Hells Kitchen or Simon Ermakow, as he is known to his friends is a techno, progressive and minimal producer from Krasnodar in Russia. With releases on labels such as Aura Music, Moonbeam Digital, ADRO Records, Cinematique and remixes by the likes of Modum, Micrologue and Lefrenk, big things for this young producer are surely on the horizon. We caught up with him in late August to discuss future releases, his label Blendwerk and an interesting story about how he come up with the name Hells Kitchen.
One question I am sure you have been asked before many times but I must ask, where did the name Hells Kitchen come from and what is the meaning behind it?
There is a story that has not been without the participation of my past favourites, the group “The Prodigy”, which started with my introduction to EDM. One day the record came from these wizards, but rather from the singer of the group, Maxim, under the name “Hells Kitchen”, which made a great impression on me, power and strength, drive and power crazy! This is one of the factors impacting on my name. Then, when the thing went to the fact that I became interested in writing their own work, I realised that I always write in the “Kitchen”, making it difficult for my parents to dine and relax after work!) And when it went to the first release, I have learned something that is, in its own chip for the alias, when people see the name of the musician “Hells Kitchen”, they expect some kind of “meat”, “tin”, and then on their surprise minor and lyrical sound. There is its easy affair!
When growing up in Russia, who were your musical influences and what drew you to their sound?
I gave a great impetus to a wild desire to do something, always wanted to “bend the line,” dabbled in writing poetry, in painting, and even once, in high school, started writing a book, but still somehow not went, it was a feeling that I’m doing something that is not so, would more feelings and emotions to experience, and I realised that the music, this is the vent that leads me to a state of indescribable words, when I am busy with her goose bumps all over my body , thought and energy is overflowing and eroding, does not stop me, and I’m slowly but surely going forward! How to not sound rude, but it’s my drug, legal, powerful, and not killing me, and makes me even stronger when I am busy with his favourite thing, I am more and more I want to live!
You have recently just released the Poet EP on L3D Music which I believe is one of your finest pieces of work. Which of your releases is your personal favourite and why?
Thank you! I am glad that my estimated “Poet”!
You know, I find it difficult to answer this question, as to each release, I am particularly and walk up to him with a certain mood!
There are of course some of my own favourites releases, but by and large for me they all loved!
There appears to be an influx of great electronic music producers based in Eastern Europe and Russia. We recently interviewed Mauro Norti who, like yourself, has released some amazing tracks. Why do you think there has been an influx of great electronic music from Eastern Europe and Russia?
Maybe my answer will seem strange to you, but probably in Eastern Europe and Russia, live music and enriched by nature endowed with the gift of the people, but unfortunately not all find themselves in the music, unaware of what they can do for our culture, and stop half way! I was greatly worried and upset because a lot of talented people, not for some obvious reasons to me, just stop to create!
Can you think of any new talent that has caught your ear recently that you could recommend to our readers?
Among the new discoveries for me are the label’s artists PFL, I myself am the artist, and I believe that all of the participants are very talented people.
With releases on labels like Aura Music, Moonbeam Digital, ADRO Records, Cinematique and remixes by the likes of Modum, Micrologue and Lefrenk you have had an impressive 12 months in the industry. Can you think of one artist you would love to work with or have remix your track?
Yes, of course, for me, are the fathers of EDM artists such as Stephan Bodzin / Trentemoller / Gui Boratto, the day I really wanted to, to get them to remix some of my tracks!
We noticed you have worked with Irina Makosh on track such as Bridge Across Forever and Regrets, and we here at This Is Progressive love her vocals. How did you come to work with Irina and how do you find working with vocals in a track in terms of production?
Irina – a very talented singer, found her quite by accident while listening to the recording on soundcloud just heard a great voice, data, and wrote her a long time she did not think, has agreed to work with me and from that moment Gahan era voices in my tracks! Working with her is easy; we understand each other well and always try to make everything as nice and high quality!
Tvardovsky recently featured 2 of your tracks, Destructor and Coma, on his recent Stereo Paradise mix which was released on Change Audio. How did it feel to have 2 tracks included on such an impressive mix compilation?
With Tvardovsky we have friendly relations, previously I have repeatedly issued his “Stereo Paradise,” and when he collected a compilation, offered me to participate, I sent him the material he included it in the list, of course I was happy to be part of the collection!
The industry has seen many changes throughout the years, but one issue is the struggle for exposure in a flooded digital world of music. How do you find this affects you and releasing your music?
My music does not affect anything or anyone, I’m like “hermit”, and just do what I like, what I wear in my heart and soul!
What was the strangest or funniest thing that has happened to you whilst playing at a gig?
Yes, he was with me once an incident at a party that we organized together with my friends and colleagues E-Spectro, I played my set and is in full swing, I have ceased to be cut low frequencies, even though I checked everything before the party, well I then reacted in time and set everything up very quickly and continued to play, but it was really weird and disturbing!
Do you have any plans to tour this year and If so, where and which gigs are you most looking forward to?
Yes, there are plans this year to play their set at the party from the label PFL in Greece!
Thank you for your questions; it was nice talking to you!
*Note – This interview was translated from Russian to English