IUNA NIVA’s music can be defined as a series of landscapes which oscillate restlessly between frustrated techno and dawning ambience. Their debut EP – “Primeval Guilt” was released last spring on Cologne-based label Noorden and was described by the duo as their attempt to revoke long-time extinguished feelings through the musical tools of our modern age. Currently the two are composing the follow up to their first release as well as preparing a live set.
— Hello! Please tell us about yourself and about your project IUNA NIVA. How did you meet and how did you reach a common goal?
— N: First, we met in Paris a few years ago. At that time it was quite hard to communicate about music since our tastes differed massively. I remember that Fedor was already fiddling with Ableton at that time, he showed me some of the stuff and I didn’t like it at all. The only thing on which we agreed was Blade Runner’s soundtrack and the film’s aesthetic. It was a rainy day so we played the record and watched Paris being caged by raindrops. We can say everything started from there.
— F: I remember that and how I could not stand the vast majority of the music that Neva liked, which I still do now, haha.
— How long have you been making music under this alias and why did you choose it?
— N: IUNA NIVA was born more or less two years ago. At that time everything started as an experiment, Fedor had some other beats and he send them asking for vocals, so I decided to give it a second try.
— F: The name came spontaneously, I just remember how I was playing with words and letters, trying to find something right. I tried many and then suddenly I heard the name as if it had emerged from a sea I had somewhere within my mind, as if I had already found it long time ago but I hadn’t been aware of it. So, I had little doubts.
— Have you ever thought why you make music in this style? Or did you first choose a style, and then started composing? Is your education related to music? In what are you engaged in aside from it?
— N: We both have received a classical music education. Fedor plays classical piano and I have been singing opera for several years.
At the beginning I think we just wanted to use music in order to create landscapes into which we could dive in, aside from this we had no clear intention. We had really clear ideas in mind about the place where we would like to wonder, but not about how our music would sound.
I am deeply interested in languages and literatures, since I am interested in anything symbolic: that could be a note, a word, a character from a book. I have a weakness for Russian literature, as in russian language, with whom I’m struggling at the moment in SPB.
— F: I always feared intentions when it comes to the creative process, indeed whenever I have a plan or an intention I don’t achieve much.
I agree and can use Neva’s words also to describe me. I often take inspiration for musical creation from landscapes and images that I collect in my memory, taken from books I have been reading. I’ve been living in London a good many years and, along with progress with the English language, I deeply came across with its literature. At the moment I live in Florence and I am studying art history here.
— How is your creative process going? Please tell us in more detail. And what hardware do you use?
— N: I see the creative process as a series of endless attempts, sometimes you get just a black void, sometimes you get a deformations and sometimes you get something alive. It’s very similar to how forest trees grow their branches, they try to stretch their arms in all directions but many of the branches brake or die because of a lack of sunshine; if some grow strong enough the tree survives.
— F: At the moment we are working with a material that requires more time to get into. In terms of hardware we use a Virus B, you can hear that it was mainly designed to produce cheap 90s sounds, since it was made to be fashionable in the years were rave culture was very popular. However, with a bit of effects and tweaking it can produce very surreal sounds.
— What are you currently working on and what are you planning in the near future?
— F: In terms of releases we have one track coming out on Noorden in May, but aside form it we need to finish our new material and then plan a release for it. Also one of my plans is to experiment more with analogue gear, maybe a little modular synthesiser.
— N: I miss the sea and I definitely need to take a rest from my frenetic brain activity, so in the near future I would love to move closer to it and finish our next material there. Also I need stop smoking, in order to give some rest to my voice, but this will take more time.
— Which styles do you prefer to listen to? Do you have any favorite labels and musicians? Are you inspired by someone’s work before recording your own?
— N: Andy Stott was a massive inspiration for me in terms of vocals. Also, aside from the artist which you can hear in our mix, I love Italian singer-song writers, I find their music very fascinating since I see their world as if it had a double face, like the Giano Bifronte. I always say: if you look at him in the eyes, you can see just one face at the time but while observing one you know there is another one hidden close to the first one. The way they sing is apparently happy and soft but the thematic are mostly taken from hardness and heaviness both of everyday life and distant hopes. Two aspects of the same reality. Exactly as Giano.
— F: Recently I have been getting into a lot of stuff from Northern Electronics and Semantica. I am fascinated by how some releases on these labels manage to make techno non-obvious without sacrificing rhythmical power.
— Have you managed to perform somewhere? And where would you like to perform in the future (in what cities or countries)?
— F: We still haven’t played live because we have never finished our live set, but as we are composing our new material we are preparing a way to perform it live.
— N: We have some plans for the incoming months and possibly we will play in the UK. Also, we would love to play in St. Petersburg at some point since, for different reasons, we both hold that city dear to our hearts.
— Is it important for you, from which medium to listen to? Is it necessarily with physical music medium, or can it be with digital? Do you collect vinyls or cassettes?
— N: Mmh no, I like vinyls and cassettes but I don’t collect them methodically. In general, I always try to listen to music independently from the medium through which it’s presented since I see it as something ethereal.
— F: I have a useless (and now quite dusty) collection of rock CDs from my teenage years, I used to collect them and spend all my money on them, but aside from that I have never collected anything else, mainly because in the past years I have moved around a lot, so I never had the chance to settle down and start a proper vinyl collection. However, I don’t rule out this possibility in the future.
— How would you describe your music?
— N: “Light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul.”
— F: In terms of genres, I think that “leftfield” is approximately the most correct tag, however in terms of the essence of our music I think that if I could describe it I would have no reasons to make it. I would use words and write books or poems instead of tweaking knobs.
— Does music help you in everyday life?
— N: Does blood of veins and oxygen of lung help you in everyday life?
Phil Struck — Amber
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Riner Vail — Three Day Jag
Evitceles — Ravishing Ketana
Demdike Stare — Forest of Evil (Dawn)
Edmon — The March Of Flames
Grand River — Secondaria