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Darksun [Interview]

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A musical duo from Siberia, djs MĖLE & intrôvert, with a similar taste in electronic music, an outlook on club culture and ambitious plans for the future. The duo's history of love for parties and dj-ing began long before their first collaboration. They both had gone a long way to find their sound and the formation of an original taste in music. And at the moment, it is expressed not only in dj sets, mixing the styles of progressive house, melodic house & techno, breakbeat, but also in their own artistic tracks. “Dark positive energy with a story in every track” - the best and most accurate description of their music. Each track, each set, each performance of the duo is a way to connect, to tap into the feelings of the crowd, to tell a deep, personal story to people without words and to find a response in their hearts. This week sees the launch of the duo's new 5H imprint with 'Shoriyanka', alongside a remix from Rafael Cerato.

Progressive Astronaut caught up with Darksun to learn more about the release of 'Shoriyanka', their studio process, musical background, future plans, and more. Enjoy.

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

Mėle: The mood is wintery, sleepy. The last listened to work of Glowal - Love Above.

intrôvert: And my mood is always stably charged and purposeful, regardless of external factors. Fritz Kalkbrenner, Helsloot - In The Morning (Helsloot Remix) - latest Spotify compilation.

What are your plans for the coming week?

intrôvert: Our plans are mostly organizational in nature, apart from producing, and DJ-ing, we are organizing our own house-oriented establishment.

Mėle: We need to come up with a vocal melody for the next track and rehearse it, again and again, to make it great!

Tell us about growing up in Siberia, how did it affect your journey into electronic music?

intrôvert: I grew up in a rather rough Siberian city called Bratsk, and hence my love for heavier-sounding, dynamic, powerful music. My favorite bands are Prodigy and Pendulum. I have been involved in parties and events since childhood, but at a certain point, around the age of 21, I left in the direction of organizing rock parties.

Mėle: My childhood was also not easy, I grew up in a large family, we were raised by my mother. Therefore, since childhood, I was already bright beyond my years. Electronic music seemed to me for deeper, more conscious people, so I liked it for a long time, and yes, our tracks are just about our life, about topics that concern us.

And who from your home country inspired you when you first discovered your love for music?

Mėle: I didn't listen to domestic electronic music at that time, I listened to European sets of deep house performers.

intrôvert: It was the love of music that appeared in me quite recently, literally 3 years ago, when I started to study vocals on my own, it seemed that I was drawn all my life, but I did not go in this direction. After that, I met Ira Mėle, with whom my journey into electronic music began, about 2 years ago, I began to engage in DJ-ing and music production, and I was so drawn in that it still does not let go.

What are your favorite venues to play or attend events at in Siberia and why?

Mėle: As mentioned earlier, we perform at our venue called 5Hours bar.

intrôvert: In addition, we are now actively visiting Moscow with performances, and on February 25 we are planning a showcase of our label 5H rec.

How did you meet and eventually start collaborating?

Mėle: At that time, I came to Nikita's bar with a proposal to hold an Afterparty by Mėle, because after the quarantine I had to look for a new place. Then we started to do a joint project Manga with the import of various artists from the house music sphere. Then Nikita (intrôvert) heard that I had vocal abilities and offered to create a musical duo "Darksun", where I would be the vocalist.

intrôvert: That's exactly what happened.

And were you releasing music in a solo capacity before your partnership?

Mėle: No, it was born just in a relationship.

A successful partnership is generally based on balance and compromise; how do you manage these things within the Darksun production dynamic?

intrôvert: Nucliar Dispute - this is how we can describe each of our preparations for each new work. But sooner or later we still come to a common opinion.

Mėle: Everyone plays their role in the team, but things didn't go so smoothly right away.

Do you have different roles in the production process? And if so elaborate, please.

intrôvert: I'm in charge of organizing the project team, musical production, production in general, development of the idea and concept in general, as well as each track. For me, the conceptual approach is the basis of creativity, each work must have a purpose, and meaning and fit the main concept of the project. Also writing lyrics for the tracks, not without the help of my English-speaking friends. Or specialists in certain areas and topics.

Mėle: And I actually perform these lyrics, inventing vocal parts.

When you were first getting started in production did you have someone help you or are you completely self-taught?

introvert: The best books are people. If you want to learn something, find a specialist in this matter and learn from him. I am always looking for ways to extract information myself, so you can say self-taught, by people who have vast experience in this area.

Mėle: I studied vocals as a child, and now I'm already studying professionally with one of the best teachers.

And what would you recommend new producers do to help with the learning curve of production?

intrôvert: Just constantly trying, experimenting, and learning new things, a journey of 1000 miles starts with one step.

You have a new single entitled ‘Shoriyanka’ out now on your 5H imprint, tell us about the track and how it showcases your sound.

Mėle: The track Shoriyanka, it's just about my homeland, these are the indigenous inhabitants of Kuzbass, the nationality is Shors, Nikita and I decided to talk about my people, which is listed in the Red Book so that they learn about such a wonderful people. And I am very glad that there is such an opportunity to convey my feelings and love through music.

intrôvert: Yes, they are indeed endangered people, there are only 14,000 of them left. Ira wants to tell about her people, the whole planet, through music. Wild Chakiek, this is the same Shorianka, Wild Flower in translation, with which Ira associates herself in this track and that with her creativity she will be able to draw attention to her people. We try not to cling to a particular genre of music, but in general, we can be described as having dark positive energy with a story in every track. This is a biting dynamic powerful sound.

What does your setup look like?

intrôvert: And there's nothing out of the ordinary about our setup, a laptop, and headphones.

Do you favor physical gear over digital?

intrôvert: It doesn't matter what kind of setup you have, if you have taste and diligence, then special expensive tools are not always required. But if we talk about fatness and depth of sound, the analog is, of course, much more interesting. And yes, we strive for analogy.

And what studio tools featured heavily in the writing of ‘Shoriyanka’?

intrôvert: Literally Balkan ethnic instruments using various processing plugins.

Rafael Cerato is the lone remixer on this project, what was it you liked about his style specifically for this release and was there ever a thought to include more than one remix?

intrôvert: On the last Cyberlove release we had 4 remixers. It all depends on the goals, it can be advertising, an option of a more dance version, or a different style. Rafael is a high-quality remixer close to dance independent sound with a name in our country and not only. Thanks to Michon at Polyptych, it's large because of his connections that we were able to attract such a star. Only Rafael was considered.

You also have an upcoming release on Polyptych Noir, please tell us about that and who else is involved in the release.

intrôvert: Bionic Heart release featuring Aves Volare. It is a story about a couple who made robots out of themselves and lost love and feelings for each other. It will be released with the Circle of Life remixer.

Let’s talk about production a bit more for a moment, where does the impulse to create something come from for you?

Mėle: Probably some important events that cannot leave us indifferent, that touch our souls.

intrôvert: To be honest, I personally don't always understand where this comes from, I can hatch an idea in a month, or it can come in a second, these are non-verbal processes of interaction with the universe that does not depend on external factors.

What role do often-quoted sources of inspiration like dreams, other forms of art, personal relationships, politics, etc play?

intrôvert: Fantasy, sometimes you dream something and you realize that you want to realize it, this is in addition to the previous answer.

Mėle: We just touch on global topics, personal ones, what is important for us, for people in general!

Working as a duo is an interesting dynamic, do you guys share a studio where all the sessions are together or do you produce separately and pass files back and forth?

intrôvert: I prepare the idea, we discuss it, then we discuss the material and the text, and Ira starts laying out the vocals on the track. Ira acts as a catalyst for our movement in one direction or another.

And if you have done both what do you prefer and why?

intrôvert: Of course, it's better to distribute the roles. But of course, we evaluate together and decide whether it will be released or not.

Once a piece is finished, how important is it for you to let it lie and evaluate it later on?

intrôvert: I am a supporter of constant refinement, and whether we have come to a result or not, it makes no sense for him to lie in principle.

How much improvement and refinement do you personally allow until you’re satisfied with a piece?

intrôvert: Until the last, until the result is perfect.

What does this process look like in practice?

intrôvert: It's mostly about the mixing and mastering of the track.

And who is someone you share your new music with first for feedback?

intrôvert: To our close friend and colleague Oleg Messer.

Mėle: We also share with our audience in our cozy bar.

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

intrôvert: I'm interested in the whole process from start to finish. From writing, mixing, and mastering to advertising and remixing. But I want to organize the whole project so that a professional is involved in each specific area. And we had the opportunity to engage in creativity and DJing. But you need to understand everything completely. If we talk about professionals, then in our label Vasily ReCorpo is engaged in mixing and mothering, this is a person who works not just with graphs and analyzers, but who hears and understands how the material should sound, which he taught us in essence.

What would be a musical extravagance for your studio you would pay for if you were very wealthy?

intrôvert: I don't like questions like that. Wealth is in the soul. And the positive energy transferred from one person to another is the most priceless thing in the world.

Let’s talk about your label 5H for a moment, you don’t have very many releases as Darksun yet, only two in fact, so why did now feel like the right time to start your own label? And is this your first foray into running a label?

intrôvert: Yes, it's the first try, and the long queues for the labels that matter, pushed you to your own, where you're basically your own boss. There are certain ideas in sound, dynamics, in concepts that we like, and that we would like to share.

What is your thought process behind remixer selection on a given project and how many is too many in your opinion?

intrôvert: We always approach in terms of how much we personally like the remixer and in no other way. There are not many remixers.

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?

introvert:

22:00 ReCorpo

00:00 Jos & Eli

01:30 James Harcourt

03:00 Oleg Messer

04:30 Massano

06:00 Afterparty Mėle & introvert

Mele:

23:00 Fat Sushi

00:30 Apollo

01:30 Horizon

03:00 Sian

04:30 Benassi bros

06:00 Afterparty Mėle & introvert

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

intrôvert: Film Obsession. The fact that only work and unbearable loads can lead you to something great.

Apart from music, what makes you happiest?

intrôvert: Happiness is inside me, it doesn't go anywhere, I can even share it.

What does 2023 hold for you guys as artists and also 5H as a label? Anything you can share with us?

Mėle: Nuclear Dispute release, showcase in Moscow at larger venues. Well, writing new tracks.

intrôvert: There are a lot of plans, one of the goals is to perform at the Tomorrowland festival, and, well, a party on Mars. If you communicate with us, then we have already charged you with positive energy. Well, you can always ask for help, we have excellent connections with the Universe.

'Shoriyanka' is available now via 5H: https://bit.ly/3jpuPB3

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