E-Spectro are Ivan Rayt and Igor Born. Based in Krasnodar, Russia, the E-Spectro project began in 2008 when the two producers decided to combine their efforts in the studio at a professional level. You could argue their sound sits someone between techno, progressive house and electronic. The pair have released music on labels such as Inlab Recordings, Stereo Paradise, ADRO Records and their own imprint Blendwerk that they run alongside Hells Kitchen. In regards to remixes, Ivan and Igor have had their tracks remixed by the likes of Navar, Tvardovsky, Hells Kitchen, Teho and Stan Kolev. I personally feel the pair will have a very strong 2014 based on some very solid releases in 2013. I caught up with Ivan and Igor in February to discuss their musical past, life in Russia and future projects due in 2014.
Hi Ivan and Igor, thanks for taking the time to speak to us today. You are based in Krasnodar, which is situated near the Black Sea in Russia. Can tell us a little about where you are based and what the music scene is currently like?
Yes, you are right, we are in Krasnodar, is the capital of Krasnodar region. Our city is only a few hours drive from the Black Sea and a 6 hour drive to the Olympic city of Sochi. We have for the most part, a scene dominated by commercial music, but we also have a place for deep house, techno, progressive, trance and other forms of electronic music. In fact, we have a very progressive region musically, we have a sufficient number of excellent local producers and DJs and every week our city plays host to the known EDM artists. Do not forget, too, that we live near the sea and in the summertime people mostly like to relax in the clubs on the coast.
There appears to be a wealth of new talent emerging from Eastern Europe, Ukraine and Russia. Can you describe your sound to our readers and tell us about what makes you different from other producers?
Hard for us to judge what distinguishes us from others. We love electronics, ambient, techno, idm all sorts. Regarding the description of the our music, in the main it’s techno with an emphasis on melody. Usually its called melodic techno, at least we would like to see our work like that.
How did you first become interested in electronic music and what lead to the decision to move into music production?
Ivan: Electronic music interested me when I was 15 years old. I moved to live with my parents in Krasnodar from a small town, which was in Siberia. At the time I didn’t think much about styles and trends, I listened to different music without delving specifically into electronic sound, but everything changed after I entered college. We all shared music on bluetooth and I was no exception. First tracks that hooked me incredibly, I heard from my new friends. The funny thing is that names of the tracks were usually rewritten by name DJs who played them or produced compilations,so the name was just “track 1”. I wanted to become a DJ and write my own music. I thought all DJs write music, it was my first disappointment!
Igor: My passion for electronic music began when I was 13-14 years. I was already listening to D’n’B music and even tried to write it in a complex program called “Ejay” My friend started working in cafes playing music by artists such as : Booka Shade, Mandy, White Label, Daren Mase etc. When I found out about this, I asked him to listen to my music and try play at his party. After listening to my music, he said that it was not the style he wanted so I offered to try to write tracks in the style of house. That was how I started my journey into the world of the 4/4 kick!
Do either of you have any classical training in music or are you self taught?
Ivan: No, unfortunately, we don’t have a musical education. As a kid I played a little guitar and have 2 weeks in academy of music in guitar class…
Igor: …and couple of years ago we visited a piano teacher 3 times!! hahaha
Who would you say are some of your biggest musical influences and why?
Our taste in the early years was The Prodigy, Aphex Twin, Depeche Mode, Chemical Brothers, Scooter, Daft Punk etc. If we talk about our preferences today, we mean musicians such as: Gui Boratto, Max Cooper, Stephan Bodzin, Oliver Huntemann, Davis & May, Extrawelt and James Holden. We can list many names, it is only a small part of those whose music is close to us.
You recently released your remix of Hells Kitchen, “Trial” on your label Blendwerk. How do you approach a remix when asked? Do you have a process or workflow you follow?
We immediately loved Trial and Simon is our friend, so it was not hard to decide to release on our label. We realised soon after that we could be make a decent remix. We are glad you liked it.
You both run the label Blendwerk alongside Hells Kitchen. How did the partnership come about and how do you find running your own label?
When Simon started, we already had signed some tracks on various labels. Sometimes we helped him, advised him on something in music and one day he offered to meet (since we live in the same city) and try to write something together, so all started. Our label started business not very long ago, the first release we put out in July 2013. We are conscious of branding and Blendwerk has its own atmosphere, we release only what we like and do not look for trends. We plan to only work with producers on our label with similar views on music.
We noticed Navar recently remixed one of your recent tracks, “Lost Tunnel”. He is a firm favourite here at This Is Progressive and is tipped for big things. How did you come to work with Navar?
Yes, Navar is a great musician and made a nice remix of “Lost Tunnel”. This track was signed on LED Music Recordings and they asked him to do a remix on our track.
Your recent EP “Four Walls” was a fantastic journey of Techno, Progressive and Electronic vibes. Do you have any plans to release an album soon?
Thank you, we are very glad that you liked this release. We don’t have any plans to release an album yet, we believe that this is an important step that requires a global approach, maybe in the future.
Can you describe your current studio setup and some of your favourite toys?
We have monitors KRK RP8 G3, 2 soundcards – m-audio torq conectiv and focusrite scarlett 2i2, m-audio keyrig 49 MIDI Keyboard and we also have a Korg nano and m-audio evolution UC-33. We use Ableton Live with lots of VST and VSTi.
What process do you go through when producing a track? Do you aim for a certain sound and is it a fluid process?
From the outset, we try to make so that the track sound good, then we can see the whole picture and expect a certain result. We use lots of VSTi to achieve a certain sound.
Do you have any advice for any young producers looking to break into the industry?
Don’t do it. Seriously:) It takes a lot of time and effort. But if it do you need, start right now.
Are there any new up and coming producers out there that are grabbing your attention right now?
Would not want to offend anyone, we also are young, so still learning ourselves!
You currently don’t appear to have a very large online presence. Is this something you plan on increasing or do you find that a social media presence is not required?
No, we believe that social networks are important because they blur the boundaries between the listener and musician. In whatever part of the world you live, following the life of your favourite artists becomes much more convenient. And as an artist you can bring your music to more people.
We have been present on the Internet for a long time, but only recently started to use Facebook for example. Most of the time we used Russian social networks.
Lastly is there anything you can tell us about that you have planned for 2014?
We are already preparing the next joint release with Hells Kitchen. We are also working on new tracks ourself. One of the new tracks is out soon on Parquet Recordings on an album called “Beauty EP vol. 2”. Thanks “This Is Progressive” for your interest in us!
01// E-Spectro & Indeep – Nine Shaft (Original Mix) [Stereo Paradise]
02// Hells Kitchen – Trial (E-Spectro Remix) [Blendwerk]
03// E-Spectro & Hells Kitchen – Trugbild (Original Mix) [Blendwerk]
04// E-Spectro – Spiral (Original Mix) [Inlab]
05// E-Spectro & Hells Kitchen – Mentalism (Original Mix) [Per-vurt]
06// E-Spectro – Morphing Spot (Original Mix) [Dar Digital]
07// Karl M – Infinity In Mind (E-Spectro & Hells Kitchen Remix) [PFL]
08// Willy Real & David Prap – The Thing In My Head (E-Spectro Remix) [Blendwerk]
09// E-Spectro – Four Walls (Original Mix) [Inlab]
10// Nic Bax – Zeit (E-Spectro Remix) [Festival Lounge Limited]
11// E-Spectro – Luft (Original Mix) [Stereo Paradise]