Germanic Russian outfit Borka & The Gang chat to Music is 4 Lovers about their part in Heideton’s 5th anniversary celebrations….
Hi Borka (& the Gang), thanks for taking time to talk to Music is 4 Lovers. So, lets start with the name, we’re guessing Borka is your name, so who are the gang?
Hi Music is 4 Lovers, thanks for the invitation. My real name is Boris and Borka is my nickname, many friends call me like that. “The Gang” are all great musicians, instrumentalists and vocalists who have supported me over the years. At the moment, still in studio and hopefully soon also in a live format. For e.g. my guitarist Marek F from Bremen, played the guitar for the track “Feel Good”, which was released back in th days on the label of Oliver Schories “der turnbeutel”. I have got a lot of great recordings from Marek this week and hope that we will play together in a live context. Currently my focus is more in the jazz house and breakbeat area and I will add some keyboard performance to my dj sets. Next week is the Premiere at Broncos. It is a cool bar in Hannover, where we will do a stream with Joe Metzenmacher and the guys from OPEN MIND.
You are from Russia, what can you tell us about where you live and what music scene is like there?
I was born and raised in Moscow. In the mid-90s I came very intensively in contact with electronic music. It was an incredible time. Electronic music came to Russia after the Perestroika. In 1995 we got STATION 106,8 FM, a radio station which played 24/7 only electronic music, with super cool shows in all types of electronic music genres, many live DJ sets and current parties were supported. That was incredible inspiration for many young people at that time. In early 2000, I moved to Germany to the Lüneburger Heide Region and since then I live here. It’s about the middle between Hannover, Hamburg and Bremen. Each of these cities has his own electronic scene, the biggest of course is in Hamburg, with a lot of clubs, labels and artists.
Joe Metzenmacher, myself and later Mark Trzeziak have been organizing events in the Heidekreis region for about 6 years. The parties had a very special family vibe and a grateful appreciative audience that developed into a small local scene. We had some artists like Timo Maas, Arian 911 and many more there, that regularly came to Walsrode. Biggest highlight was our Houseboat event. Nearly 200 people on a boat, in the middle of unbelievable nature with unforgettable sunsets and a very strong “we” feeling. I hope that the pandemic is soon over and our journey continues.
You have new music coming out on Heideton’s 5 year anniversary EPs, what can you tell us about the label and the songs that feature?
Yes exactly. Joe Metzenmacher and I founded the label 5 years ago, later Mark Trzeziak joined us. In the meantime, we have a big team with great people, who shares our vision, so that we all create something with a unique character. Beside the “Heideton” sound, the label also stands for sustainability, environmental awareness and beautiful nature. I’m really happy to be part of the family and I’m excited to see what still come.
About the tracks: We celebrate our 5th anniversary. This will be released in digital format as a 3 x 3 tracks EP, with artists like Luciano, Claudio Ricci, Emanuel Satie, Florian Hollerith, Joe Metzenmacher and myself. 3 Parts of wonderful music. On the first Part is a beautiful, timeless remix of the legendary Luciano. The Original was released on Cocoon Recordings in 2020. I love Luciano’s interpretation. He took the main melody, accented it with very organic and lively acoustical elements. This sounds like a super warm and timeless character.
On Part 2 is “Closer is not Enough”, which is also a collaboration with Joe Metzenmacher. This one presents our common sound and stands for cool analog Detroit beats, nice basslines, warm pads and extraordinary touching synth melodies. Beautifully minimalistic, deep and dirty – that’s how I like it!
“Salt Water” is a solo track of mine, which I produced exclusive for this release. A present taste of the sea water on the skin, sunset vibe on a beach. Maybe somewhere on a small party in Ibiza or a romantic moment for two in the Baltic Sea (haha). I used a lot of deep elements, percussive elements and hands in the air feeling with a piano part in the break. With “Paradise Bird”, I worked a bit more with extraordinary synth melodies. The main melody reminds me far away from bird singing, which I have recorded myself in my forest.
How do you go about the writing and recording process? Do you wait from your own studio and do you have any favourite pieces of kit?
I work mostly from home, there I have my studio setup that I have built up over the past years. I usually take a very classy approach and start with beat programming and go over to further arrangement. But it depends on the flow, vibe and style. Sometimes there is only a kick as a metronome and comes the main theme. But I have to say that 80% of the melodies, chords, etc. I play directly and record, mostly without midi post processing. I build the main theme together and jam on one of my synths to find the right sound and melody, as soon as I feel that’s the right moment I press the record button in my second DAW, which I only use for audio recordings. This has become my TO GO workflow.
Of course, sometimes I make midi tracks, so I can record different synthesizer modulations on the fly. For the Borka & The Gang focus technically in jazz and funk house area, Clavia Nord Electro is my absolute favorite device. I love Rhodes and Hammond sounds there. My favorite synths are Prophet 12, which I use at home. It sounds super fat and has really good possibilities to create very strong synth sounds. My second favorite synth is Prophet X, I use it in our common Heideton studio, where we work on our common tracks.
Please tell us a bit about your musical journey to date? We believe you first released music on Oliver Koletzki’s label back in 2013?
Around 1997 I started to produce electronic music. I was already a total fan of electronic sounds in Moscow and my biggest dream was to produce my own tracks. At that time, I didn’t know how to do it. I always saw people playing synthesizers in video clips and thought, if I have one, then I will be able to do it (haha). My father started selling Yamaha keyboards and I got one of them. From that point on I started producing. These keyboards had simple 8 track sequencers where you could record any sound you wanted. So, I recorded several cassettes full of different tracks until I got my first PC in 1999 and started working with DAW. Since then I produced in different genres with different projects.
Today the focus is more in House and Breakbeat area, back in the days it was also Drum N Bass and Hip Hop. My first release was actually on Oliver Koletzki’s “Light My Fire”. “Try” was in a time of 90’s Garage House renaissance, which inspired me to produce in that genre. After that, I had 3 EP’s on old label of Oliver Schories “der Turnbeutel”, there I was resident artist. Later came some releases on trndmsk, Gartenhaus, Recess and many others. In 2016 Joe and I founded Heideton and from then I mainly release my house tracks there. Last year, we had our debut on Cocoon Recordings with “Magic Talk” and we did a remix for Timo Maas, which was released on Claudio Ricci’s label “Stripped Down”. Besides Borka & The Gang, I have a Breakbeat Project: BORKA FM – there I released countless music on many different labels and a project for deep house and melodic techno, called mr.loi, where I remixed Oliver Schories and Miyagi, together with ANOUKA.
What can you tell us about your interests away from music production?
Besides music I work as a physiotherapist and personal trainer. I regularly educate myself in these areas and I am very interested in everything that has to do with the human body, mind and soul. Last year, I spent a week on Vipassana and next month I will do a neurological training. I am also very enthusiastic about nature, last year I planted a lot in my own garden and in the lockdown time I went to the forest for mushroom picking almost every weekend.
What do you have planned for the year ahead?
Musically actually 3 things. Producing a lot of new music, alone but also as collaborations with other producers and musicians. Releases on Heideton, also on other labels and continue to work on my live project. I hope that we will finally conquer this pandemic together and we will all be able to enjoy good music together soon. Thanks again for the invitation! Much love! Borka (& The gang)
Heideton Records’ second edition to their three part anniversary series with tracks from Borka & The Gang drops on 23rd April 2021.