Over the last couple of years the beat-making scene has exploded with diverse acts popping up from all over the globe. One of those areas is Russia. Not only that, Russia is doing a fine job of carving out their very own dynamic of sound within the genre and in particular on the outside boundaries of the genre. One such creative force that has been releasing quality Russian (and international) artists’ work is the label Ritmo Sportivo. I recently got the chance to interview Ilya Bodrov (aka Feyorz) who takes care of the label and was very kind to answer some questions for Netlabelism.
How did the idea of the label Ritmo Sportivo come about?
We started two years ago, very much like a mixtape enthusiasts community. Our main tenet was that you don’t need to be a DJ or producer to share your emotions through music, you just need to have love. Love for music.
At the beginning I just asked some of my friends (designers, photographers and an assorted collection of lazy bums) to build their own playlists, which I then I mixed. But one day I became acquainted with a wonderful man and perfect musician from the Pacific Ocean coast who called himself I-Tone. By that time he had already produced a lot of new music and I suggested him to put it under one cover and drop it on our tumblr blog. That was the birth of Ritmo Sportivo in the form that we exist in these days.
The label as a whole seems very sexy and elegant to me and the design of your website is very clean cut – who takes care of that side of the label, in advancing a certain ‘image’ to the listener?
Thanks a lot for the compliments, Alex. All of the design work is done by Atelier Futur (http://atelierfutur.com) – my own improvised design studio which consists of, well, me. For one of our latest releases (Sumeo “Birds”), I tried not to stick to just graphic design but also incorporated hand-made work in the design. It was an exciting experience so we plan to do more work in this direction in the future.
As you are based in Russia you obviously are keen to promote Russian music, how do you see the scene evolving over the next couple of years? And how do you see the scene being unique in beat-making compared with work coming from the USA or Europe?
I always emphasized that for me personally as well as for my friends-musicians who collaborate with the Ritmo Sportivo there are no territorial limitations (we are all from different cities and even countries) for the music and generally the only important thing, no matter what genre of music it happens to, is the inspiration that the music gives you. We are not going to obsess about promoting just Russian producers. Our upcoming release from Thallus is the perfect illustration of these words. At the moment we are negotiating with several talented producers from abroad, and I hope that very soon we will have the opportunity to represent their interests and their music all across the globe and become their native music platform.
About the Russian scene: it’s no secret that over the past few years our electronic & beats scene made significant progress. People finally know Russian producers by name and their new releases are placed on the same line with the most advanced and experimental musicians from Europe, USA and Asia. We no longer go unnoticed. The most pleasing thing about our scene, to me, is that our musicians do not just take other people’s ideas but bring their own. Each of them has his own distinct style. If you are not following what is happening now with electronic scene in Russia, it means you’re missing out on a lot of interesting and original releases and tracks.
Good question. I’m sure that, given current realities in the music industry, this is the best way for music labels to engage in dialogue with the audience. As a rule, if the project is initially conceived as a commercial one, this immediately imposes various limitations on the musician’s creative process: he should make sure that not only does the product coincide with the preference of the listeners, but also conforms to the high standard set by the label. Mentally, this is pretty rough. Also, when we publish a free release from a new artist, the audience will have an opportunity to assess the music and style of the musician without any pre-made framework, and later part of that audience will be more inclined to to support the label and the artist by purchasing the commercial release.
While it represents some difficulties for us, we are always ready to consider proposals.
What can you tell us about the upcoming Thallus release? I have seen the video which was a delight!
Thanks! To me, Thallus’ music is pure endless hypnosis. He’s one of those artists whose songs you can recognize without help from the track list. He has that unique style and musical perception. Not a long time ago, Thallus released two beautiful EPs for free, and now the time has come for a more ambitious project, which he will seek to implement together with us. The release will sport about 10 tracks. Coming soon.
Regarding the Thallus preview video, was the footage shot in Russia?
No, the video was shot in the United States.
Finally, what’s in store for the future of Ritmo Sportivo? Any big surprises?
Of course. Surprises are our specialty! In the next few days we will drop a long-player from Audiosynthes, our latest signing, for free. He is an incredibly talented young Russian artist who creates crazy disco & French house summer rhythms. Later, we’ll release a remix album for Cream Child’s Parasomnia with the participation of some of the most interesting producers from around the world, which will please all lovers of experimental electronic music. After this, definitely look forward to the new releases from German lo-fi beatsmith Thallus and Russian love & space beat explorer A.B.S.T.R.A. Videos and additional info for these releases are available on our website and Vimeo profile. Don’t miss it.
A huge thanks to Ilya and all at Ritmo Sportivo for their time and the great tunes! Below you can find the latest promo video for the upcoming A.B.S.T.R.A. release, which I’m sure is going to be incredible. Enjoy these smooth tunes!