I guess I should tell a little something about myself as an intro.
my name’s Nik, a Russian dude that created Aesthesys over 8 years ago as a solo project.
After all this time, Aesthesys became a proper band, there are 8 releases out (only the latest two of those were professionally recorded though), with lots of gigs performed in different countries and we’re only getting started.
“Why”, I suppose, is the most complex question. Truth to be told, I never thought about it.
For me music became a way to let thoughts, images and emotions I gather out, without spilling over the edge.
Since music is a language, I’m not sure whether I want just to speak or be heard by anyone by recording these compositions and releasing them into the world.
That creative process allows me to stay sane, so in a way it’s a therapeutic practice.
As well as it’s a necessity, since I can’t imagine living my life without music.
What song do you remember the most from your childhood and how do your memories influence your music?
I’ve got a poor memory for things that happened to me before I turned 16, which is rather funny.
Most of my early years I was exposed to the classical music due to the fact I studied music since I was 3 years old or something.
I guess Chopin’s music was the most influential thing I still adore.
If I had to pick a specific work of his, that’d be Nocturne No. 13 in C minor, Op. 48 No. 1.
Somehow I didn’t really pay any attention to the modern music back in a day.
As for memories affecting the creative process, I’d presume they do that just as any other thoughts or emotions.
Thing is, I never considered myself a proper composer, since I can’t just compose things I want to.
It doesn’t work this way for me, like it may for professional music writers.
I can only grasp melodies that come to my mind randomly, just like some broadcasts can be intercepted by a radio, which makes me more of a mediator or a ferryman, anyone but a creator.
And as experience sculpts us in a certain way, that definitely reflects on the ending result, just like a beam of light can be distorted by a lens of a certain shape.
So this effect can act both as interference or as a trademark.
Since you started the project, has anything changed since the early years? If yes, what? If no, why not?
Surely it changed, and it will keep changing.
The first major change was the transformation into a band.
Since I had to do what I do out of a necessity, one day I decided that I should do my best while doing it. And the most reasonable solution was to bring in more people.
That surely paid off, since being able to perform your music benefits it greatly — I suppose the difference is obvious when you compare the solo era releases with “Ascendere” and the following works.
Plus, as years do pass, we get more experience, our vision widens, and this brings other changes along.
That’s inevitable if you want to grow as a musician.
How do you describe your music to people?
We ourselves define it as instrumental music.
Most of our listeners would agree it resided at the junction of post-rock and ambient with neoclassical influences, but I suppose that we’re getting a bit further now, with much less of ambient sound, at very least.
And we still can’t describe the sound we’re forging now for the brand new tunes.
The diversity complicates things in this way, and when it grows too big, that forces us to create other monikers, like I did a few times already with more avant-garde and experimental stuff than Aesthesys material.
And then again, what’s the real point of describing music?
Rather let it speak for itself, I say.
As I said, music is a language, but it’s drastically different from the usual verbal language.
The way of words is a cognitive one, it may be abstract when we’re talking about literature or poetry, but most of the time it’s very concrete, leaving a pretty small room for interpretations.
With music it’s the opposite, since music is unconscious and the most abstract form I can think of, therefore any composition may carry different messages to different people.
I honestly have no idea what are the images incorporated in tunes we perform and release, but I try to transfer them as accurate as I can, in order to save their authenticity.
How are the other bands in Russia? You come from Moscow and I think that you know better thank me the Russian underground music situation? Could you explain it to me more or less?
I can’t say much about underground music as whole, it exists as everywhere else.
When it comes to so called post-rock scene — it’s shattered.
There were attempts to consolidate it somehow, so genre related bands would cooperate in a way, but that didn’t work out back in a day.
There are awesome bands here and we’re lucky to be friends and to share stage from time to time with some of those talented guys (like “Show Me a Dinosaur”, “powder! go away”, “417.3”, “Jet Plane” and many more).
Why did you choose "Ascendere" as title for you EP? I'm Italian and I know the meaning, but what was the meaning you had in mind for this word?
I think most of the explanation comes from the concept of this EP.
We tried to reflect it in the booklet (link: http://www.aesthesys.com/download/7/artwork/).
The ascension is a key element of the whole concept.
That’s the extremum, a moment of detachment from the physical boundaries in the storytelling of this EP: it’s connected with the last two tracks, or, to be more precise, it starts at the ending of “La Torre del Silencio” and proceeds with the following “Sailing to Constantinople”. And since it’s rooted in a certain point of the story connected to the final journey to Byzantium, that ascension is of an Italian origin. That’s why the Italian word had been chosen for a title.
I think that you're really able to express without words which are for you the feelings you'd like to convey... how can you do it? I mean it’s not that easy!
Expressing something with music without words is in fact an easier task.
When you’ve got a song with lyrics, there are two separate stories being told — one by music, another by words. And it’s very tricky to synchronize those stories in a way they won’t be dissonant together.
So from this point of view it’s much more effortless to stick with instrumental music.
But there’s another trick — I have to preserve the music the way I heard it in my head.
Any serious amendments would most likely result in something similar to Frankenstein’s monster, made up of parts that belonged to different people, without its own integrity.
I’m sure that there are lots of other opinions when it comes to this matter of creative process, but for me authenticity stands as the core of the whole endeavour.
What are your plans for the future?
Firstly, making new material.
It’s really hard to come up with tunes that would match the bar we set for ourselves with “Ascendere”, but I’m sure we’ll be able to produce an LP we won’t be ashamed of.
Plus, if earlier I had a monopoly on “composition”, after years of working together we decided to interact more on this level as well.
That’d surely bring some fresh sound to the future release.
And we’ll continue our work in the performing department, so by the time LP’s ready we’d also have a full program we could bring to Europe once again, and, who knows, maybe even across the ocean, if we’re lucky.
But there’s a lot of work to do first.
Thank you so much guys, Matteo
Thank you as well for reaching out and coming up with these wonderful questions, it has been a pleasure!
Here www.dunkrecords.com or here www.thestargazerstore.com is where Ascendere is available.