Svarog (real name Oleksa Moroz) is a dj and producer from Lviv (Ukraine).
With a recent live recording from acclaimed Berlin club, Suicide Circus. Ukrainian native, Svarog presents a brooding textural atmospheric performance. While Extracting a constant source of inspiration from mythology and distant mountainous, yet changing landscapes of his home town and cultural city, Liviv. The hour long live set, as a result delivers a sound that exemplifies theme’s of “mysticism, kaleidoscopicity and futurism”. Aside from sharing this live recording, Mattia also had the pleasure of interviewing the Ukranian native, which can be read below.
Svarog and his music come together in a dark and mystical atmosphere of its sound, characteristics of an Eastern European country like Ukraine. Dragged into infernal atmospheres, Svarog portrays reality in complex worlds, in harsh, rhythmic and liquid sounds where the daily roughness is perceived in rarefied and dissolved fogs. Turning more to action than to talk, Svarog plays an artisan role in sound, inspired by mythology and the Slavic gods, transporting us to the discovery of his musical ideas.
Thank you Svarog for accepting Monument’s invitation! Svarog is a Slavic deity personified in the fire and maker of the solar disk. Your sound rich with craving and incendiary atmospheres reconnects well with this concept. I’d like to ask you if the name of the art or your sound was born first and how they connected to each other. What prompted you to produce electronic music?
I am also very happy that I am having a chance to talk to you guys!
At some point, I understood that I wanted to do creative work and my own music would help me in my DJ’s career. I tried and did really like it. Regarding the name of the project, it appeared right after I finished first tracks, that time I already realized what were the ideas and nature of my work and that name did perfectly fit in.
Your inspiration is fueled by mountains, architecture and mythology. I assume that Ukraine, your home country, has greatly influenced your perceptions despite not being in a great time in this historical period. How do they influence the places and their culture on your productions? Which instruments and tools do you use to communicate your music?
So, despite the fact that for several centuries Ukrainian territory was occupied by different empires and they tried to destroy Ukraine. Our culture, language and traditions were preserved very well in western Ukraine, the part of the country where I live. I was brought up in a family of local intelligentsia, with good values and understanding of the importance of culture. That’s probably why my project is full of deep ideas, because I grew up in a good environment.
Regarding instruments, I work in Cubase. In general all internal plugins for effects are good for me and for synthesizers I prefer external like Serum or Massive. At the moment I use only software in my production, but maybe in a future will try something analogue, who knows.
As usual I create a small sketch of idea and then stretch it in time, then producing a track usually takes 2-3 days. If I can’t imagine how to finish this sketch after 2 days, I delete it and start new track.
Circular Limited, Black String Records, Affin, Illegal Alien Records are some of the labels you came out with. What must the labels have to collaborate with them?
In different periods of my career those things were usually different, but there was always a constant one: the sound of the label must be similar to mine.
In 2018 you released the EP Myths for Norite and two EPs for Affin: Phenomenon and Environment. 2019 you started with remixes for Lupercus by Worg and Modus Operandi by Norbak. Connected by dark, mysterious and evocative atmospheres to the limits of the spiritual, it is your clear hallmark of these first four years of your musical career (started in 2015). Of course, the EP is a different project from the remix but which of the two amplifies its musical skills? Do you think that in this time your sound has evolved? If so how?
I think that it is much more important for me as an artist to develop my own ideas. Remixes are not my strong side. I think that the production of own sound better affects the progress, than work with already finished material from the remix package.
Then, there are gigs and events around Europe. From December you have been to the Kablys Club, the Suicide Circus Berlin, the Underground in Ukraine and the Ankali of Prague. What is your relationship with the live? Based on complete improvisation, how do you create the connection between you and the public? Do you try to satisfy the needs of those on the track or always come from your personal tastes?
A few years ago I tried to play live, but then I understood that this is not exactly what I want. My return to live sets now is much more substantiated and more appropriate to what I want to play on performances. I don’t think that my live set is a complete improvisation, since most of the sounds are pre-prepared, but their play is already an improvisation. In my case, I rely only on my vision of music, because otherwise it makes no sense to develop your own ideas, but just to play everything that is in fashion. My aim is to make my music fashionable and put it into the top lists.
Hopefully, people do like my taste of music.
At these events artists of a certain caliber have been reached such as Hydrangea, Kessel, Räv, Errorbeauty. What is the relationship with other artists musically speaking? Do you create a single speech throughout the evening you play? Can you tell us about any episode that particularly struck you in one of your live shows?
Maybe I am not too flexible in my sets to create a common flow with other artists. This is possible if we have very similar music tastes.
Talking about striking episodes, I think that I have to create those. The artist and his music should be interesting. It is unlikely that it is possible to succeed if you don’t impress people.
About clubs. I think you’ve heard of the DVS1 interview about festivals and the impact they have on electronic music. In short, he says that the festival is a means to enrich the musical lobbies behind and diminish the figure of the club, a true fulcrum where a synergy is created between the artist and the public. In addition, again according to him the figure of the DJ becomes more of an entertainer than an artist. Do you agree with his point of view? What do you think?
I think it depends on the organizers of the festival. There are festivals that are important for musical culture as well as clubs that are just business projects and vice versa.
The degree of interest in music differs from person to person, so there are some people who need a show for music perception. The larger the audience in front of which the DJs stand for, the more they must entertain. A good artist is not only about music but also about having a strong idea that resonates with the values of the listener.
The clichés have created a combination of electronic music and drugs. I read in one of your interviews that you never used psychotropic substances to alter your perception and feel closer to the music. Is music your only drug?
I want to enjoy music, not drugs intoxication!
Last question. Where will we see you play in the coming months and what can we expect from Svarog for this 2019?
Unfortunately I don’t have scheduled gigs at the moment. I can’t say what to expect in the future yet. I’m not as good at planning in advance as I would like to be. At the moment I have already planned release on Dynamic Reflection’s The Nursery series and Affin.