Zarkoff Returns (Again)
Sorry for the long silence, dear readers. I lack concentration, it's all click here and click there and show up, but don't dance, just talk your life into oblivion. And cables and buttons and knobs on the other side, gossip in the kitchen during the breaks, ears gently bleeding.
So much has happened I don't even want to talk about it. There 's a few things though. Some stuff worth bragging about, nice stories I'd normally tell you over a drink. So, ehm…
How we managed to piss off even The KVB
Well, they seemed nice, maybe a bit shy. They had a dick of a roadie/driver/manager/whoever that guy is, though. So, my bandmate from Kali Jugend was sly enough to put us as one of the opening acts on the KVB gig in Zagreb. A familiar place, familiar faces, we were very relaxed in the backstage, our bassist was juggling oranges, we were laughing loudly, indulging in some non aggressive and benign craziness as usual. No depravity, no violence, no sex, lots of laughs, a few screams, maybe some minor substances were involved also. It's possible we showed up for the soundcheck a bit drunk, but still decent enough. There were signs of trouble, tho'.. The driver/whoever guy was being all bossy and shit, hurrying everyone up to stick to the schedule. To the point where he allowed himself taking away our setup right after we finished the last song. I dislike people moving around my gear without asking. That's enough to start hating a person. Then the way he held mechandise up in his hands, maybe he even shouted a bit, you know, like selling potatoes or fake Adidas sneakers, I'm not sure anymore. Then I mentioned that to the band, still thinking he was their manager. They laughed and said this guy's just the driver. I mean wtf?! Who lets drivers run things (no offense to drivers) Oh, yes, they laughed, their faces indicating nothing else but amusement by this mistake. And we even had a bit of a chat in the backstage, slightly reserved, but nothing weird or unpleasant, at least it didn't seem so to me. What I'm trying to say is – I felt no discomfort on my own and noticed none on their part. Yet, later it was brought to our attention they complained to the organiser later on. I mean, what? They complained about our rowdy behavior in the backstage and the possible use and abuse. But, but, but… what do bands normally do before shows? Pray hailmaries? Is it a squat or a Hare Krishna temple? Are we such obnoxious old bastards that we scare fine young souls into pretending we're cool and then they feel relief when we leave?
Oh, and one review we got was great, mentioning words like sinister and threatening, or maybe it was "menacing presence“ – I'm doing my best to remember and translate… The journalist confessed he's not familiar with "that kind“ of music, but he was brave enough to compare our singer with "Joe Cocker on ecstasy“, "twitching violently in a manner that remotely resembles dancing“. So poetic, dude, thank you! Just one thing, if you go to Das Haus in Zagreb looking for goth parties, you might wanna ask around first.
How I screwed up all possible jobs and gigs in June
Remember last year, the photos and report from Synth Lab? Those 40 synths in an abandoned lab, being part of a festival happening in an old industrial zone? No? Well click back somewhere, pay some fucking attention, life's no fun if you don't. Anyway, the festival's happening again, this time some new people involved, some new concepts. So I get an offer to do something there, a residency with some French and Croatian musicians. Now, I'm sorry to say, I checked them out on youtube and bandcamp – not my cup of tea. For me, doing shit in those abandoned facilities is magic and painful and cold and beautiful. It's painful to be reminded of these innocent and naive times, to feel old and disappointed standing in these dead spaces. And then there's magic of breathing life into them again and getting something back, if I had to use bullshit new age expressions, I'd have to admit I connect with the spirit of the time and place when life was being imprinted into it. And I see the damage as well, the process of decay. It's a big experience. But these guys I was supposed to work with are just good musicians. That's cool, but not really something I care about. In their expression I found nothing to connect with. So I said no. Then a semi serious suggestion came I run a workshop for a group of kids. Me . Kids. Ha! To cut a long story short, being the smartass I am, I weasled out of that one, or any possible engagement at the fest.
Then I get invited to play at a certain big queer event, which would be a very cool thing. Anyway, we talk, I agree, lay out my very reasonable terms and remind them of the fact that I don't do dj sets, only live acts etc. So a few days later they notify me they only want DJs in the lineup. Eternally outmaneuvered by DJs. You know what guys? We (live acts, I mean) can't make a fucking buck! We can't earn enough from releases and we get less gigs. Well why don't I DJ then? Well why would I make my own music if I were happy to play somebody else's shit?
And then the last straw comes from the heavens. Actually from the neighboring Slovenia. Another gig offer for the same date. And today, the craziest refusal I ever heard of. They want someone Slovenian on the lineup so I'm out of the picture. Well, really now… My grandgrandma was Slovenian, how about you pay me quarter fee?
Hmm.. the sweet smell of success…
Oh but there's good news, lovely news. The new album is here, finally released, on Uknown Pleasures. Strangely, the 6 weeks I spent recording and mixing it are in a blur now. And it was just recently, just a few months ago. It was a shift into another reality, how many moments from the past I relived in the process.. Some songs were old, written almost 10 years ago, during the happy fucking days. Some are new.
It's a rock album with electronic drums and synth basslines, mostly. Guitars play a prominent part. Anger also. It's contained, but obvious. But generally it's about accepting shit. Good moments pass, that's shit. People you love go away, or you betray them or something, that's also shit. You miss a chance and it never appears again, that's shit too. So you put on a personality, play the game, wear the mask, identify with it. And you're aware at the same time of the illusory nature of the entire excercise. You learn to accept and/or break.
But yeah, who cares. Ehm.. a most personal album for me, who knows what it will mean to other people. I was in intense emotional distress writing most of these songs, or at least faking it to myself. Let's see how it transfers. Can it serve as somebody's mirror? It can certainly serve as something to put your glass on so it doesn't stain the table.
Adding insult to injury
Oh yeah, it's not enough I can't land a single fucking performance in June, I have to put with shit even on those rare occasions I manage to click some buttons in front of an audience. There was this private party, a big, last party in a legendary place that was a meeting and melting point for 6 yrs and now its's gone. So I get to improvise a techno live set with SOK, the host of the party, a frequent guest in Sensorium studio, a dedicated guy who's more into working than talking, a quality I deeply respect. So in the middle of our set a guy comes up to me and we have the following conversation:
Hey, could you connect a mic for me, I'd like to sing?
You should say yes.
Dude, come on.
2 minutes later
Hey look, you should really let me sing, will you?
Eeer… dude, I really can't
But I'm very good, you know
You should have said yes
Dude, idk, you'll sing later, ok?
2 minutes later
#ingore, look down, don't establish eye contact#
And then the police showed up and interrupted our set. It was good while it lasted, then later we tried to play another one, but I just couln't get into it anymore.
So, yeah, don't get me wrong, there was lots of good and interesting stuff happening in the last 7-8 months, I may just write a line or two about that for the next article, if it comes to happen… Until then I'll be burning the candle at both ends for your entertainment and my pleasure.