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A story to every bassline: Mad Dim

It's all about cables and faders

Mad Dim hails from Ukraine and lives in Moscow where you can hear him play at spots like Gazgolder and Mutabor – just to name a few. More than 15 years of live project experience and thousands of hours spent in the studio made us interested to find out more about this guy. His social media appearance is kept low-profile, too – so let’s ask some questions!
First of all, thank you for your time. What was your first musical encounter?
Music came into my life before I was born, my mother played the piano while I was preparing to enter this world. All my life music and piano have been in the house, and it seems only logical that at the age of four I was already learning how to play. Then there was a music school, where I studied through the years because they told me I had a polyphonic gift. One year before I graduated, I decided to drop everything because I was tired of playing in constant competitions and exams. Later, there was a school music band and after a few years of garage rock it all logically moved on to electronic music. I always liked synthesizers and different boxes with which to create noises. I used to DJ for a while, but even then, I always tried to have a groovebox or a drum machine nearby because I wanted to control all the parameters of the sound. My favourite hobby since high school was studying synthesizers and drum machines manuals, which I found by hook or by crook through friends and acquaintances.
Is this why you like to play live?
Yes. Twenty-five years ago, I got my first synthesizer. For many years I had no opportunity to build or rent a decent studio, but I wanted to try all possible synthesizers. The easiest solution was a newspaper and knowing the real market value of the instrument. I swapped and sold/bought every instrument I could swap or sell/buy. Once even sent a Soviet synthesizer to the US, despite the relatively closed borders at the time. So I tried and played some very rare instruments.
So what machines do you use and when did you start doing live sets?
About 12 years ago, I just went live and started with Roland and Korg grooveboxes, then Ableton in combination with drum machines, and then came to modular synthesizers, drum machines, and sampler. The sampler is Elektron Octatrack, modular synths in Eurorack format, and recently Buchla, drum machines of all kinds. It seems to me that now I have found an adequate balance between my desire to control as many sound parameters as possible, my wish to transport not more than 20kg of instruments between different countries, and my unwillingness to use a laptop at gigs.
How would you describe your live set then?
It is always a discussion between managed groove and unexpected details with respect to my personal and listeners‘ life situations at this moment of time. We start this dialogue from the first track and finish at the end. I like this feeling when we are together with the table of my familiar music gear creating some interesting stories and building Sandcastles for 1 or 2 hours.
And what exactly is Ouyayebu? Who stands behind the project?
We met with Kirill Golikov once and for a long time we looked at each other as artists, discussed various ideas, but nothing came to fruition. Four years ago, we got together more seriously and decided to start a label. The name came up as a joke at one of the parties we were playing at when we were discussing details over a drink. In winter we had our first release with Denis Kaznacheev and David Delgado. Pretty soon we will have the second one with our joint track with the guys from dOP, also Cesare vs Disorder & Anushka and Weg & Francesco Carone. Closer to winter there will be a third no less interesting record. A few months ago we released a limited batch of audio cassettes, where our friends from different countries performed in an unexpected ambient format. The whole circulation of both the first release and the cassette was quickly sold out, it’s time to think about a reprint. In parallel, we do showcases about once every two months even though there is a pandemic, we just relocated to Moscow temporarily. All in all, an endless non-stop and outer space plan.
Can you tell us a bit more about your upcoming projects and how the end of summer is going to look like?
I always wanted to combine my love of playing piano and my love of sound design. Thanks to covid there was a little more time to start my madd project, where I play piano and modular synthesizer in live. Mad Dim’s live became more diverse too, all different projects influenced each other in one way or another. With Kirill Golikov and guys from dOP we have a release on Nervmusic very soon. As a consequence, we decided to do a joint live logdam with Kirill, which I hope we will launch closer to the end of summer on festivals. In general, there are a lot of experiments now and I try to record and release everything. Music is a boundless ocean. The state of freedom appears only with an understanding of this fact. The most important thing is to remember to press the record button and listen to the sounds around you.
How is the vibe in Moscow at the moment? I know it wasn’t affected by COVID19 restrictions like the rest of the world.
Since the closure of all borders, I’ve moved mostly to Moscow. I wouldn’t say that I was here all the time because I had to go to Berlin and Paris despite all the restrictions to do projects with friends, but I was still in Moscow most of the time, unlike in normal reality. Here, somehow, both clubs and bars were open, and the hard restrictions weren’t for long. We had the opportunity to do showcases and play at other parties, socialize, and work together more than usual. Now the reality is back on track and dates are popping up around the country and in neighboring countries, the world is opening and that’s great. I think the normal state for an artist is a balance between performing and the studio, it’s different for everyone, but we must move around. We sat in the studios and that’s enough, it’s time to raise a shot of tequila together and forget the strange time of 2020-21.
Thank you so much for giving those insights about you and your musical journey. We are very much looking forward to more to come! Now, tell us. What does music mean to you?
If I would have to limit it to one word, „air“ would be it but could sound too simple. Nevertheless, it is the white stripe over my entire life and I don’t know how can I survive without it.
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