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From adversity to inspiration: Andrey Sirotkin on music, identity, and Ukraine

In the heart of every melody lies a story waiting to be told, and Andrey Sirotkin is a of musical storytelling. As we embark on this journey through the harmonies and rhythms of his life, we find ourselves immersed in a tale of passion, perseverance, and purpose.

Photo Credit: Andrey Sirotkin – Official

Against the backdrop of Ukraine’s trials and tribulations, Andrey’s compositions emerge as beacons of hope, each chord carrying the weight of his experiences. Join us as we discuss his artistic journey, his view on music production, and why ‘Men Don’t Cry.’

EG: Hi, Andrey! Welcome back to EG. It’s a pleasure to have you here with us. How have you been? What have you been up to?

Andrey Sirotkin: Hi! And thank you so much. My pleasure to talk to you!

EG: Since our last interview in 2022, you’ve released several captivating tracks and EPs, including your latest release, ‘Men Don’t Cry.’ How would you describe your journey as an artist, both creatively and personally, since then?

Andrey Sirotkin: Wow. This is a good one. I didn’t expect you to jump right into deep topics. All my music for the last two years has drastically changed its beginning. Before, I produced music that came from dreaming of other worlds and more from the abstract side. Then, these two years, I’m producing music from the state I’m currently in. It’s a snapshot of my feelings and thoughts. And as these are very embarrassing and disturbing, I try to overcome them with this music – like meditation or hypnosis.

‘Men Don’t Cry’ is also a part of my state. It comes as a message for me not to avoid, hide, or hold inside feelings of sadness, melancholy, and sorrow. They should be released; I have to be aware of them and try to live with them. At the same time, it’s a restriction not to dive deep into showing these emotions because I, as a man, want to be strong for my closest people, as both polarities are not good.

EG: “Men Don’t Cry” carries a powerful title. Can you share the story or inspiration behind this EP and how it reflects your experiences and emotions, particularly amidst the current situation in Ukraine?

Andrey Sirotkin: Yes. ‘Men Don’t Cry’ is the common phrase most boys of my age have heard during childhood by parents and teachers all the way. So, we as men grew up with a wrong understanding of how to deal with some emotions, including the reaction to emotional pain. This track comes from a personal story of the loss of a very close person to me and from understanding that I’m one of many many people in Ukraine who can deal with such a situation.

EG: Ukraine has been facing challenging times for a while now. How has this conflict impacted your music-making process and the themes explored in your recent releases?

Andrey Sirotkin: I never use the word “conflict.” It’s a war. As I mentioned previously, war affects me physically, culturally, mentally. What impacts my state and what I’m trying to deal with making music.

Other trauma that I got from the beginning of the war impacted not only music making. It’s a constant feeling that I do not have time because life can end at any moment, and at that moment, there will be just unfinished tracks, unsaid words, ungiven hugs, and the moment I will have no possibility to change or do anything.

Besides changes in how I spend time and on what I spend time, I found my pace, and now I’m releasing music every 3 weeks. And, of course, I produce much more than that.

EG: You’ve mentioned previously that producing music and participating in local events are your main sources of motivation during these difficult times. Can you elaborate on how music serves as a form of expression and coping mechanism for you amidst adversity?

Andrey Sirotkin: Yes. To clarify what I previously described, most motivation and inspiration come from producing music. It’s a process of sublimation. I start to create music with a certain idea or state I have. Through a chain of hypnotic repeating of listening to loops, slightly changing the mood of sound, shifting from thoughts to sounds, and hours of keeping my mind and body working on music, I somehow feel better. Music is all about just keeping my head above the water, and I can not make music. The titles of the tracks show what I’ve been thinking of or what state I wanted to achieve with the result.

“This track comes from a personal story of the loss of a very close person to me”

EG: In addition to your music career, you’ve been actively involved in raising awareness and supporting Ukraine, including charity fundraising gigs and donations. How do you see the role of artists in addressing political and social issues, both locally and globally?

Andrey Sirotkin: All the parties I’ve been taking part in on the territory of Ukraine are donating at least part of their profit to the military forces of Ukraine. And for now, I see that the most effective way is to donate my own money, for military forces, for refugees, for animal shelters, here and there. We have a lot of needs we have to cover. If I have a request, I ask my friends and colleagues to participate financially. Also, I do mixing and mastering services and donate all profit from these to fundraisers for the military forces of Ukraine.

I think that everyone may use the most effective tools he/she has. If someone has a huge reach in social media and can ask people if they really will donate money, then it’s the most effective way. So, for me, it’s donating my profit from my skills and services. I found that most effective now.

EG: Reflecting on your musical journey, you’ve explored various genres under different aliases before settling on your real name for your current projects. How has this evolution shaped your artistic identity, and what lessons have you learned?

Andrey Sirotkin: I think that loving different music is a curse and blessing at the same time. Every marketer will say that the most effective way is to focus on one narrow thing and not stop until you succeed. I love different music. Since 2004 as a Wannabe, I’ve been into drum and bass music. Since 2012, under different aliases, I’ve been into techno music. Also, I tried the Lofi hip-hop thing.

Under Andrey Sirotkin I also release alongside with techno tracks some dub techno, housy music, indie dance, and ambient. So, the minuses here are pretty obvious. People who listen to my music sometimes can be confused with the variety if they come to find me as a techno artist. But I truly believe these people have good taste in music and can dig something more from my catalog.

In another way, I don’t get bored and have been making music since 2004. And, of course, I combine pieces from different genres into one. So my music is interesting to listen to and stands out from the crowd, I hope, haha.

EG: Now, stepping outside the studio for a bit…the use of AI in music has become quite common after its initial introduction, raising many eyebrows. What’s your stance on this? Have you contemplated its possibilities?

Andrey Sirotkin: Ah… I’m a very skeptical person and very nerdy at the same time. So let’s go step by step – it’s not AI, it’s a neural network that makes decisions based on algorithms and data that have been “fed in”. You cannot come up with outstanding or new results within the data you already have. Of course, it will fasten some processes like we have with a plugin that makes sound from the text description. Otherwise, getting the best result from getting the whole track is far from good. Or I have high standards, hehe.

I am an old-school guy; I try to do as much as possible with hardware. I have many happy accidents that give me amazing, unpredicted results that I can use later on. The hardware has texture, movement, and tiny details, making the track sound great instead of just normal.

One good thing that I was really happy with is that I had a vocal sample in a track that I couldn’t clear. So basically, I had a restriction on using it. But I used Synthplant vst, which re-created the sound of vocals as a synth in minutes and gave me a couple of good variants of this sound. And I used another version of the sound in my track, which I liked more, haha.

“All the parties I’ve been taking part in on the territory of Ukraine are donating at least part of their profit to the military forces of Ukraine”

EG: On a lighter note, outside of music, what are some of your hobbies or interests that help you find balance and inspiration in your life?

Andrey Sirotkin: I’m a very music-addicted person. If I’m not into music directly, I will do something related to music activities. Discover new music, read about the history of music, watch documentaries on technology and culture, check reviews on new music tools, or enjoy different music. Besides that, of course, I have family and time with loved ones and people close to me, but they have to grab me from that audio world and bring me back to reality.

EG: Finally, can you provide insights into what’s next for Andrey Sirotkin? Where can your fans catch you next? Can we expect to see you on tour?

Andrey Sirotkin: For the 2nd year in a row, I’m focused on my label, Vyrii, which I created mostly for personal releases. I release at least one track there every 3 weeks. And by the way, I played one of the forthcoming tracks in my EG mix.

Now, I’m preparing to add an EP of personal tracks and collaborations on vinyl to its catalog. We are working on a collaboration release with Pyrame, including some great remixes, which will be released around May 2024. And there is my solo EP that is planned to be released on the Diffuse Reality label.

I have certain bookings ahead, and I’m open to invitations, but regarding the touring in general, I would say there’s some turbulence because of the war in Ukraine. It’s better to say something about any DJ sets as close as possible to the date they will happen.

EG: Thank you so much for your time, Andrey! We wish you all the best for the future. Take care!

Andrey Sirotkin: Thank you so much! It was my pleasure to talk to you and connect with EG.

Andrey Sirotkin’s ‘Men Don’t Cry’ is now available via Vyrii Records. Stream and download here.

Follow Andrey Sirotkin: Spotify | Soundcloud | Instagram

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