Those of you that fell down the rabbit hole into the world of Zarkoff through his first diary will no doubt have been anxiously awaiting the return of our favourite antihero. Not wanting to be a disappointment to his legions of darling fans, here Zarkoff follows on from where he left off and his sense of adventure and expert storytelling is exactly what you need to read to make your day complete;
Ah fuck, I'm being overly dramatic again, I'm just freaking out on the sight of stash gone dry. There will be no cold turkey. It's only been a few weeks, I'll be fine. I should be more careful in how I express myself, more cautious with words. I like to attract attention in completely wrong ways sometimes, apologies for bad form. Then again, this is supposed to be a sort of a gonzo diary of imperfections.
I mentioned benzos. Now that's something I should stay away from. They make me forget important things. Once, driving from Vienna to Den Haag I spent the night in a motel in Germany and in the morning I realised I left my car open. Not unlocked but wide fucking open… How retarded is that? I ran through the motel lobby in my underwear screaming, thinking somebody must have broken into my car. It was just me being stupid. At least the motel staff had a good laugh.
Today I was in Zagreb, keeping busy on a holiday nobody can explain to me. Some sort of Catholic thing, I don't even know what it's called in English. Anyway, we did some overdubs in another abandoned factory –the guitarist from ### said he always ends up in these places somehow. So do I, it seems. This one used to be a button factory and it's situated inside the city, next to a place called The Vintage Industrial Bar. What a cool name. I met with 3 bass players, 2 of which are old friends from way back from university when I was studying Russian. What a flashback. So we recorded some bass parts, what else. I feel very comfortable hanging out with people who don't belong to the electronic/club scene. They don't care about who's who, communication is easy. Also we have a lot of common topics, we're all more or less 90s kids. 90s alternative rock kids to be more precise. Electronic producers that played in bands often have this feeling for song structure that I appreciate. I like songs. Techno is cool and I spent many nights in clubs where they don't play songs. It's just tracks, in the mix, which is alright for my taste but a song is a song, I'm biased.
I have a project called Kali-Jugend with this guy Tzar. He's one of my few true friends, a full blooded mutant, a weird beast by any standard, above all a great guy. He writes the best promo texts in the world. Today he wrote: [TONITEZ] Klub Močvara (a venue in Zagreb, club Swamp) 'hedlinerz' canceled, entrance free! Decimation on the benches, slaughter at the bar! Amputations and nullifications! Spinal cord scraping, soul bulimia! Exclusively optimal!
That must be the best piece of advertisment ever. So the main act won't show up. Screw them, misspell their title, futher more, put them in quotation marks, the fuckers! And then don't make things look peachy. It will be a hard night, soaking your bone marrow in booze, you'll suffer a bad hangover before you even go home, show up if you got what it takes. It's a challenge for unemployed freaks who dare to go out on a desperate binge on Thursday night. Optimal indeed. I feel a bit old passing on this challenge, but I defended my title well on enough occasions. Besides, I'm fighting in another category now. Actually working in the morning, client's coming to the studio at 11 to check up on the progress. Still, a great way to save the night, my friend, don't forget to drink some water.
I hopped over to Ljubljana on Friday to catch Helena Hauff DJ-ing at my favorite Slovenian club, Channel 0. Two and a half hour drive, heavy rain. A great night out. There was a situation in the morning however. I came to Ljubljana alone, met up with some friends there and in the morning I realized they all left. My host kindly sent me a text message: "I'm going home. Got wasted. Just ring the door when you arrive, have fun“. Well that's all legit, but how do I arrive? I don't know the city that well, a taxi would be too bourgeoisie for my taste… I did remember the address and I vaguely remembered walking from her place to the club once. It was an easy task, really, I had a smartphone with google maps. It sucked the adventure right out of the situation. Walking straight was a challenge, though, too much brandy and beer, and no other substances to keep me focused. Still, I remembered the goold old days, getting lost various cities in pre-gps days. I remember pulling off a tour with Florence Foster Fan Club without GPS or a map, without being late or getting seriously lost, that was mostly because of my bandmate's excellent navigational skills. I fell in love with a girl when we got lost in Berlin, we left the after party just to buy some more booze and got lost on the way back. We searched for 4 hours and I was kicking doors open because I saw our host do it so I figured if it kicks open, it must be the place. Surprising how many doors you can open just by kicking or pushing really hard. Oh and there was a drunken driving through the park incident in Den Haag. Mindfuck Mondays it was. At some point I was supposed to follow a guy on a bicycle. After what seemed to be an absurdly slow ride (and a stupid idea), what does the cyclist do? Go through the park, of course! I had no choice. That was my prepared line in case cops see me. "Officer, I really had no choice. He told me to follow. I understand this is a serious offence, but I just had no choice. Crime implies an intention, a decision, doesn't it? Well, you see, by telling me to follow him, the cyclist took the responsibility of making choices for me, I merely followed. Command responsibility, exactly! He went that way, thank you for your cooperation, officer.“ Will technology stop me from making new stories of this kind? Am I doomed to live in fucking memory lane already? On the other hand, I am grateful for not spending hours and hours walking around Ljubljana, not drunk and tired.
There's a partisan song that made me cry today.
"When I leave home
don't put any rye bread in my bag
when I leave home
don't put the wooden cross in my hand
when I leave home
pour no red wine to my glass
when I leave home
don't water the red carnation with tears
when I leave home
may I have a clear sight, no fog
when I leave home
pour cold anger in to my heart
when I leave home
when I leave home
It's The Day of Antifascism. My grandma was a partisan, her brothers were members of the first Partisan squad in Yugoslavia, she joined a bit later, aged 16. I organised a meeting with her ex-commander a few years before she died. They cried for a long time. We all did. whey I cry over partisan songs I cry for all sides in all wars. For the heroes and the cowards, for those who had to kill and those who liked to kill, for the dead and the scarred. Everybody in this part of the world still deals with fear and hate. My generation learned about hate before learning about love. I know hate well, love confuses me. My grandpa was on the other side in WW2. I never asked how the hell they hooked up after the war, but I think I understand. After a while, it doesn't matter anymore. Still, I feel grateful for not getting hurt or being exposed to too much shit. I have a feeling like something's been protecting me throughout my life. Thank you for not becoming a subject of tragic songs, whoever you are!
2 days at home, sorting out recordings from the Synth Lab slowly… about 10 hrs of material. Some parts sound dissonantly promising. I tried reversing them, pitch shifting, slicing, distorting… Whoever walked in was free to grab a synth and participate. I invited some musicians as well, so it wouldn't be complete chaos all the time. There are coherent parts but I also tried to do something with those less coherent moments. Something was happening there, some kind of good interaction. I call these clips The Eugenics Archive. One clip started making sense after reversing it and using an octave down plugin on it. Then I played it through a tape echo. I think it's my favorite so far. I'll call it The Frontal Lobe Incident. It sounds like pixelised animals, calling for help in a slightly degrading endless loop.
After slow days of studio work and relaxing, I'm off to Zagreb tomorrow. Meetings, people, probably staying up late. New project starts on Saturday, will be picking up my new clients on Saturday morning and it's imperative I'm presentable at that time. Last time one of them was in the studio, he had a terrible cold, left his infected scarf and we all got sick. Well, showing up zombified wouldn't be a fitting act of revenge. Not to mention how completely unprofessional it would be. Though one of the bigger perks of working at the margins of entertainment industry is that you can easily get away with it. I guess it's also possible on higher levels, not that I'd know first-hand.
Somebody asked my why there are no tech credits on my Discogs profile. Well, really, there are almost none. I decided to fix that. After spending some time updating the info I started getting messages from people disputing my claims. No links to prove everything, I had to deal with some bad attitudes. One guy was super helpful and nice, one was quite rude and another was mildly annoyed by my lack of etiquette. I don't really know Discogs rules, I admit. It makes sense credits should be backed up by something, but apparently a vote from labels/artists aren't enough. The super rude guy called it "my vanity credits“. Who the fuck are you to judge my vanity? If you take that liberty, then I dare say – you, rude guy, are over the top anal! I hope you take pleasure in correcting my crap. And be zealous about it, that's the only way. Afterwards, you can come over and clean my living room, bring some order into this house. All we need is more people who want to make some order! Well, the more you guys try, the more chaos I'll create. And it's really not about chaos, it's just to spite you righteous bastards.
A creative mind is often disorganised and puts obstacles in its own path. So in order to actually finish anything, some sort of training is usually required. I'm not talking about formal training. From what I hear art schools/academies and similar institutions rarely teach about mental discipline and the creative process. Somehow the general attitude prevails it's enough to put the students in "the environment“, even teaching technique is secondary. Of course, if you have someone constantly working in the right environment, it's obviously beneficial. But keeping long term concentration on your ideas and work is even more important. Whan I was younger I couldn't remember my psychedelic experiences, I'd forget ideas, thoughts, melodies that would come to me at random moments… So basically inspiration had to come at the right time. But it doesn't always, so it's necessary to develop a certain way to memorise, to keep concentration on it for days, while attending to other tasks, of course. It's not easy, normally I have to write everything down to remember it and keep the stress levels low. This period of "cooking the idea“ sometimes results in a refinement of the original thought, sometimes I get to see it from another angle, sometimes I give it up. I've made some poor pieces of music by just following my impulses. Cult of memory is no novelty, there are various examples throughout history, my favorite probably being Osip Mandelstam, whose wife Nadezhda memorised entire collections of his poetry, while being persecuted, running from NKVD. He died in a transit camp in Siberia, she went on, preserved his memory and his work, managed to write it down and even have it published years later. I feel ashamed of my carefree life when I read about it. We all should feel a certain amount of shame. But I digress. So memory, concentration and being critical towards your own work! Being critical – I cannot stress the importance of that enough. In the initial zeal, everything seems a bit better than it really is. "Cooking“ is important again! Although, it works just as well to finish work, forget about it and then re-evaluate it later. It works unless you have a big ego and consider everything you touch a masterpiece. I find that's a trait of the hopelessly untalented. So what I want to say is – remember, cook, refine!
A few intense days are behind me again. First a meeting with my manager that turned into a sort of a party, then a 2 day mixing session. One of the songs had over 70 tracks by the time we finished. Complex stuff. It went smoothly, however. We even found time to go out for a few drinks – there was a house party in a club just 300 m from my place. Really, no excuse not to check it out. Lots of familiar faces there, it's a small town. I think it was fun for guys from Zagreb to check out a provincial party like this one, even if they had an encounter with a drunk kid who wanted to get beaten up without realising it. Luckily for him, we're not exactly a rowdy bunch and tend to ignore such provocations. My clients kindly explained to him that he's being boring and annoying so he left. I'm proud to work with people who are talented and mild mannered. Pleasant company. It would be extremely hard to do these sleepover sessions with people who I don't get along with. It's very convenient to have a studio in my flat, people sleep over, we have breakfast, coffee and continue working. Or we sit in the kitchen lazing around 'till noon. As long as the job gets done, nobody forces the schedule.
One of the cooler things in being a musician is that moment when you turn on the radio and hear your own song. Especially if it's a rare occasion. Kraftjerkz special on Disco Panonia show on IFM. Honored Matres and me are releasing a split together any day now. I smiled and opened a beer to celebrate. Earlier this day I was filling out some papers for the local copyright organization. Somehow they figured out my address is not valid and require me to correct this information. So I decided to list my new releases in order to start receiving some royalties. Not one of my proudest moments. At one moment I declared cutting off all ties from the copyright bastards. And now I'm begging for crums again. I sure could use some crums. I should have been a DJ.
Can't bring my self to write much these days. I feel distant from life. The world I created for myself allows little contact with reality. It's all on screens and in scenes. I want my work to have significance. That requires an occasional kick in the ass and I haven't had one for a year and a half now. Once, a long time ago, I stole a girl from a guy. A good guy. I'm thankful he doesn't hate me for that. It was an asshole thing to do. But I fell madly in love. Strangely, he never seemed to blame or hate me. Maybe I did him a favour. It turned out to be a great romance, what you'd call true love. It lasted almost ten years. We experienced life, hitchhiked across Europe, slept in parks on a few occasions, moved in, did all we wanted to do and searched for more. Then later life kind of entangled us. Anyway, I'm glad we spent our youth together. But this evening I walked into my flat, and said an ironic "honey I'm home“ out loud. No one but my cats to greet me. And I remembered how she'd greet me with affection every time. I'm getting a lot of attention lately for music and shit. Every day something. It's cool, I like superficial attention. But there's also a feeling of desperation creeping in. I'm sharing the destiny of many who feel their best days are behind them. Our prime's in the rearview mirror and baby, we're stepping on it like there's a prize waiting in the end. Our engines run on grief. I handle it with my usual bullshit hardass routine, though I'm really not that guy. When I say prime, I don't mean age. I mean that time when life was right. What happens when you place your own balance as the foundation for a new era of "life feeling right“? Will I just turn into a pompous ass? Am I one already? "Me“, fucking "me“ all the time! The only way of life feeling right I can see is my work becoming significant. And to figure out what the fuck "significant“ means I need a kick in the ass. So I'm taking whatever money I have to hit the coast tomorrow, visit some people, still within in my comfort zone. Then visit some other people, and then later yet some other people. It could be all very normal and tame, but I honestly hope it won't be. I'll do my best to enable the situational shifts into weird and unknown territories.
And I intend to write a Summer report about it
Keep up to date with life in the world of Zarkoff through Facebook and Soundcloud. Photos courtesy of Sven Soric.
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