“Our music is more about our imagination, not about the reality around us”
– Simple Symmetry
Sasha and Sergey Lipsky are two brothers from Moscow, who form the production moniker Simple Symmetry. The brothers first burst onto the scene with their imaginative and oud drenched house back in 2013 and have kept up a steady stream of unique releases each year since on labels from Montreal’s Glenview Records Inc. to Dutch imprint XXX. Their sound has always played with a fascination of folk music beginnings and non-Western rhythm. Their standout EP on Mocow label Low Budget Family, Near East Confusion, opened up with the stunning Arabic techno number Mimino and with their latest release, XXX02 travelling even further east in its sounds, it is clear these are brothers without borders. Ahead of their upcoming release on label du jour, Moscoman’s Disco Halal, we caught up with the brothers to find out a bit more about themselves and the space-and-time transcending mix they’ve created for us.
First our usual ice-breaker…what is your first musical memory?
It’s hard to say what the very first musical memory was. I think we’ve been listening a lot of our dad’s tapes. As kids we were very impressed by Jesus Christ Superstar, most of The Beatles albums and The Rolling Stones. Later it was Jean Michele Jarre and Pink Floyd. I can remember such tapes as Procol Harum and Weather Report but we didn’t really dig it.
You two are brothers, did you always make music together or did that happen at a later stage?
As kids we used to play a lot and we always had special soundtracks for our games. Then we started making a kind of radio plays, which were recorded using two cassettes recorders. As we were growing up we began learning to play musical instruments, then we played in couple of bands together.
What is the best thing and worst thing about working with a sibling?
The best thing is understanding. As we’ve said we have been making music together since we were kids. The worst thing perhaps is when we have different points of view.
Tell us a bit about Moscow and how the city influences your productions?
Probably it influences our productions, but it’s really hard to catch this interrelation while you live here. We’re just doing what we want to do and what we feel at the moment. Actually our music is more about our imagination, not about the reality around us.
Is there a good scene and audience for your sound out there?
It’s not enough in our opinion, but it’s much better than couple of years ago. The Moscow club scene is expanding permanently and it’s only the beginning, we believe.
Do you feel like Moscow is integrated in the international dance music community, or very much separate? If the latter, how does this impact on the way you work / approach to music?
No, it’s not really integrated. Basically, it’s almost one side connection — a lot of great producers, DJs and musicians doing gigs in Moscow, but a really small amount of guys represent Moscow and Russia in the world. But, as we told previously, we think the situation changes year by year and we hope it would be different in future.
Have there been any places you’ve travelled to, where your music has gone down especially well and/or you’ve vibed strongly with the local people?
With a doubt it is Tel Aviv. We simply fell in love with its musical scene and especially with its music community. All the guys behind Romano and Teder, Malka Tuti and Fortuna.
You’ve released on labels with a range of nationalities. How does that happen and how did you link with Moscoman for your upcoming release?
The same way we’re doing this interview. Mosco is a very open-minded and easy guy. He just texted us on facebook. He told us he liked us, we told him we like him — that’s it!
Your music encompasses the Middle Eastern sound and you work closely with other artists who do the same. Do you have any links to the Middle East and/or what attracts you to this sound?
We have Jewish roots, but of course it’s not the real reason. Middle East melodics and grooves always inspired us because of its wildness, sincerity, originality and strong connection to the roots in general. As well as African, Chinese and Indonesian folk music, as wel as music from Caucasus region. Playing for the crowd in the dark room or a festival — it’s kind of these magic rituals and spiritual dances that was an important part of our ancestor’s life. We like that feeling, it’s the coolest thing about music — tripping back to your roots.
It would be a spoiler, but whatever — we recorded a track called ‘Gilgamesh’ that contains some verses from the Epic of Gilgamesh, an Akkadian poem that is one of the first great works of literature the scientists know at the moment. It’s such a magical feeling, to see all these people dancing to the techno beat and listening to the ancient language that wasn’t used for thousands of years!
Artworks for previous releases have been pretty cool and very eclectic. What do you look for in the art that accompanies your music?
All these artworks were made by our close friends. That’s the way they interpret our music. It means that it’s pretty cool and eclectic as well, haha.
Could you tell us about the mix you’ve made for us [where and how you recorded it, the idea behind the mix and any standout tracks you’d like to mention]
The idea is pretty simple: we’ve made a mix that starts in the ancient times beside the bonfire, then magically transfers us to the techno club and then back again. It contains some old and new tracks we like to dance to, some of our production as well, for example the track called ‘Voodoo Your Ex’, which is gonna be released on Disco Halal soon.
What’s coming up on the horizon we should look out for?
Lets wait and see.