AstroPilot

English / Polish version

AstroPilot
    WHERE: Russia, Siberia
    WHAT: deep ambient / atmospheric uptempo / trance
    ALBUM: Fruits Of The Imagination 2
    PARTY: Microcosmos St. Petersburg
    LIKE: ambient / progressive / trance / idm / electronica / score music
    DISLIKE: boundaries in mind
    PRIVATELY:
    CONTACT:
    - Altar Records
    - Last.fm
    - Myspace
    - Discogs
    - SoundCloud
    - Facebook

Coming from Siberia, Dmitry Red’ko has been experimenting with sounds for many years and it is incredible that this more than twenty years old man, making music of the psychedelic trance, psychill, downtempo and ambient genre, has released some productions, which made a sensation among the lovers of sounds and psychedelic aesthetics, around which he oscillates. Dmitry has released five albums as Astropilot – in 2007 has appeared the album called FRUITS OF THE IMAGINATION, and the year 2010 for him proved to be particularly fruitful in terms of creativity, because he released to the music market as much as four albums: MITRA, SHAMANIUM, SOLAR WALK and HERE AND NOW. Since March 2011 we can also enjoy the sound of the new EP called MEMORIES MAZE. Interesting for all those who are fans of Astropilot’s sounds, is the fact that in 2008 as Yoga Mantra he has created an album of the same title. It is enough by way of introduction, now it is time for the essence that is for an interview which we have made quite recently with Dmitry Red’ko, thanks to which we could get to know some interesting facts from the life and artistic work of AstroPilot, a really versatile artist from Novosibirsk.

Ashoka: Hello Dmitry! First of all we would like to say thank you, that you have found some time to answer our questions.
Do you remember when you have participated in your first chill out party? Where was it and what were your impressions about it?

I have played music at parties since 2005 most of them are not only chillout but big psytrance/electronic festivals as well. My 1st really successful performance was at the Altai Mountains (Sunvibes Festival) in 2005, I followed up a d’n’b set with my live sunrise set. It was raining that morning but the 2000 people in front of me did not seem to care. I started my song with a long ambient intro when suddenly the rain stopped and the sun broke through the clouds creating a beautiful rainbow. An amazing sight to see while up in the mountains! It was a really magical moment for me and the people at the festival, they were shocked when that happened… My set continued on with some ethnic shamanic drums and then the spellbound audience started to dance. It was 1st time in my life I understood the power that music has when played at the right place and right time.

Ashoka: Each of us remember when and under what circumstances, fell in love with psychedelic music. What about you?

In my city psychedelic music was and still exists deep underground. I found my 1st psytrance CDs randomly at some CD-market. I think it was in 1998 that I discovered TIP Records, Dragonfly Records, Flying Rhino Records, Twisted Records and etc. Before i discovered those artists/genre I listened to uplifting/progressive trance. Goa trance/ psytrance music was big discovery for me, it changed me… It changed my mind!

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

I like to play my live-set for people who love and understand psychedelic music, it doesn’t matter what place – small club or big open-air festival. In 2010 I started playing at some big international festivals in Europe. I played at Hadra Festival 2010 (France), in 2011 I played at Sonica Festival (Montenegro) and Aurora Festival (Greece). Yes, for now it’s not that often, but that will change. This coming summer (2012) I have confirmed live-acts at 3 festivals: Boom, Voltron and Gaea. But I also perform at events/festivals in Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan. Since the release of my 1st album I have received many suggestions for events in Europe and India, most of them are canceled though due to my location and flights being expensive but as I said earlier that will change as my name grows in the scene.
Also in 18th of February I played in Kiev, Ukraine at one scene together with Androcell/ Distant System.

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

Honestly, I don’t have enough time now to listen to all the current releases in our scene. A few names of artists who have influenced me: The Future Sound Of London, Robert Miles (from his dream dance music to current experiment in indie electronica), The Orb, Robert Rich, Alio Die, Orbital, Hybrid, Unkle, Radiohead. Those names are the 1st that come to my mind when somebody asks me about inspiration, I should also mention Tangerine Dream and Vangelis for older crowd. Sure psychedelic trance and ambient music affected on me a lot, but if someone asked about the names I prefer to say: just gold era of psytrance music (90s – beginning of 00s).

Ashoka: There are a lot of artists who dream about beeing a part of the Altar Records sound because it is reputable and remains synonymous with good music. How did your cooperation with Altar Records start?

All started in 2008, when Dj Zen connected with me for the 1st time to work on the compilation Peace Therapy 3, after that we spoke a lot. Shortly after that he started Altar Records and suggested that I join and of course I accepted this deal! Gabriel is a great guy, I can trust him as publisher of my music and I have no problems working with him, he respects the opinion of the author.

Ashoka: We know that your first album ‘Fruits Of The Imagination’ was released by Avatar Records, right? Why did you stop the cooperation with this label?

Yes, you are right. Let me tell you a little story to make all clear. I have been making music since 2000 and I started AstroPilot project in 2005 the same year I connected with Avatar Records. I was young and naive at that time and I had already enough material for 2 albums, even for a whole psytrance album. So I trusted to Avatar Records and their musical tastes to help me get that music out. They said the debut album had to be released in 2006 and it could not be ‘Fruits Of The Imagination’, it had to be tracks from ‘Mitra’ and ‘Shamanium’ which we ended up re-releasing in 2010 as free unreleased material. Avatar Records would constantly change their minds and deals, they also did some ‘tricks’ like changing names of the tracks and even releasing some without telling me. I had a lot of material at that time, but they never told me what would be released next, I spent a lot of time waiting. After one disagreement after another I realized that we both had a different vision for my music and its future, so that is why I chose to stop working with that label. They still sell my music but don’t care to inform me of the sales and they don’t return my calls when I ask about them.

Ashoka: What about your second project Yoga Mantra? There was one album released by Avatar Records in 2007 and from that time no one can hear more about this project, so?

This project was born suddenly. Avichay from Avatar told me – try to make some music for yoga and meditation. So I did it, I made few long tracks and it would have been released as a 2 CD album. But one day suddenly I found out that Avatar Records released some of my ambient tracks, but without my name, they also changed the names of the tracks. Funny! I think I will make another album in this genre this year but it will be released as AstroPilot’s album titled ‘Yoga Mantra 2′.

Ashoka: Why have you decided to name your project AstroPilot? What does it mean to you?

Good question! A lot of people think that AstroPilot is an astronaut. It’s funny, but they are wrong. It all started while working on the cover of my debut album, Avatar Records decided to add the astronaut in at the last moment. Originally the cover was going to merge elements of Siberia’s nature and themes from Asian culture, but the astronaut killed that haha! At the time then I was inspired to look for a name, I read a lot of esoteric books about energy, the soul and out of body experiences after a while it just came to me. In other words, for me AstroPilot is about a man who has experiences out of his body, a man who explores other worlds (astral) around us.

Ashoka: Has your life changed since you started to be ‘this AstroPilot’? We think that all downtempo maniacs can recognize you now without any problems, are we right?

It has brought many changes to my life since I started this project. I have always had some success with music in past, but that was just a lot of downloads and good positions in charts on sites like mp3.com.au. Now I’m full time musician, music is my job, my hobby and my life. Before answering the 2nd question, I should mention that I’m not a fan of ‘labels’, like ‘chillout’, ‘downtempo’, ‘trance’ and etc. I don’t like setting boundaries for my music because I like many styles of music, that is why I use elements from multiple genres in my tracks. For example, I love to start some tunes as ambient tracks that evolve into trance with with some ‘breaks’ thrown in. Because of that my music may be easy to recognize.

Ashoka: Altar Records is definitely a label that is connected with downtempo, chillout music. Do you feel only a downtempo artist?

I answered this question before, but let me add a bit more. Some listeners don’t know about the other side of my music. I have a few instrumental tracks, not really downtempo or chillout, let’s call it score music. I even have few modern classical and indie rock tunes. That is just one of my hidden sides most don’t see. Since 2000 I have also made a wide range of trance music: uplifting, progressive, psy, psy prog, goa, technotrance, darkpsy. A lot of it is unreleased and some of those tracks will possibly go on a new project. So, ultimately I can call myself multi-style musician and I use AstroPilot project for deep ambient /psychillout/atmospheric uptempo music.

Ashoka: In 2010 we got 4 of your albums (it is not really common), in 2011 only one, why? And what about 2012? Any plans?

Let me explain. After leaving Avatar I had a lot of unreleased music. Together with Gabriel (Dj Zen) we solved that, we released some of them as free albums titled ‘Shamanium’ and ‘Mitra’, we marked them as ‘Unreleased files 2003-2006′. But a lot of people did not hear about the release until it started showing up on illegal p2p networks, torrents and etc. After they saw all my releases they were shocked and thought ‘how did he make 4 albums in one year?’. lol. In 2011 I made one album! I’m not like a factory worker who has a set schedule with deadlines I have to meet because I’m not a fan of boundaries so I like to work on what I am feeling at that time and place. Being that way has allowed me make a lot of music over the past 10+ years and a lot of those tracks I can end up re-writing or re-imaging for future releases. My plans for 2012 are: 1) ‘Solar Walk 2′ with new tracks + few ambient versions of old tracks; 2) new dance project under new name; 3) ‘Yoga Mantra 2′; 4) next uptempo album for AstroPilot project. I can’t say for sure when exactly they will be released because it depends on many things. But I do know that ‘Solar Walk 2′ will definitely happen because that is what I am working on right now.

Ashoka: Correct us if we are wrong, but you come from Siberia, right? Could you tell us more about this unusual place? What did you do there before? What about psychedelic music? Is it popular there?

Yes, I was born in Siberia and I still live here, Novosibirsk to be exact. It’s a very big industrial city so there is work, but that work combined with the environment can make it hard to have healthy life . We have a pretty unusual climate here, Just a few days ago we had -44 degrees C!. It also can get hot in the summer, sometimes near +40 c! . There are a lot of nice nature places outside of the cities. It takes about 6-7 hours by car to get to the Altai Mountains, a place with very clear/clean air and energy, great for meditation!
After I studied in University of communications I went to typical office job. But that way life got to me, I felt that I had lost myself so I chose to drop it all and focus more on music. Psychedelic music is very deep underground in my city, in the past (2003-2007) we had a party every 1-3 months, I also played every weekend in my city’s clubs. Now we have only 1-2 parties a year. The local younger generation (18-25 years) prefer pop, dubstep, r’n'b and commercial house parties with a lot of cheap alcohol… Most of party-people from my past became family guys, others work more and others live in Moscow or other countries. Because of that there is no psychedelic community not even an underground electronic community. Because of this I have thought of changing my location.

Ashoka: If you had the opportunity to start collaboration with any artist, who would it be and why?

I think about joint projects with other artists quite often, but it can be difficult to find time, especially right now since I’m busy with my current project. Maybe in the future I will start another project with someone, possibly a dance project – I have a lot of sketches/ ideas for progressive and trance tracks, but I have only finished parts of them. I think input from another artist is just what I need to finish those tracks.

Ashoka: What about your private life? Your interests? Hobbies?

I like to travel, meet new people, and music helps me fulfill that. I like to walk, spend time in nature as well. When I have the time I also like to read books. Lately though I have been very busy with my music projects and some home work.

Ashoka: What is your opinion about the latest kinds of psychedelic downtempo music such as: glitch, psystep, psybreaks etc.?

Honestly, I don’t have much of an opinion on them. I listen to a lot of psychedelic music then I create it. But I like some lo-fi/glitch fx on percussions and melodies and I sometimes use it in my music.
Ashoka: Ok, now let us ask you some ‘quick questions’ and we expect ‘quick answers’ (of course you can explain your choice), ok?

Sure. Let’s start!

Ashoka: Your favourite psychedelic album is…? (And why?)

‘BP Empire’ by Infected Mushroom, pure psychedelic music as it is, 100% classic from the scene. Also I choose ‘ISDN’ by FSOL, for me it’s one of the best psychedelic albums ever, if we are just talking about music/mood and not just the genre.

Ashoka: If you should point one AstroPilot’s best album ever, it would be…? (And why?)

‘Here And Now’. For me it was the next step in my production and I feel like all my favourite elements of music were combined to create that album.

Ashoka: I cannot imagine my life without…

Music.

Ashoka: A place where I would like to play live act the most is….

Burning Man.

Ashoka: Goa or full on?

Goa.

Ashoka: Three things that remind me about Poland are?

Nicolaus Copernicus. Frédéric Chopin. Warsaw

Ashoka: Ok, we think it is enough and we have to admit that it was a really good chat. We’re coming to the end, so our last question sounds:
Is there a chance to welcome AstroPilot in Poland one day? Would you like to play here?

Sure, I would like to play in Poland, and I’m open to cooperation with Polish organizers and promoters.

Ashoka: Thank you for this interview, Dmitry!

Cheers!

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

[10.02.2012]