In the cold, dream-like suburbia of Petrozavodsk lives the Russian lo-fi duo Dva Zagorodnyh Doma. From the green coves and rocky paths of North-West Russia on the shore of the Onego Lake, a place they describe as “strange and mysterious in autumn and spring”, Dva Zagorodnyh Doma (DZD) is the collaboration of SashashUlz and Kot Kot (respectively Alexander Shevchenko and Elena Filatova).
From creative relatives to couple, Sashash and Kot Kot have always actively participated in working together and have been since 2011 diffusing their ambient psyche and juvenile narratives across the Eastern block. Soon to release a 10” on the Moscow label “Post-materialization music”, I really really wander what gives DZD this bewitching crisp child-like atmospheric soundscape.
Bétula is the second song of Herbarium released 4th of March 2013
SU: Our relation to nature is very common – we go to our summerhouse in summer and spend time there near the lake or just walking around but it’s not an obsession. More or less everyone loves nature. Last two years we travelled in Europe and made a number of “field” recordings though many of them were made in buildings. From some of them we made a mixtape for the Full of Nothing label and some we used for arranging our music.
Talking about the feeling of something juvenile in our music I must say that it must be true. We dont really think that we are children being 26-27 years old, but we may look and sound like children. Maybe it’s the fear of being “professional” in music or just the influence of the big period of time when we were and still are inspired by so called “outsider music”. We love songs and poems and books for children as they are laconic and universal at the same time.”
Victor Cabbage: How is your music produced?
KK: I put on my synthesizer and surroundings, cut some accidental loop from the records I’ve made somewhere before. Try different sounds playing spontaneously, switching over the settings and combinations, listen and find. Then I open some children’s book on an accidental page and start singing the lines or words which appear. And I record all this on the first try, usually not knowing at all how it will turn and where the path will come.
SU: I’ve got a feeling, called inspiration and start playing the guitar, piano or synth. Sometimes I start pushing sampler buttons and then the inspiration comes. Music happens naturally and I try to express it into sounds in its pure, original form, so I record everything quite fast, in several takes or even the first take can be the last. After the record is done I sometimes make a slight mastering, just to make the record sound loud enough.
VC: How would you define the style of music you produce, and why?
KK: I agree with what the label “Goaty Tapes” once defined (quite closely, better not to define at all, of course): we are somehow “crafting lo-fi pop atmospherics”
VC: Do you often tour?
KK: The last and the only tour we’ve ever had was in a part of Russia that is not in Russia – in Kaliningrad Oblast, on the Baltic coast. The first gig was in Kaliningrad (formerlyKönigsberg), and the other – in Svetlogorsk on the clearing in the woods by the lake “Tihoe” near the boats station. While we were playing it became dark in the evening and our friends went out of the woods carrying a big white deer made of paper-mache. And the only thing the eye could see was that deer walking around (there was no light on the stage and we were playing in the dark as well). And that was the idea about the deer walking around, but then they made a big fire of it and everybody jumped.
SU: We perform not so often and a live performance is something special for us – we take it very emotionally.
VC: What is the music scene about where you live?
KK: The music scene in Petrozavodsk is not very filled, but rare things that appear are very authentic. The “knowledge” from the outer world doesn’t come too close to influence strongly, but ideas and thoughts flowing are enough to inspire some movement inside. It’s a very good distance for the pure process of making.
SU: Nowadays music scene here is very similar to music scene in European cities. We’ve got folk, rock, punk, jazz, and electronic artists that play gigs and make records. Though this “scene” is not solid and people are divided into microscopic groups of friends that play together on the concerts. We play gigs seldom but if we do, it happens in company of our comrades Love Cult, the owners of the Full of Nothing label.
VC: Where do you get your influences and references from?
KK: The very special for us are bard singers-songwriters from the Soviet Union Novella Matveeva and Sergey & Tatyana Nikitiny; “Mississippi Records Tape Series”, old vynils lost and found in the dumps and markets. All of them contain some simple and important things inside, artefacts themselves, like the pure and kind existence here and now.
SU: Me and Lena have an influence on each other and inspire each other much.
VC: Is there a good or bad memory you would share with us?
KK: A good memory which has come to my mind is sitting on a hill watching around and the ants walking around. And a lot of the other good god memories.
SU: Me, Lena and our friends were overtaken by a storm nearby the White Sea. We sheltered in tents, and I was recording the sounds of the storm with a tape recorder. It was scary and terrific at the same time.
VC:Is there something you say all the time?
KK: “Всё же” (“yet still”, “after all”) – not a quote, but I say it all the time.
SU: I’ve got several personal quotes, quotes from songs, movies, books. One of them is “In the time of chimpanzees I was a monkey…” I don’t say it often but these words often appear in my mind. I don’t know why.
VC: Lastly can you tell me about your favorite work situation: where and how?
KK: Having come back from a journey with some records and moods and a wish to do something.
SU: I like to be into creative activities with nice people while travelling.
DZD, thank you!
Manning a large panel of aerial drones, psyche guitars, celestial organs or sudden folkloric outbursts of flutes and accordeons, Dva Zagorodnyh Doma is a journey through the kaleidoscopic diary of a sensitive being; each song is a story in which reality has no grasp.
And I would recommend absolutely everyone to stop, take a side step and read within the lines of this imaginary and sensorial world – always to remember never to let go of Dva Zagorodnyh Doma’s hand.