A Conversation with Oleksiy Sakevych of Endless Melancholy
Endless Melancholy is the music project of Oleksiy Sakevych who resides in Kyiv , Ukraine. The project began in November of 2011 and Sakevych has been prolific since its beginning. Releasing albums on labels such as Preserved Sound, Dronarivm, among others, Sakevych produces beautiful compositions that flow and boarder on neo-classical movements. Recently, he has released an EP of outtake tracks as well as the gorgeous Fragments of Scattered Whispers. I talked with Sakevych about beginning his project, his new releases, and what’s coming up for him in 2019.
Hello Oleksiy. Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions.
I guess I would like to start off with having you give some background about your music to my readers. When did you start making music, what drives you to do so, and when did Endless Melancholy start?
Since my early years I’ve been a music addict. However, I never learned playing any musical instrument until I was seventeen, when I started self-studying the guitar. Endless Melancholy was born in 2011, when I got into modern classical music and minimal piano compositions. Later I expanded my sound to the mixture of piano and different electronic instruments. Being completely self-taught in everything, I perceive music as the way of expressing myself, which is the primary objective of the whole process.
What is your process when writing and recording music?
I don’t have any standard procedure or a specific workflow, when it comes to composing new pieces. Some ideas are being born in my head during the routine day; I always use a dictaphone to bring them home and try developing into something. Some appear during the actual playing and experimentation process.
Fragments of Scattered Whispers is an incredible piece of work. What was the process like in putting together these tracks and is there anything that drove you to compose this particular album?
“Fragments…” was quite a difficult album for me to complete. Some pieces (“Postcards”, “Washed Away By Slow Currents”) were recorded in 2016 for another record that never got finished. I decided to use them as an intro and outro for the new record, but then it appeared that they sounded too different from the rest of material. Newer tracks had the same issue too; ambient soundscapes didn’t fit well with the piano instrumentals. The whole thing was rather like a compilation of random tracks, but not an album. This was when I decided to use saturation and tape processing as the unifying elements. I also worked on making the album flow as one long track; some tracks endings are actually the beginning of the next ones. Having carefully processed the tracks through a couple of saturation plugins and then recorded to tape (with help of Krzysztof Sujata a.k.a. Valiska), I was finally happy with the result.
I like to ask artists about specific tracks on releases. Can you talk more specifically about writing and recording “In Transition from Anxiety to Acceptance” and “Amaranthine”?
First part I recorded for “In Transition from Anxiety to Acceptance” were those repeating delayed piano notes. Then I made the buildup by adding synth layers to create some intense atmosphere. This track is really not typical for Endless Melancholy. The title comes from the overall atmosphere of the track and some of my personal life experiences. “Amaranthine” was one of those tracks I created when simply experimenting with tone and depth of the sound, tweaking some knobs and trying to reach the perfect balance. Unlike “In Transition from Anxiety to Acceptance”, “Amaranthine” is rather typical Endless Melancholy track, talking about my works of the latest years. It has the same buildup and structure and recording techniques I used on many other tracks.
Your Winter Outtakes series is so incredibly beautiful. III is breathtaking and is one of my favorite releases of the year so far. Can you talk about how you approached this album and if it was different from Fragments?
Oh, it’s not an album at all… I consider it as an EP, maybe. For me album is something important, thoughtful and complete that takes a very special place in the discography. Talking about the Winter Outtakes series. As many musicians, when I record an album, I always have lots of leftover tracks that end up not being included in the final track list. So it already is a kind of a tradition for me to gather these unreleased drafts and demos together and put them out as outtakes collections. I think it’s a normal practice, because even though these tracks didn’t make it to any album’s trackmlist, some people still might enjoy them.
Again, I would like to ask about a few tracks from Winter Outtakes III. Can you talk about composing and recording IV and VI?
Honestly, I don’t remember much about these two… It’s been a couple years already since I recorded them. Obviously, it was the time when I purchased a couple of Ólafur Arnalds’ Spitfire Audio libraries and was enjoying them a lot, so these tracks were recorded using the sampled piano, strings and synths from these libraries only. VI is actually an instrumental version of a single, previously released in a collaboration with Matt Finney – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RHLrY9QVF7I
Do you have any artists you consider influences on your music? It could be musicians, visual artists, or writers.
I think it is normal to find inspiration in other artists’ work. My previous album “The Vacation” was fully inspired by Ray Bradbury’s story with the same title. Talking about musicians, currently I enjoy a lot the sound of Ian William Craig, Jefre Cantu-Ledesma, r beny. These guys produce some wonderful music.
What sort of equipment do you use? Do you use different equipment in the studio as opposed to when you play live?
The core of my setup is my Macbook. I also own a bunch of digital synthesizers, and guitar pedals as well, which I use both for my recordings and live sessions. Gear units that help me a lot are Strymon Big Sky reverb pedal, Korg Volca Keys synthesizer and, of course, Tascam Porta 02 multitrack recorder.
What does the rest of 2019 look like for Endless Melancholy?
Well, I’m having an interesting live show happening here in Kyiv on march, 3rd; it is going to be a show played in a complete darkness, which is going to be a new experience for me. Talking about live shows, it would be cool to play them more frequently in 2019. And of course, recording a new album is a goal.
Thanks so much for answering my questions.
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