So much has happened to the Lipsky brothers in just a span of two years, and though certain things remained, all the time that had passed is nowhere near simple nor symmetrical. Torture the Artist chased the hot-tempered DJ/Producer duo through some of their favorite cities and literary realms, but caught up with Sasha and Sergey right back at their hometown just a few days before the release of their highly-anticipated return to Moscoman’s Disco Halal label with their EP ‘Gilgamesh‘. Sneak a rare peek into their methods and madness, and get in on a few of their best kept secrets, as Simple Symmetry returns to Torture the Artist for more questions the second time around.
Torture the Artist: Hello Sasha & Sergey, welcome back to the torture chamber. Though we’ve been in touch since our last interview, it’s always nice to sit down and pummel through some questions together, think about the past, present, future…
Sasha: Good to talk to you again, guys.
Torture the Artist: We talked a lot about Moscow then, do both of you still live in the Russian City?
Sasha: Yes, still here!
Sergey: Nothing has changed.
I’m sitting on a corn flake.
Torture the Artist: Where are you two (physically) sitting at the moment? How far are you from the very place you would most rather be?
Sergey: Physically I’m in my bed. In other words exactly at the place where I’d like to be right now.
Sasha: I’m sitting on a corn flake at the moment, waiting for the van to come.
Torture the Artist: With the exciting course your musical career has taken since we last spoke, you’ve traveled extensively, DJing not so simple sets worldwide. Which city has made the greatest impression on you? Which city made you realize how important, even necessary it is to leave your comfort zone?
Sasha: We have narrowed it down to a list of three hottest cities – Vilnius, Tel Aviv, Jakarta
Torture the Artist: Name a specific set that really inspired you as producers?
Sergey: I’m not sure that any set could be inspiring when it comes to producing music. The inspiration behind our tracks comes from the music we like, movies we watch, and books we read etc. Even memes could be inspiring sometimes.
Torture the Artist: Your third EP ‘Gilgamesh’ will be out shortly on Disco Halal, what aside from the eponymous novel had an influence on the release?
Sergey: The biggest influence on the release is our friend Iñigo Vontier. Actually, we already had two different versions of ‘Gilgamesh’ before he joined us in the game but both of them didn’t satisfy us until he came along and took part in the project.
Torture the Artist: How did working with him come about and how did you make it work?
Sasha: Inigo is a super talented producer. He also has this sense of natural kindness which is very important and valuable for me personally. We hooked up online a couple of years ago, started exchanging music and ‘blablabla’. After that we booked him to our parties two times, had some fun together, what else? Oh yes – how did we make it work? We were just fooling around at our home studios – Simple Symmetry in Moscow, Iñigo in Guadalajara, exchanging ideas and building this track. It’s very easy to collaborate on music remotely nowadays.
All you can hear in this track is just the echo of that epic fight in our studio.
Torture the Artist: ‘Fight’ contains psychedelic soundscapes, where does this preference come from or did it just happen in the heat of the moment since you are a hot-tempered duo?
Sergey: Yeah, since we are a hot-tempered duo, we quarreled and started to beat each other while working together on the project. All you can hear in this track is just the echo of that epic fight in our studio.
We’ve never been to Tulum.
Torture the Artist: What ‘Tulum at night’-impressions do you have that Adam did not deal with in his remix?
Sasha: I’ll tell you something – we’ve never been to Tulum.
Torture the Artist: Would you change your answer to the first question we asked you ‘You guys love Moscow, because…?’
Sasha: In fact my personal relationships with Moscow are very perverted. To paraphrase James Murphy – Moscow, I love you, but you’re bringing me down.
Picture by Misha Politkovsky
Torture the Artist: By the way, your answer was having many good friends living there, seems like a slight change. Sergey, in 2017, you mentioned that you just recently quit your day job? Has that proven to be as rewarding as you had hoped it would be? Do you have any regrets?
Sergey: I don’t have any regrets, that was one of the best decisions in my life. Though to be honest I thought that I would have more spare time after quitting the day job. That never happened.
We’re finishing our album at the moment.
Torture the Artist: You’ve created some unique and standout tracks recently, and rendered some highly acclaimed remixes as well. Of all your productions, which track do you feel most attached or connected to?
Sasha: It’s time to reveal some top secrets again: We’re finishing our album at the moment. I believe there are some tracks in there which we are most attached and connected to now.
Torture the Artist: Each producing duo has their own style and approach on collaborations. How do you usually start of creating a track? Is one particular Lipsky in charge of so and so task, and the rest go to the other?
Sasha: We’ve been working hard for the past two years to buy this amazing music machine on eBay. You see, each pipe up there gives the intermittent one-minute discharge of the basic ideas into rotating barrel inside here. We just have to extract this complex mixture of sounds and ideas at the right moment – and here we are, on our feet, ready to do battle in front of this capacity crowd.
Torture the Artist: Is there a track that took long to complete due to arguments or contradicting opinions? How do you usually resolve the issue of nonagreement. Did you ever have to trash a track because you cannot finish it together?
Sasha: Oh yeah, we have this folder of unfinished garbage and with the Lord’s help let it remain there forever.
Torture the Artist: It can’t be that bad! Hey, do you think by now, you’d be able to name a ‘favorite’ track. We know you couldn’t answer this confidently last time.
Sasha: That is still the case today.
Maybe now we’re much more tolerant of each other. Or not.
Torture the Artist: You’re probably spending much more time together as Simple Symmetry than before. Or not. How much do you really spend with each other? How has the Simple Symmetry project affected your relationship as brothers?
Sasha: Mmmm, nice question… How has the Simple Symmetry project affected our relationship as brothers? Maybe now we’re much more tolerant of each other. Or not.
Torture the Artist: Do you typically enjoy traveling the world together? Who is the more responsible brother and which Lipsky was the last one to lose something in a venue or airport?
Sasha: I’ve never lost anything in airports but lost myself in venues quite often in the past.
Torture the Artist: What are the 5 top tracks you are digging at the moment, not necessarily electronic music only?
Sergey: For the top 5 tracks I’ve just checked my music on the phone. Nothing special…
- George Harrison – I’d Have You Anytime
- Pixies – Bone Machine
- The Crotches – Balada la Shakranit
- Black Sabbath – Supertzar
- Velvet Underground – Venus In Furs
- Boeing Duveen & The Beautiful Soup – Which Dreamed It?
- Moondog – Moondog Monologue
- Ream Daranoi – Fai Yen
- Laurie Spiegel – Clockworks
- Loretta Jean – Somewhere in Time
Torture the Artist: If you were to switch your partner for a day, which artist would you recommend to take your place and work with your brother? What is the longest you think you can do that for?
Sasha: Celine Dion!
Sergey: I would like to recommend La Tigresa del Oriente to team up with Sasha. This could definitely be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
Torture the Artist: Now that you’ve drawn some reference from a novel to one of your EPs, who would be the author of your choice to write your autobiography, and why?
Sasha: Artificial neural network, because why not?
Interview by Marie J Floro