“When we play we completely disappear; dissolve into music.”
Interview by Arnold van der Walt
Disappeared Completely follows the exact same path that countless acts before them have; a couple of friends meet at university and decide to create music together. What sets them apart, is where this Ukrainian 5-piece will take their sound.
Their 2017 album, Sea of Fallen Nests saw them being featured in esteemed publications such as Rolling Stone and Men’s Health and spent quite some time on Apple Music’s Best of the Week as well as Google Play’s ‘Top Albums’. Soon after they signed with popular Youtube channel and label, La Belle Musique where they re-released their album to the global market. Since then, each new release from Disappeared Completely has been featured on ‘Best of the Week’ selections with their music charting in France, Ukraine, Russia, Belgium and Germany just to name a few as well as being featured in top-end playlists on Spotify and Youtube.
Their latest EP, Dissolve, is filled to the brim with stunning acoustic tracks that are interlaced with synths and top-end production. Similar in tone to that of The xx, Disappeared Completely are fast proving that they are a force to be reckoned with in the international market.
We sat down with Disappeared Completely and spoke in-depth their formation, the universal language of music, and fans making love to their music.
Hi Disappeared Completely! Before we get into things, what have you been up to lately?
After a year of performances and our first solo concert, we decided to release our EP. It means a lot to us because this is the first new material after a long break from music. The name of the album has a philosophical nature for us because the meaning of our band is expressed in it. We wanted to avoid predictability, and we were looking for a sound for the new EP for quite some time. Over the past year, we have fallen in love with analog synthesizers. For example, the track ‘Intro 1.2’ is an experiment, where we show off our skills in synths, which we have acquired over the last year.
There are acoustic drums in this album because we just happened to rehearse in a place where they stood, and at the end of each rehearsal we just played for ourselves… everyone fell in love with this instrument. In the end, we decided to take a chance and add the drums to the sound of the album. We also added the track ‘Full Up Lies’ to the album, which we played only at concerts, people loved it so much, and they asked us to record it.
What does each member bring to the table?
Well, everyone is trying to bring something to our band! But of course, everyone has their own tasks! We are a great team! On stage, everyone has their own instrument.
Michael – guitar, back-vocal
Christin – keys and playback
Anthony – guitar
Victoria – vocal
James (real name Vitalii) bass and vocal.
But we can easily change instruments, as we are all multi-instrumentalists. About studio work, we all try to bring our thoughts and ideas to the final product that you hear. Sometimes we confused about disagreement of ideas, but in the end it turns into something new, and it is fucking awesome!
You manage to elegantly balance your music between electronic and indie styles. For those not familiar with you, how would you describe your sound?
We believe the answer will be simple: we like all styles! We don’t want to frame ourselves! We are all different, and, you know, this is displayed in our music, because we all love different styles, and we try to combine all the tastes into one song or album. We love everything from hip-hop to rock. But, we haven’t found our own style, but we are ready to amaze with new sounds. We know for sure that we will do it, and it will be something new and special! So far we have not made our platinum release, but we are sure that it is inevitable!
What are each of the member’s musical backgrounds and how did you end up creating music together and form Disappeared Completely?
We all met at university. Well, you know how it happens, the student’s romance brings together, unites. James (Vitalii) gathered us all together, although at first he worked alone, and we just listened and couldn’t imagine that we would do something together later.
At that time, we were all members of the student’s government, and we knew each other, but we weren’t friends. But when you see a person every day and work shoulder to shoulder every day through stressful situations, then you become close and eventually become friends.
These were times when everything really began, we found a strong friendship between us. And then James (Vitalii) decided to suggest Victoria to create a duet because her vocals were unique. Our first song called ‘Free’ was recorded in 10 minutes; we put it on the Internet and people loved it! It was very surprising when strangers thought that ‘Disappeared Completely’ was some kind of band with a million-dollar contract. We laughed at it because we recorded the vocals using an old laptop.
We had a strong desire to continue making music! We recorded the second track ‘In the Sea (I am A Beast)’. And it was a success, we went beyond the borders of our country, and it was great.
Chris tried to support us but did not know that James was preparing a place in the band for her. So she became a member in time and began playing the synthesizer.
When Antony entered the university, James at that time was the head of the student council. At university, Disappeared Completely was already quite famous at that time. Looking at Disappeared Completely, Antony knew that he wanted to work with us. After all, his dream was to become a real musician, to play in a band. He met Christina, she was his student curator, and he purposefully asked what type of music the university had and she immediately began to talk about Disappeared Completely. This sly guy taught himself the guitar parts of our songs and even started beatboxing over them. James was surprised by his zeal and invited him to play a simple concert with us. He did it very well and James asked him to join to team fully.
Michael joined our team a little later. James lacked the sound of another guitar, and he suggested that Michael join the band because he knew that this guy was very talented, and he would add a new sound to our songs!
You recently released the hypnotising EP, ‘Dissolved’. What can you tell us about the creation of this record?
It was easy! The process of recording it, didn’t take too much time. But the realization that “hey, you need to release something” has taken a lot of time, almost a year. We simply didn’t want to repeat our previous album. We didn’t want to be predictable for our old listeners.
The album says that you need to accept yourself as an individual. You need to yearn for new discoveries and victories, even if you are not confident in yourself, despite public opinion. In fact… well, fuck what we wrote, the main thing is what conclusions the listeners will make.
Everyone has own spiders their head, and it is important that everyone finds the meaning for themselves.
Dissolved’s cover art was created by Eduardo Recife; an artist from Brazil. He worked as an illustrator and has added to his portfolio clients such as The New York Times, YouTube, Volkswagen, and HBO. His work has been published in more than 70 books, both national and international art and design magazines and has won several prizes like Cannes Lion Gold (2011), the American Illustration (2009) and the Young Illustrations Award (2014). And for now, he has made a huge contribution to our album.
Is there a track on the EP that holds more significance for you than others?
‘Dissolve’. This is a track that’s loved by both our listeners and us. And this is where all of our opinions came together. It’s a warm track, but with deep meaning. In this song, we said as much as we wanted to say. And we will not return to this again.
What’s the overall sensation/emotion you want listeners to experience while listening to your music?
There is no specific emotion. The task was to bring thoughts close to the spirit of any person, personal dramas, or social problems. We want the listener to think.
Take us through your songwriting process. Are there any particular steps you take when putting music together?
Well… First, the music is born and then the lyrics. Of course, there are exceptions when there are some very cool phrases and we write them down, and then just use them. All members can add their words to the lyrics, but the meaning of the songs does not ‘suffer’ from this.
David Bowie is quoted as saying “It makes me so angry that people concentrate on lyrics. It implies there’s no message in the music itself.” What are your thoughts on this statement? Music or lyrics?
Definitely! Music is more important. Wow, we are glad you asked this question! We try to talk to people not with lyrics, but with music. Probably lyrics is a bonus, and music is the basis of our creativity; it is a universal language!
What are some of your key influences in your music? Whether it be the sound created by others, imagery, films or any kind of art form.
Radiohead, Massive Attack, The XX. Quite often, we’ve heard that our music is quite cinematic. This is because we are massive film fans! And we love classical directors very much, for example Stanley Kubrick, but at the same time, we also respect Christopher Nolan and Dennis Villeneuve. We were greatly influenced by Blade Runner 2049. We also love David Fincher and the composers who work with him all the time, Oscar-winning Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross.
What’s on your current playlist? Any new artists we should be aware of?
UNKLE, Rudimental, Michael Kiwanuka, Maribou State, Massive Attack, Interpol, Bonobo, Young Fathers aaaaaaaaaaaaand Dua Lipa (strange but, well…)
What is the most memorable response you have had to your music?
It was just a message “we fuck with your music on the background, we love it so much”… well wtf?
If you had to choose between never playing live again, or never being able to release music again… Which would you go for, and why?
A year ago, we would say that we would choose not to play live again. But now, that has all changed. We love to play live very much, we love to see people’s eyes, we love them! We are on the same wavelength as our listeners. We would choose to play live, we want to travel around the world and play for people. This is the biggest dream of most musicians!
Thank you for taking the time to speak with us, Disappeared Completely! Breakdown the news for us: what can we expect from you in the near future?
Definitely a few singles. Or even another EP. And we also really want to make a video where we all act in.
Famous last words?
And you and me, we are all under the pressure of social measure, but we think that our style that’s our treasure.
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