The following is an Independent Spotlight exclusive interview with Petr Chekhovskoy, otherwise known as KLA$$.
You have a new album out called ‘Vengeance,’ a twenty-two track endeavor that you describe as “a dark and light mood of EDM music.” When I began listening to the first track on the album, ‘The Fallen Have Risen,’ I immediately noticed an eight-bit style sound in your music, as if it was written for a retro video game. Do you derive any influence from that kind of music? ‘The Fallen Have Risen’ could be in the background of an old ‘Castlevania’ game perfectly.
It is funny... when I was sixteen my older brother who worked in the music industry came to visit us. He asked me, "where do you get your inspiration for music?" I replied to him, "it depends. Most of the time I just decide that I want to work on music when I get bored of something." He had a curious, shocked face when I replied to him. For 'Vengeance' the inspiration came from popular EDM producers that lack something I wanted in their music. 'The Fallen Have Risen' is suppose to be a dark, scary track to fit the album. I suppose it can be used in games if they so wish it. I never played 'Castlevania;' is it any good?
Tracks like ‘Malfunction’ incorporate Dubstep style compositional elements. Is it your intention to fuse together many different styles of electronic music into your own sound?
You know, I listen to dubstep producers, mostly Skrillex. But I noticed listening to his music it lacked a lot of stuff that I wanted in it. I did not feel there was enough melody in it. His music did not have a story to me. It was just typical, hype dubstep. So, I set out on a journey to be different in this regard, to give my version of the style more flavor. But in regard to the song 'Malfunction,' it is supposed to be one crazy ride that will make your brain malfunction.
You market your music in both English and Russian. What is like trying to juggle two languages and music communities? Have you found English speaking westerners react differently to your music than people in your own country, or vis versa?
Both communities are unique. But I receive more understanding and appreciation from the Russian community than the English/Western one.
To that end, you’re currently in Atlanta, Georgia. What drew you to Atlanta when you came to the United States, and when was that?
I lived in West Virginia for my middle school and high school years. I have family that live in the state of Georgia, and that state provided a lot of schooling for medical that I wanted in with. I lived in United States most of my life. I am unsure if I will return to Russia unless I marry a Russian woman and she wanted to return home.
Most independent artists release small EP’s, and when they do release longer albums, they tend to suffer from being too long. ‘Vengeance’ is a hefty twenty-two tracks. Why did you decide to release such a long album, and how did you work to keep it interesting throughout its entirety?
'Vengeance' was a three year project album, but more close to four years when I think about it... if I waited a few more months it would have been four years. I was tired of six, twelve and sixteen tracks like a lot of albums of today, and I did not want to be like that. Some days I worked on it some days and some days I did not, to keep the album interesting with variety. A lot of songs belong to other groups within EDM. The album is not just dubstep, brostep, and techno. It has a lot of variety. The album has the mood for gaming, partying, and being emotional.
What kind of setting do you want your music in? Dance clubs? Concerts? When you’re composing, what audience do you have in mind?
Dance clubs, EDM festivals, and YouTube listeners were the goal audience.
What is your songwriting process like? How do you start writing a song and see it through to completion?
First the melody. Second the baseline. And I work my way up from there and do editing of beats and what not... and effects to give it that glow.
Are there specific artists you draw lots of inspiration from? If you had the opportunity to collaborate with anyone you wanted, who would it be?
[I had] a lot of inspiration from Armin Van Buuren and Basshunter growing up. To collaborate, it would be DJ Matrix from Italy.
Now that ‘Vengeance’ is out, what’s next on your to-do list? Do you see live performance in your future at all, or another album?
To get promotion for this album as much as possible. Live performance, I personally do not see myself doing that unless a DJ would want to use my music at his parties. Another album could be in the future. I have already two albums I have made and then some stored away on my computer for the future.
On the Independent Spotlight, we always close our interviews asking bands and artist about themselves as music consumers rather than producers. If we were to hit shuffle on your iTunes or Spotify, what three songs may pop up?
If you were to press shuffle on my YouTube music, you would hear a lot of Italian, Spanish, and French music.
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