Never constrained to any one tempo or ‘genre’ though always retaining a clear sound that resonates throughout all of his works; this is an interview with one of Russia’s smoothest producers who’s been rapidly rising through the ranks ever since his first releases back in 2011. We were originally speaking to the Translation Records‘ golden boy in early 0’13 and were set to post a video interview with the rising talent but unfortunately things got literally lost in translation.
So now, here we are, in the dawning light of 2015 and we are so pleased to present, finally, an interview with Nuage…
Yes Dmitry! How are you? It’s been almost two years now…
Hey! I’m great! Just about to go to bed haha. Yeah, last time I messed up the video ’cause it was the first time I ever did such a recording, besides I’d only spoke on camera a couple times before and both of those times were in Russian. I’m glad to talk again though in writing this time!
Haha you had a fair go at it man, but yes, glad to have you here on paper for now, at least until I can translate Russian or you can speak better English haha. I’m sure a lot has happened since we last spoke, but before we get in to all of the fresh, new, juicy Nuage fruit let’s go back to where we were two years ago, the original first question; Can we please first understand where your taste and style comes from and what your early influences were?
It’s not the first time I’ve been asked this question.
(I know, we asked it you two years ago… Answer it again! Don’t make me get the Belt* out…)
…I used to listen DnB and Jungle back in high school, it was a nice time, we followed the trend, you know. And here in Saint-Petersburg the music was already popular, but it was still an underground music. I mean there were no big festivals, there were just some local clubs where guests and residents made a lot of crazy stuff, the atmosphere that surrounded this music was special. Good Looking Records & Cookin’ Records made a huge impression on me. It was hard to find on vinyl so we used to listen to bootleg CDs instead.
Atmospheric DnB of the early 2000s truly is my first influence; this is what stuck forever in my soul.
I can imagine Russia’s music scene to be pretty varied? Similar to the UK in electronics though I’m guessing perhaps not on such a large scale?
It’s still pretty much local here, though every teen has a controller or two and they tap fancy beats, music itself sounds pretty derivative. You can compare SPB to London on a nationwide scale, I mean, here in SPB there’s a minimum of about ten projects well known abroad, but even so everything is in progress here now, I think in like 5 years there will be a big flow of musicians from Russia, hopefully it won’t be the Curtain again. (haha)
And are you still living in Russia/St Petersburg or have you landed your feet elsewhere now?
Yep, I live here in SPB for the moment. I’ve considered living somewhere else, but so far I haven’t wanted to take the leap.
SPB, from what I’ve heard, sounds sick so I don’t blame you. Living quarters aside, let’s talk about the Nuage sound. I believe my first Nuage experience was about four or five years ago in the form of ‘Don’t Exist’, with THRN, and the associated Anile Remix. Back then you were solid deep and dark Drum & Bass, but during the time of our original interview, at the start of 2013, you were going through a real change of pace, releasing up-beat House and Future Garage’y vibes, where as your ‘Music Of Branches’ LP that soon followed, absolutely gorgeous by the way, was more like the stripped back “IDM” works of Queensway / Synkro. I take it you’re not comfortable in one bracket of music?
“Not comfortable” doesn’t seem like the right term. One day I figured out that I could make more than just DnB, which in turn would open up some new opportunities for my biz, so I tried it out and found that I was able to make something new by not putting myself in stylistic limits. So there was the-very-influenced-by-DnB “Music of Branches”, then “Prints of You” and a variety of house releases, in which I tried to keep my own pattern (Nuage sound).
It’s a very defined sound that’s for sure. So what kind of stuff are you listening to day to day?
It’s something more smooth, maybe some kind of neo classic, folk, nu jazz and, of course, deep house, techno and so on. You know, you can’t tell what is what in our days, it can’t be divided by exact styles, everything is mixed up, though distinctiveness came up thanks to that, each genre sounds better, more full now, it’s totally the right time for music, despite its general storming flow.
Given your diverse pallet of sounds, I’m interested to know if you make any music outside of electronic production? And is there any creative side to you outside of music all together?
I didn’t go to any music school so it’s pretty hard for me to play an instrument. I do my best in collaborating with instrumentalists in my tracks, the latest work, which, by the way, will be released on Finest Ego, was recorded with a female harpist from SPB. Maybe one day I’ll try to sing myself, I’m curious about what it would be like. In music, there is always room for improvement.
A harpist? I’m all over it! And to be fair it doesn’t surprise me, throughout all of your releases there has always been a certain layer of calm, be it subtle or enveloping, a real soul-touching kind of production. Where does this come from? Do you think it’s reflective of your personality?
In my new music I get to think more, feel more. I guess it eventually comes to every musician. I wouldn’t say that all these deep things are written on purpose, it surely comes up by just sitting in front of a laptop and it doesn’t make specific sense at first, but then music starts to transform into an image, and by the time you finish your track, this pattern finds its name.
And are you listening to anything in the relaxing vein at the minute that you love / could recommend?
I recently wrote about the “Prints of You” music video that landed late last year. The video is pretty swish and now that I’ve got you here in my grasp I can probe a little deeper into its production, meanings and content. That young gentleman roaming the land is you right? How does it feel starring in your own music video?
When I first saw the result, I thought; “What kind of poser are you, dammit!?” haha. But I always wanted to shoot something with my own participation, I think it works as well as I think an audience should know what the musician looks like.
And where is the video based? Are we getting a glimpse into the world of Nuage?
We shot the whole thing in Riga – it’s an amazing city, I fell in love with it at first sight.
Does any of it mean anything or is it just a ‘cool vid’?
To be honest, I was supposed to go shoot with my friend, but she didn’t get a visa on time so we had to make it all up. It was weird weather that day, a hailstorm and the sun both met me at the station. We visited a variety of city localities, ports and constructions; we did many glide shots, and that all resulted in a serious minded video which included beautiful sights and outstanding edits. Though it has no real concept, so really it’s just a walk.
And what about the actual “Prints of You” track itself? Again, a real deep and relaxing overall tone and this time a Garage-esque spin on 140. Does the track/LP encompass anything for you?
Yes, “Prints of you” is a collection of stories, they’re different, but connected to each other by one line, I’d call it “the vibe”. It was an extended work, it took about two years, and yes, it includes a lot of moments which were very significant to me. Now I truly enjoy holding this album in my hands, I’d like some track to make an impression and become a print of you.
I have actually got some nice laminated prints of me, but those I reserve for rich widowers and as bribe material when I get into sticky situations. Moving on… It’s funny that you’re signed to Translation Recordings considering the whole translation issues we had running your first interview; Was learning English part of your compulsory education growing up?
English has been easy for me since primary school, but speaking on camera is different, you hesitate thinking about how not to look like a “non-resident”, afraid to miss a preposition or get the wrong tense. Basically it was a fail. It’s easiest to learn any language by practicing it. During my first tour, I had serious problems with communication, but in three days I spoke much better, got used to it.
I know that the general public of English speaking nations either feel strongly that other nations should be able to speak and understand our language or they feel the opposite: incredibly embarrassed that the rest of the world is largely capable of speaking and understanding English where as many of us native to the UK can speak nothing but English. Do you feel having a grasp on the language has helped you in your career or do you feel that you could have gotten by just fine without it?
Here in Russia only 40% of people can speak English, and I guess, plenty of them are young. It would be awfully awkward to me if I came here as a tourist. When I go to Europe I take it easy ’cause I know that in most European countries English is the second language. So it’s meant to be, it’s simple and easy – no problem at all. I like English, it’s really something that helps people from different countries to find understanding/common ground. I believe everyone should know it.
I know a certain Nigel that would love you. Anyway, on the actual topic of the label itself; How long have you been with Translation Recordings and to what extent have they influenced/helped you?
I’ve been with Translation Recordings for 5 years. Several singles and EPs have grown into a big project, and honestly, we’re on good terms, even when I decided to release house, they made advances. It’s not so common, you know. Usually it’s labels who hog the cover, without giving the artist any chance to reveal. But we have the opposite situation here, and we will keep working in 2015 on remixes for “Prints of you”!
And what does the not-too-distant future hold for Nuage? Any tasty audio delights on the way for us to enjoy Biting here at the Belt?
I’ve recently released my new EP on French Roche Musique and received pretty good feedback. This EP is rich with 4Х4 beats, so I suggest listening to it if you want to hear some new Nuage sounds. These days I closely collaborate with guys from Finest Ego, the sub-label of German Project Mooncircle, on which a new EP is coming – I’m putting all of my musical potential into it! It will be something different, I’d call it a new step of the project. Also I’m going to sum up all the DnB music and repress most of the earlier works to vinyl. But more about that and other stuff later…
And one last set of classics before we let you go… What/where would your dream performance be?
I really like festivals. Playing in front of a crowd is the most exciting – you really can feel this incredible response. I will get my live set ready next year as well and I plan to act with it!
If you could collaborate with anyone, alive or dead, who would it be and why?
I’d like to make a record with Gerwin again, only we can never seem to catch each other! Also I’d like to make some stuff with live performers, as many as possible.
And have you any tips for aspiring artists out there?
Just believe. And Happy New Year!
Dmitry, thank you so much for coming back to us to be re-interviewed! It’s been a pleasure. Keep up the delicious grooves my man and maybe we’ll catch you again soon!
A sound lad with a sound production that’s seen him flourish in the modern electronic movement; testament lying in the hubbub of labels looking to release his music and artists that collaborate with and remix his works. Big ups to Dmitry and the Nuage flavours and props to Saint Petersburg for nurturing such a safe head on the scene.
Grab your copy of the ‘Prints of You’ LP here