A steadily growing voice that saturates the listener in lucid colour and shimmering melodicism. Born in Pinsk, Belarus in 1984 and immigrating to Canada in 1992 with the collapse of the USSR; Alexei Orechin has been actively shaping musical environments with his current projects No Seas, a solo project for guitar and tape, and leading his own ensemble incorporating jazz, chamber, and experimental elements into his compositional work.
His approach towards the creative process is to view the musical landscape as an open canvas, one that holds no boundaries or genre limitations. A diverse talent that is reflected in the company he has shared the stage with the likes of Nas, Lupe Fiasco, Akae Beka, Rana Mansour, Shad, Yaadcore, and Sina Bathaie.
You can now listen to the new single from Alexei Orechin entitled “Stranitsi” below and check out our exclusive interview!
Can you talk to us about the inspiration behind your single, “Stranitsi”
The inspiration behind Stranitsi was the culmination of internal and external forces that were shaking my very foundation of being. I was dealing with the loss of a friend at the time and my ability to reason was non-existent. When it came time for the music, the entire song was written on the piano, and it ended up being more of an uplifting force as opposed to a more heavy and somber one. This is where I was channeling the energies that my close friends were supporting me with. I think that the density level of the song speaks directly to how I was feeling at the time.
How do you think your community has contributed to your success?
I think if I define community as my creative contemporaries that I’m inspired by, then it had a great effect to get me where I am today. In particular in overcoming the physical and mental stress that we endure in life, especially when you are navigating through music and the arts. Community can be very difficult to define, I’m a very private person so, I can just as easily feel separate from any community and completely isolated in my own world.
What was the first thing that got you interested in music?
I still have memories as a child when we lived in Siberia, and hearing records at home by Stevie Wonder, The Beatles, Tina Turner, and Russian pop stars like Igor Talkov and Alla Pugacheva. When we came to Canada, I was seven years old, so when I first got exposed to the sounds here, and the intensity with which they came at me like heavy guitars and electronic music, it was a sensation that I had never experienced before. There was just so much music coming at me from everywhere and everyone that it literally felt like a shock to the system, a euphoric one of course.
Describe to our audience your music-making process.
Well, it exists in two worlds, one of them being a strict disciplined style regiment, this is where it can reach extreme levels of stress through perfection and meeting deadlines. And the other is the complete polar opposite, where I am searching and developing ideas through experimentation and improvisation without any preconceived notions. In the latter, the most important thing is to capture something on tape; night vibes, a little green, a glass of red, and then come back to it the next day with new perspectives. As for the music on the record, it’s all over the map. Most pieces were strictly notated for the players, but improvisation and experimentation with form is everywhere. Always gotta stay open to all forms of possibility, that’s at the core of most of my music.
What advice would you give other musicians?
Oh man, I don’t know if I would have anything of value to add to someones life. I will say this, if you are young in the journey, then make sure you are listening first and foremost. This will only help you towards developing a more mature and individual sound and voice. But, if you have been in the game for many years, then you already know what you are and what you need to do to reach your creative goals.
Anxiety and elation. I was telling a friend that, in the final hours leading up to the release of the song, it felt as though I was approaching a moment of existential singularity. As artists, we are always saying how we are creating for ourselves first, and everything outside that is secondary which, for me personally is an absolute truth. I write and play music because it helps me communicate myself better than through words. But in order for communication to occur, there needs to be a receiver. So as you are preparing to release the music, you are handing it off to the world, and in effect you are fulfilling it’s creative existence. Needless to say I’m beyond excited to release the full album this Fall.
And finally, if you could collaborate with any musician/band, who would it be? And why?
Linton Kwesi Johnson and Tetsu Inoue