Emerging in the scene in 1994, Anton Kubikov started cultivating his perspective on electronic music when club culture started it's development in Moscow. Kubikoov's name begun to take recognition as a popular figure in the city. Starting from his initial radio show, called "Station", this spot-light figure had over 50 releases on labels such as Kompakt, Force Tracks, Trapez, Salo, Traum and Freizeitglauben. Flash forward to 2005, when Anton started his own label - Pro-tez Recods - Kubikov has been working on developing a lifestyle engrossed by music production and presentation.
We had the opportunity to connect with the influential Moscow dub-techno veteran to reflect on the emerging and existing lifestyle of the international electronic music movement.
It's a pleasure to have you on board with our mission to dissect and understand electronic music in it's most diverse atmosphere. To start, why don't you give us a brief look into how you view Moscow's underground scene? This could (but is not limited to) include various aspects such as venues, promoters, emerging artists and legislation for independent labels and platforms.
The first independent clubs and promo groups began to emerge in Moscow early in the 90s, along with musicians who started to experiment with electronic music - and this story deserves a dedicated book. But I just want to say briefly that over the years this culture has changed and put itself on the commercial track. People earn money on pop music, and so they do own underground music as well. Moscow became home for dozens of interesting musicians from all over Russia, and they are well known in the world. Of course I have to mention the brand of "Arma" here, they host big parties and festivals. Along that there is a lot of small venues like "Shanti" or "Rodnya" which support new and interesting stuff. And surely there is still - after 18 years - "Propaganda", where all the big names have played already and where many new russian stars had started. During the recent years dozens of interesting independent labels have come up, and they release interesting artists. But most known are certainly Arma, Highway Records, Electrosoul System, Pro-Tez, Nerv Music, Fox Tracks, Bodyparts, GOST, and Mayak.
I see that you've been booked to play in almost every country around the globe… Do you feel any constant similarity between all of the scenes you've encountered? What underground movement in what city moved you the most?
It gets interesting all over the place, with a local touch here and there. All of Eastern Europe is on the forefront now. I haven't been to Kiev for about a year now but people say it gets more and more interesting, or at least I get this impression from reading the press.
What does the term "underground" mean to you? Is it possible to preserve this term in electronic music, or will we one day lose our grasp on the culture?
I think now you can switch the words "underground" and "trendy". It lost it's original meaning it had during the 80s and the 90s. I think that the kind of music we're talking about [underground] in all sub-genres (and sub-genres held a circle, and maybe not even one circle) now, just like techno, means something different than just a trend in music or a certain level of availability.
Do you have any type of philosophy behind your sound/image/productions?
To be honest in the past there was a certain philosophy about the SCSI-9 project; it was about melodies with some Russian touch and about a clean, pristine sound. Now we rethink it all, we are looking for a different vibe and this will be a different project in times to come.
How do you view the changes in production value in the past 20 years in regards to music being released and events being hosted? With new soft and hardwares coming into play, have you found that any change in the simplicity/difficulty in production? What piece of equipment or program has made the biggest impact on your career and why?
Over the last 15 years there was a philosophy of emulating analog sounds, many producers could not afford those expensive vintage synths. Now with the new boom of modulars this started to change back, although many modules also have digital guts under the hood. Many artists now try to move away from laptops when producing and playing live. As for me, I still stick to Logic as my main producing environment and also to Reaktor, an indispensable tool for me.
It's evident that you are a strong component of many different projects… What has been your ultimate drive to stay in the music industry?
For a long time now writing music remains a process of expressing my thoughts and emotions in sound. This is why, no matter how many projects there may be, producing music will be as necessary to me as oxygen or food, to the end of my days.
If you haven't already discovered Anton's sound, take a look below for a taste of Russia's dub-techno scene: