Andrey Pushkarev has been playing at clubs across Europe for the last decade, but his entry into electronic music had an unlikely beginning. Growing up in the small Russian town of Votkinsk during the country’s Soviet Era, his first access to dance music only came after relocating to Moscow as a teenager. From there he landed a gig at the Russian arm of German distribution company TraumBaum, steadily amassing a sizable collection of European techno records in between playing small gigs to local heads in the capital's low-key scene. In 2006 he took up residency on Deep Mix, the Moscow-based radio station that’s been a beacon for the country’s best techno artists. His considered sets on the station, a blend of deep minimalist techno and dubby house cuts, brought him attention beyond the capital, and coupled with a move to Berlin, he was soon playing in front of dancefloors worldwide. Next Saturday he makes his UK debut in Room One alongside Barac, and ahead of joining us, he sent over a mix that showcases his pensive playing style at its best.
We can call it the vernal equinox, as it was recorded on that exact day.
Where did you source the records from?
Most of the records are from my old collection, going back 10-12 years. There are a few B sides that I’m giving a new life to.
Many people would say electronic music is thriving in eastern Europe, especially compared to parts of the west. Can you talk about the state of the scene in Moscow today?
Moscow always has ups and down when it comes to club culture – and not just club culture, I mean it’s a reflection of the overall country’s cultural and political policy. The government tolerates unofficial culture, but it doesn’t support it in any fashion. I work often with the Slowdance crew – they’ve been around for about 10 years and are working to bring an interesting and eclectic programme that’s more focused on a musical vision than selling tickets. It’s a risk, considering that the economic crisis makes it difficult for promoters to bring over artists from abroad. But this also pushes local artists more, so there are often Russian artists appearing on line-ups at parties in Moscow.
What do you think are the key factors contributing to the current state of the Russian scene?
During the Soviet era, most Western music was forbidden and considered “dangerous” by the authorities. The situation only started to change after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Through the 90s labels and producers like Exotica, Kama, Citadel, Izhitsa and Rя/Ба Mutantъ began to emerge, which was considered revolutionary. Nowadays, the new generation of musicians and producers is looking for new sounds, and creating its own. The international music scene is paying more attention compared to previously, which shows that the scene is alive creatively. Apart from the big cities like Saint Petersburg and Moscow it’s hard to talk about a scene. Electronic music mostly has emerged within independent micro-scenes across the country. This makes sense in such a big country, where cities are geographically far apart and often hard to reach. It makes it harder to create a strong united scene. Add in the late country growth, and the language and alphabet, and Russian music can become difficult to access. Russia’s music media is also rarely written in English, which is a factor.
How did you and Barac come to start playing together?
I met him few years ago in Kiev, where we played together for the first time at Closer. We met again in Bahrain last November, where we played back-to-back at the after party of an event which got raided by the police. fabric is the third time we’ll be sharing the decks.
This is your first time playing both the club and UK. How do you prepare your bag for somewhere you’ve never visited before?
I’m excited to play for the London audience. Anywhere I go I bring my favourite records at that moment: some re-discovered from my old collection, and some recent releases that caught my attention and I believe should be shared with people.
Finally what else are you up to in the near future?
Currently I’m putting all of my attention into my label, Luck of Access. We have LOA003 by Ohm & Octal Industries coming out in April, and we’re already working on the next release due to come out in September.