The 170th episode of our 12 Questions segment features producer Ilya Gerus.
1. How old are you, where are you living and how long have you been producing and Djing?
I’m 25 years old and living in Sochi, Russia. Music production I started in 2010. DJing I do not do, but sometimes do guest mixes for radio.
2. Where do your musical roots lie, what are your first memories of electronic music and when did you know you wanted to pursue it seriously? Are there any particular productions or artists from the past that really made you think to yourself ‘this is what I want to do.”
My first passion for electronic music began to listen to the Russian radio station “Dynamite FM” (Moscow). These were programs from Dj Fonar “Znaki” and joint air Dj Dan and Dj Groove “Storm Crew”. Every Monday and Wednesday I waited 10 pm to dive for two hours in the world of electronic music. After several auditions radio, I would like to make your first track. I never studied music, and therefore did not know how to do it. Information about the production of music I found on YouTube. After much trial and error, I made my first track, but it was never published. In 2010 I decided to seriously pursue music production. The impetus for this decision was the program “Somebodys Story” Igor Cold on Proton Radio. I learned that Igor Cold from Russia and he does a very good music! I liked his tracks “Traumist” and “Maya”. These works influenced my decision to study music seriously. I took the pseudonym Dastan. As a result, three months after the release was published “Dastan – Brighter Than Sunshine”.
3. How difficult was learning to produce for you in the beginning? Did you take any Audio Engineering programs or production courses to help you out or are you pretty much self taught? And did anyone give any advice early on that really helped?
The first work I have done easily, but later appeared complexity. I had little expertise. The information I received from the video tutorials and reading professional literature. Early in his career helped me a lot advice producers “Igor Cold” and “Alfoa”. These artists gave me the confidence and inspiration! I often talk with many artists and take their experience in music production.
4. What parts of the production process do you find the most difficult and what comes easiest for you? When you do hit a creative block what helps you through it?
Most of all I like to do remixes. I am interested to make a new version of the sounds, which are already used in the original and add your vision to give the track a new character and a different sound. Often I have problems with the bass track. I very rarely heard works in which I like the bass track. Successful and easiest I get atmospheric music. The best inspiration gives me my girlfriend. It’s my first listener and my most severe critic.
5. What’s a normal day like for you? Do you have a job outside of electronic music? And what do you like to do when you’re not working on music?
I am studying at the university in absentia by profession, engineer on the construction of roads and bridges” and I work at a large company in the field of electrical mechanics. Free time I have very little, so I just relax or travel, when there is such a possibility. I love to cook and constantly invents new recipes.
6. Apart from electronic music what other genres do you listen to and who are your favourite artists outside of electronic? and do these genres or artists have a direct effort on your own productions?
I really like contemporary composers Hans Zimmer, Eduard Artemyev, Ennio Morricone, Nino Rota, Andrei Petrov. I love listening to classical composers Verdi, Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev, Mozart, Gavrilov, Puccini, Vivaldi, Chopin, Brahms, Khachaturian, Rossini, Strauss. I always enjoy listening to good old jazz. I especially like Louis Armstrong, Nina Simone, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Glenn Miller and others. Melodic rock also have on my list. This music is definitely affects me and develops a sense of beauty.
7. What was the first and last physical (CD, Vinyl, Cassette etc) piece of music you bought?
Unfortunately, the first purchase of musical production can not remember. Last purchase of this DVD “Paul van Dyk – Global”. Now I buy only digital format.
8. Tell us something about yourself that might surprise people?
I live near the Black Sea and I have an unusual one friend. This dolphin! We met when I was fishing on the high seas. Our friendship for three years. He understands every word that I say, but I do not understand his words. I do not understand how he learns that I have come to the beach, something to see him. Dolphin gives me a fish on a fishing trip. Dolphin hard to catch up even a scooter. Dolphin never harmed a single person, but I’ve seen people throwing stones at him from the shore. He knows how to smile and even laugh. He has a beautiful girl-friend! He is friends with my girl-friend! Together with it’s great to swim! Sometimes I regret that I am not a dolphin.
9. Which producers in your opinion get consistently overlooked?
In the world of music is very much deserving musicians. Fame and recognition is not important in the work. True artists make music not for commerce! Music should come from the heart.
10. Which producers consistently inspire you? And where else does your inspiration come from?
I have no idols, but there are artists that I always listen with great interest and pleasure. A good influence on me always have Affkt, PHM, Lanny May, Ioan Gamboa and Hunter_Game.
11. There are countless producers out there trying to find their way and create their own unique sound, what advice do you have for them?
I want to tell all budding musicians: try not to be a copy! Be original! Listen to yourself and you will always find something inherent only to you! Find it and develop its direction. The worst thing in the works – a permanent plagiarism!
12. If the final DJ/live set of your career was next week what would your last track be?
It’s be one of my favorite tracks “Ryukyu Underground – Seragaki (Quivver Remix)”.
‘Peekaboo’ is out now on Clinique Recordings, you can purchase the release: here