Interview with Beyond The Borders.
– So let’s start from the beginning. When started the BTB and what was the story behind it. As I know in the past you played in punk bands. How did you came to electronic music production?
– We started a band with my friend Ivo from the block living in Riga. We used to hang out a lot together and on the new years party of 2005 we were sitting around drunk talking bout music that we like and decided to make a band together. I was playing guitar back then, Ivo took the mic, we invited one more guy to play the bass. I didn’t know any good drummers at the moment and all the drummers i was playing with mysteriously turned out to be major assholes, so we decided to try a drum machine and see what happens. I didn’t know anything from electronic music production, but i was fooling around at home with ancient versions of Cakewalk and Fruity Loops. It was version 4 i remember. I knew only how to make drum patterns. In few months we made a bunch of cover songs from our favorite punk/hc bands like Pest of a Child (LV), Contra la Contra (BY), Purgen (RU), Bora (LT) and few others and had our first gig. It was a lot of fun and we decided to keep drum machine instead of drummer and we started to make our own tracks. By the end of 2005 we recorded our first album DaVaj XaPdKoP!!! It was very raw and now i’m bit a shamed of it! 🙂
– How would you describe the modern BTB’s music? What influences do you have?
– This is hard question! 🙂 I don’t describe my music i leave this to other people and laugh about them saying that BTB plays something like breakcore or tekno punk or happy industrial or whatever… dont like to generalize. We used to play a lot on heavy metal shows in Riga. Once i asked one guy: “Do we really sound like heavy metal band?” “No”, he replied “You are more heavy than heavy metal, you’re heavy like beton!” Since then we used to position us as beton-beat band :DDD
Influences? Mary Jane is my influence and endless collection of samples that are found in all kinds of music.
Sure! Music is a perfect tool to promote any kind of ideas – political and social, perfect to shape soft plastic brains of kids, teenagers and adolescents. Look at those mass media, mass marketing victims around you! Why not inject them something different?!? If you know what i mean?
– You’re probably only electronic musician that making tours in the bicycle. Tell about your experience of touring the Europe (and France).
– BTB earlier in the days been few times on longer tours that had ended up with a FAIL. Mechanical car issues spoiled our fun. One time we even could not get back home from Czech when our bus motor overheated and burned… after this we didn’t tour for a while…
…first bike tour we made with Chipsik was like counter strike to mechanical car problems. It was as an experiment, to see if we could be our own engines. I managed to book some gigs, not much, but enough to go on one month cycling tour around South of France. It was very cool experience. Anyone who is really interested in our adventures on the road can read The untold story of Biomotor tour …i’m not writing it second time! :))
On summer tour of 2014 i went alone coz Chipsik returned to Latvia, but i was so inspired by the first bike tour so i decided to hit the road alone. Make tour bigger, longer and with a purpose. And purpose was to collect money funds for orphan house kids in Latvia to buy them bikes. You see, i believe that bicycle is a wonderful machine that humans invented once and it brought so much fun and possibilities to many of them. I’d like to share my passion with kids and make a small change in their lives and maybe in people around them! Everyone knows that kids love bikes! We could have some fun together!
I wont tell much again bout my adventures of 2014 coz currently im making my first e-zine Cyclonautica, where readers can find out insights of my bike tour, watch pictures and read the sories from the road, interviews with people i’ve met and more. So stay tuned and follow my blog
– What are your songs about?
– Earlier in the days we used to write songs of usual punk hardcore content. Songs bout inequality, oppression, ecological problems, corporate rule etc. But aside from general problems of our society we were singing bout problems that were directly affecting us like xenophobia in Latvia, our relationship with cops and blind ignorance of masses.
As time went on and we became older, wiser and more bored with our cool punk underground, in our lyrics we started to oppose trends of subcultures and subculture itself and it’s dogmas. Punk in general is very orthodox an narowminderd musical/social sect that blindly denies it. But it’s so easy to see! People are just people no matter punk rocker, raver, skater boy or social democrat.
Lately i stepped on a lonely path of individualism and BTB songs are following the same direction. I believe that all our limitations, oppressions, lack of ‘freedom/s’ are constructed in our own minds by ourselves with the help of people surrounding us that are in the same situation, same system, same state of mind. And no party, no political movement, no religion, no subculture can liberate you. It’s only you and your cell constructed by yourself. You as individual always have choices, even if it seems that you don’t have. Just search there are plenty of options.
I have songs about all the illusions that we have constructed around ourselves: mathematical time and systems based upon it, papers and virtual digits that we like to call money and we’re ready to enslave ourselves and other for them, destroy, mutilate, rape and kill for imaginated value of numbers. Songs bout birtual, but also so real worlds that we created with help of IT. I’m so happy to be 21st century digital boy! Ha ha ha!
I believe in friendship and friends. The smallest and in my opinion closest clusters of society that can make an impressive impact on others. True friendship is a massive power!
And i believe in positivity, no matter what tricks life throws at you, good times go, bad time come, up and down, no matter what it’s an unique experience. Feel the pulse! Enjoy the ride! These are ideas that one can find in BTB songs.
– What do you think about musicians and money. Should musicians get money for playing and for the albums/downloads etc. ?
– Where do you get this questions from? A magic question generator? 🙂 Hard to answer. Yes and no, depends on a musician. If s/he is here to make music and get paid, does good job, people like it, then i think is normal to get paid for what you are doing. Coz you invest your skills, resources and time, somehow it’s a job that you actually like to do, but to achieve success you need to work hard! So getting paid for a hard work is not a bad thing at all.
On the other hand there are musicians who like to share their art with everyone not even asking a cent. They are like oldskul grannies that are giving away stuff and not asking anything in return. I think it’s great! And at some point these musicians get their share also in one or other way.
I, personally, am here for the cause! 🙂 Since beginning of my ‘punk carrier’ i was playing music to go to gigs for free, get free drinks, and bounce around in the moshpit or dancefloor exercising my inner demons. My dream was to travel around with my music to different cities and countries. This is what I’m doing now! It’s really awesome to go to different places, put my tracks on a huge ass sound systems and freak out on the stage share my energy with audience. Eventually i get paid for a gig and this money i can invest into my journey or my music equipment. This way i travel ‘for free’ and get better in what I’m doing.
Ass for albums and downloads i believe that tracks should be available for free for everyone. It’s more ‘profitable’ for the musician when he’s stuff is rotating in someones player and spreading around, bringing more listeners, then stuck in a dusty shelf of a record store. Anyone really interested in the record can always donate some money to musician, which is really nice and helpful!
– Tell about the conception of the new album of BTB. It’s pretty futuristic as i understood.
– Yeah , I came up with this idea while traveling last summer. I was preparing to make a new record when i’ll come back to Barcelona, and this time I wanted to make everything right. With nice cover art, lyrics and design, not like last album Time Will Come.
But, you know, nowdays who buys CDs? Vinyls are only for dedicated collectors and DJs. Making just mp3s, putting them in the folder and maybe dropping in a TXT file and JPG with cover was not enough. The album loses a lot of its’ personality and stays faceless, nameless on users PC. So i thought how to overcome this problem and i came up with idea of online album. Lately more and more music is listened from online sources. Listeners don’t bother so much even to download stuff from internet. Also it’s more easy accessible and listenable online all over the planet.
Audio material of Ya odin – against the machine is representing the digital lifestyle of our society that relies more and more on machines, networks and electronic gadgets. We’re living in the future man! Look around! So i thought it’ll be cool to make a cyberpunk style design for online version. I sketched my idea on a piece of paper and asked my friend programer, if it’s possible to make this a real thing. He answered positive. Then i asked my good friend Ilya Samowar to draw a design. And I meanwhile was working on musical part of project and informational content.
It came out great, even better than i imagined. There is a sci-fi story written for every track, album has it’s own ambient sounds for every track, some artists made some extra drawings that are stored in the gallery. And i managed to squeeze best BTB sound so far! So i’m really happy about the final result!
I think the next releases will follow in the same cyberpunk style. I already have musical material for future release. Maybe next time we’ll make it even more complex and interactive. For users to play around.