Since the very beginning, «Harvest» was meant to become brighter, calmer and deeper than its predecessor («Nest», 2015). We wanted to get a kind of diptych, where every part works fine within its own story, yet being seamlessly intertwined with each other by an almost invisible thread of a narrative about our relations with Society, God, and Death.
The work on the album has become a real challenge to us, since we didn’t want to repeat ourselves both thematically and technically. At the same time, we didn’t want to stray much from the course set by our previous releases. The main challenge was finding the right “temperature” of the sound, so to say. We are not the ones who strive after a clean, modern, friendly sound – this is not interesting to us at all. Distortions, dust, dirt, random clicks and hissing, that is everything that gives an audio track some character, some soul and life – that’s what gets us for real. All these little manipulations help to underline or even point the listener (on some mental microcosmic level) what is the most important thing in these songs, what your ears should pay attention to.
For example, imagine, you’ve got a favorite audio cassette or a vinyl, the one you’ve already listened to a million times. In some parts, this recording already sounds differently from what it used to be — the sound has become a little bit worn out, slighty blurred, with a ton of tiny nuances (which you already know by heart). Still, despite the loss of quality, you keep loving this cassette/vinyl tender, just because there are lots of sweet memories connected to this thing, certain emotions, weather, season, part of a day, and so on. You remember every solo, every scratch, every melody in minute detail to a point that if this recoding is gone, you will be able to replay it mentally in your head knowing exactly where to put every necessary accent. It’s rather hard to explain this idea, but we hope many of you understand what we’re talking about.
This is exactly the kind of effect we’ve tried to achieve with «Harvest», that is when songs sound the way as if you’ve been listening to them for most of your life, then after putting them away for some time, you accidentally hear these songs again and this fills your heart with some forgotten warmth. When we just started our work on the new album (almost immediately after the release of “Nest”), we made a huge mistake by focusing on the technical side of recording.
The idea seemed quite brilliant – making a pop album out of everyday sounds that chase every one living in a city (for instance, we sampled the hum of a daylight lamp hanging in a local store and used it for a solo part, while the sounds of a working garbage truck became a drum sample). After working in this direction for quite some time and mixing this “mess” with real live instruments, we finished a full album by Winter 2016. But this record turned out to be interesting only as some sort of a strange audio experiment, as it had neither soul, nor theme, nor temperature. It was a square nothing, just some emotional vacuum. It was at that time that we happened to open a book lying on the shelf in our tiny studio. It was by Vasily Shukshin, a famous Russian writer. The first thing we quite accidentally found there was his words “Press yourselves to genius”. It struck us so much that in the heat of creative anger (just like Papanov in the old Soviet movie called “Come Tomorrow”) we destroyed the album recording and started all anew.
The main (and frankly speaking, the only) source of inspiration for us was our birds: a crow called Nina and two doves, Vasily and Viktor Stepanovich. Each of them has a sad or a not so sad story and these stories keep on breaking our hearts. We found Nina almost 4 years ago, she had broken legs and wings and a sore eye. It took us half a year of constant caring and sleeping in shifts to bring her back to normal. Now she is able to move without help and, as it seems to us, she is quite satisfied with everything (yet she still needs our caring). When Nina is hungry or needs some cleaning, she calls us with muttering or knocking against the wardrobe. When we found Vasily, he had concussion of the brain. It took us a long time to help him recover. One day, when he was already fully recovered, he sprang on the window sill, looked back at us, then gave us a farewell nod (it’s true!) and flew away. As for Viktor, he was about to die of cold, when we found him. He was covered in machine oil preventing him from getting warm. After a lot of effort, we managed to bring him back to more or less normal state, but unfortunately not completely. After half a year, he died from a disease. We buried Viktor not far from our house in the village, under a birch tree, where we saw birch boletes growing every year. To our surprise, after a while we saw there a bunch of summer boletes growing, which had never happened there before. So, it was hard not to believe that there’s someone or something good watching over us and sending us such little signs from time to time. This brings us a feeling of absolute, disarming love and humility.
We don’t want to sound pompous, but in these injured helpless creatures, we found our God that exists outside the society, religions and gatekeepers, and He lives in our songs. For us, music is no longer a means to reach popularity and be successful. For us, music is a therapy, a painkiller, a morphine fix. Perhaps, it’s the most honest way – being free of any business, any subculture or music scene, any expectations or any people. Simply do what you should do and observe the results.
Of course, it may sound like some kind of doublethinking, but still… We don’t consider ourselves creators, we are just transmitters translating signals coming from the universe that we invented through our songs.
We are just an instrument.
p.s.: right now we are working very hard on our third album…