Home Interviews Anton Borin [Interview]

Anton Borin [Interview]

24 min read

Anton Borin and Montw combine their extensive forces for a new EP via Praveen Achary's Juicebox Music. Kick-starting their collaboration fairly recently, the Moscow (Russia) based duo found a sweet spot to combine their styles. With individual releases on Mango's 'Mango Alley' and Bondarev's 'WARPP' to name a few, Anton Borin and Montw's hypnotic, melodic and groovy music has become a staple amongst many tastemakers and fans alike. Their latest double a-side offering for Juicebox Music lands in impressive fashion alongside remixes from Fabri Lopez and Aman Anand.

Progressive Astronaut caught up with Anton to learn more about the release of ‘Obsidian / Firebird’, his studio process, DJing, future plans, and more. Enjoy.

Hi Anton, thanks for joining us. What is your current mood and what was the last piece of music you listened to?

Hi everyone, the mood is great, full of emotions after my successful tour in the south of Russia. It was super fun - lots of positive emotions! Right now I have a Guy J mix (from Loveland) playing in my headphones!

Take us through a day in your life, from a possible morning routine through to your production work and otherwise, please.

Usually, my day starts with the fact I have to take my children to school and kindergarten, after that as far as I’m running real estate business I have to do some  real estate daily business work,  routine daily tasks, and then I usually create music in the evening at home or in the studio!

There have been quite a few amazing electronic music artists to emerge from Russia so we’re curious what it was like growing up there? and who were some of your local heroes? Who did you look up to and why?

I started listening to electronic music back in the 90's, at that time electronic music in Russia was young and it was not easy to find a cassette with such music! Fonarev, Radiotrance, DJ Groove, Sergey Sanchez, DJ List - these are the ones I can remember from that time. In the beginning of 2000, I started listening to progressive house and if I remember the people who promoted this style, Serge Que, Sergey Seaman, DJ Yura come to my mind. I remember the parties that took place  - the most memorable ones for me are Deep Dish in Moscow in Club XIII, D-Nox and Beckers in Danilovsky manufactories! Probably after them I fell in love with progressive house!

If you were a tour guide for nightlife in Russia, what would be the clubs you’d take the people to see and what local DJs do they need to hear?

I would highlight a few “must go” places - Gasgolder, Community, Treff8, Ketch up, Blank and Supermetal. As for DJs, I would suggest to listen to K Loveski, M.e.t.a.n.o.i.a., Bondarev, Volen Sentir, Montw, Yonsh, Forty Cats and Meeting Molly.

Where do we find you if you are not DJing or socializing at clubs? And doing what?

Spending time with family and friends, or deep dive in the music creation.

When you were first getting started in production did you have someone help you or are you completely self-taught? And what would you recommend new producers do to help with the learning curve of production?

When I started producing there was very a little information in the Internet and I had to learn everything on my own, later on I took some consultations from Kostya Outta. Now it seems to me everything is easier in terms of information availability. I would probably recommend for beginner producers to take some initial courses on working with some daw (Digital Audio Workstation), and after that to get more expertise and develop their own recognizable sound!

You have a new EP ‘Obsidian / Firebird’ which you co-produced alongside Montw out now via Juicebox Music, tell us about the release and what sort of sound you guys were after on this project.

I am extremely rare in collaborations with other artists and Stas (Montw) is the producer with whom we have the same vision of music! I'm very happy to work with him - our sound is similar in some way I think, but I write more driving music, Stas more melancholic and it's very cool to combine it into something unique. We tried to make music for the dance floor and I think we succeeded. Both tracks we rolled out in clubs and they were very well received by the public! They are for different times, but definitely create the atmosphere we wanted to express to audience! We would like to express our gratitude to Juicebox Music for trusting us!

These are not your first collaborations with Montw as you recorded an EP for Metanoia Soul earlier this year. How did you guys meet and then eventually decide to work on music together?

It was in 2018 when we were just starting to write music and I was looking for the same passionate person about music like myself , we just met and chatted about music and at first it was developed into our friendship and then we decided to work together. We’ve realized that it could be something interesting! Montw and I have a few more remixes that we did for Mango Alley, which were supported by many famous artists, which we are very happy about!

Collaborating with another artist is always interesting, how would you say these productions differ from something you would have produced in solo capacity?

I think in any collaboration it is a symbiosis of the vision and techniques of both artists, which develops into an interesting result. And in our joint works there are groove and atmosphere that is inherent in each of us!

Let our readers inside your studio, what is your current setup, and what tools are featured heavily in the writing of your ‘Obsidian / Firebird’ EP?

We work using Ableton Live, UAD apollo  and also a lot of analog equipment. In these tracks we used Dave Smith Prophet 6, Elektron Digitone, Strymon Timeline, Eventide H9 mostly. But also, in our studio there is MFB Dominion Club, MFB Tanzbar, Holograme Microcosm, Moog Dfram.

You’ve released on some notable labels, Mango Alley and WARPP come to mind, but this is your first appearance on Juicebox Music; so please tell us why the label was a good home for this project?

We really love and respect the Juicebox Music label, we like the selection that this label makes when choosing music for release! I play a lot of music from this label in my sets and we really wanted to present our sound on it. All the more pleased to be released and in the catalog of the label you respect! And it seems to us that these two tracks have an interesting sound design and should fit very well into the release on Juicebox Music

Let’s talk about production for a moment, where does the impulse to create something come from for you? What role do often-quoted sources of inspiration like dreams, other forms of art, personal relationships, politics etc play? Or do they at all?

Absolutely, they exist! I am inspired by nature, by some events that catch me, when I sit down to write a track, I already imagine the mood that I want to give, I spend a lot of time on sound design in my tracks, I’m trying to make a sound design which doesn't look like similar to anything and which attracts the attention! Every time it's a kind of experiments!

What is the task you enjoy the most when producing and what would you prefer someone else to do?

Probably I would have chosen the groove and effects, and probably I would give the atmospheric pads to someone else)

Now let’s talk about DJing for a moment, it’s a unique discipline at the border between presenting great music and creating something new with it, between composition and improvisation to an extent. How would you describe your approach to it? 

In my sets, I try to create a story that leads you from the beginning to the end, and when I do it, there's no stopping the dance floor) I often prepare accurately for performances, select music, create playlists, there is no old and new music for me - I can put a track from 2010 if I think it fits well into the set. But it also happens that I choose the first and last track and then play according to the mood and response of the dance floor!

Can you tell me a bit about how your work as a DJ has influenced your view of music, your way of listening to tracks, and also, your work as a producer?

The first thing I pay attention to the groove and interesting sound design when choosing the tracks for performances! A good example is the work of well-known producers such as Guy J, Kasper Koman and Mike Griego which music I often play and when I’m producing the music I focus on this style on progressive house, these guys are real monsters of progressive house, each of them has their own recognizable style and I want to achieve the same from my sound

How much prep do you put into the tracks you choose to play?

I am very careful when selecting music, I have a folder -all time favs, only proven tracks that give a 100 percent result on the dance floor get there. Usually in my performances 70 percent of new music and 30 of time-tested

What would be a musical extravagance for your studio you would pay for, if you were very wealthy? My choice would be mfb dominion 1, Dave Smith Poly evolver

If you were not a DJ/Producer what do you think you’d be doing with your life?

In another life I would have been in a real estate, as I’m successfully combine it now)

If you could set up an event with a line-up of five artists of your choice, who would you book, and what set times would you ascribe to the artists?

Volen Sentir, Mike Griego, Mike Rish, Kasper Koman, Guy J in this order

What’s a book you’ve read or film you watched that has left an impact on you, and why?

The last film that impressed me was Beau Is Afraid, an absolute psychedelia with a deep subtext. We’ve watched it with the friends and after movie was over we’ve looked at each other. Wow what was that…???) It was a very difficult film, but I liked this movie!

Current Top five tracks in your sets?

If we talking about the music from other musicians, the list is the following: Guy J - Metal Dreams, Mike Rish - Shoreditch Funk, Guy Gerber - Rainchecks In Montreal (Roy Rosenfeld Remix), Jamie Stevens - Giovani, Fran Garay – Illusion

Apart from music, what makes you happiest?

I love spending time with family and friends

What does the remainder of 2023 hold for you? Anything you can share with us?

I'm planning a joint remix with Montw for Juicebox Music, a remix for Secret Feelings for JFR, and remixes for Mango Alley and Warpp.

'Obsidian / Firebird' is available now via Juicebox Music: https://rb.gy/n1wrc

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