Interview with Neufutur Magazine
Today, we’re speaking with Titan Slayer. How’s life in Russia?
I’m afraid I can’t answer this question clearly, but I can say one thing – life in Russia is a tough thing. I live in the geographic center of this country – in Siberia. Winter here lasts about six months, lots of snow, the average temperature is -10 ~ 20 C, but sometimes it could be below -35 C. Summer is hot, at times rainy, but it is always short. At the moment I am at the master degree in Tomsk State University on the direction of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. A month ago I finished the first semester with excellent grades, and that’s cool. Nevertheless, my scholarship is about $30-35 per month; I think this clarifies a bit the question of how is life in Russia.
It is a bit tight to pull me anywhere outside of the home, so I spend a lot of time on the computer – producing music and other stuff. I do not like partying, though I live in a city where lots of universities, respectively, the city is very young, plenty of students, and lots of girls as well, so there is lots of places and opportunities to have fun with. But apparently I’m an introvert, so it is quite difficult for me to get involved with local people.
One of the things that I love in Russia, and indeed in the whole world – that is the nature. I love forests, mountains, lakes, and grasslands – these places which I admire. They inspire and instill a kind of mystery and understanding that you are but a speck in this vast world.
Can the music that you composed for use on soundtracks be enjoyed outside of the setting of the film? Does the context in which one listens to your music change based on how they experience the compositions?
I am sure it does.
The fact is that sometimes I produce purely commercial tracks, but sometimes I give the opportunity to my imagination, and then I am happy if the listener is ready to go with me on a journey through space and time, like in album Titanium: Chapter 01 and others. Sometimes it is not easy to combine the ability of commercial value as well as the possibility of listening for fun and joy. However, there are so many fans of trailer music and soundtracks – it is their real passion. For example, when I do physical exercise I sometimes listen to epic trailer music, it is very encouraging! And I know some people do the same. I have lots of playlist of trailer music, in particular for a workout. So I think, yes, soundtrack music could be enjoyed outside of the film.
What sort of artists has influenced you as a musician?
Celldweller, Sonic Mayhem, Juno Reactor and Nine Inch Nails are my idols. The full list if of course a bit longer, but I think that these four are the core of the artist influence on my project. I love the soundtrack-like works of Celldweller, especially Soundtrack For the Voices in My Head, which had a significant impact on the album Titanium: Chapter 01. Sonic Mayhem and Nine Inch Nails had made me strike one as a child when I was playing Quake and Quake 2. And of course Juno Reactor with their famous Labyrinth and Matrix OST – it’s just blown my head off. When, eventually, I seriously started making music, I realized that, inadvertently, I draw inspiration from these artists, for which I am very grateful to them, it is awesome. How does a track move from initial thought to the finished effort?
For me, this is a very long and tough process. Usually, it all starts with an idea. It comes when you least expect it. This is insight, epiphany. For example, it happens when I produce a typical commercial project, but then I start to hear something, like a chord or lead progression, that could give a lot more life to this track, or even the new life. And this is where the fun starts.You start to think about the track structure, re-examine it 500 times, select options, tools, synthesizing sounds, working with instruments, trying different ways and approaches, thinking about track expressions and climax until eventually, you say – stop. I’m done. Next starts technical stuff such as mixing, mastering, and so on…
You were known for the scoring of Quake 4: False Dawn; how did that opportunity come to be?
As I wrote above, I have always been a fan of Quake universe, so when I found out that add-on for Quake 4 on the way, I have contacted with developers on Facebook and they approved my candidacy. I am happy that I could contribute to the universe of Quake, and I hope that one day I will do it again.
Artists typically have a creative space in which the juices can flow. What areas inspire you?
Most of my free time I spend at home, so eventually, my creative space is sci-fi movies, games, and books. Next step is up to my brain – it processes the gained information, collects a kind of puzzle, from which one can make the own story, and the final step – realization of it in music.
How did you get into composing soundtracks, and how is the creative process different from producing for one’s own album to crafting music based on another artistic vision?
It all started from stock music in 2012. And before going into details, I have to credit my parents here because they helped me a lot to establish what I have here at this moment.
Back in 2012, I’ve been producing commercial music for micro projects, from adverts to short YouTube videos, and I have also been growing my portfolio on royalty free music production library. One year later I started to get the first proposals.
The first experience in soundtrack production was like the first love – not successful one I’ve been making a film score for movie “Dangerous Days.” This is a thriller/sci-fi movie, and I still do not know if its went live or not. But this was a good experience, anyway.
Then I had lots of minor projects, to finally, Quake 4: False Dawn.
The production of the soundtrack is, of course, different from the production of regular track for an album or commercial purpose. Speaking of Quake, I’ve been thinking like this – why these guys are so bad? Are they appalling? Maybe cyborgs – is our future? We use so many electrical devices in XXI century, ranging from pacemakers to the real prosthetic devices! How could this be interpreted in music and sound design? It must be a horror, drama, humility, or it might be easier, and all you need to do is to shoot the shit out of this freaking alien cyborgs?
The next big thing which happened to me regarding movie soundtracks was Donut Planet. The plot talks about two guys with schizophrenia.
The same way I’ve been asking myself such a questions – what does it mean to have a schizophrenia? How does it sound? How could you represent this in music and sounds? What are the reasons behind this illness?
Of course, communications with developers / directors are critical. You have to get it straight what is bad what is good, what is suspense and what is the mystery because all these things sound pretty different for each one. Nevertheless, I had the freedom of choice in both of this project, so I was not like a copy-paste machine of referral tracks. This was awesome. I would like to credit the team of Little Gears and Travis Dooley for making it possible.
When you produce music from the artistic point of view – there are no limits. Most of my tracks are visual imageries, which in the end drives you to frames of the soundtrack, but for the movie which has never been existed. So it is different and equal at the same time.
What differences do you feel exist between Praetorian Ascension: Chapter 1 and the Titanium: Chapter 1 releases?
From the listening point of view – the difference is huge. The first one – sounds like soundtrack indeed, but second is more about personal listening I would say. Nevertheless, Titanium has significant opportunities for visual media.
Praetorian Ascension: Chapter 1 is the spin-off of Titanium: Chapter 1. Both EP has the storyline, however, right now I am not ready to reveal the details. I can only say that in the meantime, for Titanium: Chapter 1 developing the storyline and the concept of the comic, which will reveal some of the details as the Praetorian Ascension and Titanium.
How can individuals get into contact with you, and where can listeners find samples of your music?
I have my accounts in most of the social media like Facebook, YouTube, and others. People also could email me through a contact form on my website
What has provided more of your fans – Facebook / Instagram / Twitter or traditional word of mouth?
I think it is the combination of social media and word of mouth, but at this moment social media has the advantage.
What does the rest of 2017 hold for you, and how can readers connecрt with you and your music?
In February I will announce a new release, later I will begin my work with the soundtrack for feature sci-fi/horror film. I also have some minor releases on the way. At the end of the year, I will reveal many details about the universe of Praetorian Ascension / Titanium. Readers are welcome to join me on social media channels, I post lots of stuff there, or email me through the website form.
Do you have any thoughts for our readers at NeuFutur?
I’m glad if you have read this interview to end and do not fall asleep on the way. I appreciate that I had an opportunity to tell about myself a bit more, about music and other stuff And if you ask me about thoughts for our readers, well… I think the one could be dream big and work hard, I have found this the only way how it works here.