The AltSounds File-O-Facts feature on: Alexander (Alexx) Kretov of Ummagma. Want to know more about this up and coming artist? Here you can find out loads of snappy facts about this new talent...
Name: Alexander (Alexx) Kretov – or Sasha if you know Russian
Star Sign: Virgo
Place of Birth: Kremenets, Ukraine (then the Soviet Union)
Now Based At: Split residential living between our studio/home in the country (Kremenets) and our apartment in the city (Ternopol) – both of those places are in western Ukraine. Shauna (the other half of Ummagma) is from Canada, with a really whacked story how she came to live here, but yes, we are living here together now).
Level of Education: Bachelors degree in teaching (as if I ever used it)
First Instrument Played: Piano and clarinet (in parallel)
Current Instrument: A lot of different ones, with guitar being prominent.
Last Gig Attended: It was on YouTube, to tell the truth, because I generally drink alone... haha
The Best Thing About Live Music Is: Someone once said “Music is considered incomplete until someone has heard it.” Performing live is that moment when you are ‘gifting’ this music to your listeners – when it is from your heart and it embodies your pure essence. It’s magic when someone opens up during a concert, like giving birth to something fantastic. On the other hand, performing must hold an honest place in your life or there’s really no point in you being there.
The Person I Would Most To Collaboration Is: Somebody who is experiencing amnesia, but still retains the ability to feel and the capacity to surprise me. You know, someone with a clean slate and an open mind.
Worst Thing To Happen To Music Is: That nowadays, basic home appliances are practically used for making (and mastering) music. Anybody and everybody considers themselves a musician (and the market is full of them).
Best Thing About The Current Music Industry: Well, it seems that homing pigeons have learned to fly pretty damn quickly via the Internet. The current situation has made things very flexible for musicians in terms of creating music and getting it out there. While previously you had to buy a ticket and fly to another country to collaborate with artists of your choice, now this is possible in the comfort of your own home studio thanks to the Internet. In terms of creating music, there is also flexibility, ranging from lo-fi demo-type productions to time-and-talent intensive processes to create a fuller sound comparable to more costly professional studios. All of this essentially means that musicians now have the option (and freedom) of placing greater emphasis on creating and recording than on performing should they so choose.
Turn On: Genuine love
Turn Off: Feeling like shit
Biggest Influence: Sunlight beating against your eyelids and sunglasses through which you can clearly see the shade and the guy following me with a black bird on his shoulder. Ha ha.
My Favourite Person On TV Right Now Is: There’s nobody there.
Childhood Hero: Tom Sawyer
When I Was Younger I Wanted To Be: I don’t remember back that far.
Last Album Bought: The last album download was “Sing” by Presents for Sally, if you don’t count the pre-order for Jane Woodman’s “Teenage Red”, which should be out on March 15 (can’t wait). The last vinyl I bought was Mogwai “BBC Sessions“ and, in terms of a physical CD, it was France jazz duo The Drops’ album “Falling From The Sky”. We saw them live at the Koktebel Jazz Festival shortly afterwards.
Last Song Listened To On MP3 Player: Davy Spillane “Caoineadh Cu Chulainn Uilleann Pipes” (I dare you to try pronounce that one)
The Music I'm Into Is: Any music that lifts my spirit up and makes my heart sing. Also simple yet complex traditional folk music.
Favourite Current Band: I don’t actually have a single favourite group.
My Favourite Drink Has To Be: I could say it’s vodka and, of course, you would believe me haha.
My Favourite Book Is: How could somebody have just one favourite book?
My Favourite Website Is: I don't have one I'd consider to be my favourite, though Gearslutz would likely come close. There’s a wide range of resources I use to obtain this or that information.
My Favourite Item Of Clothing Is: As a rule, it’s simple, high-quality and practical clothing. Linen shirts are my absolute favourite in summer.
My Favourite Shop Is: Any place where they sell excellent coffee beans.
The Best Boredom Buster Is: Work – life is boring without work or at least creating something.
The Best Film I Ever Saw Was: One that was in my mind thanks to books and music.
My Ultimate Snack Is: Sandwiches. Oh yeah, cigarettes and coffee.
The Worst Food Invented Is: In the part of the world where we live, there is a popular soup called “rasolnik”, which is made with kidneys. A kidney, for me, is the place where my piss comes from, though I can imagine myself eating black pudding. Basically the thought that my food has been murdered turns my stomach.
The First Thing I Do When I Wake Up Is: If I had a dream, I lie there reflecting on it a bit. If not, I just scratch my balls, walk to the kitchen and brew myself a coffee.
I Can't Leave The House Without: My shoes
I'm Well Known For: Being unpredictable
My Hobbies Are: The sea, the sea, the sea
I Have A Passion For: Nature, the sea, diving, traveling and obviously music
First Band Name: U M M A G M A
Tomorrow I Will: Begin anew, relatively speaking. I’ll also be one day older.
My Biggest Aspiration: It’s a secret.
I Think AltSounds is: A window into the worlds and sounds of many, and a sounding board for the voices of many other.