English / Polish version

    WHERE: Greece
    WHAT: ambient / downtempo / IDM
    ALBUM: Elsewhere
    PARTY: Ultimae shop
    LIKE: ambient / downtempo / IDM / trance
    DISLIKE: negative vibes
    PRIVATELY: neverending story…
    Ultimae Records

Miktek, that is Mihalis Aikaterinis, a Greek, a native of Mytilene (from Lesvos island), the city of ancient Greek poets – Sappho and Alcaeus, is the new recruit in the label Ultimae Records. The artist who creates music of such genres as: ambient, downtempo and IDM has released few albums and has participated in composing the music for few compilations – his first album, ANISOTROPY came to light in the year 2011 by an Argentine netlabel, Abstrakt Reflections. In the same year he undertook the collaboration work with the French Ultimae Records – his two tracks appeared in the compilation AMBROSIA, and in the next year, which is 2012 in the compilation GREENOSOPHY we could listen to one track he composed. In the year 2013 thanks to Ultimae Records another album of Mihalis, called ELSEWHERE, which fits perfectly to the climate of the records from Lyon.

Ashoka: Hello Mihalis, it’s really great that you’ve agreed to answer some of our questions. We’ve heard your great live act at S.U.N. Festival 2013 in Hungary and we are very curious what’s your opinion about that event?

Hello, thank you for having me here. It’s not just an opinion, I feel somehow proud that I was there on the first edition. What follows is still unknown but I do believe that it will grow bigger and bigger every year… I fully trust the team behind S.U.N Festival to do that!

Ashoka: Our next question concerns your feelings about the reaction of the audience during that event while you were performing and after the live act? What kind of opinions have you heard?

For me seeing the reactions and people responding to my music with a smile, dancing, or chilling was one of the best experiences in my life. The feedback after that was really great actually. Various people beside my friends there told me that they had an amazing journey, or this was something different for them, some thanked me for the music ect. Yeap, good experience and I was more than happy.

Ashoka: If we remain by the topic of festivals and parties, we would like to ask if you have any pleasant memories in your mind that are concerned with the parties in which you’ve participated? Is there any festival, party that you keep in your mind as a special one?

Sure there is …That’s S.U.N Festival and my small live show at Ultimae Records shop in Lyon.

Ashoka: Let’s start with some questions connected with your project, Miktek. Firstly, why have you chosen this name? Could you explain its meaning or say how did you come up with an idea to name the project by using this term?

Well Miktek came up from a friend. I was looking for a name for my project and I wanted something that will represent my sound. So my friend suggested I name my project Miktek to actually mix my name, Mihalis (Mike) and tek from Technology and Music together. I said why not, so Miktek it is.

Ashoka: How did your adventure with music start? If you have to count the years spent on creating music, how many of them would it be?

As far as I can remember I’ve always been in love with electronic music. I started composing with „Music” on the first Sony Playstastion back in 1998 I think. That was till I got my 1st computer. I can’t actually tell you how much time I’ve spend just creating music, I just never stopped.

Ashoka: Could you tell us more about your first steps in Ultimae Records? How did you become a member of this label? Please, tell us the secret, how to get to Ultimae doors. (ha ha ha)

My first steps… I was lucky to have a video on Youtube with my music posted at the right time and to be seen by the right people. It was also the time when Haris (Fishimself) was looking for artists for his Ambrosia compilation to be released on Ultimae Records. Everything else came really fast after that. There is no secret. I met Vincent Villuis in an event in Athens, we got on and started discussing the idea of my [ Elsewhere ] album. It was a pretty good collaboration so we carry on. I am now working on an EP and after that surely another album.

Ashoka: We are full of admiration, that Ultimae joining artist from different countries (France, Sweden, Greece, Japan, England, Norway, Russia, Malta), has one common heart that beats the same way in every project. Even there are some differences between the music you create, the Ultimae spirit is the same. How do you do that? Do you think that it is a great specific connection between all of you? Or maybe Vincent Villuis as the one who is responsible for the mastering, causes that the Ultimae sound is so unique?

That comes from the people behind Ultimae. Each artist in Ultimae has a unique sound that blends with the label’s taste and creates that “spirit”. I don’t think it’s a matter of connection between the artists although many of us know each other now and get on pretty well; it’s more about Sandrine and Vince finding the people they want to work with. Mastering is a huge part for the music on Ultimae and Vincent is excellent at it.

Ashoka: What kind of music equipment, instruments do you use while creating your music?

I use a midi keyboard(s), soundcard, a pair of good studio monitors and a microphone for recording various stuff and my brain which I also consider as a part of my music equipment.

Ashoka: Who is your music guru, artist who gives a lot of inspiration and ideas to you? What kind of music, which projects do you like to listen to on a daily basis?

Well I can’t name just one… To name a few important ones for my music inspiration I will say – in no specific order – Kattoo, Flaque, Autechre, Aes Dana, Solar Fields and the list can go on ..On daily basis I like to listen to ambient music mostly from projects I don’t know yet.

Ashoka: If you had to compare the music and climate of Miktek to one of four elements: Earth, Water, Air or Fire, what would you choose? How could you define and describe your project?

Multi-element and multicolored…(laughing).

Ashoka: Could you say that your album from the year 2013, Elsewhere is a tribute for your grandparents? We were really touched when we’ve read the dedication in the booklet included in the disc.

They are the only family I have and without them I wouldn’t be here. I wanted to give something to them that will stay in my history and to say thank you.

Ashoka: What were your inspirations while creating the previous album, Anisotropy in 2011?

Musically my inspirations comes from the same elements. Anger, happiness, sadness, every day pictures, colours and places. Anisotropy is a diary of my state of mind back then.

Ashoka: How do you pick the titles for tracks and album covers? Do you imagine some places, states, feelings while creating music or after, that lead to specific words, phrases, pictures?

Sometimes I start with an image or a feeling, sometimes it develops while I am composing. There is no common recipe for this. I did give a title to a track and then change it later because it wasn’t fully appropriate for this piece of music. For the cover/artwork, we keep the music in mind and look for picture that carry that emotion, or the message I want to convey.

Ashoka: We know that the Greek are musically talented people. The Greek language (also the ancient Greek) is a very melodious one, and the people of Greece from centuries have a great connection with music. What about Mytilene, your city and the rest of Lesvos island? Are there many musicians, poets, artists nowadays just as there were in ancient times?

Many well-known people come from my island in various forms of arts, I could name the painter Theofilos, the writer Myrivillis and Sappho the biggest lyrical poet and maybe the 1st lesbian. But truly there are less famous artists on the island today than back in the old time.

Ashoka: What is your opinion about the political and economic situation in Greece? How do you feel as an inhabitant who lives in Greece during those difficult times? Can you see any positive sides of the internal situation in Greece?

Well we’ll need 4 pages more if I start talking about that. Just to be quick on this and go back to music, no there are no positive sides anymore, the political system in Greece is just a stand-up comedy and it’s very hard for most of us to get a decent living. I am been unemployed for over 6 months now. I don’t know when we will see light in this very dark and long tunnel called Greece… This will take a huge amount of time. Many years for sure.

Ashoka: Apart from the questions referring to your project, what is the most important thing in your life?

True friends.

Ashoka: So what about your plans for the nearest future? Are you working on your new material? We are looking forward to listen to your next musical journeys.

When I was in Lyon (December 2013) I started working on a collaboration EP with Aes Dana, and also a fully personal Miktek EP, then at the beginning of the year I also put the down the basis of on my next album.

Ashoka: Are there any artists you would willingly make a collaboration with? If there are some, what kind of music would you prefer to create? Would it be the same tunes as the ones you’ve already made so far?

Collaboration for me stands for something different as it will be either way in sound. The kind of music can be anything really. I already worked with Aes Dana and the outcome is really great! I would also like to collaborate with Solar Fields and Kattoo. And if I were to go into another music genre, it could possibly be something really dark and fast.

Ashoka: Do you maybe know any Polish chillout, psychill, downtempo project? And by the way, have you ever been to Poland?

I’ve never been to Poland and I’m open to invitations! Yes I’m familiar with some Polish artists, especially Pleq and Hezment & Heliocentrism, you have a great music community as far as I know.

Ashoka: What can we wish you for your future? Do you maybe have some dreams that could come true?

Good health and inspiration. My wildest dream about music already came true, now I’m surfing that wave!

Ashoka: We are coming to the end, so we would like to say a big THANK YOU for this interview and we would be very glad to hear you someday in our country. We hope this will happen!

I thank you from my heart.