Think of this: Endless Melancholy. It always creates a picture in your mind; always affects a situation with no visible outcome; always feels intimate. But what made an artist name his project with these two powerful words? And is that first trigger the one that follows him ever since?
Oleksiy Sakevych, the man behind Endless Melancholy, we would like to know you better. Tell us about your life: where did you grow up and how did you begin writing music? When and how was Endless Melancholy formed?
My life story is quite simple and not remarkable at all. I was born and grew up in a small town in Western Ukraine and later I moved to Kiev, the capital of Ukraine. Although I have always felt a strong love and passion for music, the idea to compose it myself came to me at the age of seventeen — quite late. As many modern musicians, I am completely self-taught. I was mostly interested in the guitar, but at some point I fell in love with modern classical music. This music inspired me to create my own music project focused on minimal piano and ambient sounds. That’s how Endless Melancholy was born in the end of 2011.
Thanks to the internet, we have the chance to learn more about artists worldwide. From what we are now able to understand, electronic and post-rock scenes in Ukraine are big. Could you give us a short description of what is happening there?
Oh yes, the internet makes it much easier for musicians from all over the world to get heard. Talking about electronic and post-rock scenes in Ukraine, I would say that they develop separately. As usual, these scenes are not too popular but they have their audience. There are a couple of venues here in Kiev focusing on experimental electronic music and they regularly organize shows and festivals to which they invite local and foreign artists. The post-rock scene is alive too; there are a lot of decent post-rock acts residing in Kiev and other cities. I used to have a post-rock full-band called Sleeping Bear. We released a full-length album and an EP and played lots of local festivals — even Asymmetry Festival in Wroclaw, Poland.
I love the piano in your work. How do you feel about musical instruments? How do you include them in your mixing?
I do believe that it doesn’t matter, which instrument to use to create a certain mood or feeling. It is quite normal for ambient musicians to build their sound on use of common instruments so as to make them sound uncommon. That’s what I actually did on my last album called ‘Her Name In A Language Of Stars’, where all pads are made of piano and guitar sounds but heavily processed with effects to the point of being completely indistinguishable. Overall, Endless Melancholy is rather a piano project, since it first found its inspiration in modern classical music, but I’m trying to constantly develop my sound and always bring new elements to it. That’s why you can hear other instruments in my music, such as guitar, strings, drums, field recordings, electronics, etc.
I believe that the recordings of natural sounds are equally important for your sound. What is your inspiration and how do you collect sounds?
I mostly use already existing samples of field recordings that can be found over the internet when I need to enhance some atmosphere. I perceive sound of nature as an additional instrument, which plays its very own melody and role in the final mix. I mostly use sounds of the sea and the ocean, seagulls, waves, wind in the forest, etc. I’ve never made field recordings for my tracks by myself. But if one day I have an idea for some conceptual album that would require specific nature sounds or recordings made at certain locations that can’t be found on the internet then I will record them by myself.
Serenity; that is the word I think of when I listen to your music. What feelings do you want to create? What do you expect from listeners?
Through my music I am trying to express the emotions and feelings I have experienced at different moments in my life. Basically, every track is a little story or a memory. And the greatest reward for me is when a listener understands what the track is written about and feels the same emotions I felt while writing it.
Through these years you have been very busy being productive and releasing several albums, some of them self-released, some with labels known for their eclectic electronic taste. Is self-releasing a way to keep your music personal?
You’re right; starting from 2013 I mainly release my albums on my own label called Hidden Vibes. The reason for this is that physical editions of my albums are important to me. Only when carrying out the preparation of the physical edition by myself can I make it look exactly like I want it to be. After all, when you submit your album to your label you depend on the label owner, his vision and taste. I do want to release my albums with a label other than mine in the future, but it must be some big label.
Your latest album is a fest of collaboration with artists that do not seem strangers to you. What happened there?
Talking about ‘Oceanmixes’ this isn’t my first remix album; I released a remix album called ‘Ambermixes’ in 2015. In both cases the idea was to collect other artists’ visions of my works, so I just opened submissions and waited until someone wanted to be involved. I also messaged some friends and musicians I liked. As a result, I collected the best remixes from artists from all over the globe many of whom I had never met before. That was a big surprise to me. It is always interesting and exciting to hear how another artist interprets your composition.
I would like some inside info on the intro of the album ‘Like Ships without Anchors’. Why did you choose it and what is the story behind it?
‘Like Ships Without Anchors‘ is one of my personal favorites among my tracks. It opens the album because this is my personal rework and contribution to the remix album (the original version of the track from the album ‘Her Name In A Language Of Stars’ is different). Same as listening to other musicians’ reworks of my compositions I like to reconsider my own works. This soundscape keeps the memories of my youth, and the title is taken after a song I used to love years ago. For better listening, just imagine you are standing by the ocean shore, listening to the sound of waves and breathing the fresh salty air. Imagine the sun is about to set turning everything to gold. The ships with white sails are disappearing over the horizon, sailing away to the distant harbors. A wave falls… You close your eyes and you want to dissolve in this moment of eternity, a moment full of your dreams and memories, hopes and regrets. A moment boundless and wide as the golden ocean.
Your elegant taste in music is also shown in your choice of pictures to dress the sounds with. I would love to hear your thoughts about the esthetics of image and how you use them in your art.
I love being the one taking care of the artwork. I never know what will be the next cover art – sometimes it’s a photo, sometimes a painting, sometimes a collage. I love the romantic aureole around my albums, that’s why some of my releases feature artworks with flowers. Cover arts are nearly as much important as music; they help you to perceive the album right.
If someone told you that “It’s time to become more up-tempo and less cinematic” how would you respond?
I have quite a diverse music taste, ranging from pop and vocal trance music to black metal, and I try to keep Endless Melancholy an eclectic music project, merging my most loved genres. So, my response would be – all is possible!
When will the fans be able to watch you live? Is it my idea or are your live performances not often enough? Why is that?
The fact is that I feel more like a composer than a performer. I enjoy composing and recording music much more than performing it live. When I get an invitation to play at some event in Kiev I usually accept it though, just because there are always people who really want to listen to the music live, not only in their headphones.
What are the future plans for Endless Melancholy?
Despite my really busy schedule I am always trying to find some time to work on my project’s activities. There will definitely be a new album, and it will be somewhat surprising. It will contain new elements that you haven’t had the chance to hear on previous Endless Melancholy records. I have already written pretty much half of this album. I am also busy writing the score to a local documentary. This might result in one more cinematic music album. At the moment, this is more than enough for me to give my creativity a getaway.