I am feeling electric today! I am hoping to share some Tales of Tenderness with Pavel from Copy Cat Project. Pavel is the creator of the brilliant version of h20, part of the We Love You (Copy Cat Project Mix EP).
Pavel has also released several albums under the Copy Cat Project name (you can find the Best Of Copy Cat Project here) although he has yet to write a song about Naugae. This is something we hope he does soon of course.
Let’s meet Pavel who is lounging with me here on some resplendent naugahyde cushions (kindly shed for me by my fellow Naugae).
Nauga: Welcome to Nauga News, Pavel, I haven’t seen you since Moscow so I feel very happy to see you again.
PP: Hello, Nauga, nice to see you! Your crazy space dance in Solyanka club is unforgettable (smiles).
Nauga: Why thank you! So, while filming the video to accompany h20, I listened to your song over and over and I still love it. I am feeling very pleased you are here today to tell us about your work particularly with The Gentle People.
PP: Yes, it was a great pleasure for me to work with Gentles. They are one of my favourite bands ever and their music helped me to find my own musical direction and approach. So, I was very excited when they asked me to collaborate.
Nauga: Ah, those connecting space vibes are most harmonious. Now, my fellow Naugae and I would like to know more about how you got into music in the first place and a little about your influences (apart from the songs from my home planet Naugalyne).
PP: I started as a drummer in a school band and we played a sort of New Wave using live instruments. Later, during my university years, I was fascinated by electronic sound and the ability to create unreal soundscapes, even your own musical universe, using synthesizers. That passion for electronic sounds changed my life, and music has been my main occupation since then. When I started Copy Cat Project my main influences were soviet sci-fi movies and cartoons, as well as retro-futuristic art. Musically I was into Matthew Herbert’s deep house, early AIR, Bent, Royksopp and The Gentle People of course! Thanks to The Gentle People my own music became as light and easy as it is now.
Nauga: An interesting journey already then… When we Naugae travel away from Naugalyne, we always play Messages from We Love You (Copy Cat Project Mix EP). How did you end up getting involved with The Gentle People and doing these specific songs?
PP: I had the pleasure of meeting Mr Dougee Dimensional DJing at Gorky Park in Moscow one day. I presented him with a CD of my stuff, he loved the music and asked me to co-produce some songs for The Gentle People. I gladly agreed.
When working on the arrangements I tried to mix the Gentle atmosphere with an electro pop flavour. Though the new songs sound a bit different from classic Gentle People, I hope the result is quite good!! Floating in The Gentle People’s galaxy was a fantastic experience for me! Dougee Dimensional also did some nice vocals for Copy Cat Project.
Nauga: Groove is in the park in this instance (smiles). So, in addition to creating this version of h20, you also produced the sound effects for the video, which featured me, as you know. I particularly like the mix of sounds in the laboratory scene. Are sound effects something you do regularly or something you would like to get into?
PP: I worked for a TV production company for 7 years where my job was to find or sometimes to create the original pieces of music or sound effects to support the video for different TV programmes. But I had never done a sound design for a music video before so it was a kind of new, interesting experience. I would like to do something like this in the future. By the way you can hear the sounds of ancient soviet synth Polyvox in that lab episode!
Nauga: Ah – I did wonder what that was. You’ve also produced a lot of your own music and have released several albums including one called Dream Drops. I’m always making up dreamy little songs to sing as I fly round the galaxy myself. What inspires you to write songs and what kind of process do you follow?
PP: Beauty of all kinds is the main inspiration for me, I suppose, and Space – Space of course (smiles). The relationship between humans and Space, the realisation of the unity of everything in the universe inspires me a lot!
For me the images, some visuals and the story behind the music are very important. When you listen to the music you might close your eyes and see some images or imagine whatever you like, if there are no images, no story, it’s not worth listening to. As for the process, hmm… usually I just hear some melodies in my head and then I try to remember them and reproduce them using my synthesizers. Where the melodies come from? From Space of course (laughs).
Nauga: You’ve written lots of songs and some of them mention Robots and Cats. Which of your songs are your most favourite and which ones do your fans like most? Also, do you think you would write one that has Naugae in it?
Naugae’s Intergalactic Hymn is the first thing I’ll do when I’ll get back home (big smile) I promise. I hope you will like it (smiles).
Nauga: Thank you! I know Honeymink likes Fragile Boys best and she is indeed an alien. Thinking now about technology, you know my flying space bubble is retro-hi-tech. What kind of technology and equipment do you use when creating and playing your music live?
PP: I’ve got a lot of Russian retro synths: Alisa, Aelita, Maestro, Polyvox, Estradin + modern synths: Nord Modular G2, Waldorf Blofeld, TC Electronic and Korg effect processors + laptops and all kinds of modern software. We also use a handmade theremin during the live shows it produces some weird sounds from another world.
Sometimes we invite robot-dancers to support the show (smiles) You can see an excerpt from a live Copy Cat Project show here.
Nauga: A fabulous selection! On Naugalyne, we love to lie round eating cheese. When you aren’t making music, what other things do you get up to?
PP: I love visiting some wild places: forests, mountains… When you live in a big city and there’s no sea near, only small fragments of the sky are available for your eyes – the houses and the buildings prevent you from panoramic sight and that’s sad. Magnificent views and an open cyclorama give man so much power. So visiting mountains fascinates me a lot (smiles). And when I have free time and I am at home, I love to play with my mechanical toy robots. I’m a retro robot fan! (I hope it will be taken into consideration when the machines finally conquer people, ha-ha) (laughs).
Nauga: I am sure the robots will consider your request especially given the tribute dancers you have (smiles). I have been visiting some wild places recently too. I went to a fabulous chill out party in the ice fields of Titan, I’m now thinking of a brief holiday on Mars. I have heard the salt-water cocktails are amazing and I want to sun myself a little. What are your plans musically and in any other projects you are working on?
PP: I’m planning to collaborate with 3D Mapping makers. I think 3D Mapping during Copy Cat Project show will be great. I also want to produce some music to support cool 3D Mapping performance. Plus, I’m dreaming of writing the soundtrack for sci-fi animation, hoping to realize it one day, oh and the song about Naugae of course!
Nauga: Good! Oh there’s a message from Naugalyne coming through. I think it’s time for us to finish lounging here. Before we fly away, do you have a message for the Gentle friends, fans and family?
PP: Let the tenderness rule the world! Let your bubbles be the fastest and the most comfortable in the universe. Stay gentle! I love you all (big smile).
Nauga: Thank you so much chatting today, Pavel. Until we dance together again, I wish you much Secret Space Love.
PP: Thank you, Nauga. You’re such a cutie! Adieu!