An interview with Rastko from Geneva.
1. Tell us about your beginnings with music.
My grandmother was a piano player at the local ballet school. As a toddler I used to crawl under the piano and listen to her playing. I went to primary music school learning the piano but I hated the rigidness of the school and the endless repetition. But I was always surrounded by music not least from my childhood in Zambia where there where so many sounds and listening to my parents and my older brother's records. Although I ended up doing a lot of physics and math during my early education I always had music in my life either by organizing concerts or making mix tapes for parties. I started going out to the , at that time , only underground club in Belgrade at an incredibly young age and loved the weird people and the new music I was discovering there. My first real encounter with experimental electronic music was in London in the nineties where I studied to become an audio engineer. It was a revelation to listen to pirate radios for the first time and then endless nights of listening to the FSOL transmissions and recordings. While working as a sound editor in Denmark I started composing sound collages for performances and experimental films. I did not even know that there are academic names for the things I was doing but it just felt right to chop field recordings and make rhythms and sound patterns out of them. After a lot of traveling I came back to Belgrade and started doing impro concerts and recordings. First I used a computer in my performance but I got really tired of all the complexity while in the end I felt I was not so free to play. Although I did try to change this and became good at using midi controllers still I could not make radical changes in the sound and it was hard to improvise playing duets with acoustic instruments. So I begun working with a much simpler setup with some home made devices and a circuit bent SK1. In this way I felt much better while performing and I was always giving something unique to the audience. Performance is important to me as that is how I record and compose. By live playing or manipulating the sound, I do very little edits and almost never overdub.
2. Is the Serge modular your first modular? What made you decide to choose it?
Upon my arrival to Geneva I started listening to and reading a lot about the electronic and avant-garde music from the 60'ies. I was especially impressed by the so-called west coast sound from the US. I had a Korg MS-20 and I worked a lot with software modulars so I had some experience with modulars, but I thought that Serge would bring me closer to this sound I liked so much. Not as to copy the sound but just to take that as a starting point. Then I got a very fair offer on a second hand Serge panel and I bought it almost like a "shot in the dark". I could not try it anywhere and I could not imagine how it worked nor really sounded. Now that I have Serge I love the sound of it and the functionality or rather the density of the modules is amassing. It is really a beautiful instrument and it gives me so much joy when I play it. I love the banana plugs as well and I think that all modular formats should have them.
3. What is the Geneve experimental scene like? Any artists we should check out?
The Geneva scene is very rich for such a small city. The concert scene is very good and the organization Cave12 (http://www.cave12.org) brings really good experimental musicians to perform. I like going to most of these concerts. The things they bring to the town is all recommended and there are some local artists who perform as well. My favorite electronic music festival in Geneva is Archipel http://www.archipel.org/.
4. On your new album Plink Plonk you use the Serge and the Sidrassi Organ is that correct? what are the differences in approach for these instruments?
It is actually the Sidrazzi Organ which is a new version of the Sidrassi Organ and it is an instrument built by Peter Blasser from Baltimore US. His instruments are amazing! Sidrazzi Organ is already a instrument you can play straight away while the Serge has to be patched to be able to become an instrument. I am thinking a lot right now about this difference and I am not sure that the act of patching and building an instrument is a legitimate part of a live performance. At least I do not feel good about that. I am now working on a different approach to my live performances and the ideas that Sidrazzi has given will be a part of that. As for "Plink Plonk" I actually added the Sidrazzi Organ to the recording of the Serge. I do not overdub on my other Serge recordings but this time it just felt right and the Sidrazzi Organ added something I really liked to the recordings.
5. I know you frequent Muff Wiggler's forum, are there any other forums you think worthy of mentioning?
I love Muff Wiggler and have learned a lot from the info there and have met some really nice people there. Browsing the Muff takes enough time so I do not frequent many more sites, but I recommend UBU which I visit as well and which is a great resource for the strange and beautiful http://www.ubu.com/. http://www.quadslope.com/ is a Serge user site and forum which is very good and has produced 2 compilations of Serge users music.
6. Do you see your music in images/ shapes or just sound?
You know the childhood dream many have of floating around in air or flying? Well sometimes I get that feeling while playing and listening to my music. It is more the tensions that I feel in the music and less images and shapes.
7. Have you any other recordings released?
I have nine "releases" on my web site.