Interview for Soundicate magazine.

Malcolm D, Editor:

Roman Belousov is a Russian producer underestimated in France, which officiates under Novel 23 name. More popular abroad, one finds him on various artists compilations and 12" from labels as Merck, Toytronic, Surgery or Shaped Harmonics, and on "Melodies of Childhood for Advanced Imagination", magnificent album taken out two years ago on Pitchcadet and republished last year. More recently, the French label Bip-Hop advances Roman Belousov talent with three tracks on "Bip-Hop Generation v.3" compilation which illustrate perfectly universe of this artist. Novel 23 brings to Electro a romanticism touch at the same moment personal and universal. Cheerful or melancholic, these melodies speak us, whisper us to the ear urge to live intensely a music which overflows feelings. The very pleasant Novel spoke to us about (its) music, about this history of love for its passion. At the same opportunity, he sends you a good kiss from Russia.

MD - Who≠s Novel 23 and where do you come from ?
N23 - My name is Roman, and I'm 27 year old. I was born in the small town called Fryazino no far from Moscow. At present I live in Moscow - the capital of Russia.

MD - Which reasons whose brought you to make music ?
N23 - The main reason of it is own self-expression, when a man wants to splash out emotions about different sides of his life to some form of art. Music is the most comprehensible form of art for me, and many of my emotions find place in it.

MD - What are musical styles and artists who influenced, inspired you in your artist work ?
N23 - When I was studying at school, I just wanted to find a music, which I liked to listen to. It wasn't easy, as my fellow pupil preferred to listen Heavy Metal and Hard Rock. That music did not touch me deeply. I had interest in Disco and Break Dance, that i could hear at school discotheques. I was really impressed by electronic music in 1987, when I heard Depeche Mode. There were electro and industrial, darkness and gladness in music, and of course just effective guys. DM have taught me to listen music, I've understood that senses and feelings can be reproduced by music.
Listening DM for long time, I thought that it isn't possible to reproduced feelings without words. But at the middle of 1990s I heard music by Cosmic Baby and Orbital, Aphex Twin and Autechre, Bochum Welt and Mu-Ziq, Cylob and D'Arcangelo. I've realized that everything can be reproduced by melody alone. At present many of new names like Gimmik, Plod, Mat 101, Arovane, Boulderdash, Phonem are my favorite artists.
But IDM/ELM/Braindance aren't unique music that are pleasant to my ears. I also listen many music of different styles like Industrial / Noise / EBM, Gothic / Synth Pop, Ambient, Neo Classic... and many other old names who work in these styles, and of course Depeche Mode :)

MD - Why do you use these old Russian synth vintages ? Have they a special sound with regard to the old classic synthes as Juno 106, Arp Odyssey or Memory Moog ?
N23 - I use old Russian synths because they just fell into my hands. These equipments are easily available here in Russia. All modern synthesizers by leader producers are available too of course, but I still haven't got enough money to buy some of them. On the other hand I like use minimum equipments with maximum ability, and Russian synths vintages let out interest sounds from time to time. When making music becomes an experiment - it's amazing.
Many Russian synthesizers of 80s have been made as copies of old classic machines by Roland, Korg, Arp, Moog, etc. For example: Electoronica EM-25 in my collection is like Roland Juno 106, Rythm-2 is like Korg MS-10, Opus is like Memory Moog, etc. But these Russian sythts haven't got sounds as his prototypes really. Also many Russian synths have been made for imitating real acoustic instruments as pianos, violins, trumpets. But these devices to cope with a task very bad, and musicians use them rarely. Hour of triumph of these equipment arrived later, when electronic musicians began to use them in their experiments. However such experiments took place much earlier, in Soviet Union. And the first steps in the construction of synthesizers was in 1950-60 years. Quite enough to remember the biggest synthesizer in the Universe called ANS and music by Eduard Artemiev for films "Stalker", "Solyaris" and other films by Andrey Tarkovsky. And the very first step in the electronic sound took place in Russia even much earlier in 1920-30 years, when the legendary Russian engineer Lev Termen made his device called Termenvox.
I think that Russian synthesizers are peculiar phenomenon, and as Russian musician I'm glad to use them. They are our history.

MD - On any of your productions like " Melodies of Childhood for Advanced Imagination " LP, we feel a touch of naivety and childish innocence, is it this emotion that you want to let show through ?
N23 - Yes, I just wanted to reproduce scraps of melodies that we all had heard in childhood. May be a listener have never heard such melodies in his own childhood, but if this music reminds him about childish days, it means I've achieved the desired effect. So it seems to me that I am still in my childhood somehow. But may be I'll become an adult one day and write much serious music. :)

MD - How do you imagine listener reaction when he listen to your tracks ?
N23 - His reaction seems to me to be very various. Somebody can listen to my music joyfully, although there are some people who find my music to be suicidal. Both of these reactions cause my smile, the good one at the first case, and the sad at the second case. Somebody can listen my music in a bedroom, falling into a reverie with closed eyes on bed or looking through the window. But some people could just push a "stop" button of his player with the words: "It is too tedious ...". It's normally reaction too. People are different.

MD - Are there feelings which you wish to make share ?
N23 - I think all feelings put to the music are already shared with these people who able to feel them. And main feeling that I put in my music is wish to life and to create.

MD - How could you describe your music ?
N23 - An electronic music with a slightly sad melodies for home listening.

MD - What are visual universes which inspire you when you create your tracks (science-fiction films, cartoons, children video games) ?
N23 - I don't play video games... And don't watch TV set because I work at TV. Therefore I find other visual objects that inspire me. For example it can be pictures of nature: forests, fields, rivers, lakes, etc ; various images of real or imaginary girls; and of course scenes from our life.

MD - What do you do for TV ?
N23 - I'm working as system administrator of computer network in the TV company. But I'm not fan of computers, they are just instruments for me. And computer networks are just communication facilities for human activity & intercourse. Internet is very helpful for us, isn't it ?

MD - You like to work melodies is there a reason to ?
N23 - Yes. Time goes by, music creation technologies are changing, rhythms get more and more sophisticated, the sound fashion changes too, but only melodies stay the same forever.

MD - And compose tracks only based on rhythmic ?
N23 - Not only. I've got several unreleased ambient tracks without any rhythms. Furthermore I played some tracks based on speech with melody patterns, without rhythms too.

MD - What are public feedback when you play in live-performance ?
N23 - The feedback has been specified by place of performance and listeners that have come to particular action. If it's a danceable club, than people try to dance. If it's a concert room or a gallery room, than people just listen to and watch video if it's present. Anyway, if they come with the perception of why they are here, the action usually comes off satisfactorily with applauses and warms words after the performance. Otherwise, feedback are imperceptible when audience consists of accidental people.

MD - You already performed somewhere else that in Russia ?
N23 - I've not yet. There is time for everything.

MD - In few words for you what are the major differences between your various productions?
N23 - I don't know. For example they have different duration.

MD - Which are your future projects for the end of this year ?
N23 - I planned a new album & EP by the end of this year. I haven't plans about live tours yet, but may be anything will be happen.

MD - How do you perceive the electronic scene in your country (labels, clubs, artists) ?
N23 - Electronic scene in Russia is present undoubtedly, but its activity isn't very noticeable. The situation is especially strange with the experimental electronic scene. Artists combine small units based on music styles. And unfortunately an experimental electronic music are played rarely in clubs here, and the crowd on this actions is outstanding event. A stupid dance pop music prevails in the clubs, and it's logically that experimental music listeners don't visit these clubs.
Several small electronic labels function here in Russia. Their releases circulations are quite small, about 300-500 copies. All labels have a problems with distribution, because Russian shops unwillingly sale this production. This music is absolutely non-profit-making, and doesn't bring them many money. Distribution to other countries has problems too, for the most part, with post & custom, that have Russian features.

MD - Which are the links that youĆve have with the rest of the world ?
N23 - Most of my world over links are realized via Internet and regular mail. I keep in touch with labels, distributors, musicians and fans.

MD - What do you do when you go out : you go to the parties, bars, night clubs) ?
N23 - No... I don't like bars, Russian night clubs and the most part of parties there. When I have free time, I ride to family country-house, and go to forest or go to fishing or something else. I like where there are silence and a few people. But unfortunately I haven't got enough free time, and such weekends are rarely for me.

MD - What is your prefered films ? Book, Cartoon ?
N23 - I watch various films: historical, fantastical, life story about human truck, children fairy tales. I watch many films that advised me by my friends. I like such sci-fi films as "Bladerunner", "Matrix", "The 13th floor" of course. I also find time for reading books. I do it on the way from home to job and back, mainly. At present time I prefer reading fantastic novels by Russian writers, especially their recently works, that are full of humor, philosophy, ideas (not sci-fi as a rule), and beauty of Russian language. By the way, in childhood my favorite writers was Jules Verne and Alexander Dumas.
Also I like cartoons from my childhood. Russian animated cartoon editors had made many beautiful cartoons. My favorite is "The secret of the third planet". This is a brilliant long play cartoon movie about spaceships captains, space pirates, strange animals of other planets and beautiful young girl Alisa who rescue planets from space pirates. The soundtrack for this movie has been made by assisting of Russian synthesizers. Really, the cartoon is worth to be a worship!

MD - Any comments or suggestions to finish ?
N23 - Thanks for the interview with good questions.