Hi Jana. First of all I'd like to ask you about the meaning of your monicker Darkrad, the reason why you have chosen it and the concept behind it.
I was trying to find a word, which will fit my ideas and thoughts at the beginning of the way. I wanted to use the word “dark”, as it also figures in my DJ nickname JanaDark. Even if this word is sort of “mainstream” in the dark scene I never felt caring too much about such things. At that time the strong symbol bothering me was the image of the rotating blades of a modern windmill. Creating power out of power started capturing my imagination. I somehow spontaneously came to the word “Darkrad” using the analogy with the word “Windrad” (“windmill” in German). I imagined some cruel blades cutting the sky, blades no longer of the standard machine, but something from beyond the surrounding reality, at the paranormal sub-levels, where they pick up the hidden energies and transform them into a new power. Spirituality, non-physical entities and energy exchange in the world, nature and humans - are the topics of my major interest. So, on this basis I started building up my “Darkrad” story. Later on I imagined myself as this power transformer, a creature involved in the energetic flows between my inner world and the audience.
Only after a while I noticed that the word “Darkrad” is actually a palindrome, which was a nice coincidence.
It’s quite rare to meet a woman which runs an industrial act, at the moment we only can think of your label-mate Halgrath. How did you decide to start your musical project and why have you chosen to follow the path of dark ambient and industrial sounds?
I decided to start music quite naturally. At first I was DJing, later I realized it was simply not enough for me. I’ve got much more to say than I could do with playing music from the others. I was absolutely confident that starting my own project is the right thing ever and I never doubted it. I simply followed my moods interests in music at that time, they slightly varied through time, and so did my music, however I always kept the track of something dark, evil and mysterious.
The title of your album is “Abnormal Love”. What is your definition of “love”? And why love is abnormal in the title, what’s the concept behind it?
I recorded the track called “Abnormal love”, which at that time was inspired by things happening in my own life. I liked the idea of screaming out the painful words. Kill me, and love me. Track me, hunt me… I felt how my body is being torn by the perverted feelings and realities. When the video had been filmed, I raised my hands towards the snowy horizons of the endless fields. The sharp wind was cutting through my face. These symbols of nature were inspiring me and connected with my inner consciousness. I’m very sensitive to nature and what signs it gives me. I felt how my feelings were communicating with the world. The words “abnormal love” were immediately in my head, as some sort of perversion or distortion of “healthy” feelings, some inner disorder and disbalance. Something screaming from inside, painful but at the same time being sweet pain, giving inspiration, taking to the mysteries and labyrinths of own dark sub-consciousness, where the way out is only seeming.
Which are your musical influences? We know you are formerly a DJ, so we believe your musical background is quite vast…
My interests developed from pop music of the 80s and 90s, new wave, synth/electropop, classical EBM and industrial, rhythmic noise, power electronics, different experimental, dark ambient… I didn’t miss techno and electro sounds as well. All those things I played as a DJ at various events. And I find it quite natural, as my background is quite diverse and I didn’t want to stop on a particular genre. However, I’m always more attracted to “dark” music. Though I find some pop songs can also be extremely dark…well, metaphysically. I often listen to pop music, I love the 80s-90s sounds and some trashy hits from the past. Classical instrumental music as well as some religious attracts me as well. Overall, music is only a part of the influences which can inspire me on my own creativity.
What kind of atmospheres and visions you intend to recall with the songs of “Abnormal Love”?
All my creativity is reflecting my personal feelings, emotions, events from my life… In a way it’s sacred and I think I don’t want to build up a complicated concept out of it. I can say that my concept – is to tell quite simple things, operating with straightforward symbols. I talk about love, emotions, feelings, fear, pain, passion, addictions, perversions… and I’m sure it’s so understandable, as any of us knows what many of those feelings are and can recall similar emotions. My childhood serves as strong source of inspiration, where I find opened undisguised feelings. I’m not afraid to feel intensively and this is what I show on stage too. I’m happy when the audience is feeling together with me.
Your album was published by the greatest dark ambient label. How did you get in touch with Cold Meat Industry and Roger Karmanik? Is it exciting to collaborate with this label?
I know Roger for quite some time now. We met in Moscow when he was playing a show there. We played together several times later on, he joined Darkrad on stage and I joined Brighter Death Now. It was a great experience and also lots of fun. We share similar visions and concerns about music and creativity; and we are very good friends. Personally, I wish the label would have more activity in the future, but Roger surely knows the best.
You surely know that a cult album in the history of CMI was Aghast’s only album back in the 90s, an album made by two women which actually opened some doors and broke barriers for a female presence in this genre… Does that album mean anything special to you too? And what’s your point of view on the nowadays presence of women in the dark ambient & industrial scene?
I’ve discovered this release, as well as the most of CMI older releases after I started my own music experiences, as I’m coming from a younger generation and I judge the states of music at that time from a different, in a way, outsider perspective. I like the atmospheres of this release, something recalls with my own ideas. Overall, it’s evil, spiritual and paranormal and I feel the same too about my own creativity. There are not too many women making music in this scene, but still they exist. I feel however industrial music is extremely sexy and feminine. Personally, I’ve discovered a lot in myself as a woman, while being involved in the industrial music and being creative in it. I find that presence of a woman is evoking completely new reality and shifts the music to a different unknown and surprising direction. What can be more intimidating than the essence of femininity?..
You are a multidisciplinary artist. Your interests include video, photos and painting. When and how did you start getting interested in painting and visual art in general? Can you tell us more about your activities as a DJ and video-performer?
I’ve started painting and drawing since I was a child, later on I finished two schools of fine arts. I constantly have flow of visuals in my head, combined with sounds. Preparing a video as an illustration to my music during my concert is of high importance for me and I devote much time for that.
I don’t do much DJing nowadays, after I started Darkrad I lost interest in DJing a bit. I used to play at tones of different events, all over Moscow, Russia and other countries. It was a wild carefree time full of adventures and discoveries; I remember it with a smile on my face and very good vibes. I made so many friends, who are my best friends for life.
Apart from all that, I was involved in theatrical activities for some years, when I played in amateur theatre with some experimental emphasis. This was an important part of my life and it could help me to discover lots of things in my personality. Being quite a shy person I general, I realized that stage gives me some hidden power that helps me to be freer. I’ve learnt lots of things, approaches, techniques used in classical as long as experimental theatre. Now I’m happy to tell, that I’ve created this multi-disciplinary project Darkrad, which is in fact an experimental theatre with one actress on stage and those in the audience.
What are the most important elements you concentrate upon when creating a painting or a video?
Sometimes it’s hard to select important things out of all this mess and chaos happening inside me. I write down ideas that I consider have a future. Later on I come back to them and sometimes they serve as a basis for a good start…
All my creative work is based on myself, my personality and my connection to the world, what I feel and what I want to share. All those tools to express myself, either music or visuals are the parts of one thing, they are always mixed together.
You are a member of the Tanzfront Project, can you explain to our readers what is this group and what are its activities?
Tanzfront Project is a promo group, which organizes industrial and noise events in Russia since 2006. We did plenty of parties and concerts, involving the famous acts mainly from Ant-Zen and Hands label. Now we are not that active as we used to be, also due to the fact that I moved to Germany three years ago and it simply became difficult to do something in Moscow. We are still doing Tanzfront events, but not that often as before, around 2-3 events per year.
You are famous also for your DJ-set base of industrial music. What would be your personal playlist based on Italian artists only?
1. Ain Soph “I-1 parte”
2. Sigillum S “Dharmaraja”
3. Tomografia Assiale Computerizzata “Fallout”
4. Tam Quam Tabula Rasa “Res Sacra Miser”
5. Bad Sector “Decode”
6. Ordo Equitum Solis “Reis Glorios”
7. Mushroom Patience “Vertigo”
8. Gerstein “Sucker”
9. Spiritual Front “Jesus died in Las Vegas”
10. Kirlian Camera “Schmerz”
Another playlist could be built up in a more “italo-disco” direction, but that’s another story :)
Thank you very much for your time and the answers. Last words at your disposal, also for future plans that involve you as an artist.
Thank you for the interview. It was a pleasure to get to know your webzine. I wish you all the best in your activities and long life!
I’m currently working on my next release, it develops into a more aggressive and gloomy mood. I plan to integrate more theatrical and installation approaches into my performance, as far as financial opportunities allow I have ideas to mix the music CD (vinyl or tape) with some exceptional artwork of mine…What it will be – it will remain a secret for a while. I move to the USA soon and I plan to give concerts in the USA and Canada in the near future. What comes next - I want surprises too :)
Photos: Holger Karas (exclusive)
На итальянском: http://www.darkroom-magazine.it/ita/104/Intervista.php?r=2782