Vakula‘s creative output is very much a result of his mood at the time; part of his own drama. Keen to distinguish himself from what he describes to us as the “general grey mass”, his progressive sound is hinged on a connection to the here and now, allowing his creativity to evolve in an experiential way.
“Music is a reflection of who creates it”, he tells us, “so you can say that listening to my music you are listening to the true me.” In that case, most listener’s route into the mind of Vakula was his magnum opus A Voyage To Arcturus, which has developed neo-cult status since its original release in 2014. The album has recently been rereleased on digital for the first time in partnership with Apollo and in celebration, Vakula has put together a 70 minute mix of chugging psych-rock and cosmic rhythms. We also took the opportunity to dissect his unique outlook on life, touching on spirituality, isolation and revisiting the past.
First, our usual ice-breaker – what’s your first ever musical memory?
My memory leaves much to be desired lately as it is connected with a large number of trips and various projects in my studio. Let’s let it be music by Victor Tsoi.
You played a handful of gigs in China earlier this month – how did you find the scene there? Any particular highlights?
China I view more as a country with great traditions. Concerning the electronic music culture and in general, speaking deeper, I find that in the world now there are big problems with this. The same DJs on all kinds of festivals and clubs with the same music. Boredom.
As an artist that is constantly evolving and transgressing many genres, do you push yourself in a conscious way to do this or is this something that occurs naturally as a result of your current experience or environment?
Along with the desire to grow, I have a desire to differ from the general grey mass of artists and DJs. Yes, it can be said that in part, such desires form a part of the progress within me and therefore I always want to come up with something else.
You have spoken about feeling culturally isolated growing up in Ukraine. What do you think about the situation for young artists growing up there currently? Are there any subcultures or underground scenes emerging as a result of this isolation? In a similar way to somewhere like Tromse, producing so many prolific cosmic disco producers in Norway.
I’m too isolated from this so I can say I lost touch with the progressing world as I find this progress not relevant to me.
Do you think social media can play a role in providing a platform for musicians who are living in more isolated environments?
They affect more of those who live in the city. This is a great game that takes people into great illusions. Social networks both help and destroy culture, in my opinion, but I can not say that this happens in equal measure.
You have referred to the importance of spirituality in your life. How does this inform your music?
Music is a reflection of who creates it. So you can say that listening to my music you are listening to the true me. I think that everything that you think about or dreaming of in the life this is embodied in your music.
You dedicated one of your records to Doors frontman Jim Morrison. Are there any other artists, musicians or otherwise, outside of the electronic scene that have inspired and help shape you to a similar degree?
Yes. My album A Voyage to Arcturus I dedicated to a book written by David Lindsay. I am also inspired by stars and nature. For example one of my albums is called Cyclicality Between Procyon And Gomeisa.
It’s been four years since the release of Voyage To The Arcturus. Why has now felt like the right time to release it on digital, and why was Apollo/R&S a good fit?
Everything is easier than you think. There is no particular reason. it just happened because we have been dealing with Renaat/R&S for a long time. I do not like to return to the past often. This album is in the past for me. What was done must remain in the past. This is a very personal experience.
Could you tell us about the mix you made for us?
I recorded this mix being in a good mood on the beach of the black sea in one of the bars with a beautiful view of the sea. It was a day turning into dusk. Beautiful time it was!
Are there any standout tracks that hold a special significance?
I do not like singling out tracks because for me it’s all a unity of a certain mood. This is my drama, part of me.
Is there any new or emerging talent out there that has caught your attention recently?
Surely they are but I prefer to be with the old talents. Such a conservative view.
What else is on the horizon for the rest of the year? Any plans for new releases and tours?
Usually it’s not necessary to talk about plans before their implementation but yes something will always happen in my creativity. The world is changeable.