“Emotions are more important than narratives, senses are more important than meanings in the context of art” producer Evgeniy Fadeev, also known as Flaty, believes. Combined with fellow producer, Yana Kedrina, or, Kedr Livanskiy, they make Kosaya Gora, a new collaboration whose first album, Kosogor, was just released 17 March. The project, with its various folk, synth, and dream pop instrumentals accompanied by Kedr’s entrancing vocals, marks a diversion for both artists from their solo work and offers a fascinating new sound for their audiences to enjoy, both old and new.
Could you start by introducing yourselves and this new project?
Kedr: Hello, you know me better as electronic producer Kedr Livanskiy, now I play the guitar and blow into the ocarina [laughs]. I have always been very fond of psychedelic music and folk and indie (no less than electronic), so all this love was embodied here in Kosaya Gora.
Flaty: Greetings everyone, my name is Flaty and I’m an experimental producer and artist working on my label ANWO.
Kosaya Gora is Russian for “oblique mountain.” Why did you decide on that name for this collaboration?
Kedr: Flaty invented this.
Flaty: A combination of words that emerged from the subconscious, it turned out that there is a village with that name in the Tula region, and we didn’t mind, because we both spent our childhoods in similar places.
Kedr: And then I found a mention of Kosaya Gora in the work of J.R.R. Tolkien. It definitely proved to us that the name should be taken (we are a big fans).
Even though you both previously worked as separate artists, Flaty, you co-produced Kedr’s 2019 album Your Need. How is the music you are producing as Kosaya Gora different to the music you were making individually?
Kedr: In my solo work, I make electronic music, and Kosaya Gora is the embodiment of a childhood dream to form a live band and play non-electronic music, to reflect my love for these genres.
Flaty: Kosaya Gora differs in sound from what I do in my solo work in the use of live instruments. such as guitars, flutes, percussion, and vocals, without an emphasis on electronic sound, which is most often inherent in my solo work. But in terms of the creative process, it is particularly similar to how I work myself — collecting grooves and harmonies on my laptop, cutting, editing and things like that.
The album Kosogor came out March 17 and the LP’s first single, Motorcyclists Die released January 20. Why was this particular track chosen as the first single?
Flaty: In fact, this track is the second in a chain of three singles. The first single, Te Slova, was released in December before the album announcement. We have chosen three contrasting tracks which in our opinion outline the diversity of the album well.
Kedr: The first single of Kosaya Gora, Te Slova, was sad as from childhood. Motorcyclists Die, the second, is dark and otherworldly, and the third, Tell Me Dove, is the brightest and freshest, like the spring sky.
The single features lines from J. Blake Gordon’s poem So What. How did that poem influence Motorcyclists Die?
Flaty: The process of making music in Kosaya Gora is always stream-of-consciousness, we just improvise using everything that comes to mind. During one of the jams, Kedr grabbed James’s book, opened it to a random page and began to improvise with lines from his poems.
Kedr: There’s a story. Somehow in 2019 I performed in Chicago, and after the concert a man in a suit came up to me and gave me a book. It turned out to be his poems, and his name was James Gordon. I really liked these poems; his poetry reminded me of the early films of Richard Linklater. So, we wrote this track and I leafed through his book while sitting at my home in Moscow, and came across a poem about motorcyclists which, with its mood, went very well with the music and we decided to use it, slightly modifying it.
You said that the song is “a reflection on the topic of death and the finiteness of earthly existence,” sentiments that are really translated by the song’s music video. How did you ensure this intimate relationship between the visual and audio media?
Kedr: Oh, we probably walked too much at night in the forest. But in general it was Flaty who came up with this clip.
Flaty: One night while walking, I accidentally started shooting Kedr on camera in pitch darkness, walking along the road through the road markings. This is a suburban road, in the area where her parents live, and there is no lighting at night. After reviewing these shots, I realised that this is the matter of the Motorcyclists Die clip! Afterward I found that the footage had disappeared, and we decided to re-shoot those scenes in the winter night at the same place.
Kedr: I must say that at the time of filming we really experienced the same sensations as the clip conveys time is sticky bottomless and viscous. I walked past the cemetery and the wind whistled and hummed on its side a road sign. It was creepy.
I read that the album was recorded in a mobile studio whilst you travelled through a variety of remote Russian villages. Why did you choose this unconventional recording process for this album? How do you think it impacted the record?
Flaty: Place, space and time always affects you, but it’s impossible to say exactly how, probably part of the answer to this question is in the sound of the album itself.
Kedr: I wanted to convey the feeling of something cathartic and natural, which is sometimes difficult to feel in the city walls, one of the places where we wrote was cut off from civilisation and everything is very dilapidated there. The human is permeated with death and decay, while nature, in contrast, is very lively and unusual. In fact, we walked and tripped without anything, saturated and inspired by what was around, and immediately walked and recorded.
Flaty: It deffo defines the recordings naturally healthy.
Could you talk a bit about the influence that growing up as part of Russia’s various underground music scenes had on this album?
Kedr: In general, it is rather the influence of musical preferences that went a little parallel to the scene where I developed as a musician. That scene was experimentally electronic for the most part, and around the club. Kosaya Gora is more about personal experience outside the stage, and a little bit about other music.
Flaty: To a greater extent this is not the influence of the scene, but the sum of sensations in a specific period of time, expressed in sonic material.
The track list features a mixture of both Russian and English languages. How important was it to sing in your native language on the album?
Kedr: I usually write in Russian, but sometimes the musical composition itself tells you what language to sing in. In the case of Kosaya Gora, several songs suddenly happened in English, and one of the songs is written in a non-existent language, perhaps this is my personal variation of the Quendi language (Elvish language). Another song was completely free-styled in real time; it is in Russian, but there are a few non-existent words, we left it like that.
Is there anything you want people who listen to your music, particularly Kosogor, to take away from it?
Flaty: I would like people to experience their way, the meaning of words is less significant, but phonetics, voice and sonics are important. Emotions are more important than narratives, senses are more important than meanings in the context of art, I think.
Kedr: This record is like a friend, each song is like a separate story, and each song is very cinematic, the images are bright and not similar to each other. I like the idea that this album can evoke a very diverse palette of feelings, because feelings are one of the most valuable artefacts that life can give us.
By whom or what else do you find yourself being inspired for Kosaya Gora’s music?
Flaty: Living life is the main inspiration for art.
Kedr: I agree.
Finally, what can we look forward to from Kosaya Gora once the album has been released?
Flaty: In the near future we’re going to make a few mixes that will help to create context for our project. We are also preparing a live programme for the next year or so.
Kedr: The album was finished a long time ago and until now we have been working on our solo projects, but increasingly we are discussing and sharing ideas about the next album. You can guess as much as you like, but music has its own plans. But I know for sure the future album will be more noisy and dirty, raw and experimental.
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