music: interview: Alexei Borisov

Alexei is in the middle of the back row.
Alexei Borisov has been involved in making avant garde electronica since the mid-eighties, as well as being involved in a more pop project called Volga. This band toured Europe recently and we have highlights of a gig at Ausland in Berlin. podcast! Here

Here we chat to Alexei about his background and the scene in his hometown, Moscow.

You're playing under your own name and also as part of Volga. Could you tell us the different emphasis of these things?

My solo activity is concentrated mostly on experimental electronics, noise, electro-acoustics etc...

Volga is much more eclectic, more poly-stylistic project. With Volga I can work as a producer, composer, musician...

Volga's music is much more pop or let say popular among very different people. My solo works and some experimental collaborations, I'm taking part in, are too specific for wide audiences. At the same time working with Volga I can use my personal experimental approach and methods.

... continues below ...

How did you get started playing music?

I am not an educated musician. I played with different school bands, then, being a student of Moscow University (1980), I joined The Center - the first russian new-wave band.

It was the very beginning of my so called professional music career. And now I work solo, with different projects, bands, take part at collaborations and special projects etc.

A lot of the Russian musicians we hear of stepped out of classical conservatories into the comparative freedom of rock or electronica, never to return! Are you one of those?

No, I don't have any music education. I am a historian. I studied history in Moscow State University, after that I was a researcher at the institute of world economics and international relations. Since 1989 I live as musician, producer, sound artist, dj, music journalist etc....

Were there a lot of similar-minded people around Moscow at that time? Now?

Of course, now there is a lot of people, interested in electronic, experimental music. And not only in Moscow, it could be St.Petersburg as well and even in every big city of Russia you could find an audience, as well as interesting musicians, projects.

Would you say there's any more or less spurious intellectualism in more avant-garde music than in the West? ... bearing in mind that grant seekers are quite often forced to play this game.

It could be so, but frankly speaking in Russia we don't have local grant organizations (except departments of foreign foundations and Ministry of Culture, for example).

Russian avant-garde is not so supported in Russia (and abroad), just occasionaly.

In the West we only hear about the super-bling clubs of Moscow but there must be more alternative places - where should a foreigner look these days?

Of course, there are some alternative places in Moscow - Dom cultural center, Project OGI, Akt Zal, The State Center Of Modern Art plus some small local clubs and galleries where it's possible to organize something more experimental and alternative. But it's not so many places of such kind, unfortunately.

Is there a large scene that you consider yourself part of?

The scene is pretty large in Moscow and Petersburg and in some other cities like Orel, Nyjny Novgorod, Novosibirsk, Ekaterinburg, Yaroslavl etc, but the connections between scenes or people could be much more well developed. I hope it's only a question of time.

Who do you like amongst them?

I can mention some names like CDR, Diona, LokiClock, Vladimir Ratzkevitch, Piezo, The HET, Noises of Russia, Cisfinitum, Reutoff etc

What projects have you got coming up?

Two cds of Notchnoi Prospekt (the experimental band I am taking part in since 1985) will be out now - the big presentation party/concert is planning at Dom Cultural Center.

Also it should be concerts in Moscow and some other cities of Russia with Rivushie Struny (noise rock band), Gosplan Trio (free improv ensemble), with Volga at NeoRussFolk festival in Moscow etc..

Thank you, spasiba.

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