When people think of the synth pop scene in Europe it is easy to think of places like Germany, Norway, Sweden etc. What was and is the scene like in Russia versus other European countries?
Well, I would say that the European scene is much more developed compared to what we have in Russia. In Europe there are more bands, more people coming to concerts; there are various festivals including WGT, Amphy, M’era Luna, etc. You can hardly find something like that in Russia as we’re still in a catching up position. This is not surprising, since in general the scene here is relatively young. At the same time, I see some positive signs indicating that our scene is somehow developing – some bands get signed to foreign labels, the overall quality of music has increased, there are more concerts, etc.
Tell us a little bit about the beginnings of the band back in Russia.
The band was started in 2007. I already had some experience of playing and composing music because I played in a school band. At that time I was already into dark electronic scene. In 2007 I was in a deep depression that’s why I decided to compose music with a danceable sound but melancholic lyrics. Listen to my early songs like “Run Away”, “Make You Happy”, “Battlefield Of Love” and you’ll understand what I mean. At first, I decided to compose music only for myself, but later one of my friends suggested that I upload several tracks into the social networks. This is how a new period of Mental Discipline’s existence began. My first live show was played in the Russian city Yekaterinburg in 2008. I was afraid because I had never sung on stage in front of a crowd before. After the concert I got a lot of positive feedback, so it turned out to be very cool after all.
Why do you take the name of Band?
“Mental Discipline” bears no special meaning whatsoever. It’s just a pair of words which must show that every song of this band has its own mental value, despite the fact that I make dance music which should be played in clubs.
Which band members are in MD?
From the first day of MD’s existence I’m the only member of the band. During live shows I always ask my friends to help me with back vocals and keys, but it’s only me who composes all music and lyrics for MD. At the same time there are a couple of people that I can’t but mention as they help me a lot along the way. First of all, it’s my manager Stanislav Burmistrov who helps me to organize concerts, arrange interviews and broadcast MD’s music around the world. Then, it’s Alexander Gladky of Alpha Point who helps me a lot as a sound producer. And of course, I can’t but say a few good words about my label Synthematik whose team helps me to promote and release my music.
How do you define your music style?
My music is often described as futurepop. However, I think this is too general. I’m not sticking to that classic futurepop sound that you can find in VNV Nation, Assemblage 23. I always try to toy with the sound including some synthpop or trance elements or even sometimes use harsh vocals to make my tracks different.
What inspires you to write songs? [ books, movies, politic, life...]
When I started writing the first songs for MD (Synthetic soul, Make You Happy, Run Away), it was my attempt to fight against the depression. It was a hard period for me, so my own life, my own problems became the main inspiration for music and lyrics. Now all problems are behind and everything is quite fine, but still the main source of my inspiration remains the same – it’s my own life, life of my friends and relatives. In my songs I always describe what I see and what I feel, I tell about my thoughts on different situations in our life. Among the most central themes for my songs are relationships and religion.