Siberian Education: Module Werk eclectic style

Born and raised in Siberia, eclectic talent Module Werk recently moved to Saint Petersburg to further develop his music career.

Being under our radar since a while, we are happy to announce him behind the 36 podcast of our serie, a stunning and provocative mix ranging through different styles and showcasing his talent and music knowledge. For the occasion, we had a nice chat with him.

Hi Gene, and welcome to Trommel. You were born in Siberia, so we are very curious about your artistic origins as well as the electronic music scene present there…

Hey guys, thanks for having me!

I was born in Tyumen, in a family of doctors and geologists. It all started at the age of 7 when my parents taught me how to change the tunes on their reel-to-reel tape deck. We also had at home a big collection of several fairy tales, all pressed on vinyl, so I spent my early childhood digging and listening. Also, my grandfather was a top specialist in the field of cardiology, so he often had opportunities to travel abroad. It was the beginning of the 90s and that’s how I got my first CD player and a Casio synthesizer.

Tyumen was a small town back then; in the middle of the 90s there was only one record store where you could get some electronic music on CDs and cassettes. It was called ‘’Music Express’’, and was one of the only place where it was possible to make really cool discoveries, in particular CD compilations such as ‘’Trance Atlantic’’ or ’’Trance Europe Express’’.

I started going to clubs around the age of 16. I didn’t go very often, as I spent the entire decade playing SEGA and PlayStation. After a while, in the middle of the 00’s, I got a job in a record store called «Synthetic». There was a big movement around it, so I got contacts with all the local music activists. At the same time I started mixing practice, and I wanted to collect some records, so I traveled to Moscow by train (it is about 2000km, but airplane tickets were a lot more expensive) just to buy some stuff.

In respect of nightclubs, I was always against them. I mean, the sort of music that was mainly played there wasn’t that interesting to me. That’s how I started organizing with my friends our own parties in different places and venues. The most memorable was when we booked Mike Shannon for an illegal rave outside the city. The party was held in a huge underground vegetable warehouse. It is probably impossible to even imagine something like that in that region during these days. Things in fact changed in 2014: the situation around Ukraine and the following crisis, including the collapse of our currency, have strongly affected the way of living for everybody. Everything got twice as expensive. These days there are no true clubs in Russian regions (with exception of Moscow and Saint Petersburg) with decent bookings prices, it’s just too expensive.

This is one of the reasons why I decided to move to Saint Petersburg.

Image may contain: one or more people, people sitting, table and indoor
photo by Elizaveta Meduneckaya from Module Werk Facebook page

Speaking of musical influences, which ones affected you most? And how are they contributing to your current style?

During the 90s, the most influence came from console games. I am thinking on “Street of Rage” with Yuzo Koshiro or a crazy playstation game called «LSD». They inspired me a lot.

Also, the mix  ’’Every Woman Has To Drive A Car’’ by Anton Kubikov and his early techno dj sets made a huge impact on me. Then I heard Drexciya for the first time, and it totally blew me away. But I can also mention Aphex Twin with his Selected Ambient Work and AFX – Analord series, or the album «Module 2» by Bochum Welt.

I could keep going forever eheh. There were lots of inspirational moments, and my mind evolves every day, so influence is a constant process.

Your Boiler Room DJ Set during the Present Perfect Festival in Saint Petersburg really impressed us, particularly for the various musical genres you touched. What was the experience like overall?

That Boiler Room was literally boiling!

I took a lot of vinyl with me and started experimenting on the way. The atmosphere was really special, I never felt anything like it before. That grid of lasers and the venue where the event was held created a feeling of being in a sci-fi movie.

The team behind the «Present Perfect Festival» are extremely professional, they are one of the best in our country at the moment.

Your 2018 so far has been full of gigs, playing in all main clubs and events in Russia, while going to Europe on different occasions. What are your future plans in terms of touring?

Well, I’m only starting to push European boundaries.
Moving to St. Petersburg gave me more opportunities for travelling. Moreover, I recently joined the “Roof Booking” agency with artists such as Francesco Del Garda, Max Vaahs, Quest, Davy and more. All those guys are high class DJs and crate diggers as well, therefore I’m honored to be a part of such team and I am really grateful to Luca for this opportunity.

My plans for the nearest future are to play at the Red Bull Music Festival, then there will be my first travel to Kiev at the end of September and I hope Tbilisi in October.

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What do you think about the cultural situation in Russia, where several clubs and promoters were forced to shut down by the authorities? We saw something similar in Georgia as well recently…

The situation with club culture in Russia has always been a pain in the ass. I am trying to be as far from politics as possible, but sometimes it’s just impossible. I think the most important thing that promoters and club owners can do in this situation is to start establishing a dialogue with the authorities, because our government has absolutely no idea who we are and what we are doing. It is necessary to work and deal with what you have.

But it’s not just the authorities themselves, the promoters should also do their part and work at a proper level, you know.
Another big problem in our country is the media, lack of professional journalists and music press.

So, bottom line is, there is lot of work to do.

We know you are a great record collector, can you tell us how everything started, and how many records you have now?

For me it all started in 2007 when I started playing more gigs. There was no true vinyl record store in our city. I worked in a record shop, but it mainly had CD’s, so the only way to buy real stuff was to dig in online record stores.

That’s when I discovered the Discogs universe. It was the perfect time for it, especially because not many people were interested in this format in those days. This meant, you could buy a lot of gems for a cents.

However, I’m not considering myself a collector. I am maybe more a consumer. If some release is collecting dust on the shelf for too long time, I will most likely sell it. Of course, I have some records that I will never sell, but these days with the value of our currency, the prices for vinyl bite. That’s why I have to be more picky with my purchases.

When I moved to Saint Petersburg, I sold a lot of records that were collecting dust. Currently I have about 1,500 vinyl and most of them are actual working material.

All in all, my collection isn’t that big, but it is very functional for me. Nowadays I’m working hard and making a lot of purchases, so the collection is growing again.

From a production point of view, 2018 have been pretty active with two releases already, YAY Recordings and Lime Street Music. What do you want to bring to the scene with your productions, and what is coming next?

The material released on Lime Street Music was my early experiments in a studio with sound and rhythm and it was produced during the 2013-2016 period. The YAY release was produced and recorded at the end of 2016.

With the move to Saint Petersburg in 2017, a lot of my personal time was taken away, that’s why for the past year there was less studio work.

These days however, I have finally finished building my new studio with old and new gear. I’m currently trying to understand myself through my instruments and experimenting with them. I think it is really important to know yourself deeper to find your own sound, because that’s how you can bring something fresh to this world.

Also, I am road-testing my new stuff on different gigs. I already cut some tracks on duplates and one of them is included in the mix that I recorded for you.

As for the future releases, let’s keep it a secret, you will discover soon!

_____

Stream Module Werk latest podcast

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