Pradžia / Garsas / Sound

THEODOR BASTARD: "We have developed a new method. We found a very different tonal and melodic combinations of instruments."

Interview (2016 03 18) with one of the most interesting bands (originally from St. Petersburg, Russia) which since 1996 plays experimental/trip hop/neofolk/dark wave/ambient music with their own unique sound and even a new method. Let's talk to Fyodor about the band's method. THEODOR BASTARD will play in Lithuania in August, 2016.

Mindaugas Peleckis
2016 m. Kovo 18 d., 15:10
Skaityta: 295 k.
THEODOR BASTARD: "We have developed a new method. We found a very different tonal and melodic combinations of instruments."

Did You start from the industrial subculture? Your background seems to be from it even though You mix various styles.

At the initial stage perhaps the strongest impression for us was the collaboration with the industrial subculture.

With Martin Atkins who released our track on his label Invisible Records, with Trent Reznor from Nine Inch Nails who invited us to play before his concert in Russia and with Peter Christopherson from Coil.

Incidentally we have organized the last Peter Christopherson visit to Russia, we played with him on stage and we recorded a cover of Love Secret Domain which he approved.

For us young guys it was astonishing.

Idols of our youth communicated with us on an equal footing and they treated our music seriously.

This gave us the strength to move on but then we changed the sound and approach.

Now I'm proud that we have created a cooperative track with Fun-Da-Mental and Julien Jacob.

Remixes of our songs was created by State of Bengal, Animals On Wheels, Scanner, Geomatic, Up, Bustle & Out and many other excellent musicians.

We greatly respect their work.

It's the real power of music, isn't it?

It brings together people from different countries who speak different languages. It's amazing!

Could You name Your favorite Your compositions / albums / collaborations? What could You tell us about the new album of Yours?
I think our new album Vetvi is the attempt to go up.

Yana wrote amazing songs in Russian.

We have developed a new method. We found a very different tonal and melodic combinations of instruments.

We decided to move away from traditional scales familiar to our ears - major scale or minor scale - and use other scales, because there are really very many scales.

For example, in this album you can find the so-called five- and seven-step diatonic scales on pentatonic basis.

We also use Fauxbourdon harmonisation.

Our penultimate album Oikoumene was a look to the outside world but the last album Vetvi is a dive into our inner world.

We wanted to do something closer to us. Closer to home. A space of our native North is less crowded than the south.

People are alone here. So personal motives and tunes of melancholy which familiar to all of us, northerners, are predominate.

In general, northern music is very interesting. There are some crazy things like microtonal scales (for example use of both large and small seconds is a common occurrence in folk music), noise-tones or expanding scales.

There's quite a different coordinate system. A different world.

What world? World of Sound, or World of Silence?


Quantum physics says about the wave nature of matter in the Universe.

Sound is a wave, a vibration.     

So where there are no sound, there's nothing. This oblivion. Emptiness.

Emptiness doesn't mean that there's nothing at all. What about Your experiments with sounds?
Complex question, literally everything was sound art for us when we were young artists.

We were extracted sound from various debris, from door springs, old radios and cans, but some kind of understanding came later.

We became interested in folk traditions and begun to consciously limit our means of expression.

You play for 20 yearts. Now it's 2016. Probably a lot of things were changed by new technologies?

The possibilities of modern recording are truly endless - if the artist will not limit himself, he will sink in the swamp of possibilities while grabbing one and another.

Concept is a means of self-restraint. This approach is close to us. No matter what you use - important how and for what purpose  

What do You think about thousands of neofolk/industrial/ambient/tribal/electroacoustic/avangarde etc. bands/projects? Is it a kind of trend, o just a tendency forwards better music?
It's wonderful that so many musicians began to pay their attention to folk music.

It was much less when we started.

More mechanical and industrial music was in use.

The revival of folk music, look at your people, culture, customs and origins - it's great.

This is largely traditionalist approach. And it is close to us!

So I can only welcome those who are engaged in folk music, and any other new music, while paying attention to tradition.

What do You know about Lithuania? How and when did You come to it? What Lithuanian and foreign musicians do You value most?
We have a lot of good friends in Lithuania.

And it is not just words.

I travel to the mountains and to long hikes for fifteen years with one of them and I know that I can rely on him as on myself.

Thanks to him I learned a few words and swearwords of Lithuanian, I learned a lot about the history of Lithuania and about the Lithuanian national character.

I can say that I feel a certain closeness of our two peoples.

And since childhood I was literally hypnotized by Čiurlionis as a composer and as an artist.

His paintings have fascinated me.

Where do You draw Your inspiration from?
Definitely from nature and travel.

Wonderful song and videoclip Cuckoo from Vetvi is about mythology. What do You think about Old Europe, its mythology, water cults?
Cuckoo is an important bird in Slavic mythology.

There is the ancient idea that the welfare of living is in direct connection with the dead ancestors, who give the world their offspring and give offspring fertility.

These views are reflected in the beliefs about the Cuckoos Day (it coincides with the Annunciation) as a special moment for renew the connection between the living and the dead.

Cuckoo as a housekeeper is opening the gates between the worlds and is restoring the connection.

Cuckoo gives living in this world knowledge which she has because she spends part of her life there. She brings it from there in this special time. 

What does the name Theodor Bastard mean to You?

Now this name does not too correspond to our music, I think.

But on the other hand, it's a certain irony and that's good.

Nothing worse than treat yourself too seriously.

Links: (interview in Lithuanian, 2014)