Alexander Ananyev (Sleepy Town Manufacture)

Alexander Ananyev (Sleepy Town Manufacture)Hi, I'm Alex (Sleepy from the project Sleepy Town Manufacture). We are from Nizhny Novgorod, but recently I have moved to Moscow and sometimes have live concerts here.

- Tell us when and where the Sleepy Town Manufacture project started its work? How did you create such an original title? What made you work together and form the STM project?

Well, our story started at those times when three of us studied at one musical school. We made friends, exchanged music which we liked. But after finishing school we didn't have much desire to make something on our own, such desire appeared only three years later. We listened to different musical styles, nevertheless we had general carving for something new, something unusual.

We listened to warp, ninja tune and ambient which we happened to get. This mixture formed in our heads something new splashing out into sounds with the help of all improvised means. Such means was and still remains buzz sequencer proposing module construction, various synthesizers and effects made by the same 'sound tourists'. We were constantly searching for new sounds and incredibly twisted the synths parameters. As we were starving for ambient music and idm, we had to do such music on our own.

The title appeared not at once. At first we made music under different titles, Anton Lukoyanychev's project was called then DUST - Digital Underground of Sleepy Town. We all liked this title. But once I told into microphone that it was Anton - dust, after that he decided to rename the project and left two last words - Sleepy Town. Some time later I was also carried away by ambient and experimental music, so I joined Anton's project. Half a year later we were in the process of recording our first album, drawing its design. Anton came to me and showed a picture with one more word 'manufacture'. 'What's that?' I asked. 'Our new title, its better that the previous one' - was the answer. In fact the word 'project' sounds odd to me, those times we just made the music we wanted to hear and didn't plan anything serious.

- As far as we know, project consists of several people. One of them is Unit 21. Also this winter you had a concert with Selffish in one of Moscow clubs. How many members are in the project? What's doing each member?

Fist of all, Unit 21 works by himself. We are just friends, sometimes we help each other with performances and tracks arrangement, rehearse together, and exchange musical ideas. Previous year we worked together much, as a result we had some live concerts and two albums recorded together.
As for STM - today it consists of two guys: Alexander Ananyev and Evgeniy Sigalaev. Zhenya is actively learning to play guitar and trains as a sound controller. I'm gathering new ideas, play lives in Moscow and try to release the recorded materials. To make it clear, here is the list of project's members:

1999 Anton Lukoyanychev
2000 + Alexander Ananyev
2002 + Roman Komarov
2003 - Anton Lukoyanychev
- Roman Komarov
2004 + Evgeniy Sigalaev

We worked with Roma for about a year, he lived in Germany. He recorded several wonderful tracks, but unfortunately he had some personal problems which made him stop any contacts with Russia, he left Germany and moved to India.
Anton fell in love with jazz and retroelectronics and stepped aside form music for some time. He's working at something new nowadays, but it's not STM.

- Your debut album was 'Melanoma'. As we wrote in one of our reviews, almost all tracks of this album have lyrical, romantic titles. For example track 'Alsneg (Christmas gift)' it has some winter, Christmas mood. How did you come to the idea of such odd ambient-tech music?

At first the 'Promo' album was released, it was our third album. Then CD'Melanoma' was released, but it was recorded earlier than 'Promo'. At first we didn't want melanoma to be an album, it was a gift-mix of our calmest ambient things. But then we saw that the result was rather good and decided to make an album.
'Alsneg' was also a gift recorded just after New Year. In general, a big number of our creative works were made and dedicated to girls.  
The idea was to record ambient music as much as we wanted, to listen to it more and more. Those times we didn't hear any albums of Brian Eno or Vidna Obmana, so we tried to find the sounding which the surrounding music was lack of.

- Could you tell about the first concert of STM? Where and when did it happen?

In Nizhny Novgorod in club 'Storm', that was Nizhny Novgorod festival of electronical music in 2000. We just played two tracks form discs, I wouldn't call it 'a concert'. Dj Jumin, one of the first Djs in our city, came to us and asked to give him our records for playing in clubs.
We were inspired by the fact that besides us, somebody else is also interested in our creativity. On my way home I decided to make a site of STM and join the project as a full member.
Our first live was in a flat, just for friends. If I'm not mistaking it was on the 31th of March 2001. You can try to find it in the Internet, we recorded it, then I walked around my house with a dictaphone and recorded its sounds, then mixed these two records.

- What about today's electronical scene and general music life in Novgorod? Any new interesting musicians?

Yes, the net label 'the rat hole' is rather interesting, they arrange greenair parties, release CDs and in general feel well.
Also Unit 21, I like his music very much, he's a hardworking talented person. I think soon he'll show Moscow techno producers how to make such music. Though he's moving from techno rhythms to ambient and dub.
One more musician Amne Orchestra, he's keen on classical music and mixes it with breakcore.
Maybe, that's all, though I like to record quiet music in my city due to its atmosphere.

- As for musical technique and concept, album 'Play me while' differs much from your previous works. The sounds of ambient 'Melanoma' were left behind. What was the reason for it? Your inner spiritual growth or certain concept? Why did you change your style so much?

Yes, I decided to deviate from ambient to dedicate much time to my solo project 'Beautumn'. This album shows how we feel the melodic idm style. This style can be recognized in some tracks of 'Melanoma' and even more in 'Promo'.
In general, STM project has different music joined by general mood and approach. So when we are forming an album, we choose the tracks which will suite each other. We are different, and that's even more interesting, the mixture of various characters and ideas. Of course, we are growing up, together with us our aims, approaches; the quality of music is changing too. The next album which will be released in November is also different, but it has that STM mood and style.

- What made you turn to solo creative work - recording and releasing albums under the title 'Beautumn'? What does it mean to you to create your personal project?

In 2001 I wrote:'I don't know, why it happened so…in my creative work I came to that point when it's worth to say more having made less'. Now, five years later, another feeling lives in me, it differs from STM music. Much autumn, sorrow and darkness. When I gather these feeling together, music of Beautumn style appears. For me it's far more conceptual than STM, music is always connected to one or another idea.

- The first and second albums of 'Beautumn' were released in the USA: limited editions on Infraction label. Tell about these releases. I think that will be very interesting for the readers to get know of it.

I recorded the first album together with my friends. That were black CD-R's, we painted pictures with the help of small brushes. Later I planned to release this disc on shaped harmonics, than on Zvezda records. But we didn't find mutual consent. So the album just layed on a shelf for some time, as I wanted to release it with good design, booklet and photos of Alexandr Ivasenko. But Russian labels proposed only the cheapest variants.
Previous year, on the first of April I received a letter from infraction. The label's founder wrote that the CD-R with this album was in their studio for about 2 years, he had listened to the album and wanted to release it. There was information about this album on discorgs, nevertheless it hadn't been released yet. I thought that was just a joke, that somebody knew my tender attitude to this disc and wanted to make fun. But that wasn't a joke. At first we planned to release it on CD-R but then we saw the design and decided to release it in digipack with rather big edition.
By that time the album 'Northing' was ready, later it was released on the same label with bonus disc.

- You wrote the soundtrack for computer game. So now you are not just a musician, but also a composer and producer. Could you tell about this project in details? Few musicians in our country manage to record soundtracks for computer games.

The game is called 'Star Heritage'. It's a space quest. I recorded about 20 musical themes for it, about 90 per cent were accepted for the game. I was also engaged in making the background sounding. That was interesting to choose backing sounds which mixed with ambient theme and added new coloring to the general melody. That was a great experience for me. That was more interesting to see the result than, for example, video made for your music. Than was the step to film music, this sphere is also very interesting for me.

- Which music do you listen to? Whose works are interesting and close to you?

As for idm: I like very much Sense, Helios, Secede, Kettel, Lusine, Arovane, Bliss, Plaid, Bola, Esem, our Stud and Unit21. Ambient music: Vidna Obmana, Robert Rich, Steve Roach, Oophoi, our Parks and Sintetika. From the last things heard I liked The Flashbulb - Reunion, OST for a Chinese cartoon 'Last life in the Universe', new Blamstrain on Sending Orbs - a perfect label, by the way.

- What's your attitude to net labels? Sometimes STM works with net labels. Do you plan new releases on such labels?

We don't just work with them from time to time, we have made friends with  Monotonik and Sutemos. I'm satisfied with our net releases, though not all was good with other releases - we had some problems with the sound on discs, design was printed not so as we wanted. Poor distribution, in the result many people didn't have an opportunity to listen to our discs. By the way, CD release demands much time, usually about a year pass before the release is ready - sometimes it's harmful for definite style of the album. It's easier to work with net labels, though they have some disadvantages: nobody except you can limit the amount and quality of music you're downloading. I think we cope with the music selection for net and 'real' releases well.

We want to place our new album on Sutemos for free downloading. This is a serious, emotional  work, we were recording it for a long time. We don't want to release it on CDs as we don't need money for it. We just want people feel free to listen to our music. Yes, I don't like the simplicity when you download music from net label, some importance and value of the process is lost. Nevertheless it depends on the quality of music. It doesn't matter on which media my beloved mp3s are recorded. In general, all media kill music, but they are indispensable nowadays, so each of us should make his choice.
Though we have such an ambition to release some discs on compact discs only.

- Could you point out the beloved compositions of all you have recorded in different times?

I like very much the ambient album 'no traces' recorded by me and Unit 21. That was our first true ambient disc with live recordings. Also half of those materials recorded on Sutemos, I'm not tired of them yet. By the way, maybe this very craving for new music helps me to move further.

- What do you plan for future? Which surprises prepare STM and Beautumn for their listeners?

Planning to record new material together with Sigal, there will be guitar sound and violin. Also to start recording of Beautumn new album.

- How do you see the future of electronical musicians and release industry in our country and all over the world?

I like grown up people who are tired of primitive ambitions and dedicate themselves to their beloved work. I'm sure electronical musicians will keep making the music they like. As for releases - it would be nice if this unnecessary stuff and tinsel concerning music disappear (together with various media, labels, covers etc). Only the sound should stay with us.

- Say, what do you want to bring to your listeners with the help of your music? Which feelings should it arouse?

- Sleepy Town Manufacture

october '06

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