To begin with, could you introduce yourself and give an idea of your musical background and early influences?
My name is Pymin (Pymin Davidov), I am a Ukrainian electronic producer and musician. Previously played music aka MUND Mund – Howl (Official video) A year ago I released the Ultrashell album, already under my own name. When I got a Sony Walkman cassette player in my childhood, I started to be interested in music as well as sounds. I only had a few cassettes in my music collection. So, without hesitation, I was very into recording everything surrounding me: children’s voices on the playground, noises from construction sites, street dogs barking (in the 90s there were a lot of homeless animals in my city), my parent’s kitchen conversations, etc. I don’t know why, but when listening back to what I recorded, I always slowed down the playback speed, so what I heard was kind of ambient. Actually, I still use a similar scheme for working with sound: I record everything on tape, and then I cut samples from these recordings.
What setup do you have and what is your favorite gear?
My set is always different, but almost always I use a reel-to-reel tape recorder or a cassette deck and a laptop with Max/MSP software. From my equipment I single out Pulsar-23 and Lyra 8 synthesizers cause I always improvise with them, I get a new unusual sound. I love it. Also in my home studio are several vintage synthesizers Jupiter 8, Polivoks and Theremin, which, although often, but fragmentary, appear in my music. Among my monitors, I single out the Genelec 1032, I think they convey the details and every roughness of the sound incredibly.
How would you describe Kyiv and what do you like most about it?
Perhaps it will sound too infantile, but I associate Kyiv with spring. That spring that comes after a harsh and dark winter. My country has experienced a lot of wars, the famine, the pressure of Stalin and the Soviet Union in general, and sometimes the echo of these accidents can be heard in Kyiv, as well as in other Ukrainian cities. Despite this, Kyiv is a very free and brave city. The inhabitants of the capital are very different, and the views of different generations are completely different from each other, but when it comes to our freedom and independence… do you remember how many people united on the Maidan?
How would you describe the electronic and experimental music scene in your hometown and Ukraine in general?
Unfortunately, at the moment, most of Ukrainians prefer only dance electronic music. Alternative directions of electronic music are poorly supported by Kyiv clubs. Hopefully in the near future we will have scenes for experimental, noise, industrial or ambient music. But, I know many Ukrainian artists (Edward Sol, Kadaitcha, DZ’OB, Radiant Futur, ?UE) who despite this continue to create and release music.
How has the pandemic over the last couple of years affected the live scene and has the lockdown limited your creative life?
During the pandemic, I recorded quite a lot of music, after which I released the Ultrashell album. On my creative side, this period had a beneficial effect, as there was enough free time for solitude in the studio and I was able to realize my long-standing musical ideas.
The conflict in Donbas has been going on for several years, but now the war has broken out all over Ukraine. Considering that the situation on the ground is changing very quickly and dramatically, could you give us an idea of ??the current state of affairs at a daily level in your city in terms of transport, food chain supply, medical care? And what is the most immediate change that has happened in your life on a personal level?
Today, more than ever, we are Ukrainians, show the world how strong we are. Every day I see how strangers share bread among themselves, help and support each other, no matter what. In the current state of affairs, across the country, thousands of volunteers are helping with food and medicine to many in need. In my hometown of Uzhgorod, (the westernmost city in the country), there are now more people who want to help than those who need it.
But, in truth, there are cities that are less fortunate with transport and food, for example, Mariupol. The reason for this is the Russian military, who every day fire at medical workers and volunteers with food and water. So the city is completely cut off from aid. Now I am in Kyiv, together with my friends we help military volunteers and everyone who has no food left, I think doing this, I feel a little calmer in my soul, despite the explosions and the sounds of alarm sirens.
How can you help the creative community of Ukraine? On a more general level, are there any local charities operating in your city/region that you would like to highlight?
It is always important to support creativity and talk about it. I think that now it will be more effective to pay more attention to Ukrainian independent artists. This is especially true for festivals and concert venues. I know that most music festivals give too much attention to the number of followers and views on a musician’s Instagram and similar things, forgetting that popular music does not always equal quality.
Could you recommend a book/movie/work of art about your city or country?
I like to re-read the works of Mikhail Bulgakov, in whose works there is a lot of Kyiv. Living and walking in the narrow streets of Kyiv, this Russian writer wrote many masterpieces, such as The Master and Margarita. And even now you can feel in the evening Kyiv, what the author wrote about, “mystically charged air and stars shining over the city, reflected in the windows of ancient buildings.”