Sergey Saburov has been building the Moscow-Beijing underground connection for several years now. Via the label he co-founded in 2004, Hyperboloid Records, Saburov’s toured China three times already, finding new cities to explore on each trip. He’s coming through Beijing again on Saturday 28 May at Dada, when he shares the DJ booth with Summer of Haze, a witchy, Tambov producer jumping across hashtag genres with a consistent disdain for the aggressive vibes of commercial club-trap ‘bangers’.
Saburov has put together a hot half-hour mix for Time Out, including a taste of Summer of Haze, tracks from Hyperboloid affiliates who’ve toured through before (Pixelord, 813), Russian-language cloud trap and other random samples from the Runet ghetto circa 2016.
Find the full track list below. But first, an interview with Saburov about fresh sounds from the Russian underground, a media-washed blank slate much like ours here in Beijing, likewise self-organizing in the trenches of the world wide web.
First can you introduce yourself and your label? What kind of music does Hyperboloid focus on? What kinds of events do you organise in Moscow?
Hi, I am Saburov, I run this Russian label called Hyperboloid Records with my longtime friends and incredibly talented artists Dmitry Garin and Pixelord. We focus on everything futuristic, electronic, a melting pot of genres, basically the true future of pop music in the making.
While we are not on tours we do some events in Moscow, sometimes small like our label fam gatherings, sometimes big, inviting our friends from other labels that we like. And of course we plan future tours, which takes a lot of time. More than touring itself, but it’s totally worth the effort.
This will be the third time you're coming through Beijing, right? How has your experience been here in the past? What are you looking forward to with this trip?
It's actually the fourth! Our friend Michael [Ohlsson] who runs Dada in Beijing and Shanghai – some of the best clubs in the world and that’s not an overstatement – has booked Pixelord to play Dada Shanghai and a venue in Nanjing in 2011. I kind of invited myself in all this, it seemed like an amazing opportunity to look into the Chinese club scene. Back then it was mostly expats in the clubs that we played. Since then we kept coming for more, totally in love with China! The scene gets much more attention from the rest of the world now and everybody wants to play China, you have to be crazy not to. We are looking forward to meet new friends, maybe collaborate with local artists, definitely catch up with many amazing people that we met during our last tours. What is great is that we keep adding cities to our tours. This year we are coming back to Chengdu and Chongqing, where we met Simon and Chenfu, they run great venues there and we can’t wait to go there again.
This time you're coming with Summer of Haze, whose sound on his latest album is described as ‘witch-house with no gothic dominance’. I read that there's a particular, rather bleak and nihilistic version of witch house popular in Russia. Are there a lot of producers making occult-themed or dark house music in Russia? Why is it so popular there?
Definitely looking forward to introduce Summer of Haze to the Chinese crowds in Shanghai, Beijing, Chengdu and Chongqing. He is really talented, very popular in Russia and I am happy that Hyperboloid Records can come over to China bringing great artists from Russia.
Witch house in Russia is more than just a music genre. They call it that but the artists who represent the scene are so much more than just that. The scene is very alive and varied, from dark wave to gabber, from cloud rap to grime, you name it. It’s not really about occultism anymore like it used to be. The darker-themed imagery is still relevant, but at huge, loud rave parties, where people are mostly happy, not depressed. I guess the leading team of the movement, W17chøu7, borrowed the aesthetics of witch house and made it something completely new. They keep re-inventing their events too, and attract thousands of kids in every big city in Russia. Some even tour the world. I am sure the world will hear more about them.
Summer of Haze will introduce a darker side of our Russian soul. Misery loves company, also no one’s really cared about kids in Russia before. They don’t have a lot of money, it was all shitty mainstream events with terrible EDM, that I always hated. So when W17chøu7 started the honest game, it was about passion in music and never about sponsorship or money. It was a home run. Also, yeah, the politics, economy, terrible Russian mass media and all that influenced a lot. We are happy to be friends with music enthusiasts who are open to invent new things and speak the modern kids’ language, pushing things forward.
Summer of Haze (photo by Ulyana Ryapolova)
You've made a mix for us featuring a range of styles, including trap, footwork, house, hip-hop… Can you introduce some of the artists and their relationship to you or Hyperboloid?
Yes, that was quite a challenge, to include as much music as possible. And the artists are all different, so I mixed bass with techno, ambient with chill-trap. I bet it sounds crazy, but it’s just a crazy taste of current Russian electronic music. I hope your readers will come for more, we all have so much to share. I included two tracks from Summer of Haze, who will obviously perform in Beijing and other cities with me, representing Hyperboloid Records. Then there’s 813, who actually has performed in China twice before. His sounds are very happy, big room in a good way. Love Cult will perform with us in Shanghai, they are coming to China for six months. I hope they will get a chance to perform more, they run the Full of Nothing label, played Boiler Room last year. Some would call their music techno, but they are not confined to just one genre and that’s what I really like about Love Cult.
Also there’s Pixelord, my friend and co-owner of Hyperboloid Records. He’s been to China three times already. Pharaoh is a crazy-popular rapper now, constantly on tour. Their community is the fastest growing one for post-internet kids, but there’s so much more to be said about them than just that. Of course, I have included some of our label artists, like Fisky. His debut on Hyperboloid is out on May 14. We even did a virtual reality video for his release, it suits his cyber club music perfectly.
Is there any style or genre of electronic music that's particularly popular right now among the producers that you work with?
Bass music in all forms is very influential. We call it futuristic electronic music and invite everybody with talent in. Cloud rap is very popular, but again it’s not just cloud rap as portrayed by the media. It’s a new thing in the making. The music is very interactive now that kids have the internet and they can listen to a lot of music at the same time and have all the tools to create from an early age. It’s not about specific genres, but aesthetics, lifestyle and internet communities making it big offline.
What are some new artists you've seen come out of Moscow or other parts of Russia that we should check out?
Definitely Fisky, I mentioned him before. A.Fruit is becoming one of the best bass producers in Russia, great production skills. Wwwings are great, I am sure the world will hear so much about them. I also love music labels that are more about music, rather than hype. Check out Fuselab label and artists like AL-90, Rad Machine, Computer Graphics. They keep it low profile, but actually release some of the best music around. Lapti is one of my favourite Russian artists, check out his LP on Gost Zvuk. Yung Russia and Dead Dynasty are making big waves in the Russian internet and IRL too. For something completely crazy and in Russian language, go for Beryoza Music with their take on mainstream Russian pop. Full of Nothing is good, their artists like Love Cult and Moa Pillar created some of the freshest sounds of 2015. And also check our sub-label #internetghetto, where we release tons of free music every week from up and coming producers. I can go on, but it's a good start to explore our growing electronic scene.
Saburov and Summer of Haze play Dada Shanghai on Friday 27 May and Dada Beijing on Saturday 28 May.
01. Summer Of Haze – 6 am – 12 pm
02. Gillepsy – My Little Selfie (El Ched Remix)
03. Raumskaya – Flat Nine
04. Moa Pillar – Humanity
05. Love Cult – Wonderland
06. AL-90 – Samoudovletvoris' Suka (Original Mix)
07. 813 – Dick Cash And Burger (Pixelord Remix)
08. Fisky – Activate
09. Wwwings – Afflication
10. Pharoah & Boulevard Depo – 5 Минут Назад (prod. by Saluki & Bryte)
11. Pixelord – Cyber Hug
12, A.Fruit – The Drummer
13. Cadeu – Bagpiper
14. Jan Amit – Sparks
15. Summer Of Haze – Getting High On You