Stalker VA (Dmitry Bezruchko) is a composer, music producer and sound artist from Kiev, Ukraine.
Dmitry works mainly in the field of electronic and electroacoustic ambient music, incorporating synthesis, processed sounds, field recordings; investigating different timbres and creating atmospheric and cosmic soundscapes, inspired by dreams, memories, insights, unusual emotions, transcendent experiences and strange places… These impressionistic musical journeys explore the questions of the nature of consciousness, its interaction with the Universe and how it can perceive “reality” on different levels, as well as the impact that sounds and music have on the microcosm inside us.
Since he discovered the first simple digital audio software in a relatively young age, Dmitry became fascinated with the ability to manipulate the sound, as well as collecting the sounds of the surrounding world. While continuing his experiments with music, in 2002-2003 he was occasionally performing as a DJ. Since 2005 started self-education in playing musical instruments (piano and guitar), music theory, harmony, psychoacoustics, composition, sound design. Composing actively since 2007. Works in his own home studio. Stalker VA has often collaborated with other musicians and artists, takes part in various audio-visual performances and is open for further collaborations in music, sound art, poetry and visual art.
01. How long have you been making music?
I started my first experiments with digital audio in some simple software when I was quite young, at that time I became really fascinated by the possibilities of manipulating sound and experimenting with timbres. But after that, quite a long time had passed until I started writing music more seriously. As my urge to create increased, I started learning to play piano and guitar, as well as some self-education in music theory, harmony, psychoacoustics, composition, sound design. I often say, that I started composing music in 2007, but it would be more correct to state that 2007 was the year, when I first started sharing the music I wrote.
02. When did you start using electronics in your music making?
Well, I’m definitely a child of our digital age, and started using the modern electronic means of working with sound right from the start, even before I learned to play a musical instrument. Actually, electronic music was important to me since my early childhood – I can still remember when I first heard vinyl records of Space, J.M.Jarre, Kraftwerk, as well as music from Soviet sci-fi films and cartoons etc. I was deeply impressed by the ability of electronic music to synthesize unearthly sounds, discover some other worlds and realms.
03. Are you an electronic purist?
Not at all. And that is connected with another fascination of mine. Since I got my first audio recorder (it was actually an old cassette player with the record function), I started recording the sounds of the world, surrounding me. In fact, I still have some of those cassettes somewhere, but I think most of them are already demagnetized. You can experience even the familiar sounds in a new way if you learn to listen to them in a new way or process them. Sometimes known sounds can be perceived in a very different manner, if they are presented without their visual counterpart. But most of all I like to collect sounds which are unusual, unfamiliar. That’s why, acoustic sounds of the real world has also become an important part of my music, especially when they have some unique qualities to them. Of course, now I use a professional portable recorder for gathering those field recordings. I also record acoustic instruments, but usually I transform them in some way. That’s why I usually refer to my music as electroacoustic rather than electronic.
04. What is your current favorite piece of hardware? Software?
My music is mostly based on software – I don’t use real hardware synths, but VST instruments, controlled by MIDI keyboards instead – it gives much more flexibility. Of course, I have some “physical” equipment in my home studio, but it’s a bunch of necessary things, I can’t say that some of them are “favorite”, though I might have some special feelings towards my first pieces of equipment. Talking about software, I traditionally use Steinberg Cubase for most part of the music production process, as well as Ableton Live for live sets. Among the VST instruments my favorite are Spectrasonics Omnisphere, reFX Nexus, NI Reaktor, NI Absynth, Steinberg the Grand. For working with samples I use NI Kontakt and Izotope Iris and for sound processing I like to use SoundHack, Paulstretch, Pure Data and some other tools.
05. Do you use canned loops or samples? Why/Why not?
Well, I don’t. Because, as I said, I usually record them myself. A couple of times I really had to use samples from open-source sound libraries like freesound.org – usually when I need some “exotic” sound, which I wouldn’t be able to find anywhere near. But I don’t think that they can be classified as “canned”.
06. Do you use iPad/iPhone or other mobile computing devices in your music making?
Yes, occasionally I use iPad in my music making. Initially I used it only to record some musical ideas when I am on the way or somewhere far from my home studio. Besides I like to play with some emulations of analog synths – they get really fun with iPad’s touchscreen. But recently I also started using it as a controller during live performances.
07. Was there a moment of inspiration… a certain track or artist, that ignited your passion for electronic music?
I can’t say that there was a certain track or artist, which started all that, but rather different factors, some of which I’ve already mentioned before.
08. How does visual art/photography inform your music making?
I’m really fond of taking pictures, particularly landscape and abstract photography. And I think it influences my music in a way, because people often describe it as “visual”, “graphic”, “landscape-like” etc. Sometimes I approach composing music as painting with sound, creating some kind of impressionist picture. Another interesting aspect is that photography and field recording have a lot in common – both are connected with “capturing” the “real” world, which is done from some unique perspective of the author, often later to be transformed in an artistic way. Also my music is predominantly timbral, and timbres are like colors to me. Some of them are “painted”, some are “photographed”.
09. Has the internet/Social Media changed the way you make music?
I don’t thinks they changed the way I make music, but they become really helpful in sharing it with people and getting to know the wonderful music of other artists at the same time. Some particular musical SMs have become really important for me – Soundcloud, for example. Actually, it won’t be an overstatement to say, that it was Soundcloud that encouraged me to share my music. Before that I was writing it just “for myself”, so to say, only because I had a need to create, to express something.
10. What is your favorite artist or track of all time?
I can’t distinguish one artist or one track that is my all-time favorite. Well, maybe it’s natural. Human mind is not something stationary, it’s a process, a constant flow of change. For me different artists, tracks or albums often represent some particular periods in my life, they become strongly associated and connected with them. Sometimes even with particular places, or dreams. For instance, often when I listen to some track, with my “internal vision” I see myself in a particular spot in space and time and it’s almost impossible to get it out of my head and to re-associate that music with something else. So it gives me a possibility to use different music for travelling through space and time, evoking nostalgic feelings or even trying to remember how I viewed the world in particular periods of my life. That’s why I like to return to some tracks or albums over and over, while some are discarded completely over time. I always like to discover something new, some fresh ideas and inspirations.
I can name some artists, that influenced me most: Arvo Pärt, Vangelis, Hammock, Max Richter, Nils Frahm, Olafur Arnalds, Sigur Ros, Schiller, Eduard Artemyev, Brian Eno, Endraum, Kenji Kawai, Biosphere, Tim Hecker, Depeche Mode, Covenant, VNV Nation, mind.in.a.box, Seabound, Johann Sebastian Bach, Claude Debussy, Erik Satie, Jan Sibelius, Kraftwerk, Henryk Gorecki, Nils Peter Molvaer, Arve Henriksen, Mono, Terje Rypdal, Valentin Silvestrov, The Cure, Pink Floyd, Explosions in the Sky, John Cage