Dronny Darko is an ambient driven, drone influenced artist from Kiev, Ukraine.
Interview with Oleg Puzan by Michael Barnett
Michael: Your last two albums on Cryo Chamber were Neuroplasticity and Spira Igneus. You describe them as lowercase dark ambient, could you speak a little bit about this style of music?
Oleg: Lowercase music is a form of sound art. It amplifies acoustic objects and paints collages with them. Those are sounds that we almost cannot hear with a naked ear. Something like the hum of the domestic sound system, ants rumbling, plants growing, etc. It is a form of minimalist music. Though, I often pursue it more like a manifesto than actual music. I see it as a modern counteraction to the real world outside. Overwhelmed with information, hidden advertisements, digital trash, etc.
I used this technique. I tried to mix it with traditional dark ambient elements on Spira Igneus. I mixed it with sound design on Neuroplasticity. I do like minimalism a lot. In all its forms.
Michael: The subject matter of Spira Igneus seems to be close to that of Outer Tehom. Did you intend this as a continuation of that theme, sort of a sequel? Or, did they happen to have similarities in theme by chance?
Oleg: I have an intension to spiral-tie my solo albums as I have 2 concepts within my Cryo Chamber solo works. Spira Igneus is like a continuation of Outer Tehom, but more focused on an individual. I am not sure if I like to provide a very clear concept to the listener when I create music. It gets boring fast. You need this abstract part of your art to grasp with. To let your imagination build its own vision or project this feeling to your own life. It should be entertaining.
Michael: Neuroplasticity incorporates some very interesting field recording. Was it a longer process than usual? Collecting these field recordings and preparing them for use in such a bold manner?
Oleg: Actually it did take efforts. That was the first time I ever tried to compose a full album in this style and it turned out to be a challenge. I wouldn’t say that collecting those recordings was hard. Manipulating them and arranging into a proper structure was sometimes difficult. It turned out to be a huge experiment. I am very honored that something crazy like this released on Cryo Chamber. I already have a sequel to the story. We will have a proper protagonist character. A character with his/her own drama tied up to Neuroplasticity. It will be interesting and immersive. I promise!
Michael: Can we expect more of this lower-case style from you on future albums? Will you be exploring new areas?
Oleg: I got so fascinated with experimental music, including lowercase. I will create a side project for it soon. I already have plenty of material created for it. Now I need time to filter it out and find a proper label for a release. This project will focus on minimalist experimental music. It will have huge influence from artists like Thomas Köner, Richard Chartier, Yann Novak, Asher, Richard Francis, Francisco López, etc. I will separate the experimental part from my main project. So that listeners could embrace the aesthetics they prefer.
Michael: I hear there has been a bit of personal news between you and protoU. Would you care to speak about that at all?
Oleg: Yeah we finally got married haha. It’s been a long time coming. After being a couple for 2 years we already knew this would happen. We also thought that almost every couple can feel this way within 2 years so we gave it all some time. It feels natural. It feels like a logical step forward and I’m so happy it all occurred the way it did. It’s the next big step for us with more and more musical jams to come, more challenges to embrace and we are so ready for it!
Michael: Have there been any interesting places you’ve captured field recordings? Any strange stories you might like to tell about a field recording adventure?
Oleg: I like to capture sounds in empty spaces like silent concert halls or hospital corridors. Almost nothing is happening. Then I amplify that and a lot of weird stuff emerges from this “silence”. It’s very weird and so inspiring.
Michael: Working on Nyarlathotep, does it help each of you to grow as musicians because of this intimate experience with one another?
Oleg: Oh yeah I love this approach. You actually see who does what and hear the strong sides of each artist. It’s very fun and I like it a lot.
Michael: I notice you and protoU both have a lot of live performances. Is there a large community of dark ambient listener around Kyiv?
Oleg: Yeah Kyiv has a lot of great artists and even more of those who just start to experiment. This city is very much supportive of experimental art. The vibe is in the air.
Michael: Does your country influence your sound? Do you think you would be a different kind of musician if you lived in another place?
Oleg: Absolutely! Me and Sasha both feel the difference. Recently, when we got back from a trip to Amsterdam we couldn’t listen to anything dark or too deep for a long time. We were striving for fresh beat music and positive attitude to life. The people and the atmosphere in Amsterdam is very different. Open and full of inspiration. You get this abstract feeling instantly. Both of us are so much in love with Amsterdam. We would love to come back there once again or even relocate. That’s something we’re working on right now.
Michael: Do you prefer the analog or digital form of sound-sculpting? Do you use both?
Oleg: I prefer digital. I’m not a gear guy at all. I only have a few midi controllers but that’s mostly it. You get so much more value out of digital tools. I mean I like synths just because they are the reason all the digital world exists. But I’m the kind of a guy who will spend more time blending in tons of high quality plugins. To create proper sounds that I can carry with me all the time.
Michael: You’ve worked on a decent number of collaborations. Do you prefer writing those collaborative albums or working solo?
Oleg: I like collaborating but sometimes it gets stressful. Sometimes you have to take control of everything. Sometimes it all flows naturally. It’s a nice thing but not more than 1-2 collaborations per year. Otherwise you’ll just empty yourself.
Michael: Do you think the apocalypse is coming? If so, how do you think it will happen?
Oleg: To be honest I don’t even think about it. I mean I have visions but they are too abstract. Recently we watched Lars von Trier’s Melancholia. This pretty much sums up all the horror and pain that will take place in such a scenario – slow, viscous, pointless and in agony.
Michael: Are you a full-time musician? Or, do you also have a day job?
Oleg: For the past year and a half I’ve been working as a sound designer for a hybrid game project. It’s a company secret so I can’t tell you anything about that. But I got lucky to finally have a well payed hobby. I constantly upgrade my skill to become the best in my craft, do a good job and inspire others.
Michael: What were some of your biggest influences when beginning to write dark ambient music?
Oleg: Most definitely it’s the guy whom I discovered as the first drone ambient artist – Red Fog. He and his side projects still have the most profound influence on me. Among others there are giants like Lustmord, Thomas Köner, Mathias Grassow, Alessandro Cortini, Steve Roach, Sabled Sun, Yann Novak, etc. I must note that not only music can be an inspiration. Movies, photography, contemporary and avant-garde arts are also a huge influence for me.