Today, we continue our Friday Feature: Makin’ Beats with Daniel a.k.a. Plee from Moscow, Russia. As a musician and indie film-maker, Plee talks about the motivation of his music including piano jazz along the lines of Thelonious Monk and 80’s TV commercials.
GLM: You label your electronic music as hip-hop. When you think hip-hop, what’s your favorite reference (a particular artist or producer, classic or modern)?
Plee: Well I really label it hiphop ’cause I don’t care much about genres. Every time I listen to this new sound I just get the feeling that I know less and less about what is this electronic music thing that is going on. Right now I’m heavily listening to juke and skweee and I like this styles of music. But when I’m finishing one of my own a tracks I get this feeling from them, even if I use the sounds appropriate for juke/skweee/dubstep/any-other-subgenre that I’am staying true to my roots, to what I was listening when I was just starting to get inspired and make my own sounds. Like Boards of Canada (which are also kinda hard on labeling there own music as I understand even thought they use the classic hiphop break design) and Prefuse 73, and other warp and ninjatune artists. So that’s why I don’t shift the genre anywhere from hiphop. Also I’m really inspired a lot by Scott Joplin and other ragtime artists, ’cause I’m playing jazz and classic musical a lot and I prefer to stick to this when I also make my electronic music. I do a lot of keyboard practice every day even if I don’t switch my drums machine and sampler on.
GLM: Is this what you do full-time or as a fun, musical hobby?
Plee: I’m really into hell lotta things and recently I’ve been promoted at my day job to the head of department, so I don’t really know if I’m going to make electronic music when I’m gonna be 30. I’ve had tons of things I was into during my life – starting from writing short stories (I’ve had a bunch of publications when I was 15, hahaha), then trpg+computer games, also graffiti. I’ve shot a bunch of short movies. I was playing in a few rock/funk bands on bass guitar and keyboards. I was hard on DJing in clubs this drum’n’bass stuff for a few years when it was popular, and then I just stopped doing all this things and moved on. Right now I’m making this electro “hiphop” music already two and something years; it is the latest passion of mine. But hell knows maybe I’m gonna get into painting or designing clothes in a year or two and forget all this electronic music stuff like a nightmare. Just playing the piano once a while would be fine by me.
GLM: Congrats on the promotion! Name of couple non-hip-hop influences on your music?
Plee: Scott Joplin, Thelonoius Monk, Tchaikovski, Herbie Hancock, also I’m really inspired by music on TV a lot. I watch tons of old and new shows from different TV channels all over the world and sometimes music that I hear in some 80s commercial break [that]makes me dance ten times harder than any pumping goodness that I can hear at a party.
GLM: What’s your newest equipment/software? What your’s favorite equipment/software?
Plee: Well my newest addition to the home made studio is the korg poly 800mk2 and a couple of cheap drums that I’ve taken from my friend’s proffessional studio for free.
To make electronic music, my favorite equipment is a computer running ableton and three dollar headphones, just that. To play music, my favorite equipment is my mom’s piano which I think I should steal from her someday, hahaha.
I also have 2 guitars (some cheap fake Gibson bass and my dad’s soviet acoustic) and tons of different percussive instruments from all over the world, but mostly this is just for friends who come over to jam.
GLM: Is there support for a live, original electronic music scene in Moscow, outside of dance/remix DJs?
Plee: Yeah there is support for everything in Moscow. There are people who dig anything that sounds good. But the quantity of people that give a damn on anything other than their miserable work/sleep/eat/shit/and-watch-TV lives is kinda really low. It’s like you know if there are three good parties on Saturday night (and all of them are different kinds of electronic music) you are just gonna meet the same people at all of the parties or one of the clubs is gonna be just empty, hahaha. And this is Moscow, the capital of Russia. One of wealthiest cities on earth, ahahaha.
This makes everyone of us – those who make/play any kind of music(from jazz to abstract noise shit) in Russia kinda sad from time to time, but we just keep doing what we do you know. We mostly don’t even hope for anything here. Even those of us who have patriotic feelings like Lapti. But my guess is it was always like this here.
GLM: What’s your passion outside of producing music?
Plee: Like I said it before I do anything that let’s me be creative. Also I’m into all kinds of sci-fi, comic books, watching TV shows and partying.