Ukraine In Focus : OBSKURA

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.

Next up we have new Kyiv formation, OBSKURA, who have released 2 amazing charity compilations to support Ukrainians in their struggle for survival and freedom by highlighting music from talented Ukrainian producers.


1) Can you give us a bit of an introduction about yourself and OBSKURA?

In 2019, after more than 10 years of active work in the music industry, together with my partners started a new Kyiv formation – Obskura. Extensive experience working with large projects, combined with a desire to support both young talented musicians and listeners. Passionate about music and its trends, a broad approach, and a great sympathy for combining different arts with new technologies. That’s all about Obskura.
Organizer’s lives wouldn’t be so exciting if they did not face a constant stream of obstacles – exactly as happened with the project. Despite the clearly structured steps of the project’s growth, first there was a worldwide pandemic, and then a full-scale war. Therefore, the history of the development of the project has already been seriously restructured three times, which did not prevent us from holding 7 successful local events with Daria Kolosova, Stanislav Tolkachev, Lokier (Germany), Luizar (Germany), Marina Aleksandra (Poland), MRVEH (Poland), Mays, 909 Machine, Omon Breaker, Dmitry Kuznetsov, Sasha Trey, 359DJ, Splinter (UA), Friedensreich, Poly Chain, Voin Oruwu, Zakat95 and 1 showcase in Krakow, releasing more than 50 podcasts and starting a digital label (which was supposed to be vinyl in the basic idea, but was postponed due to circumstances).

During the spring of 2022, a charity release was initiated, which will support Ukraine’s needs. Artists from Ukraine and the world supported the initiative and provided their works, such as Stanislav Tolkachev (UA), Umwelt (FR), CLTX (DE), Splinter (UA), Lokier (DE), Amber Cox (USA), Lostlojic (UA), Koloniari (UA), Volyk Artem (UA), Dagilis (UA), Pan4ez (UA), Ocheret (UA), Rethe (PL), Yes Stanley (PL/UA), Vitaliy Shevchenko (UA). Along with the classic release on Bandcamp, Obskura also released a NFT collection of short clips from the album. Each individual lot of the collection is a product of generative creativity, combining the rhythm of the audio dynamics of the track and the photo that each artist chose as an association with his own track. In Feb 2023 we released our second V/A with 19 huge tracks from Alarico, Yan Cook, Volyk Artem, Volodymyr Khozhevnikov, YDV, OCHERET, Ostap Oleksyn, Alex Schultz, Danilenko, Janeda, SVZZ, Native Outsider, Yes Stanley, Vitalii Shevchenko….

Last one has a big support and feedback from Ben Sims, DVS1, Abstract Division, Alva, Antonio De Angelis, Arnaud Le Texier, Gijensou, JakoJako, Kessell, Kriss Salas, Lawrence Kurt, MTD, Pacou, Volvox, Bloody Mary, Cristian Varela.

Since the country is currently experiencing a difficult situation, the project intends to establish a label as well as organize traveling showcases outside the country (to present our scene abroad and, of course, to raise funds for charities).

The project team remains positive that in the near future it will return to one of the main missions of the project – working on the local stage, but the exchange of experiences and collaboration with partners abroad will only benefit the project.


2) Can you give us an insight into the goals of your wonderful various artist compilations that you released in June and February?

In fact, everything is simple 🙂
Since I have been involved in music since I was very young, I listen to a lot of music and I really love it. And I had the ambition and desire to create a label for a long time, and for OBSKURA, in particular, I saw such a vector of development. But life turned out in such a way that the plans were slightly changed (not vinyl, but digital), and events were accelerated (because there was a need for concrete steps).

The idea of releasing specifically charity collections seemed to me as obvious as possible. After all, this is how we can be useful and help, involve the community in this, introduce Ukrainian artists and actually just talk about Ukraine. All aspects are equally important.

I will not say that it was easy, especially with the first assembly, but everything worked out and I am satisfied with the result. I am sincerely grateful to the artists who supported our idea! Of course, after the release of the first collection, the next one was easier to assemble 🙂

Perhaps it would be desirable that collections were released more often – however, in my opinion, the rush here is inappropriate. Important nuances, how the collection will sound as a whole, how the tracks are prepared and a lot of other little things. I will say one thing for sure – we are proud of each one, and we try to make each subsequent one better and pleasantly surprising.

Once again, I want to thank the artists who join and, of course, the listeners who buy tracks. We are doing a very good and very important thing together!


3) How have you found working with artists and releasing music throughout the war in Ukraine?

First of all, I have to say (and this is very important to me) – this is not a conflict. This is, full-scale invasion of the aggressor into the territory of a sovereign state. This is war. It is important to talk about it in this way, because they are trying to destroy my country and my fellow citizens, due to the fact that we do not want to obey, we want to be free and independent.

A clear awareness of reality and a clear understanding of what and what you are fighting for and against gives strength and drive to do something. Despite all the difficulties, despite the catastrophic emotional tension, the threat to life, even the banal lack of light and communication – you find the strength not only to do something, but also to do it both qualitatively and with ease.

Collections are a creative process from cover to filling. For both collections, we used the photographs of Kyiv artist Danil Privet, who is our friend, also from Kyiv, digital artist Maksym Bardin, rethought through generative and created truly unique covers. For the first collection, together with Max, we also created mini-clips of each track, which were presented separately as NFTs. Many thanks to the guys for their contribution!

Well, once again I would like to thank the artists separately – who gladly and quickly responded to the request to provide tracks. Without further ado, understanding the value and importance of this. Thank you, you are very cool!

Of course, we will not stop. With an unchanging vector of desires – to be useful to our country and support Ukrainians. Well, of course, we are always open to cooperation, collaborations and pleasant acquaintances, like you and I, for example:)



4) How have you seen the Kyiv (and wider Ukrainian) music scene develop in the past year?

High performance, powerful energy and a lot of topics that you want to shout about – this is how you can describe the current state of the scene. The first shock and fear is over, it was replaced by a mad desire to live and create. And I’m proud of our scene, and I can only say one thing for myself: “Only forward guys!”.


5) How do you see OBSKURA fitting in with the wider musical community within Ukraine?

We do not set ourselves the task of fitting in, we have a desire to develop in our own way. We love what we do, we love music, it’s sincere and accordingly it attracts people, they feel it. But for the development of the project, first of all, one thing is needed – the victory of Ukraine!


6) Have you got any exciting future plans that our readers and listeners can keep an eye out for?

Now we are developing and working on all the moments about the label’s further parties outside of Ukraine, the launch of the first vinyl release, the sub-label with a completely different sound and the completion of the 3rd charity collection – and what can I say, it will be cool! Well, we also do not forget about the plans for the return of parties in Kyiv after the victory.


7) What can we expect from your radio shows on Melodic Distraction?

First of all, we want to introduce the listener to our music and musicians, and we are sincerely grateful to Melodic Distraction for this opportunity.


8) Can you recommend 5 of your current favorite Ukrainian artists / creatives for our readers and listeners to check out!

It’s a very difficult question, because there are a lot of talented and cool people (and I really didn’t want to forget someone) and it’s very difficult to single out someone. I will probably say this:

Artists (since I really like street art, these are artists mostly from this field): WaOne, Artem Proot, Danil Shulipa, SokeOne..

Photo: Vitalii Yurasov, Evgeniy Maloletka, Roma Ketkov, Danil Privet.

Music (this is the most difficult – because you can sit on the list for weeks and still not remember everyone), short list: Koloah aka Voin Oruwu, Incorrect Waves, Splinter (UA), Sunchase (Na Nich), TONKA, Stanislav Tolkachev, Bunht, Si Process.