Today I have the pleasure to welcome AstroPilot, a great composer and sound designer originally from Siberia. His tracks can take you on really, really far travels without moving from your chair or bed, although he knows how to drop groovy beats and basslines, always with his special touch, and pristine sound design. The clarity of sound in AstroPilot’s music is fascinating, at a level still uncommon in the psybient world.
Interview done by Ikia, August 2017. Edited by Fuluf.
Studio work requires many hours of sitting at a computer in a crooked posture, which is quite taxing on the body. How does one find the balance between quality production (i.e. more time with the computer) and not running yourself into some serious health issues?
A few years ago, I realized that I do need to take care of my health because otherwise, I would have some serious problems coming my way soon. So, the regular visits to the gym and morning runs in a forest became a part of my life. Regular physical activity is such a great way to reset my mind, it helps me to focus on those little details that make the music stand out and reach out to the hearts of the listeners.
AstroPilot’s music invites a listener into both deep introspection and outward exploration. It adds to the sense of wonder for the outside world. Do you have any specific intention with the way you create, or is it just your direct expression?
Every new track for me is like a story. It can’t be just some beats with random melodies. Firstly, I make that music which affects me. Sometimes it takes days, weeks or even months to have that version of the new track which sounds finished and ready for the release.
What are the differences between your live setup and your equipment in the studio?
The main difference is a DAW. For making music, I prefer Cubase since 2003 (or around that year). As for live performances, I definitely prefer Ableton Live.
Would you like to share how you operate your live sets?
Actually, there is nothing special. I do live mixing of whole tracks, parts, and elements of different tracks, as well as some samples and effects on top of it all.
Please tell us about your upcoming album! Have you got into new explorations?
The upcoming album has a different approach in production compared to previous ones. Honestly, releasing an album in the past was one of the ways to survive financially from the music I made. Usually, I made 8 to 10 tracks which sounded good together, and the album was done. Then I would have gotten some fee from the label. Sure, I have had a few special albums in past produced around some concept, idea, et cetera, but the new one will be produced otherwise. I have already spent a lot of time searching for new ideas and the concept of the album. And another thing – I feel that I’m really done with psytrance kind of music. Of course, I started out as AstroPilot with it, but I feel now is the time for changes. It’s time to expand the boundaries of my music. I search for the new sound and I try to focus more on the melodies. Nevertheless, the new album still has that “trancy” feeling and my atmospheric sound.
In 2016 you launched a new label, AstroPilot Music. Why did you want to create your own platform?
After years in the music business, it was really natural. I think that I have some knowledge and skills to make it work. My intentions are to share with people not only my own music but also the music that I find interesting and pleasing. I started with releases of my friends-musicians and I would like to keep going forward with this.
Do you encounter challenges in managing a label? Any future plans for it?
He-he, sometimes I am really tired of music and I hate it :D. A lot of demos for my label, some future releases, my own music, and on top of that – music from clients. Well, it’s hard sometimes, but I love it! This autumn I will release few really great albums. Cloower Wooma’s new LP has dub/techno atmospherics and IDM/dubstep elements. Dynamic Illusion is finishing his psychill album, it’s really nice musical journey with great melodies and strong progressive and breaks grooves. Another interesting upcoming release is an ambient compilation. I always look for some new ideas, how to present music more originally. And this compilation is a symbiosis between music and story. You know most of the music releases nowadays are empty, just some music without concept and sense. For this compilation, I selected some interesting tunes together with my friend Roman who is working on the text. The idea is that every track in the VA is like a chapter in this story. So, let’s see what we will have in the end, but we are really excited about this compilation.
What’s your view on the relationship between Nature and Technology?
I hope that in near future everything on our planet will change – and because of new technologies we will live in harmony with nature: using clear energy, reduce or even completely get rid of waste products of human life, less cruelty or deaths to provide food for humanity. It sounds like a utopia. But I always hope for the better.
Do you have a dream for psybient/psy culture in the next decade(s)?
Honestly, I don’t feel anything special in psybient or other psy music. As every music genre, it has great tracks and shitty ones as well. Nowadays there are a lot of examples of tracks which calls psychedelic only because of some specific sounds, sound effects. Personally, classical or progressive metal music could be much psychedelic than some typical psytrance beat with random sounds, notes. I started my musical journey from music that consisted of melodies, nice harmonies which could tell you some story and trigger goosebumps all over your skin. And even before I started AstroPilot project, I already made a lot of different music. My connection with “psy/psybient” world began with releases on psy labels. But I never connected myself with a single genre. In other words, I don’t have an answer to this question. All I can say – I hope that it will be more real music, not just some sound-design or copy-paste things.
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