Evgeny Rudin aka DJ Groove has already collected 17 thousand unique first-release records in his collection. A wide audience knows Rudin as a DJ and performer, but for more than 20 years he has been making music for cinema and TV. Concert activity does not interfere with this matter: in 2023, DJ Groove wrote music for seven films and animated films. Including the REN TV action series “Werewolf” with Denis Shvedov and Maxim Shchegolev, which will be shown on the channel on November 26. Izvestia spoke with the legend of the Russian dance scene and lifted the veil of his composer’s alter ego.
“The music under the credits is not made in the style of Russian films and TV series”
— On November 26, the television premiere of the action series “Werewolf” will take place at REN. You wrote the music for it. Tell me how it happened?
— This happened thanks to the director of the series, Anya Kurbatova. I had already worked with her on the film Extra Lesson, a film that touched on a painful topic in today’s society. Anya and I successfully worked on this project, and she invited me to “Werewolf” to write music.
— Did you write only the opening scene for the series, or is all the music we hear written by you?
– This is all the music you hear. Neoclassical. There are electronic moments recorded with live guitars and drums, and there are some where several violins and cellos are played. The music for the credits is not made in the style of Russian films and TV series. I tried to make music that would not be associated with sad notes, hackneyed arrangements, when we hear this or that serial film – this is a sound that, probably, has not been heard for 10-15 years. I am for modernization, for the sound of electronic neoclassics.
— And how many compositions did you make?
– I did not count. It’s hard to remember now, because I’ve already had seven projects in a year. And now I’m still in the process. I think about 40 rooms.
— How long did you work on them? Where did the inspiration come from?
— Inspiration always works. And you always work from the “picture”. By and large, you work based on what you want to show – to multiply this or that frame, to make it more saturated. Most people, sadly, rarely listen to music in movies. That’s why you try to make more of these topics so that people pay attention to the mood. Definitely, any picture would be boring and uninteresting if it did not have musical accompaniment, namely the art of composition.
— Which film composers do you like among modern Russian and foreign ones?
— I’m not that familiar with contemporary Russian composers. I grew up listening to Soviet film composers: Gladkov and Artemyev. I know that Yuri Poteenko, if I’m not mistaken, worked with Fyodor Bondarchuk many times on various projects. Foreign – this is a very large list.
— Can you voice your top 3?
– Thomas Newman is number one! Number two is Alexandre Desplat, and I would put John Williams number three. Hans Zimmer would be fourth. And Danny Elfman, of course, I absolutely adore him. Recently he has gone into rocker history, although he continues to write music for films.
“I don’t like working with comedies, it’s the easiest for me.”
— You said that you already have seven projects this year. Can you name them?
– This is “There and Back Again” – but it will be released in 2024, “Werewolf”, “Mastodon” with Fyodor Dobronravov, the series “Kolotushka”. A New Year’s film will also be released now, the comedy “New Year’s Ol Inclusive.” And also the multi-part cartoon “Slimics”, which is shown on the Karusel TV channel, a full-length cartoon, the name of which I cannot announce until its premiere, which will take place in 2024. An agreement has also been signed for another film, but I have only looked at the script and am waiting for the final cut to begin work.
— What projects are planned for 2024?
— A film is planned based on the book “Steppe Gods,” a film with the working title “Sphere,” as well as a comedy that doesn’t even have a working title yet. In general, I don’t really like working with comedies, it’s the easiest for me. I love drama and action.
— Why is it easier with comedies?
— The emotions there are understandable. In the funny you can find, of course, a lot of sad or romantic. And the situation there makes it clearer how to create music. You can write a comedy like this: the hero walks quietly, looks out – “ta-ta-there” – and leaves. That is, these are more accents than music. And there are a lot of deep moments in the drama. After all, drama is what makes people think. But comedy is also a very necessary genre. People should not only think and be sad, but also rejoice and laugh.
— Why do you need to write music for films? Do you want to establish yourself in the history of Russian music as a composer or as a DJ?
“I don’t want to settle either way.” The fact is that when I was a child, my parents always showed me films. I’m a terrible film fan, I still watch two films a day – I find time for it. Probably, the love for cinema and music that was instilled in me by my parents went forward. I just decided to develop further, so as not to play at the remote control all the time. Although I continue to actively do this all the time: there are no fewer concerts and performances, their number is only increasing. Now I’m trying to develop more towards creating music for cinema, and not only for cinema. I write music for advertising and television programs. And, by the way, all the music to which the Comedy Club residents go on stage is also mine.
— Your experience as a DJ helps in writing music for films, is there anything in common in these areas of work?
– It doesn’t help at all. Everything is completely different. All that I have and all that I use is a music school, a conservatory, jazz arrangement courses, harmony itself – everything that is connected with it. But DJing is different.
— Do they recognize you on the street? How often does this happen?
– They find out quite often. But, of course, not like Sergei Burunov, with whom we are close friends. Compared to Burunov, out of 100%, 10% will recognize me. But in general, this happens every day, and it’s never difficult for me to take a photo and chat, to smile once again, because this is my audience, and I appreciate it.
— They say that Shortparis and Therr Maitz are very fashionable and cool now. Did you listen?
– Yes, I know Shortparis. For me, this is probably something old in a new interpretation. And I’m a little bit of a fan of something else – the same Therr Maitz. I know Anton Belyaev very well, he is my old friend. Even when he lived in Khabarovsk and came to my concerts, we met there. And Tesla Boy, Anton Sevidov – we communicate well. Then Triangle Sun – the most wonderful, beautiful music.
“I took sommelier courses, but I already collected wine”
— You are a pioneer and innovator of Russian electronic sound. How does club music today differ from what it was in the 90s and then in the 2000s?
— Nowadays there is a completely different understanding of the club scene. People stopped actively and regularly going to clubs; there were no clubs left as such. Now the majority of the public hangs out in bars and gastrobars, where music of various genres is also played. Individual parties gather for some live concerts, large raves, and themed events. At the moment, I really like everything that is in club and dance music, in electronics. You can show yourself, show music, everything is available on digital platforms, and young people can experiment with sound. Technologies have become available. Previously, to record music, you had to be a very wealthy person and have access to a recording studio, but now you can simply buy a synthesizer.
— They started buying and listening to vinyl more often. Do you feel a trend towards the return of fashion for records?
— But the fashion for vinyl never went away. Something just came forward, and the records were printed and sold the same way they were printed and sold. I myself have played more vinyl than anyone else in this country. I can absolutely say this from my vinyl collection and everything connected with it.
— How much vinyl is in your collection?
— I have about 3.5 thousand records in the studio, and I also shoot several cityboxes. According to my calculations, I have 17-odd thousand pieces in my collection. The first records I started playing appeared in 1989. Now I am collecting a collection of rock, hip-hop, early electronics, pop music and, of course, classics. I’m looking for first-release materials on vinyl, test presses that are in the top hundred, for example, or the top ten. Let’s say I found the first pressing of Black Sabbath’s 1953 album Paranoid. I continue to collect.
— As far as I know, you also collected wine before?
– Yes. Now I have sold some items and donated some. I didn’t have much, three two-meter refrigerators. Collected. In France, I was drawn into all this for some time. I even took sommelier courses. It was the spirit of the times, but that period lasted 15-17 years.
— You are a fellow countryman of the avid collector of art objects Andrei Malakhov, who opened the “Shine” center for contemporary art in his native Apatity. What is your relationship with your sovrisk?
— Actually, I like what Andrey chooses. I have been to his center more than once. We can say that he enriches the entire Kola Peninsula with modern art: he educates, instills the right taste. His taste is very good, unique and at the same time understandable to many.
“I have traveled all over Russia, except Labytnanga”
— How are things going with your concerts and performances today?
— The number of concerts increases from year to year. I work at a large number of club, private, corporate, city festivals, events and holidays: various City Days, Metallurgist Days, Miner Days and so on. It is very right that our government and the leadership of individual regions allow people to have fun. A person needs love, kindness, happiness, positivity and the opportunity to go out somewhere and have a good time. I held a number of concerts abroad in 2023. On average, I have from 100 to 150 concerts a year.
— How much do you charge for a corporate event?
— It depends on many factors, including the date, city, venue, target audience, logistics, workload of neighboring dates and the number of people. After the December corporate story ends, in January we consider an invitation to work on the islands, which we combine with a vacation.
— Is there a city in Russia that you haven’t visited yet?
— Labytnangi (laughs). Of course, I traveled to many cities. I’ve probably been everywhere I could over the years, for which I’m grateful. I really love touring, I still treat it with love.
— How do you avoid burnout?
– I dont think about it. I don’t want to brag, but I love what I do so much that I don’t have any moments of burnout. I don’t meditate or keep a gratitude journal.