Image credit: Oleg Larin (@beside.himself)
Artem Romanov, an alternative electronic producer, has been slowly revealing his upcoming LP – building excitement towards the start of April. Officially operating under the alias Melldu, the artist has just released the title track for the Mute Theatre LP, an enticing single filled with organic string instruments and dominant synth-fuelled basslines. With a modest half a million streams across platforms, the artist is quickly establishing himself in the industry as his signature style of unusual vocals and minimal downtempo soundscapes set him apart from other rising artists. The Mute Theatre album will be officially released on the 2nd of April and will be available to purchase on vinyl via Maida Maori’s site.
Curious about the mind that had produced our next favourite conceptual single, we decided to spend “five minutes” getting to know the man behind the music – Melldu. Catch it all in the exclusive interview below.
Set the tone for us. Why the arts?
It all starts from childhood. My father is a musician, pianist. I liked the kind of music he listened to. Sting, Sade. And I also wanted to make music.
Which comes first when you’re producing – the sound or the idea?
It always comes unexpectedly. I start with a melody. I can just pick up a guitar and play something, and this melody will turn into a full track.
Does your material feature any collaborations?
If I work on my own music, I work alone. I play on a few instruments, and I do the whole process from creation to final mixing myself. Very rarely I collaborate with someone, music is energy and emotions. And the energy of whoever you create music with is very important.
But I also work as a producer and songwriter for other artists. In this project, I’ve taken a simpler attitude towards writing music, aiming for the overall success of the track.
What’s on your current playlist?
I listen to different genres. I think at the moment I’m listening to more indie-folk, mixed with electronica and IDM. My next release will be in a similar genre.
What techniques do you experiment with to get your original sound?
I try to mix exactly those elements of the music that I like. It can be a simple felt piano melody and granular synthesis with minimalistic percussion. To create exactly what you really love. Perhaps this is the main secret.
Was there a specific moment in your life where you thought, “this is what I want to do”?
I’ve never seen myself in another profession. From the age of 6, I wanted to create music and I was interested in almost nothing other than that. Ok. Maybe sports.
I loved football and basketball, but not enough to do it professionally.
What do you keep close by while you’re playing a set?
I don’t know. Every day there is something new in our life. New possibilities, thoughts, emotions, new you.
Take us through your collection of gear, tech or software that accompanies your creative expression.
I’m constantly updating my studio setup. At the moment I’m using Elektron’s Digitakt, RME Babyface pro, Komplete kontrol m32 portable midi-keyboard, electric guitar Squire Telecaster, many virtual synthesizers from Arturia. But after a while, I plan to add a few more new friends to this list. 🙂
Any side projects you’re working on?
I would not say that these are side projects. I just work as a producer with other artists of different genres. The tracks haven’t come out yet, and I can’t tell you everything. 🙂
How have you refined your craft since you entered the industry?
I started around 2010-2011. For the first 5 years, I made music without showing anyone, only a close circle of people listened to it. I realized that I needed to work very hard to start creating something really worthwhile. Since 2016, I just started showing my work to the internet, and pretty quickly found a response from people. I was surprised by this. I’m constantly looking for a new sound for myself, which to get into my soul. Secret sauce. In music, the main thing is emotions. Everything else is empty.
Breakdown the news for us: what can we expect from you this year?
I took a break from creativity. I haven’t released anything new for about 3 years. I was looking for a new sound. Now I’m back in the game, starting from the beginning again. I created the new Mute Theatre album during the break, many of the tracks were not included in the final release. I’m not ready for many demos yet. But they will see the light in the future.
Famous last words?
Do what must be done. Keep working.