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"We are spirits hiding behind human masks." - interview with Marooned

by Stina Isabel Gavrilin

Mark your calendars, for the next chapter of BFTV is set to descend upon HALL very soon - on April 13th! For the live section, we have the Georgian project MAROONED delivering the true essence of ritual techno, tying a bridge between experimental and industrial with crafty soundscapes, often divine voices, focusing entirely on beat-driven work. With live performances featuring Saturnia, MAROONED strives to reflect the echoes of the harmonic world within our souls. Find out more about his roots, music making process, thoughts on spirituality and the human voice in this fresh interview.

Having started your musical journey on a guitar, how did techno and electronic music in general become part of your life?

I was fortunate enough to be introduced to electronic music by my close friends, who were into it a long time before me. At that moment, I was absolutely obsessed with the electric guitar and I found the same rawness and energy in techno. I was always drawn to darker, rhythmic music and one thing I acknowledged in techno was that it is firstly body music accompanied by your state of mind and emotions, which essentially is the main narrative in my original music creation process.

At the forefront of your compositions is the ritualistic aspect, paying homage to the ancient practices of our forebears. Are these rituals something we as humans have disconnected from, in your opinion?

Yes and no. Ritual itself is not defined as one specific thing, it’s always present in our lives. Hand-shaking or clinking glasses before drinking alcohol is still the most simple act of ritual. But spiritually, I believe we are disconnected from our mind, body & spirit. We are detached from our emotions. Dare I say that music is the most spiritual and simple ritual you can do without it having any definition or description.

Have you brought any aspects of your identity as a Georgian into your music?

No. I mean not intentionally. Musically, Georgians are a very gifted nation. Many global cultures have their roots in Georgian folklore. I always say that techno is body music and this is one parallel I would draw to my identity as a Georgian. We are a dancing nation. The country will quite literally tell you its entire history through the medium of dance. And in this dance lies the beauty of rhythms delivered by the drum “Doli” which is considered to be the lead instrument.

On your latest EP “Spiritual Transition”, we’re met with Japanese mythical creatures. What is it that fascinated you about these particular beings?

I think Japan has a strong spiritual sense, and they aren’t distinguishing it as a separate institution. It’s a part of reality. For them, everything is spirit. People are spirit. I find it fascinating that they don’t separate themselves from unnatural, mythical creatures, ghosts or whatnot. I think that the cover art for the EP says it most clearly, that we are spirits hiding behind human masks.

Which one has more weight for you in the process of making music, intellect or emotion?

I think you can't go far without either. For me they go hand to hand. I am a strong believer in balance. The process of making music itself is a very complex and unpredictable craft for me. I don’t rush it, I don’t make things happen. I go with the flow and don’t overthink it either. It has to be natural.

Many of your tracks are accompanied by the divine vocal of Saturnia, who will also join you for the live show in Tallinn. How did this collaboration come into being?

I am obsessed with human voice. I think it is the perfect instrument. With Saturnia, life crossed our ways in its own ways. I always wanted to incorporate human voice in my works and treat it as an instrument. All we did was always improvised, without any context of the track. We just clicked, spiritually and mentally. Eventually, it grew into something greater.

Am I correct in assuming musically you’ve drawn quite a lot of influence from Dead Can Dance?

Yes you are. I am a proud admirer of DCD. Saturnia and I are greatly inspired by their work, the use of a voice as an instrument or rhythmical excitation of drums.

In the process of composing, do you already think of how to translate the pieces into a live setting or do you prefer to keep your mind within the walls of the studio?

To be honest, no. I like making music without premises. Creative freedom is one thing I am always self-aware of. One thing that helped with live performance is that I eventually have my own sound signature, and it's easier to gather material.

You’ve mentioned having other creative outlets besides music. What are they?

I am not as dedicated to other forms of art as I am to music, for sure. But I like to improve my skills. I'm into drawing and cloisonné enameling silverware as a kind of meditation, but nothing substantial.

You’re performing in Estonia for the first time, is it also your first ever acquaintance with the country?

Yes, it's my first time visiting. Impatiently awaiting the date we fly in. I am sure it will leave amazing impressions and memories.

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