described as the ‘Ukrainian Experimental Laboratory of Sound’ which sounds amazing! Can you tell us a bit more about the record label and how it was founded?
There was a cassette label in 90s called The Ukrainian Experimental Folklore Laboratory, who released field recordings from Ukrainian villages. I was pretty impressed how powerful this name sounds, like some big corporation with with a noble and great purpose, so I take that as a description for my cozy label 🙂 As the purpose I wanted to find my own unique label sound, so people around the world starting to associate it with Ukraine, as jungle and UK-garage in your country, I think its cool and its my dream, hope to find that sound someday in our «laboratory».
2) Back in December ’22 you released an amazing compilation entitled ‘Code’ which blends a huge range of electronic music genres, what was the story behind this release?
I was tired from typical no-faces clone releases and starting to ask producers to do something with Ukrainian ethnic instruments or words on Ukrainian, to create really unique compilation. I see it like some codes of nation, integrated to the sound messages to the future generations. Its pretty simple idea – to use ethnic instruments in electronic music, – many pop artists do so, but I wanted to have a really cool powerful underground tunes to play on parties here and show people how cool is to be in harmony with your roots and still be innovative and futuristic and awesome. Many people now wants to leave without borders, free to move in any part of the world, to be «people of universe» – but forgot to to investigate their roots and study on mistakes of the past – but the is no future without that! Also you can’t be pacifistic and borderless until you have neighbors who wants to kill you every day, like in Middle Ages, yeah that’s our reality.
3) Can you give us some insight into how you have found running a record label throughout the war in Ukraine?
Many people who can create some pieces of art, including me, have a lot of inspiration now: impressive events and experiences, as well as the feeling that tomorrow may not come, prompts you to do everything you’ve ever wanted to do, right now. So I have a lot of artists and material from which I compose albums and compilations. I even had to connect two more friends for work. While missiles & drones attacks our cities, and while we are not on the warfront, we creating everything we can. Even guys who in Armed Forces of Ukraine now still sending me fresh tunes periodically, when they have a free hours ar while they in hospital keeping creating some cool trax, like Distortion (UA), Bodro and RAAVEL <3
4) Mystictrax has an amazing roster of experimental electronic artists creating some amazing sounds! Can you give us an insight into how you have seen the electronic music scene develop within Ukraine/Chornobyl over the past couple of years?
I start the label as a mystification: that we are some secret laboratory somewhere in Chornobyl, but truly its closer to Chornobyl street in Kyiv 😅 May cool labels here, like Standard Deviation, muscut/shukai, Obriy, СИСТЕМА, Progressive Future, Corridor Audio etc, who pushing unique local musicians, but from the beginning of fullscale russian invasion labels started to create powerful releases to collect donations for volunteers and military equipment with some deep roots elements of traditional instruments, songs and samples. I think it because we united now as never before, and every artist feels that he is the part of cultural front, and the music, as the language, its our powerful weapon. Also musicians from different genres started to collaborate with each other and create some cool tunes with powerful massages, that inspire people to fight on. We even have our own style of pop songs about war called bayraktar-core 😆 (as Turkish drone, that we have in UA army) We all started to appreciate more every local people that we have, more than foreign artists.
6) Do you have any exciting future plans for the label / any exciting news our readers can keep an eye out for?
On 29th April we are celebrating the 4th Birthday of the label in HVLV in Kyiv, planning a crazy evening party with b2b’s dj sets before the curfew. A few cool forthcoming releases: Album ‘Integrity’ by Kremenchuk based artist Revshark with some intelligent’n’crazy bass music, and some weird fast electro with vocals from death metal vocalist Rusiiick on album ‘Vilna Dusha” (Free Soul) from Bodro, who is now in the Armed Forces of Ukraine, but still has a little-bit free time to produce the tracks! Also Im started to collect tunes for COUNTEROFFENSIVE compilation, which will be released on MP3 players from the 90s, with the tracks from local, Sakartvelo’s, German and even UK’s producers. Watch us!)
7) What can our listeners and readers expect from your Melodic Distraction Radio show?
We have a few releases monthly on label, so I will show you some fresh releases, forthcoming albums and unreleased material as well. You not gonna believe how many similar our nations have in electronic music, and how different it can be at the same time in Ukrainian way, you definitely love it! 💖
8) We know its incredibly hard to just pick 5, but could you recommend 5 of your favourite Ukrainian artists at the moment for our readers to check out!
My personal top 5 now is:
|| MYSTICTRAX ||