It’s really difficult and unlikely to look for people with unconventional hobbies, because we don’t know from where to start looking; yet accidents can happen and we run into these guys. The thing that binds us is passion; the passion for strange patterns and activities that give a vibration to our everyday lives. The need for people who promote understandable music made us come across Organic Disharmonia Kollective; we chat with Alexandru Constantinescu and Kirill Mironov, the ones responsible for this matter.
Baldo, Cultartes: When did the passion for this more or less unknown music first appeared?
Alex: It seems everyone has their own “musical paths” so to speak. If they listen to music at all.
My own path started from childhood, the early 90’s, when the first sounds that caught my interest were not easily found on TV or radio.
First tape I got was one of Enya’s albums, then I found Enigma and some other things that somehow moved me in a similar way. I then came into contact with the metal/rock side of things and started looking for even deeper sounds. Gothic metal, funeral doom, symphonic black metal, then dark ambient/neoclassical projects. From Paradise Lost to Summoning, Shape of Despair, Mortiis, Elend, Dargaard, and many others in a sort of.. hunger to find and hear more. Inevitably I tapped into most of the industrial, electronic and post-punk branches as well, and now I’m here.
There are too many things to tell, and too many people to mention over the years. My choices weren’t random. It just seems that my mind needs to use sound as an immersive (oftentimes visual) experience, as a useful environment where it can be active and free to organize, dream, function, and it geared itself towards the sounds with the most “substance”.
What made you create this kind of movement, Organic Disharmonia Kollective?
Alex: The Organic Disharmonia Kollective, as it says “on the tin” (group/page description), is a real-life group of people, regardless of their names and variable numbers, collaborating organically in a re/creative way, making use of the “disharmony” between their views, and between the various (often distorted) sounds of their environment. It’s not “new”, it’s not “different”, it’s just not something very common in Bucharest at this time.
It started off as a beer gathering, and in some ways, it still is! The story is short, but endless, simple yet infinitely complex – a paradox – just like the group, and like many other occurrences in nature and in our everyday lives.
Kirill: What truly united us was a desire to dig deeper under that waterline of the iceberg where, not everyone wishes or bothers to look, discover new things, sounds, interpretations, atmospheres, aural or visual concepts. Even though most of us had different development paths (musical-wise), as A. already said, we all shared the same sparkle of curiosity and experimentation, not limiting ourselves with one genre of music, but combine the best out of many (with some exceptions, of course), this is why we are all here right now. Each and every one of us have gone quite a long way of trial and failure in many musical genres, groups, clubs, people, etc. I am certain that each of us listens to various stuff at home, but we all agree that our common interest is industrial, post-industrial and noise genres, so the seal has been broken and we decided to bring this interest of ours to a public display.
Alex: The story starts in Bucharest, with perhaps a dozen or so people, who kept finding each other at various metal bars, concerts, events, or simply for a beer here and there. These people were rarely, if ever, all in one place, being able to hear each other, undisturbed by the mundane.
These people all came to feel annoyed and unstimulated by a noisy capital city, by repetitive playlists, by commercial music, by sometimes the beat up distorted sound systems playing it, by the sound engineers not doing their jobs properly around some of the concerts they were interested in, by the afterparties that sometimes felt like a mockery of the bands that played on stage.
These people were interested in extreme metal, industrial and post-industrial music, post-punk and all their detailed family trees. These people were the kind of people that sadly were not that happy with what Bucharest had to offer in terms of music and atmosphere. And quite a few of them were the kind of people who were present at Dark Bombastic Evening and some still are, who were there when Raison d’etre played, who knew about names like Cold Meat Industries, Wroclaw Industrial Festival, and many other things that are just labelled “bizzare”, and are usually less visible in our post-communist world than they should be. The rants were endless and they still are.
We wanted to enjoy our drink and discussions, in large numbers, with proper music and projections, good atmosphere and a “healthier” environment for the spirit, and so we did.
Someone said “let’s take over a bar, and bring our own music”, then “let’s have projections”. We started rendering things for the screens, building playlists, adapting to the most relevant ideas brought to the table.
We were 5-6 people as “the council” – sarcastic and jovial organizers of a little world that meant something to us. We called everyone we knew might be interested, and we created our own “organic” unwritten guidebook, which at times would’ve looked like an endless stream of words trying to come around a very simple but important idea.
Kirill: There is a lot to rant about nightlife in Bucharest and the reasons why we ended up being fed up with it. Starting with the incredibly high volume music is being played in clubs and bars, same old bullshit playlists every night, up until drunken fights and total chaos, in this way our gatherings were intended as an alternative to that.
I cannot find an explanation to why this music is so underappreciated in Bucharest, just a handful of people really “dig it”, but again, sadly, this is how things are. To my knowledge there have been many gothic, darkwave, industrial gatherings in the past, but I assume due to the public’s lack of interest they didn’t really last for long. I have a great deal of respect for the Lux Noctis concept in that matter. The music that we are trying to promote is in a way even more obscure and dis-attached, if I may say, and I am completely aware of that, but in a city with 2 mil. people, the lack of interest is unforgivable. Is it the mentality, is it laziness, is it an overall rejection of the initiative? I do not know. Lately, I have seen some interest from people outside the normal “dark hangout”, which surprised me in a good way, but we’ll see what future holds and if they stick around.
Alex: To understand our “movement” is to understand some of the core ideas that brought industrial, post-industrial, noise and post-punk to life. In ODK there is no political view or agenda, there is no revolution, there is no hierarchy, I am not the owner (or I still trying not to be) – it’s a collaboration, for everyone with relevant ideas, in any form of art if it resonates with the group.
It’s a hub for Romania – it all about music, labels, concerts, festivals, and so forth. No matter how small, we struggle to keep it in a good qualitative state.
Website: Signvm Imperii
As far as we know, there is a very active group on Facebook where you can find the most unconventional music projects. We also know Organic Disharmonia Kollective organized some interesting live events and pretty insane parties. How difficult is it to organize such an event? Is there support of any kind?
Alex: We’ve connected in a very positive way with various people, some of which became our friends and collaborators from Poland and Bulgaria. We have had the pleasure of meeting artists we’ve known for years, live around Europe at various manifestations, together with lots of other people we know and appreciate, all busy doing something – music, album artwork, concerts, festivals, record labels, webzines, and so forth, all around the genres ODK prefers. We’ve invited everyone who feels the need to be here in the group, to post events, promote their work, and so forth.
This “scene” is present, and the public is receptive on most of the continent and not only. Sadly, Bucharest is just different. And I will be blunt. Most of the metal fans look away from being involved or present to non-metal dark events. Most of the people passionate about the ODK genres are unpredictable, and are present only around big names, and big events. If I get to meet them at these events, they’re always happy to ask when are we doing the next act, but they don’t show up. It’s usually free, it’s central, they just have to be there.
Signvm Imperii for instance was a collaboration we greatly appreciated, and an investment, with a happy ending (aka no losses). But who is the public? I know that a decent number of those cca 100 people can be seen at similar concerts, but have never set foot at another ODK night before or after. We can’t afford bringing people on stage from abroad, just based on guesses.
Currently, we’re not aware of any decent venue who would host us on a Friday or Saturday night for a couple of small live acts and music/projections. We were very sad to learn that places such as Antic Bar, Question Mark and Kafka had been shut down. They were an immense help not only to us, but to our “colleagues” holding the other dark parties as well.
Our last event in Kafka was important, it marked the first live audition of Purity Index, my friend and collaborator in all ODK actions, and the launch of the Adonai Atrophia project – our friend from Bulgaria. Very few people showed up. There were some other events happening that evening unfortunately, but those who wanted to be there, could have been. We will try again.
Kirill: If we talk about support from the bars and the clubs, then it is quite relative. As A. said, we have collaborated with some really nice people who helped us a lot, met new people who we are friends with ever since, but we also encountered some disappointments on our way. You see, not everyone as a bar or a club wants to host a small party with reasonably random amount of people listening to loud “weird” music. We are all heavy drinkers here, so we buy a lot at the bar, I actually remember 2 times when we finished all supplies, so it’s not about liters per person, it’s about the total number of people present, which is the most serious obstacle. During some events, we’ve been looked at strangely, talked about not necessarily in the best possible way, but ok, I get it, such is life. We’ve been called elitists a few times, which is exactly the opposite of what we are trying to be.
What kind of music are you trying to promote on Organic Disharmonia Kollective? What made you go directly to this artistic area? Why post-industrial, for instance?
Alex: ODK has distilled and refined its musical tastes to dark ambient, death industrial, harsh noise and power electronics. The parties (when they happen), may also contain rhythmic noise, postpunk/darkwave areas, and others, but in decreasing quantities.
Why these “preferences”? It’s… the way we function.
“Kollective Electronic Works Vol. I” was recently released, a compilation where we find a number of Romanian artists. Tell us a little about how you’ve come to the conclusion that such a compilation would be needed! What does it represent for you and the featured artists?
Alex: The Kollective Electronic Works is another milestone. This is the Kollective’s unspoken voice, that can now be heard.
Fvungvm, IA-HA-CRAX, Purity Index, False Negative, The Observer and Prime Mover have been born within ODK, made by the people who were there from the beginning, and still are. The last two names are my own. All other names are our friends and collaborators from Romania, Bulgaria and Poland, all relatively young names, about the same musical “age” as us, each with their own very interesting stories.
You might have heard of Nava Spațială, which is most likely the “oldest” there, also a great project with which we kept saying we’d collaborate and we didn’t yet get the chance to, until now that is.
We wanted to put together a selection of our latest achievements, nothing more.
If we would’ve asked many other names, we wouldn’t have had the space to include them all.
But we plan to do this “internal” compilation on a regular basis, maybe as an annual anniversary gift for any interested ears. What do you think?
Sure, a continuation of this would be more than beneficial and interesting; this story can turn into a tradition, after all.
Kirill: The compilation was a huge step for us. It is a way to say thank you for the 4 years of our existence. A sort of a birthday cake with 14 candles that only burn when you press play, but never run out of wax.
Alex: There isn’t much profit in these genres. Most of the public are artists themselves, have dayjobs, and like interactive events. Some of these events breach the barrier between artist and public, and that can become a very good place to be. It is a passion for sound and experimentation, the passion to bring your inner world to light.
Vibration defines everything in the Cosmos. Sound is vibration, and it can be a very powerful instrument for the mind and.. yes, for the soul.
What are the most weird and cool things that happened to you since Organic Disharmonia Kollective? Did anyone ever thanked to you for having a revelation in music just because of you?
Alex: We’ve had various reactions to our events. A decent number of people were impressed in a good way. Opened minds, audiophiles, travelers just passing by, and avid listeners of these types of sounds were often happily there. This was all ODK, this is why we interacted. For some the drones might’ve been too slow, for others the noise too harsh, or the rhythmics too fast but we’ve adapted within the context.
At some point we’ve excluded the genres specific to the other 3 dark events (Ground Zero, Lux Noctis and Oblivion Sound Wave) from ODK, and together with these groups we’ve all worked to offer a broad spectrum of dark non-metal music for Bucharest, with minimal genre overlap.
ODK had an effect, mostly positive, even if for only a small number of people. Even some of the members were changed in learning that this whole undiscovered world existed. However, some of our acquaintances were pretty annoyed when we started introducing the most aggressive sounds. Things settled down soon enough.
There are always discussions involving this dark scene, worldwide, about political views, spiritual beliefs, “nihilism”, etc. It always seems to have fingers and suspicions pointed towards it, especially from the uneducated minds and the media.
The truth is, the dark underground scene respects itself and its public. Seemingly the closer it gets to the most extreme uncommercial genres, the more barriers get taken down. There are less issues and less unpleasant moments happening in these circles over weeks if not months of events around Europe, than in a weekend night out spent in a standard inexpensive commercial music club of a capital city.
The scene appreciates decency, individuality, open-mindedness and sincerity, regardless of one’s beliefs and way of presenting themselves. It has its arms opened, and unwritten natural rules of conduct that are pretty much the same everywhere and its own cultural specifics. The music, artwork and actions can oftentimes become a satire of various social and historical aspects, an introspection, a cosmic abstraction or anything at all created as an honest manifestation of one’s self.
It is not a cult, it does not promote self-harm, it does not promote violence, it has no hidden agenda, political polarity, or brainwashing dogma. It is an art movement, a subculture with a broad spectrum of “flavors”, a collective of free thinking lucid minds.
There are books written on the history of the dark subcultures, industrial music and noise music, documentaries such as the most recent Industrial Soundtrack For The Urban Decay or the less known Bising: Noise & Experimental Music in Indonesia, and many others.
A simple google search on the dark sub/culture and objective read through the history of the various essential bands/projects that started each branch will cast away the “weirdness” and “surprise” and bring logic and argumentation. There is no point reiterating everything here.
Unknowingly, ODK applied a similar pattern and manifested itself in a local gap that has been partially filled in Bucharest for a number of years, but again, went almost extinct due to the lack of public interest (which is a lot less than in even in other post-communist and/or corrupt capital cities !!).
The discussions are endless, and I tend to be cryptic in my words. Unfortunately, communication is not a strong suit for either one of us, and someone with PR skills is not always there in such an.. introverted environment.
This whole dialogue would most probably be best suited for a round table talk, the 4 of us if not more, core members still active. The above is my view, ODK wouldn’t have existed if it was held up by only one individual, and it would’ve stood against its purpose and claims.
Can this activity, strictly related to passion, bring you other benefits or joys? Is there enough to have only an immaterial joy to go further?
Alex: In terms of what this entity means to each of the members, I am very curious myself to hear.
As for myself – it is a living breathing idea, perhaps a small shard of a world only a number of us envision, and seems to be a part of a worldwide organism that lives within this noxious society, but somewhat separated by it. I don’t know. I only know it exists.
Its rewards come from being creatively and freely involved in something that defines you as a sentient being, that which helps you evolve and find balance in a very personal way. In an ideal world everyone should be allowed to experience that as a standard of living, and in their daily jobs.
However, this utopian fiction only exists in places like the intimacies of the Star Trek universe, envisioned with the help of ideas such as resource-based economy and scientific evolution. We can’t lie to ourselves saying we’re happy in our “modern” world – we’ve been hitting each other in the head with a club for millennia. The only difference is the clubs have more and more sharp nails included.
Technology allows us to connect to everything instantly now. People with a similar universe and similar lifestyles connect and create their own environment. We did just that, for ourselves, then we connected with the world.
Are there other people behind Organic Disharmonia Kollective or it’s rather a “solitary mission”?
Alex: As detailed above, the Kollective is indeed, a collective.
The posters and renderings of various projection materials have been made in-house, with the originating fragments belonging to their respective owners.