HAARPS is the Moscow-based project of producer & singer Ilya Arkhipov. Often combining elements of future bass & witch house, HAARPS takes listeners to the next level with his “snowy surrealist” production and outstanding vocals. We recently caught up with HAARPS to discuss his black metal roots, day-to-day thought processes, and his ever-changing inspirations.
Additional words by Andrew Eastman.
What does STYLSS mean to you?
I’ve been apart of the STYLSS fam for several years. STYLSS is my inspiration & a gate to that kind of world I wish to live in.
How’d you get into music?
I was young and naive guy. I was dreaming about playing guitar & being a background vocalist. After some childish efforts in making grunge I started to dig black & doom metal. These genres determined my further taste & skills. I quit metal music nearly in 2009 running some efforts in electronic pop & electrofunk. Finally I made a witch house project Vagina Vangi, which is a true predecessor of what Haarps is today.
Describe your sound and what you’re going for.
My sound is a journey to the depths of the mind. Some bitter, snowy, desperate and surreal depths. Total darkness which was considered as the main theme in early days, is excessive now. It’s all about searching a harmony with my own little world & myself.
What’s your favorite song you’ve ever made?
It’s an unreleased one from my forthcoming EP titled “Kill or Be Killed”. Or we could say, “My Doom” is a sort of a standard sound I’m going for with Haarps.
What kind of equipment/program do you use to produce? Play out live?
I try to record/sample & use any noise if it sounds interesting for me. For example, there’s a bottle of Lipton Ice tea sampled in “My Doom”. Starbucks cup also makes some great percussive sounds.
The main framework is usually done entirely on VSTi. I seldomly use hardware synths in the studio but on our shows we use a Virus, Mopho, Volca keys & Microkorg XL. I use Cubase for production & Ableton Live for live sets.
How often do you release new music? When is your next official release?
It depends. Now when I’m totally concentrated on a new release I don’t typically release too much fresh stuff. Only for special cases like the STYLSS LOVES YOU or #internetghetto compilations.
My next official EP will be released towards the beginning of 2016. I finally figured out a concept that would help make it some of my most personal stuff ever. Some hard times are happening in my life at the moment and this definitely impacts my flow.
What are you favorite artists/songs/albums?
Not so sure how to answer this. My top 10 constantly changes. The most inspiring artists for me are Ulver, My Bloody Valentine, Katatonia & Death Grips. I like the way FKA Twigs sounds,
Neon Indian’s previous album really whips up my emotions, but my list of favorites would be gigantic anyway.
If you had the opportunity to collab with one artist, who would it be & Why?
I’m open to almost any collabs but let’s say Zach Hill would be one of my top choices. I’m not sure we’d be able to work productively but I really enjoy the madness he used to endorse.
Who are some of your musical influences? What are your influences outside of music?
The starting point was making a dark music rooted in sludge/doom stuff with heavily distorted bass-lines. Gradually I dismissed this rule and my inspirations in doom & gothic stuff passed away and R’n’B, hiphop & future electronics took over. New music inspires me mostly. I’ve got some cliches stuck in my mind but I’m always try to reinvent my musicianship. Concerning things beyond music, I dig scientific popular news about space, chemistry & archaeology, religious/atheistic discussions. Tough life in Russia is excessively enough to turn your life into movie like shit. So life itself here in Russia is enough for inspiration.
What was the last live show you attended? and/or Favorite Artist/DJs you’ve seen live?
If I’m not mistaken, it was Waves Festival in Bratislava. We visited a dozen of venues there. I think the most enjoyable set was by Jimmy Pe from Gergaz label. It was really mind-blowing. The most remarkable live gig I went to was The Deftones & Moderat a year ago.
If you could only listen to one artist for the remainder of your life who would it be & why?
Let’s say fuck the system, it would be STYLSS compilations.
What else do you do besides music ? Hobbies? Day Job?
I’m a sound producer on for TV that’s my daily activity which allows me to make my own music any time as well. I try to travel a lot, take vocal lessons, Coursera lectures, read scientific news and play games on my iPad.
If you had $1000 cash given to you right now, what would you do with it?
I’d invest it in some PR campaign for my music most definitely.
Do you have any life advice or wisdom to share?
There’s no such thing as a miracle. Only supernatural
Do you have any advice to share with upcoming/aspiring music producers?
Work hard, perform relaxed. Don’t do drugs nor alcohol. Though weed is a good companion for studio if you can control yourself.
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