A while ago I made a half-hearted plea to Raster-Norton / Vladislav Delay, talking some rubbish about bonus material and the current state of things. Who’d ever thought it would get answered?
Mr. Delay took time out his busy schedule to answer my inane questions, and I can’t begin express my appreciation of him doing so.
What’s the concept behind “Kuopio”? What differentiates it between other VD albums?
I guess the main thing is that I have decided to actually focus on V.D. project. It was always closest to my heart but also I kind of gave that project least love and care, taking time to do other stuff like Luomo and other projects which would always be more difficult and challenging in some ways.
I decided to stop doing those projects and focus on V.D. as well as some other new projects and concepts. But mainly I wanted to see where I could, or would like to, go with Delay sound.
Kuopio is somewhat continuing what I started with Vantaa and working with Raster-Noton.
I had a vision about the somewhat new sound and while it didn’t really come out clear on Vantaa, I think on Espoo and Kuopio it’s more audible already.
I’ve been getting quite bored of ambient music, as far as writing and producing that kind of stuff goes. And I definitely have been bored of rhythms and beats, so I’ve been trying to look for things that won’t bore me. And overall I can say what I can say about each and every work I do, even though it might not be audible, that I’m trying to do something I haven’t done yet and look for new things in music.
What record are you most proud of making? What do you consider your greatest success as a musician?
I’d honestly have to say I’ll be always most proud of the next album or song or whatever I will make. I aim for progression, look forward to the things I haven’t yet done, or haven’t yet managed to do well, and on and on.
Of the records I’ve done I’d pick the last one, Kuopio.
Will Johanna Iivanainen or Raz Ohara ever appear on a Luomo record again?
Nope. I really don’t think I will ever make another Luomo album unless things change in major way. I find the club & dance music scene so out of it that I don’t want to work in or around it any more.
I would still like to produce such music as I have done with Luomo but I’d only do it privately or something, I have absolutely no interest in working in that scene any more as it currently is.
I don’t want to offend anyone so I’d better shut up now.
After 15 years in the music business, what are the most important lessons you’ve learned?
You know, I never thought myself as being in the music business. That was one thing that always bothered me, work, professional, business.
I work for hourly wage that is definitely lower than average. And I do work very long hours, just to get by, but I never wanted to be professional, maybe naively but anyhow I was worried I would lose my passion and all the other stuff that matters to me greatly, much more than money or any kind of success. So I guess not taking my passion as a professional thing or work at least, has helped a lot.
I guess the biggest lesson is not to be addicted; it kills creativity and life in general. Also it helps greatly to try stay as amateur and unknowing as possible.
What are your thoughts on the end of music as a physical product?
I have tried to follow the situation and progression of this topic and have tried to not take it personally. I think overall there’s nothing we can, or should try to do, against the progression of things. I feel in general the older you get the more challenging it becomes to let these things happen and not protest against them. Younger kids just take these things for granted and jump from one thing to another, the speed is quite overwhelming.
But lately, I must say I haven’t really even made any opinion of it all. Except I try to remain somehow positive as I tend to see and concentrate on negative things always. And when you look with those negative glasses the situation definitely seems pretty fucked up.
I find it sometimes hard to not be bitter about the situation but I can also see having been spoiled in my early career where I actually could sell few albums and make a semi living out of it.
As I first and foremost focus on music, the making of it, I don’t have so much energy and interest to focus on what kind of medium it appears on and everything around the subject. It does bother me that the whole digital thing neglects so many aspects of the experience, and actually just shits on it. You have no idea who made what, where, with whom, what’s the publisher and who’s the money making dude behind it all, 10 photos of someone posing in the make-ups, etc. etc.
When I listen to music I like, from jazz to classical to mainstream hip-hop etc., there are varying infos I want to know depending on the genre etc. and I can’t find this info on digital releases.
And also they sound crap. although so much of the new music sounds equally if not more crap on CD that I think it’s not so big deal actually. and everyone listens to the music on some ridiculous headphones (I think these latest-fashion 50 Cent or whatever Dre 300 dollar cans are as ridiculous as iPhone buds) that make music sound nothing like it should.
But this is again me not maybe seeing the bright side of it all.
But somehow I remain optimistic, things can’t only go to bad direction and I begin to see also some light at the end of the tunnel, maybe just because things can’t just go anymore bad.
Usually I always say it could be worse. But maybe in this aspect it’s different, maybe it just can’t get more worse.
Maybe the thing I find most sad is the fact that almost nobody appreciates music anymore. It’s just a cheap or often free commodity. I guess one reason why less physical products are made/sold is because the ever-lowering value and appreciation people see in music. There’s so much of it, it’s like millions of free tv-shop channels, all tooting the same stuff out of their “unique” channels. I think it numbs the perception.
Also, too much is too much.
What advice could you give aspiring musicians?
Be fucking hard on yourself, no compromises.
What albums inspired you to become a musician?
In chronological order until age of about 15:
Bob Marley – Catch a Fire (I was 5 when I found that album on my father’s collection)
Kiss, Motley Crue, etc. hard rock albums
Frank Zappa – all albums.
Miles Davis – almost all albums.
You take music very seriously, have you ever considered making something light hearted or silly?
Nope 🙂 I admire the way Zappa did that, and maybe few other examples but mainly I hate it when people mix music with humour.
What are your plans for your new studio?
There are no new plans for the studio except to stop spending money! And start paying back the loans… I think the studio is at a point where the main thing is on top level, it sounds amazing.
I might be working with Genelec to find a bigger system at one point but for now the studio is all well. I also have trouble with how much time I spend in the studio, NOT making music but trying to make it more amazing and more suitable for new ideas I have and all that.
And then I’m off touring for weeks while my wife is using it…
Has it changed how you approach your music?
Not at all. All the gear etc. is very secondary I think. Music is something bigger than some this or that technology.
Pusha-T or Kanye?
Pusha… I’ve been a big Clipse fan since day one. With Kanye I have daily issues, even though I like some of his things a lot as well. I liked his last album a lot but I worry to death what will come out of his opus with electronic kids and EDM bling bling.
If money was no object, what kind of car would you drive?
Since having moved to country side I actually first time need a car and became aware of car in general. I didn’t have driving license until then even and never cared about cars.
But now I do as it’s my daily life, and often the circumstanced are pretty wild where I live, 4*4 drive is essential, so I need a car that functions and delivers. I guess I’d choose a Range Rover.
…sorry. I want to change my choice of car. Mercedes Benz G 500 AMG.
The thought of Vladislav Delay driving around in a G-Wagen, bumping the Clipse is fantastic 🙂 I’ll dissect the rest of the interview some other time, needless to say it mirrors quite a few of my thoughts and I’m somewhat torn on the uncertainty of Luomo’s future…