Interview with protoU

To begin with, could you introduce yourself and give me an idea of your musical background and early influences? 

My name is Sasha and I am a trained violinist and choir vocalist who grew up with an addiction to music. I have many musical projects but my main one is my ambient project protoU.

What is your current set up and your favourite piece of gear?

I barely have any gear actually. Mostly I just use a midi controller and my macbook. I tend to love minimalistic and compact approach within what I do. I use stuff that makes sense to me. Fits my approach.

How would you describe Kyiv and which are your favourite things about it?

I think Kyiv is a beautiful city in many ways. I especially love the nightlife of Kyiv, the creative people that reside there. Different communities and boiling cultural life. Ukrainians are very friendly as well. The vibe is there. Of coarse it’s a post-soviet city with loads of old architecture that nobody cares about that much but I think this serves as a nice contrast to the modern looks of the city. You just have to experience it on your own.

How would you describe the experimental music scene in Kyiv and in Ukraine in general? 

I would say we have very strong positions of experimental musicians. We have a few communities as well that do parties once in a while. I would especially point out this one (hyperlink – ) You can find a lot of live videos from Ukraine with local and international guests.

How has the live scene been impacted by the pandemic in the past couple of years and has lockdown curtailed your creative life? 

Definitely less live shows but production definitely went up. As for every artists, bands during the pandemic with loads of free time at home. When the pandemic started we were deep into family stuff since it was just over 1 year that we had a baby so my production was not that fast as it used to be. We’re still elbows deep in the family stuff but it’s getting better. I always loved music and no pandemic can ever change that. 

Granted that the situation on the ground is evolving very quickly and dramatically, could you give us a sense of the current state of play in Kyiv? And what have been the more immediate changes in your life on a personal level?

Fortunately I left the country with my son a few days after the war started. Our family and my husband transferred us to the border and we are taken good care by the guys here. As for the Kyiv city from what I know they hold it pretty strong. The enemy strikes still but we fight back and do it in a much more professional way as you might have heard from the news. Of coarse there are some dark stories but it’s war after all. We saw death while driving to the border. I doubt I would ever forget that.

What can one do to help the artistic community in Ukraine? And on a more general level, are there any local charities that operate in Kyiv you would like to highlight?

Special fundraising account in support of the Armed Forces of Ukraine (hyperlink – ) Donating would be of great help for us in fighting evil.

And could you recommend a book / film / artwork about either your town or your country? 

As a visual person I think I would recommend to look into the works of Maria Oksentiyivna Prymachenko (hyperlink – ). She was a Ukrainian folk art painter, who worked in the native art style. A self-taught artist she worked in painting, embroidery and ceramics. Her works are amazing and the looks really represent of what Ukrainian soul really is.

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