Zero Cult

English / Polish version

Zero Cult
    WHERE: Israel
    WHAT: electronic music
    ALBUM: Clouds Garden
    PARTY: open air
    LIKE: books
    DISLIKE: to be bored
    PRIVATELY: love

Emil Ilyayev, coming from Israel has founded the Zero Cult Project project in 2003. Since then he put a lot of effort in order to create a unique and expressive style which for the first seconds would be matched up exclusively with his sound. In 2006, thanks to Cosmicleaf Records and its founder (Nick Miamis), a friend of Emil, he managed to release the first solo album in his achievements – of course, we mention the album ART OF HARMONY. Zero Cult remained under the wings of Cosmicleaf Records and during subsequent years under the name of this label have appeared the next chillout albums: IKEBANA (2007), DREAMS IN STEREO (2009) and CLOUDS GARDEN(2010). The year 2010 was very busy for Emil – in addition to the album CLOUDS GARDEN, he has presented us an another installment of his musical skills in a form of a plate WHERE RIVERS HAVE NO NAME, which (as a surprise) came from the wings of different label – Chillcode Music. In a nutshell, the music of Zero Cult project can be classified as a blend of downtempo, ambient and some progressive elements.

Here below we present you an interview that Emil Ilyayev has given us in 2010, just before his two new albums have been released – CLOUDS GARDEN and WHERE RIVERS HAVE NO NAME. We invite you to get to know a very modest (in our opinion) artist, who in a very sincere way represents a slightly different perspective on the current chillout music and its fate.

Ashoka: Hello Emil. We are very thankful that you have given us an opportunity to get to know you better. We do not want to waste your time so let us start our interview with a question concerning your first steps which you have made in creating the music. We have known that you have started your musical activity as Zero Cult in 2003. What had happened before that year and what have you been doing after that time?

Actually before the year 2003 it was a funny time because I have played, recorded and listened to all kinds of music such as rock and trip hop for example. In 2003 I have manage to prepare a few chill tracks which I have sent to various labels. I was very glad when Cosmicleaf Records wanted to put my tracks in the compilation CHILL ON ICE. With that release I have opened a new page in my music carrier.

Ashoka: Do you remember when have you participated in your first chill out party? Where was it and what were your impressions about it?

In fact, I have never been at a real chill out party, but for many years I have been listening to this kind of music and I have enjoyed it a lot. However, I went to my first electronic party as a dj, and of course it was really great!

Ashoka: Could you tell us when and where have you played your first live act as Zero Cult? How did you feel when you were presenting your work to the audience?

My first chill out experience as Zero Cult was in Athens, Greece. After my first release, Nick Miamis invited me to his beautiful country and we played there together. Of course I had some unforgettable impressions in my mind after playing to the audience.

Ashoka: Is it possible that you could say something about a chillout or psytrance party which was a complete disaster to you? We think about an event which organization or atmosphere was not so good as you had expected.

I can not say about a party that was a complete disaster, most of the parties which I have attended were more or less good. I know that is a very hard thing to arrange a party or festival and it is all about the professionalism of the organizers.

Ashoka: Our next question concerns the Israeli chill out stage. Could you say something more about chill out and psytrance productions from Israel which are remarkable and worth knowing?

In Israel chill out is not so popular as psytrance, so there are only few artists that release
chillout albums, but I hope it will change in the future. I think that psytrance is more popular here because a local atmosphere gives a push of energy for that kind of music.

Ashoka: What are your relations with the founder of Cosmicleaf Records – Nick Miamis and the rest of its members? Are you planning to collaborate with some artists from Cosmicleaf Records and try a new chill out project?

Nick and I are just good friends, I have also a contact with the rest of the Cosmicleaf Records team and our relations are very friendly but till now we have not had an occasion to meet. I regard some collaborations, but I have really no plans right now, maybe in the nearest future.

Ashoka: There are several tracks on your albums which are remixes of your mates from Cosmicleaf Records (e.g. Side Liner, Cydelix, D. Batistatos). Do you sometimes make some remixes from their tracks? Where, on which albums can we find those remixes?

Yes of course, I did a few remixes for Side Liner and D.Batistatos and you can listen to those remixes on their solo albums.

Ashoka: Your first album ART OF HARMONY has appeared in 2006. How long have you been working on this? Which album was the most challenging and cost you a lot of work and energy?

Every album costs me a lot of energy, it is like my own child. Regarding ART OF HARMONY, as you know the first album is easier than the next ones, because you wish every new album should be better then the previous and you need to work very hard to do so.

Ashoka: Could you tell us which tracks are the most satisfying to you?

Almost all of my latest tracks. I like them because of the progress in the music production. That is for example: WALKING ON THE MOON and COSMIC NOISE.

Ashoka: Tell us, do you often read some opinions about your music or reviews of your albums? How do you react when you hear some criticism? Which comments have you remembered especially?

Actually, there is not so many reviews of my albums, but those I have read were good. Also I have read a lot of opinions about my music, for example there are some hot discussions in forums about my last album. A part of some listeners did not like the album and another part said that the album is great, so as you know thousand peoples – thousand opinions.

Ashoka: Do you think that the cover and titles of tracks should blend in with the whole album? When we look at the covers of your three albums, we can see that the cover of ART OF HARMONY and IKEBANA are very different from the last cover of DREAMS IN STEREO. Do you pick the cover or do it by yourself? We admit that in our opinion the cover of DREAMS IN STEREO is not very suitable for the music which we can find in your last album.

You are right, the cover of my last album is not really suitable. But I liked the whole
conception and decided to put it as a cover art. All ideas of my albums’ covers are mine and made by me, except ART OF HARMONY. A drawing was made by my cousin.

Ashoka: Where do you like to play your live acts? We have found out that you do not play on big parties. Why? Do you prefer playing in small clubs, where the audience is not very plentiful? Where and when have you been playing recently?

I play not as often as I wish, why? I can not tell you. Maybe I am not a big name in the chillout scene yet. For me, it is not so necessary to play in small clubs or in big festivals, I always try to make a good performance and to let people enjoy my music. I had a good experience at ‘Spiritual Healing Festival’ in Berlin. It was a nice and unique place full of many good people.

Ashoka: Could you tell us more about your impressions related to the chill out scene nowadays? How is it evolving now? Is it going in a right direction?

My opinion is that the chill out music of last years has stopped its progress and became a bit boring. Of course there are some great albums which were released lately but most of the albums are not really interesting.

Ashoka: Who gives you a lot of inspiration and whose music do you like the best strictly speaking about the artists of the chill out scene?

I am a fan of the electronic music of the seventies. A great German school is very inspiring to me: K.Schulze, Tangerine Dream and there are also some other artists like: J.M.Jarre, Vangelis and Neuronium who give me a lot of musical ideas.

Ashoka: The last question we would like to ask is very simple – why have you started creating chill out music? Why have you not chosen any other sort of the electronic music?

I think chill out is the only music that you can listen to after fifteen, twenty or thirty years. Unfortunately, I can not say the same about house or trance music.

Ashoka: Thank you for the interview and possibility to get to know you better.

(The interview contains only the original, not changed statements and replies. All answers are authentic statements spoken / written by the interlocutor / interviewed person.)