There’s few artists we’d have on for a second mix, but Andrey Pushkarev is no ordinary artist. A long-time inspiration to many, Pushkarev is an artist who combines a meticulous knowledge of sound with a seriously professional approach, and it’s not for nothing that we say he’s someone who lives and breathes electronic music. An obsessive collector, vinyl enthusiast, producer and label owner, his sets are regularly talked about amongst in-the-known fans for their magical mixing, obscure track selections and an ability to effortlessly weave between genres. Ahead of the release of Nightclubber 189, we caught up with Andrey to find out more about his history with sound and his plans for the foreseeable…
Talk to us about growing up for a while. What was your first introduction to electronic music? Did you immediately realise it was something you wanted to be involved with?
Hi and thank you for having me. I was always into music because my father liked vinyl records. So from an early age it was something very common and frequent in our household. Due to the fact I found both the Soviet Union and the period after it collapsed, my personal musical choice was very limited and I always felt I couldn’t find the sound that was truly satisfying. Now imagine my surprise when around 15 years old I heard Prodigy, later Daft Punk. I was so excited to witness the expansion of musical borders. But Gus Gus Live on the VHS, recorded from the music channel Viva Zwei just blew my mind. The owner of the tape downloaded this Live to YouTube 10 years ago. For me it was the most memorable introduction to electronic music and I was inspired enough to dive deeper and find my calling.
What do you think made it so appealing to you? Was there a sense of escapism to it all?
Appealing was the freedom I felt. The groove that makes you move and feel alive. Artists were just creating, exploring, telling their stories and it was so magnetising.
Music for me is not about escaping from or to. It’s more about the connection between your mind, body, soul, people and the real world. Unifying power of sound is one of the most honest in my opinion.
Was making a credible living from electronic music always a dream for you? At what point did this dream become a reality?
(Ahaha) I was just doing what I loved the most and started to get money for it. My dream was to see the world by playing records that resonated with me. And believe me, it’s not easy, especially now when everything becomes mostly about business and hype.
So answering your question, my dream came true as soon as I started travelling. “Credible living’’ was never a goal. If you are responsible, genuine and work hard, you will always have money for living.
Does it still feel like a ‘dream’? Or are there certain sacrifices to life as a full-time DJ/producer do you think?
My dream is just to be able to move forward and create. I know for sure, that dedication is the key to success. And it definitely requires a lot of time. But I’m grateful and happy for always knowing my place. I don’t feel like I “sacrificed” something at all.
Tell me about your work at Deepmix radio. I hadn’t realised before I did my research that you were so involved with radio. Can you tell us a bit about that experience? How did it improve you as a DJ?
Oh, it was so long ago…five years of creating tons of mixes. We were passionate and hungry and we were having a lot of fun. I’m grateful for the experience, it was a turning point in my career because people from other countries were listening to the radio and one day I just got my first request to play abroad.
It’s been almost ten years since your first release, and you generally tend to adopt a ‘quality over quantity’ approach to your releases. Is this a conscious thing? Are you extremely conscious of the music that you put out there?
You are right, almost 10 years. Time flies, it’s incredible. My releases come organically. No special approach behind. Of course I’m conscious of the music I release but not to an “extreme” level. I hate stress. I’m trying to be calm and conscious about everything I do in life.
Can you tell us a bit about the next release on your LOA (Luck of Access) label?
Next artist is not only a very talented producer with tons of synths and instruments, he is also a very humble person. Which is something I really cherish in people. His tracks are like a living mystical creature, beautiful and deep. Toki Fuko can take you on a journey for sure. I hope our other collaborations will also see the world soon 😉
You have some awesome up-and-coming DJs and producers there, especially Ohm who we checked out some time ago. Can you tell us a bit about your A&R duty there? What’s the idea behind the label then?
For a very long time I have been attached to dub techno (as you might have noticed already) and especially to artists from Iceland. Ohm is one of them.
I’m relying on my intuition, personal taste and connection with artists. Like a coin has two sides a record has the same. One is obvious, the other is unexpected. That’s why on one side we always have a dance track and on the other side a variety of different genres which artists can present.
Are you still based in Berlin by the way? And how are you finding things there?
I lived there for years before the pandemic but then moved away. I’m sure many things changed in Berlin so I guess my experience is not relevant anymore. But it was a nice hub for a touring DJ and a good place to meet with friends.
You’ve recently contributed a mix for us, and we’re really delighted to have you on! Can you tell us a bit about some of the tracks you’ve selected here?
I hope this mix will find its listeners, thank you. The first track is actually by Toki Fuko. Which perfectly reflects my mood when I began creating the podcast. Also I have a playful track from Eli Verveine – a friend and artist I admire a lot, with whom I started a very exclusive special b2b – happening next for New Year’s Eve at Renate in Berlin and a few more special occasions in 2023 – a groovy one by Per Hammar, and some trippy sounds from Christopher Ledger and TM Shuffle.
I also didn’t realise you were heavily into drum ‘n bass, which I reckon might surprise some of our readers. What else can you tell us about you that they might not know?
Why “were”? I “heavily” am! Always loved drum’n’bass, trip-hop, dub, hip-hop and ambient. I’m doing different kinds of mixes from time to time. Also I dry fast twice a month, start standing on nails boards and I love bicycles.
Listen to Andrey Pushkarev, Nightclubber 189 here