Alexander Petrunin (Mewark)

Alexander Petrunin (Mewark)- You are a mysterious person. You do not have many contacts with electronic musicians in Russia. You have released a few albums in Russia and in Germany. Why are you working undercover? There is a lot of information about you, but mostly it is controversial. Most people are thinking that Mewark is a myth.

Well, I understand. Such is my character. More people know me outside Russia, rather than inside. I never waste my time. I am always busy. It is difficult to get an interview with me. I don't have many contacts. I am very rarely in Internet. There are two ways to get in touch with me either I contact you myself or through my friends. I seldom get outside, and even there, the experience that I get there does not always appeal to me, though I am always interested in what's going on out there.

- Tell us where did you get such a name Mewark?

Mewark - is something from cyber punk. My friend, Lazyfish, came up with this name. He had a track and a plugin named Mewark. He said - Alex, you are Mewark from now on. I don't really like this name but everybody says, that it goes well with me. Therefore I am Mewark.

- You do not play live often. Why?

Again, this is because of the situation around us. I don't want to play for pennies for a bunch of people. I used to play and I played a lot. I played at "16 tonnes" in Moscow and in St Petersburg at my personal venues. In St Petersburg I was playing with my friends from Tequilajazzz. At the beginning of the show I was playing from the laptop then I took a guitar and got really started. You see, my shows are expensive for promoters. At present I don't see any opportunities for playing. I need too much gear for a decent concert. To pull a tonne of gear through the city is a job! Plus the time is not really appropriate for the concerts.

- Yeah, - everything is askew now, all is upside down. There is too much of unnecessary information. Instead of tracks you got files, instead of musicians you got fake musicians. What do you think is going on right now? What s happening with the musicians and with music? What kind of sense should music have today?

I think this is very simple. Here is where we are now. At first, on the earth there was a civilisation of people. Now they are replaced by a civilisation of zombies. The civilisation to come is cyber punks, cyber partisans, which will take over the zombies. You can already see the breach between black and white. There can be no compromise between us and them. They cannot understand us and never will.
Regarding music - you have to record such music that lets anybody understand the situation around, all this apocalypse. And you can have any style of music as the basis. Human - are limited species, something on their own. I think that a human is a two bit system, nothing else. Before, I kind of doubted it, but now I am sure.

Motivation - is something that makes people do art. Lately, we have seen a lot of people calling themselves musicians, producers. They think that if they buy a few computer programs they are everything. Honestly, there is shit load of them out there. I don't like, nor do I like what is happening in the music and in general in this country. It is such a trend, that our music and our actions do not have any support. We can do great tracks, but who is there to listen and appreciate them? People do not have any motivation, any interest in art. In part, this is due to fake musicians. I am not skilled myself. I cannot properly play any musical instrument. I cannot make anything that is going to sound like it is from the outer world. I only know the principles. So it looks like I am not a musician, but a producer and a sounds designer. I know a lot about sound. But it is all so easy, you cannot imagine. Many people in Russia and abroad like my NuICLiD. But there I twirled only 2 knobs - Delay and Distortion. This was it. You just don't have anything extraordinary there. Well, but the result was astounding.

Here is a bit about people who think of themselves something they aren't. People that think they are musicians and can make music do not understand that you have to put your soul into the music. You have to sacrifice for real art, always and the sacrifice is dear. You just cannot take without giving something back. There is only you, your soul and your music. This is it. It all cost too much and the price is not justified. The more you want to get your result, the more you have to pay.
Same as physics and all its laws - same thing is in music. I really want people to understand it. And before you start making something, ask yourself "why I am doing it?"

- Can you tell us about principles, laws of music audio design? Are your methods asecret?

Recording principles...
The main principle is the presentation of your music. Music has to be simple, dead simple. You just listen to it and get the picture. The arrangement of the track itself has to be instant. This is one of the reasons why I like the music of Alexandroid. He develops all the moods straight away. Take any track from Synoptic album and you will see what I mean. Music has to express your feelings.
Here is an example. I used to deal a lot with cinema industry as a sound engineer and composer. When you got an action scene, we start thinking, what kind of music would be the best one to play to get the mood from the screen? Should we insert some serious music? But the answer is very simple. We just do not insert there anything. No additional sounds. This is what aggravates the situation, deprives you from the feeling of safety.
This is a job of sound engineer or designer. Nothing is complicated - just a good idea and the application of this idea.
If you are sitting before your computer saying "I am going to do a cool track". You will not make it. You will not record anything. If you are thinking of making a complicated track, some Autechre style, right now, you are wrong. You never do it in a real life.

Ideas and technologies...
Technologies always lose to ideas. This is what will always happen, because an idea is the basis for everything. Ideas move music forward. You can have any program you can possibly get. But this does not mean that your music is going to be better because of the program, or that the music will have some special sense. I think that you don't need much to write music. All you need is just an idea that you can easily deliver without sophisticated plug-ins or programs. All you need is one-two instruments. The key is in the mood and the message of your track. To make music I need a good acoustic guitar with good strings. Nothing else.

- What do you think about techno music and techno musicians?

To be frank, I do not like techno and techno musicians. This is all limited. In general, human are very limited, they do not have any inner freedom. Their music is also constricted. I don't like it.

- Every musician has its own style. What is yours?

If you heard one or two of my works you must have heard wind in my tracks. I am not using this effect at the moment, but I am thinking of getting back to it. I think that this is my style. You can recognise it, whenever you are playing my track.
My tracks are short, especially on "Organization Is" record. This is a sort of collection of my works, apart from NuICLiD. A lot of people like it.

- Who made the biggest impression on you?

This is easy. Same as for everybody - Autechre, Boards of Canada, Sonic Youth. Nothing special. I am interested in all music, whatever it is, guitar, electronic music.

- What are you doing right now? Is your musician career over? Lately, after releasing of your Organization Is you have been mostly producing music. Tell us about album "Звезда" (Star) by Dolphin that you have produced.

Yes, I produced this album "Zvezda". It took a while, I have to say. I played several instruments myself and did programming almost for the whole album. We even had to assemble the vocals from pieces for every song.
I know Delfin for a long time. Before this album we met and partied together. We have many friends in common. Before writing this album, Delfin told me that he is in a deadlock. I offered him a samurai bargain - we are in the battle together. All the sound, music are mine. The lyrics and the vocals are his. So we got started. We were recording at my place, almost non-stop. The sound was made up by two guitars, noise effects, minimal percussion - hat, lead and a boom box. Just before writing this album I got it. To record percussion you only need 3 sounds. Normally, I was using many more. As a producer, I am very happy. I like the mood of this album. I think this is a peak of Delfin's music. If there is the next album it will only be an album full of prayers.
I did not like the single "Glaza" (Eyes) mixed by me. I did not like the idea, nor its realization. It was the desire of people from Universal.
Some tracks were not included into the album. Delfin said they do not have any ambition - nobody is going to play them on radio, etc. One of these tracks you can find on the re-release of my album Little One.

- Do you write anything for yourself?

I have some material for an album. The music is acoustic, not electronic. The sound is made of 2-3 guitars, piano and drum machine. I am writing by bits. I cannot play some pieces, I am only learning, hopefully soon I will start recording. Most likely I will record under a different name, not Mewark, maybe No players or something else. Maybe I will have to ask an orchestra to play a part or two.
People are asking me to write some soundtracks for films. There is a lot of work going on. Maybe I will produce the new album of "Zemfira". Don't know yet. I have some guitar material, which can surprise people with big time.

- Are you planning to do more experimental releases like Lazyfish/Mewark in the future?

No, you will not see anything of a kind. Little One, Lazyfish/Mewark and Organization is are enough for me, enough, so that people get to know me. I don't want to do any solo works. If I was writing them it would have been different music, I am tired of idm, downtempo, techno and so on. Maybe it will be some noise, minimal music or maybe something really different.
Now we are re-releasing Little One. You will see there more tracks. The re-release is going to sound a bit differently. In Germany, released by k2o records, Little One was a mini-album. The album re-released in Russia will have new later tracks and a techno-track "Almost 6" is written in my style.

- You are saying that there are two worlds: the world of people and the world of zombie. Do you often have contact with the world of zombie?

Unfortunately, yes. I live here according to my own rules: no aggression - direct or in actions. It gives me the right balance of power.
I don't have any open aggression for anybody. This is my principle of space.

- What is fame for you? What kind of fame would you like for yourself?

For me, as a music writer or an audio-designer, fame is the same as was the fame for Vladimir Visotsky, Bob Dylan. Fame is when people gathered in kitchens, recorded tapes and exchanged them. I would like to be famous among ordinary people.

- Lagunamuch records

august '06

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