Interview with Sideflip

Day after tomorrow, on June 5th, a new album by the Sideflip project will be released on SUBWISE. Over the past year, the project has grown into a duo, and on this occasion, we interviewed Igor Kombarov, the frontman and creative inspirer of this team. We talked about 90s rave, piracy, and picnics.

Hello, Igor! Judging by your music, you seem to be very passionate about the atmosphere of the 90s, rave, and broken rhythms in the classical sense of the word. Is that true? And tell us, what music do you listen to in your daily life?

Hello! Yes, you are right. I grew up with electronic music from the 90s, which I still listen to today, reminiscing about my childhood while reinterpreting it for the present. At the moment, I listen to all kinds of music without leaning towards any specific style. My tastes vary from heavy metal to old-school hip-hop, and I have dozens of favorite artists in each genre. But my favorite style is undoubtedly Oldschool Hardcore and anything similar to it. Early The Prodigy and all those who made similar music at that time. Piano melodies, pitched female vocals, and broken beats sampled from 80s hip-hop compositions! Recently, I've been listening to my demo tracks from the upcoming album a lot to understand if they have everything they need.

Your project has recently become a duo. Did you simply take on a session musician, or does he have an equal role in the process of writing tracks? And what is it like for you to work as a team?

Since last summer, Vanya and I have been working almost as equals. Since he is proficient in music notation and piano playing in general, our music has transformed, and the melodies have become richer and more diverse! Before starting a new track, each of us explains what he wants to achieve in the end. Now, the melodic part primarily lies on him. I only complement or adjust it, while all the samples, beats, etc. are still my responsibility. Working as a team is a bit unusual at first! Every step has to be discussed with your partner, but there are advantages to it. You can discuss your musical ideas even at the embryonic stage. And if something is missing, it can be fixed during the writing process. Overall, the idea of making Sideflip a duo was the right decision. I felt a year ago that I wanted to change something in my creative work, diversify it without deviating from the main style. And what we eventually achieved, I think, turned out to be cool!

Give us a glimpse of your upcoming album. What can we expect? Will it be the familiar Sideflip sound, or will you break all the patterns together with your partner?

Well, it's not that we plan to break any patterns, but listeners will hear a couple of interesting experiments. Since my partner and I have a significant age difference, it couldn't help but affect the overall sound, as we grew up in different times and listened to different music. He contributed his part to the album, and I did mine. I think it turned out great; some of the album's compositions I would never have written alone in their current form. The foundation of the album remains the same 90s rave. Abundant piano parts and familiar samples from various rave compositions, seasoned with broken beats. Personally, I've never been this close to my favorite music style. Teaming up with Vanya allowed me to do that!

You must have some hobbies or interests. How do you spend your free time apart from music?

I would say music itself is my hobby. I don't try to make money from it; I do it for the soul. In my free time from work, I mostly hang out with friends and spend a lot of time outdoors. I love picnics and similar events.

Tell us a bit about the software you use in production. And in the "software-hardware" opposition, which side do you stand on?

Well, the software-hardware opposition is a touchy subject. I haven't worked with hardware enough to make a proper comparison. As for software, I still write everything in Propellerhead Reason and use various auxiliary programs for working with samples.

When I started getting into music production, I took my first steps in Fruity Loops; I can't even remember which version it was. Then I stumbled upon Reason by accident. I decided it suited me better, and I fully switched to it. Since then, all the releases I've ever made were also written using this program. In the future, I may explore other DAWs, but that's only in my plans for now.

What are your thoughts on music piracy? Do you consider it illegal, or perhaps, do you see it as normal in modern realities? After all, history abounds with cases where pirates literally made musicians famous. On the other hand, is it fair to use pirated music software and then sell the product made with cracked programs?

I'm neutral about piracy. On one hand, it's unfair from the listeners' perspective when they eagerly await releases from their idols and then simply download the entire album without spending a penny. But if we look at it differently, piracy has its positive side. After all, if it weren't for the pirates in the 90s with their countless music cassettes and CDs, how would I have become so engrossed in all the music I listened to on repeat? At that time, there was no way to find or officially buy good foreign music. Pirates effectively solved that problem! As for software, that's a bit more complicated. Let's start by saying that I, too, produce on pirated software, but I don't sell anything. So, it's relatively fair. But if you plan to make a living from your musical creations, then be ready to buy the tools you need for it. That's my opinion.

Finally, tell us about your plans for the future. Is the concept for the next album ready? Or should we expect something other than music?

In the immediate future, we plan to perform our new material and simultaneously think about the direction we want to take with our music. We will also work on tracks that didn't make it onto this album. As for the next album specifically, the idea at the moment is for it to be different from our last album. We also plan to experiment with various musical styles. As much as I love that rave sound, we need to keep moving forward!