Exclusive Interview: R^ST

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R^ST is a man on a mission. Following a brace of successful single releases on his burgeoning HAAI LIFE imprint already this year with ‘If You Wonder Who I Am’ and ‘Sinnerman’, the hugely talented Belgrade-based DJ, producer and label boss now looks to continue his prolific run of form into the second half of 2023, with the announcement of his latest original release and debut extended player, ‘Kilim Weave’ EP.

Out now via esteemed Macedonian imprint Café de Anatolia, the exquisite two-part package marks R^ST’s debut outing on the esteemed Turkish imprint. Up first is the ethereal title track ‘Kilim Weave’. This enchanting and complex composition weaves together diverse cultural influences, delivering a sonic experience that transcends conventional expectations. The track emerges as a tapestry of colours, fusing traditional elements with modern production techniques, creating an enthralling fusion of soundscapes. Drawing inspiration from the intricate patterns of kilim carpets and the vocals of the women that weave them, the track takes listeners on an immersive journey through time and space, unifying various musical threads to form an extraordinary masterpiece.

Hello Rastko! Welcome to We Own The Nite NYC and thanks for taking time out of your schedule to talk to us. How are you?

Thank you for the opportunity! I really appreciate the possibility of reaching your audience and possibly inspiring them to give my EP a listen. I feel I’m in a great place right now, thanks for asking!

Please can you introduce yourselves to our readers?

I’ve been obsessed with music for as long as I can remember, I’ve played guitar, played with synths and DJed in the late 90s. But for the large part of my life I was focused on school, career, family and activism and my expression through music was somehow left on the backburner for most of the time. Then during the pandemic I started DJing and producing music. Last year I decided to take it to the next level with hybrid live performances and music production became an integral part of that.

How would you best describe your sound for those that may not be familiar?

The thing which I love most about the music is how inclusive it can be, and how it can bring together people who may listen to quite different genres of electronic music but other genres too. In theory, if I can imagine people dancing to a track, that’s the track I want to make. In practice, I love to create lush sounds and strong musical elements glued to a beat.

Why electronic music? What is it about it that makes you tick?

I have met more people during electronic music gigs than I can remember. Electronic music creates a sense of togetherness, people enjoy it together, dance to it together, move with it together. There is something about the predictability of the beat that creates a sense of community among dances, more so than in any other genre. 

Who or what were your biggest musical inspirations growing up?

Everything, from Pink Floyd to Nirvana. But once I got exposed to Depeche Mode, Kraftwerk, Massive Attack, I started loving electronic music more and more. I don’t think I’ve grown up yet. My biggest inspiration right now is probably Maceo Plex, for the sheer width of directions he takes his music to.

How has 2023 been for you so far? Can you tell us about some projects you’ve been working on or involved with?

This year is all about experimentation. I decided to play with different subgenres – melodic techno, organic, deep and even some electro-pop and EDM. I released two singles before Kilim Weave. One is Sinnerman, an electronica variation on piano rolls in “the Sinnerman”, and “If You Wonder Who I Am”, which I treasure greatly because I made it at the same time when my good friend made a painting “Who am I”. I plan to release another album this year which plays in-between different sub-genres.

You’ve got a 2-track EP out now on Cafe de Anatolia. Can you talk to us about this?

Kilim Weave is an adventure into organic / deep house sounds. Both tracks on the EP are inspired by ethnic vibes. Kilim Weave came about after an exhibit at Silosi in Belgrade where I saw the largest collection of kilims from Pirot (these kilims are one of Serbian national treasures), and Ephelia is a blend of creole sounds on a modern melodic track bed – how I imagine a perfect lush party.

You’re clearly very accomplished both in the studio and behind the decks. Do you prefer one or the other? If so, why? 

I prefer the decks combined with samplers and other hybrid gear. I love the feedback I get from the audience. Sometimes the feedback is positive and it feeds me energy. But sometimes I end up in challenging situations and I need to decide on the spot how much I lead and how much the audience leads me. It’s that dance with the audience that I love the most.

What are 5 records that haven’t left your box recently?

Oxygen Levels Low – Colyn

The Mirage – Agents of Time

Freedom – Stephan Jolk

Dance With Me – Kevin De Vries

Pantheon – Goom Gum and Argy.

What are you most looking forward to this year? Any other cool projects you can tell us about?

I have a collection of near-finished tracks I wish to combine into an album which flows in-between different sub-genres, from organic/downhouse to melodic techno. Right now I’m looking forward to playing the new tracks at gigs and get more reactions before I decide how to best move it forward.

Any final words for our We Own The Nite readers?

Once again I want to thank you for the opportunity to speak to your audience about my music, about Kilim Weave and about my upcoming projects. I hope the readers of We Own the Nite enjoy listening to these tracks and hope to be able to play it for them some time soon.

R^ST – Kilim Weave EP is out now via Cafe De Anatolia: https://rast.lnk.to/kilim

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