Andrey Pushkarev:"I always re-discover records which I might have forgotten"

Russian maestro Andrey Pushkarev started his rich musical career in the late '90s. Two decades later he's one of the most exciting acts in the underground music community with his stellar music selection and flawless technique behind the decks. His unique blend of dub techno mixed with house grooves lead him to almost every corner of this planet. 

We invited Andrey to talk about his career, Russia, his record collection and much more prior to his debut Slovenian performance at Klub K4 in Ljubljana on 25th January. 

Hi, Andrey. First off, we wish you a happy, successful and healthy 2019! Where did you celebrate the longest night of the year?

Thank Guys! My best wishes to you as well. I was behind the decks, playing at Mantra Collective Warehouse party in Sydney. NYE is usually a working day for me, as most of my colleagues I suppose - and spending it in Sydney was great. I like to play in Australia, friendly and warm vibes, people genuinely have fun on the dance floor. It always brings a smile on my face. :)

We have to talk about Kvadrat, a music documentary that puts you in the spotlight. I find it interesting that there’s almost no dialogue in it. Is that a coincidence or was that planned by the director (Anatoly Ivanov)? Did it open many new doors for you?

The main idea was to present the real life of a touring DJ - nowadays the subject seems have become almost redundant as a lot has been told. 

Right after the movie was out it didn’t have a great impact. It has been only in the last 2 years that more people sent me feedback. The absence of dialogue emphasizes the solitary state of most touring DJs - you meet people but during most of your trips to the venues and back home you are alone with yourself. 

You’ve been active since the late ’90s but, if I’m not mistaken, your first official release was out in 2013. How come you haven’t released music before?

I have been always considering myself as DJ first. It is only when I met Circus Company and he proposed to me to release an EP that I decided to do it. It gave me the motivation to make a step towards producing.

You grew up in Russia which is still relatively unknown when it comes to the electronic music scene. Could you maybe compare it to the rest of Europe’s or it is completely unique? Would you say that it was harder for you and other Russian colleagues to make the international breakthrough?

Electronic music was not part of the Russian culture - it came from Europe or USA. The situation has changed only in the last decade because the new generation, born after USSR collapse, started to feel inspired by European artists.

I was lucky when I joined Deepmix Moscow Radio, at the time, in 2006, Soundcloud or Spotify didn’t exist. The radio was the main channel for us to cross the physical borders to Europe and US. Deepmix Moscow Radio was well known - and this is how I started to get bookings. Nowadays with the internet, it shouldn’t be a problem to be heard, no matter where you are from. 

Your sound is a mixture of dub and dark techno combined with smooth house grooves. We could almost say that your music kind of reflects those cold Russian days. How much does your music reflect the area that you grew up in?

Nature has been always my source of inspiration and I have to admit that I have a preference for the colder seasons. I loved Iceland for example and I’d love to spend a month there to really feel the power of nature. To me, it’s the perfect place to produce dub techno - when I think of artists like Exos, Ohm, Octal Industries, I really feel where their sounds come from.

We’re really excited that you’ll finally come to Slovenia. Do you know anything about our country or clubbing scene? How do you prepare your music for a place where you haven’t played before?

I’m excited yes - it’s the only one country’s name containing the word “LOVE”: “SLOVEnia” -  and Ljubljana too, because in Russian люблю (ljublu) means "I Love”. Musically speaking, I know Valentino Kanzyani - we had the chance to play at the same night on NYE 2018 in Rome, at Circolo Degli Illuminati. 

Answering your second question, I’ll always bring my favourite records of the moment - so far it always worked :)

Luck Of Access was born in 2017. What’s the story behind this project?

I have been looking for a name for about 3 years … And I have thank Cosmin TRG’ interview who mentioned the word when talking about Romania and the country’s entry in the EU. The sentence "lack of access" in his speech caught my ear.

I liked it because it well expressed the idea of a political situation which also created a barrier for music and culture to expand. Together with my team (booker and manager), we had a brainstorm session and all of us liked the idea to change the word "Lack" to "Luck". I liked the words play and the idea to put the emphasis on the attitude of "openness" of the label - musically speaking.

Also, I sort of wanted to give it a more contemporary touch to reflect "open culture" phenomenon that we are experiencing nowadays and which I always thought to be a positive thing.

You’re one of the DJs that prefer using an old analogue approach with playing vinyl. Did you ever thought about switching completely to digital? I mean, after all, you have to carry around these heavy bags week in week out.

Back in the days, I had experienced to play with Serato Scratch -  I decided to go back to vinyl records because it truly felt more natural and interesting to me. I enjoyed spinning records more than watching the display of my computer.

Also, I like to look at the audience. I do use CDJ’s sometimes especially when I have promo tracks or very expensive vinyl (rip files) which I won’t take to all my travels. I usually bring around  65 records (standard UDG bag). It’s around 20-21 kg and that's regular baggage for almost every air company.

Can you share with us the size of your record collection? I always wondered how DJs sort their vinyl collection. Do you have everything in order or is it more of an “organised mess”?

I think now counts around 8000 records. In my case, it’s a total mess, cause I moved from one apartment to another 3 times in the last two years. But I have to say that I like this “mess” cause I always re-discover records which I might have forgotten. I can find different records in unexpected circumstances :)

You’ve been in this music industry for more than two decades and I’m pretty sure that you’ve managed to achieve a lot of your goals. What keeps you pushing forward?

Music always. Keeping learning on how the music industry works and, of course, my friends/colleagues which I’m always happy to visit while being on tour. 

By Saša, edited on 22 January 2019