Reading is silent by design. Vakula, however, seems to be a reader with good imagination, who is able to work just about any piece of profound literature into an album. In the beginning of the year, this widely praised electronica artist from Ukraine released an original soundtrack to 1920s sci-fi novel "A Voyage To Arcturus". Already in July Vakula will present his new album "Dedicated to Jim Morrison", naming writers and poets Oscar Wild, William Blake and Dante Alighieri among his inspirations. We decided to have a chat with Vakula himself about his literature affairs, sublime energies and unknown dimensions.
Mariana: The time when music was composed for a piece of literature has quite gone — there are more soundtracks composed for films than operas and ballets composed on librettos. Releasing a full length and mostly instrumental album based on a book is kind of fresh, right?
Vakula: It is true that composing music for a piece of literature is not new. Maybe it is somewhat uncommon for the club music that I am associated with. When this book found me, I felt like creating something else than house or techno, something with a lot of musicality involved. "A Voyage To Arcturus" is aligned with my own vision of the world, as well as search for one's true self and relationship between human beings. I can relate to the archetypes depicted in the novel — they explain clearly the connections between men and women and how their worlds collide.
What's the title of the book you are reading now? Digital or printed?
At the moment I am reading "The Marriage of Heaven and Hell" by William Blake. I feel like it resonates with what is happening in my life at the moment as I try to figure out the importance and relevance of relationship between people. The topic of "the good and the evil" is omnipresent in literature, of course, but this is the book that I came across to while working on my new album "Dedicated to Jim Morrison".
I always try to stay perceptive and accept things that are connected to each other in a common or mystical sense. The things that have been coming my way since I got to know the world of Jim Morrison are all interconnected and this book is one of the points of this line.
Also, I discovered that Dante's "Divine Comedy" is the book that people who I admire drew their inspiration from. I must say I have been reading a lot while working on my last two albums — I guess it is natural as music and poetry go hand in hand; they both need each other to flourish.
Regarding digital or printed; a book has more value for me if I can feel it in my hands — feel it physically. It is not always easy to find everything I want on paper, but I certainly enjoy a printed version more than a digital one.
What is that you are looking for in a book these days?
I can't say that I am looking for something specific in literature. I believe that things that inspire me come across at the right moment and it makes me appreciate them to the fullest, whether it is music, poetry, or somebody's worldview. I also believe that everything happens for a reason and if one listens to their inner world and analyzes their experience with a clear mind — everything comes to a right place eventually and things work out.
This was the case with "A Voyage To Arcturus", the book that found me and whose special vibes I managed to capture and reproduce in sound. This is also how my relationship with Jim Morrison started: I was looking for a specific sound, but instead I unexpectedly discovered Morrison's poetry and philosophy — it's like a circle game.
Have you thought of writing a book yourself?
I don't think that I have enough writing skills to be able to write a book. I guess I would need more life experience if I want to put my thoughts into an integral written story. However, if I ever decided to write a book it would be about how shocking it is that humans do not appreciate what they were given and how often they take advantage of this planet.
When it comes to music making I have understood that you are inspired by (Ukrainian) folklore in particular, is that correct?
I am inspired by ethnic music of different cultures so it is not limited to Ukrainian folklore only. Although, indeed, some of the authentic Ukrainian instruments, such as bandura, produce a kind of sound that can make one fall into trance.
Do you often have an opportunity to talk spiritual with your fellow artists and DJs?
Unfortunately, there is not always a possibility to talk properly with people in the scene as these are mostly conversations in clubs, before or after a set. I think that sometimes the language barrier can be a hurdle too, but still it is not the main problem.
There are artists whose approach has been exemplary to me for years, but I feel like some of them are becoming unreachable because of their star attitude and it is shame to comprehend and accept this.
Certainly there are people who I always enjoy talking to as they share my views and I deeply respect theirs. For instance, I happened to discuss deep and spiritual matters with artists such as Thomas Bullock and Prins Thomas.