Hello Reptilian Connection, how are you? Thank you for accepting to do this interview to Dan Dada Records. Introduce yourself briefly to our readers.
Hey! Big up! Big thanks for this opportunity!
In short I'm a music producer from Saint-Petersburg, Russia. And also an environmental organization employee. But that's another story.
At what age did you start creating music and what were your major influences while you were growing up?
I had my first experience of creating music when my father bought me a CD with Cakewalk digital workstation. I just combined several embedded instrument and drum samples. It took me about three hours. And the first track was done. I even remember the date of creating it – 01.01.2001. The first day of the new Millenium. So symbolic.
After that I've studied playing piano, studied in musical school for 4 years... I've even played flute in Medieval music group at the Saint-Petersburg Conservatory for half a year.
About influences... I started from heavy metal when I was 8. And I’m also a big fan of Medieval music, especially the sound of bagpipes. So in the first times I was very influenced by folk rock and folk metal...
“Reptilian Connection” can be considered as the next step for me in combining traditional music and modern styles.
You grew up in Russia, did that influence you or your music in any way?
It definitely influenced my personality and because of that it influenced the music I play. Beyond that there are some bands and performers I could not ever hear if I was born and lived in another country. But I don't see any direct influences. There are no or almost no “Russian things” in my music.
What is the meaning behind your name? Is it truly a connection with the animal kingdom? What does it represent?
Not exactly animal kingdom. Reptilians are the alien reptile race from outer space. There are several conspiracy theories about reptilian shapeshifters controlling the world government to rule the human race. When I was thinking about the name of the new music project I was reading and watching a lot of stuff like that. I don't believe in these theories at least until there are any strong scientific evidences. But it was fun to add a bit of that atmosphere to my music. So this is how the name “Reptilian Connection” appeared.
How can you describe your first EP “The Arrival”?
At first I just wanted to play some dub/reggae influenced positive sunny music.
I founded “Reptilian Connection” in 2016 but I've made my first demo track “The Arrival” three years before that just for fun. It was a mix of dub, dubstep and slowed down drum'n'bass complemented with tribal percussion and “sci-fi alien” leads. So it was not exactly what I had planned to compose in the beginning but I liked the result.
At that time I was already interested in east asian traditional music for several years.
And then I've heard Jiang Liang's EP “Kong” - dub with chinese traditional music influences. And it was like “Bingo”! "Tribal percussion is cool but it would be great to add some east asian tunes too!", I thought. After that I've heard a few similar releases, for example Xie Tian Xiao's “Zither Reggae”. Besides it seemed to me there are not many artists who play this unlike those who use Indian or Mideastern tunes for example. So It would be original.
So I decided to combine these three components: dub/reggae, east asian tunes and “alien” atmosphere. That doesn’t mean that all 5 tracks have all these 3 components because while I was composing I was, at the same time, looking for my own unique style with new ideas coming out I wanted to try. So the tracks are quite different.
Beyond the industrial, mysterious, well-organized sequences of your songs, we feel a common oriental vibe, what is the source of this inspiration? Do you identify with this culture?
I just like listening to eastern asian traditional music, mostly Mongolian, Chinese and Japanese. Some modern music from that countries as well. So music is my main source of inspiration. And you already know the second part of the story.
Also I'm really interested in Japanese culture: black and white films made in 50-60ies, literature and history ...
What do you think has changed from your first EP to the album “The Presence”?
What is the main idea behind it?
There's no strong conception behind both of my releases.
When I was creating “The Arrival” I understood that it was quite hard to follow the direction I chose at the beginning because I like experimenting with sound.
First of all “The Presence” LP is more hip-hop and less dub oriented, and has more heavy and psychedelic sound. Hip-hop is quite urban genre. At least in my vision. So if “The Arrival” was mostly about sun and nature, “The Presence” is about cityscapes. Concretely it's heavily inspired by vibes of the city I live in. I wanted to give the feeling of that Saint-Petersburg I face every day with gloomy yards in the center and blocks on the edges, with all the non-touristy stuff.
But it's not documental statement of everyday reality. I wanted to color the sound in psychedelic surrealistic tones.
Actually the first track “The Signs” begins with a sample from one “documentary” where the author tells that all the graffities in the world are made by reptilians who already live in our society. They make it to control the human race of course.
So “The Presence” represents the idea the aliens and other strange creatures are and always have been among us. That's why the release is called so. Same thing for the tracks' names.
By the way. One funny thing about the last track “The Destructive Psychic Energy of Dark Minds of Armoured Fishes”. This name and the idea of the track is based on the plot of a documentary on Russian TV.
However I’m rather a materialist, and I reproduce such stories in my work, just because I have fun.
You recently started collaborating with Bandulu Dub, available in all platforms at the 18 of May. How was that experience for you?
Yes, the single “Fly your own way” will be released at the 18 of may.
The main thing I strive for when composing music is creating something new, opening up the new horizons, experimenting with sound. It seems the same is for Bandulu Dub. At least I've never heard two similar releases made by him.
So what about the single. Well ... “Balance” is the best word. In my opinion the track is really balanced in all the meanings. It gives very pacified and calm state of mind.
And, of course, there was room for experimentation while composing, like adding heavy bass line more suitable for stoner rock and a few more things.
So I achieved my goals in experimenting and also I am happy with the result – it's one of my favorite tracks I've worked on. This was a great experience. Thanks to Bandulu Dub for that.
How would you like to be remembered as a musician? What do you want people to feel when they hear your music?
The feeling you're up in smoke sitting on a soft and fuzzy armchair in warm room and just enjoying your time and relaxing. And the second one is a sense of surreality ... because the Universe is so huge and there are so many unbelievable things you can't even imagine. Even around each one of us in our everyday's reality. I want my music to remind people about that.
These are the two main things I want people to feel while listening to Reptilian Connection. Other things depend on each track.
However I don't want to be a teacher or mentor. The true actual reason why I make music is that I just love making music.
But of course I'm very happy when people tell me they enjoy listening to “Reptilian Connection”. And it would be just great if my music could influence existing or new genres.
What do you think about the current situation of the world in this pandemic covid-19? How do you envision yourself and music in the long run?
Well... One of the reasons for the spread (and sometimes the appearing) of new infectious diseases is the habitats of different species change. Today it mostly happens because of human activities – especially the activities causing the global climate change.
The other thing is that polluted air increases the risk of complications and death for patients with covid-19.
So the epidemic demonstrates one more time that humans are only a part of the nature. Not kings or masters like many still think but only a single part. And the more we harm our planet the worse is for us.
Of course sometimes we will have technologies that can save the humanity in almost every cataclysm. But why must we destroy everything around us?
The other bad thing is that some social issues escalate quick especially in the countries where there is no strong civil society. But this is a topic for another very long discussion. And of course the epidemic is negatively affecting that bands and performers who gain their money mostly by having life shows.
So I hope when this epidemic phase ends we will learn the lesson. And everyone will live happy and free one day. Also the musicians of course. And definitely we will hear new cool styles and genres.