It’s been a moment since Ponty Mython, Alex Pletnev’s anagram alias and one of the many monikers the artist calls his own, drops his first full EP, Onimano X991, after having taken some time off, at least from producing more housier music. According to the artist, he’s dedicated himself to computer games, where he found new inspiration in the earlier Need for Speed series, invested into crypto currencies and shaved his beard off. Actually Alex has become an ordinary human being over the past months before joining the electronic music scene again for his EP on Not An Animal Records. Before the release of it in a few days, the artist speaks about the scene in and around Opium Club in Vilnius, that he took things way too serious a few years back, how a bar saved his life and of course the EP itself.
Torture the Artist: Hey Alex, tell us something about your day.
Ponty Mython: Still enjoying summer in Canada, where I am for a month. No nightlife here, which feels a bit strange, but I hope when I’ll be back to Vilnius, parties are not banned again too because I have a few dates already for October.
Torture the Artist: What’s the worst/ best joke you’ve heard about your name?
Ponty Mython: There have been a lot. I came up with this ten years ago as a joke when it was an era for stupid anagram names. I remember that years ago I saw posts on Jimpster’s Facebook about the anagram aliases hype and how folks were so uncreative. Well, out of most of them Ponty Mython still exist, meaning I took this joke/ hype too serious.
People who know me well, keep saying that all my stuff sounds the same.
Torture the Artist: Hand on heart, why did you choose another artist moniker aside from your real name (Alex) Pletnev and how do you decide which tracks/ records are released as Ponty Mython or Pletnev?
Ponty Mython: Well, to be honest I have more than two monikers. Have you heard of Burial? Also, me. Just kidding. Every time I want to try to release some tunes with a different or new sound, I go with another alias. Though people who know me well, keep saying that all my stuff sounds the same, can’t blame them for that – the sound changes are visible for me only it seems. Talking about Ponty’s music – I see it more associated with the melodic or House sound. Will try to keep it that way.
Bought some crypto currency, started to play Call of Duty Warzone, recorded an EP with Triphop songs in Russian. Basically, I became an ordinary human being.
Torture the Artist: Speaking of music, your EP Onimano X991 will shortly be released on Not An Animal and is your first EP in a year. What have you been doing meanwhile and is the fact, not to release much music, due to the pandemic?
Ponty Mython: As most fellow DJs, I laid low and wasn’t into club music for a year – no podcasts, no remixes, no releases. Though I’ve been doing some other things – bought some crypto currency, started to play Call of Duty Warzone, recorded an EP with Triphop songs in Russian. Basically, I became an ordinary human being.
Torture the Artist: Is the title Onimano X991 based on a similar wordplay as your artist moniker, meaning you switched letters and it was originally meant to be Ominano, a city in Italy, or where does the name come from?
Ponty Mython: The title is an imaginary name for some computer system from the 80s-90s. Maybe you remember ZX Spektrum? The thing made me the happiest kid for a few years. Well, this is Onimano X991 – future of computing from the past.
Torture the Artist: What’s the beer to accompany Onimano X991, and why would you recommend it?
Ponty Mython: Any lager beer would do it. This is how it was recorded actually.
Torture the Artist: The title track is remixed by DJ Fett Burger. What did Peter, DJ Fett Burger’s real name, do to your track that you wished you did but haven’t?
Ponty Mython: I’m impressed with the length of his remix approach – 8:30 minutes. I’ve always wanted to come up with a track that long but never had guts to do it.
That Pletnev guy is cool, but I believe he is unreachable.
Torture the Artist: What’s an artist you’d be happy to take on remix duties for one of your tracks, and why?
Ponty Mython: That Pletnev guy is cool, but I believe he is unreachable. <smiles>
Torture the Artist: You belong to the Opium Club society in Vilnius/ Lithuania, meaning you are a regular at the club. For a non-Baltic-state citizen, can you explain the role and its meaning/ influence on the scene and mostly, how did you become part of it?
Ponty Mython: Oh yes, I’m incredibly happy to be part of the Lithuanian scene and the Opium Club especially. I can say for sure – most of my best parties ever happened here in Lithuania. The Opium team has made a huge impact on Lithuanian night life culture and has become the main reason for a lot of great things going down or happening here, which I barely see in even ten times bigger cities than Vilnius. For example, I’ve already witnessed a few generations of Lithuanian DJs who developed their taste and skills under Opium’s influence. Furthermore, there are great electronic music festivals here and the local scene and DJs are well integrated into the European scene. So here there are thousands of people with a pretty good taste, which mainly goes back to the Lithuanian influence in the country itself but also on other cities in the region like Lizdas club in Kaunas, which is a true gem in a city with that size.
Torture the Artist: How and when did you fall for electronic music and what made you decide to be an active part of the scene?
Ponty Mython: I have been into music for all my life. I played in Rock & Indie bands but became pretty disappointed in the Russian music scene (as you remember I’m from Russia originally) which was pretty undeveloped 6-8 years ago. Then I switched to DJing mostly. Further, to be an active part of the scene is only fun if you do not depend on it. I hope you don’t think I earn any money here. It’s all about music, fun & people only. Correct me if I wrong.
And so the circle completed – I do music to play it by myself and I like to DJ because I can play my own music.
Torture the Artist: You are a DJ and producer; do you prefer one thing over the other or do they complement each other (for you)?
Ponty Mython: With time I combined these two things – it happened when I started to make pretty passable tunes for my sets. And so the circle completed – I do music to play it by myself and I like to DJ because I can play my own music. Who else is going to play my music except me? I heard about some sold units of my records but have never met those people in real life.
Torture the Artist: Are breakfast, brunches and pizza your favorite or what made you decide to run Monstro?
Ponty Mython: Booz, we started everything only because of Booz. The bar was a like of lifeboat during pandemic – no money to drink, but plenty of expired beer which we have to get rid of. Win-win situation.
Torture the Artist: What are your current top3 tracks being played at a bar?
Ponty Mython: We pass the privilege to play music in our bar to our bar girls. Luckily, they have pretty good taste in music, so we are calm.
Torture the Artist: Has your taste in music changed over the course of the pandemic and what are your favorite findings from these times?
Ponty Mython: Absolutely, I became into faster music, up to 140bpm. I downloaded all soundtracks from Need For Speed games, the early ones. Check this out, what a bliss. Where is my youth. Trying to adapt this sound for the dance floor but it looks like labels are not ready yet.
Torture the Artist: Did you have your beard shaved off at Herr Katt, and how’s life without it?
Ponty Mython: I shaved it here in Canada, where I’m for one month, visiting my aunt. I’ve always wanted to try but I was too scared to do it at home – I was afraid that my girlfriend could leave me, no DJ-booking coming in with that babyface, that I would have to show my ID when buying beer. Ahhh, I miss my beard a lot.
Torture the Artist: What movie title describes you as an artist?
Ponty Mython: With my alias, it’s kind of obvious. I was always a huge fan of the Monty Python show. So, my artist career is like the show – I do it for fun and usually the fun is mine only.
Words by Holger Breuer