Earlier this year we interviewed Bes. A founding member of Gydra and the man cited as one of the earliest drum & bass protagonists in Russia, he explained about the country’s ‘golden age’ which spanned from the mid/late 2000s before taking a dip in the early 2010s.
During this halcyon era, Russia’s domestic D&B scene exploded and created its own eco-system, community (largely through the Russian language Neurpunk podcasts) and massive legends. Following the country’s breakthrough pioneers such as Bes, Dissident, Ruffen, Subwave, Sunchase, Electrosoul System, Sta & Paul B came a new generation of producers; Davip, Mr Frenkie, Engage, Utopia, Paperclip, Place 2b and Paimon (who went on to form Teddy Killerz) and, perhaps the most influential of all artists to make noises around this turbo-charged time, Receptor.
A prominent artist in the movement, who was once described by Greg Teddy Killer as ‘Russia’s answer to Spor’, Receptor turned heads from his very first release: a V/A 12” on Mainframe with an early Camo & Krooked track on the A. He followed it up with a 12” on Chris Renegade’s Breed 12 Inches (another V/A, it featured an early cut by Billain) then proceeded to release on the likes of John B’s Beta, Forbidden Society and Blackout and remix the Noisia’s Alpha Centauri and Black Sun Empire’s Dawn Of A Dark Day.
With such a strong international footprint, you’d be forgiven in assuming his DJ schedule flexed globally too. But an acute fear of flying has caused Receptor (real name Dmitriy) to remain largely domestic and pursue other lines of musical work to subsidise his bangers. Having found it in the TV, commercial and video scoring world, along with substantial Russian pop and rock production roles, he’s now able to invest more time in creating bangers again… And he’s doing it differently. As hinted by his 2016 Mainframe release Crossover where he smelted a deeper, steppy minimal sound with shades of metal and neuro, his latest release shows even more diversity, depth and fusion.
Coming our way on May 31 via Neuropunk, the EP features collaborations with Gydra, Pat Fulgoni and Messy MC and once again shows Dmitriy at his boldest and broadest. Here’s how it came to be… And what follows next.
Take us back to the Russian golden age….
It was an exciting time for the music and was an exciting time for me. I don’t think I did much for the movement personally, I just made music that I was inspired to make. I was very grateful for the support I had from people and I had many kind words written to me during the time but I didn’t think about what I was doing or if it was important.
It kicked off with a very early release for you didn’t it? Rhyno on Breed 12 Inches became a bit of an anthem.
It was an interesting tune and yes it did blow up in a way that I never imagined. But, for me, I felt it was overrated.
No way. Do you not like it, looking back?
No I do. I love all of my tunes, they’re like my children. I put much effort into them. But at the same time I never thought the tune was as good as people were telling me. I always think I can do better.
What are your memories of it being signed to a UK label?
I remember it was all organised over AIM. I was just like ‘okay’. I didn’t pay too much attention. I didn’t understand what it meant to sign a tune to a UK label. I was 18, I didn’t take it very seriously, it was more like a game. Like I wasn’t looking at things like a career or anything and to be honest I’d never heard of Breed 12 Inches when Chris Renegade hit me up. It was a new label, I think it was second release or something.
What UK labels were you following?
The usual ones – Ram and Hospital were my main ambitions to release on. But Lifted was the main one, which was also run by Chris Renegade. That was special. I loved their podcasts and was very inspired. Spor was a huge inspiration for all of us. Everyone was aiming for that sound and level of production.
Greg from Teddy Killerz describes you as the Russian version of Spor! Many of your early releases came on UK and European labels; what are your early memories of touring outside of Russian speaking territories?
Only two years ago! I cannot fly so I had to refuse any offers of shows outside of anywhere I can get to by train in a reasonable amount of time. I went to Bratislava, actually to stay with Greg from Teddy Killerz. I stayed there for a month and I did a tour by train and bus; Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Austria, about 15 cities all over Europe. All of my shows have been domestic beside that; I travelled the whole of Russia by train. I once travelled from Rostov to Novosibirsk and that took five days. Can you imagine?
Yes it’s been a very interesting challenge in my career but I have a fear of flying and there’s not a lot I can do about that.
That’s how it is man. I’m interested how that’s affect your relationship with the wider drum & bass scene. A lot of it via the internet I guess?
Yes I have done lots of lots of business and made good friends on Skype and AIM but I have also made lots of friends from them coming to play here and I will meet them. Things like World Of Drum & Bass events have been an important point of contact for me to connect with international people of scene.
Of course. The scene comes to you! Let’s talk about the Neuropunk EP; there’s a lot of variety on there which kinda follows on from the Crossover release on Mainframe a few years ago.
I’m always experimenting and looking for fresh ideas and sounds. I like doing hybrids between genres. For example I’m going to finish a tune which is a mix of psy trance, D&B and maybe EDM.
I’m working on it right now. I’m always looking for different ideas. I’ve experimented with Russian folk for example. It was quite surprising that people liked it.
I think people appreciate or gravitate to original ideas and sounds. Stuff that’s not forced but has come naturally whether that’s a peaktime techy banger or Russian folk drum & bass!
Yes I agree with you. It’s hard to know if it’s original or has come naturally when you are working on it for so long though. It’s a challenge.
What’s the Russian scene like at the moment?
There are many pluses and minuses at the same time. Comparing it with eastern Europe, countries such as Austria and Czech Republic and places like that, I think we have less ravers into drum & bass as we once did. I don’t think we’re as organised and have as many parties any more. It’s also become a lot more expensive to bring artists over here. So we don’t have such a vibrant party scene. But in terms of artists there are many talented producers. Guys like Mr Frenkie and Gydra, Teddy Killerz and Magnetude are all representing the Russian sound and pushing it around the world. This is very exciting to see and be part of in my own way where I can.
What else is coming?
It’s a big secret! Ha. I’m joking. I have my new EP on Neuropunk then an EP on Ignescent Recordings which is also Russian label I’ve worked with before. I have collaborations with Teddy Killerz and Magnetude and have been working with Pat Fulgoni since we made Find You on this new EP. I also have three solo tunes ready. I hope to finish more. It’s a problem for me to finish things – like I think it is for many producers
Is that why we haven’t had so many releases from you in recent years?
I’ve been finding my sound again. For a while nothing was inspiring me to make drum & bass. I’ve been working on pop production and many other things but I’ve become re-inspired and feel connected with the music again.
What other projects?
Many others. Commercial things for advertisement, productions for singers, video ads. All kinds of things. I have moved to Moscow and needed to develop this side of my output in order to make a living. It’s been going well and as time goes by it has helped me to create more time for making drum & bass again. If I can’t fly or tour I need to have this other stream of income. I enjoy it.
The two opposite worlds can often complement each other
Yes it is and it’s why you can hear different elements and fusions in the new music I am releasing. It’s been great exposure to work in pop, rock, ambient. I use all of those skills in everything I make. I’m always learning and I’m very inspired in both worlds right now.
NRPNK002 Receptor vs. Gydra is out May 31