055 - Katya Yonder

It is one of the many wonders of the interconnected world we live in that it is now possible to discover and communicate with obscure artists from far flung cities. Our latest collaborator, Katya Prokina has little in the way of mainstream reputation, label releases, guest mixes or magazine features - so it’s a great thrill to share some of her incredible music with you.

Katya was born and raised in Yekaterinburg, a city in the Ural region of Russia not far from the border to Kazakhstan, best known as the industrial capital of the country, and not widely known in the mainstream for music. Having grown up with her parent's expansive record collection, featuring both avant-garde and pop pioneers of the 70s and 80s, from as young as three, she originally learnt to play the violin, before later playing and touring in bands (Tip Top Tellix). Now though, Katya has settled on solo production under the moniker Katya Yonder, recently releasing a trio of cassettes for St Petersburg label Floe. Her 2017 album ‘Winter Skins’ is a dark, yearning ambient record that showcases an artist transmitting her early childhood influences into adulthood, and beginning to forge her own musical narrative.

Having reached out to her about doing a mixtape for the series and I was delighted to receive a 45 minute feast of exclusive material created over a two week period just for this mixtape. What Katya has created is a beautiful ode to ambient music full of references to her early influencers, as well as more contemporary peers, but all together forming an immersive world, vast, flowing and completely of it’s own.

I spoke to Katya about her influences and growing up in Yekaterinburg. You can read the full interview beneath the artwork.

Hey Katya, thanks so much for your mixtape, it’s beautiful. Can you tell us a bit about the music featured - you made it all over a two week period correct?
Yes, I've made in it two weeks especially for Métron :)

You started our playing the violin when you were very young right? Do you still play?
Sometimes, yeah. I do not have my own instrument, so sometimes I borrow it from my older sister to write down something, for example, like in a track Abyss from my Winter skins (https://soundcloud.com/floe_tapes/abyss)

Your sound is quite varied, the mixtape you made is ambient focused and quite avant-garde but you’ve also been known to make more straight forward pop. I guess your influences must be quite broad too?

my background is wide: from childhood I was brought up in the tradition of academic music. At the same time, I listened to my parents' vinyl collection, where there were both popular performers of the 70s-80s, pioneers of electronic music, including Soviet composers, Second Viennese school, etc. In time, with the advent of broadband Internet, I began researching various genres that continue to this day. It's even hard to say what attracts me the most, but to be honest this is not exactly what people used to call ambient music

Are you working on any exciting new projects that you want to share?
I must admit that I am constantly working on something, that I have accumulated a lot of material from which I managed to publish or released only 40%..

but I plan to gradually put my records in order, so in the future, I think I will have many more releases and projects. Now I want to publish somewhere a complete ambient album called Weast, then, I think I'll finish my release with more pop songs

You’re based in Yekaterinburg - how do you find the city and the region for young creatives - are there enough opportunities and support for people to explore artistic endeavours?
I was born here and to be honest, I can not say that the city in which I live is full of interesting events. There are groups of guys making great parties and events, for example, wonderful guys from the promo bureau TESNOTA - If you want to make an interesting and modern event in Yekaterinburg - it's better to contact these guys.

There is no financial support for musicians here. There are, of course, grants, etc., but usually this happens through acquaintance or through some personal connections, and not on the basis of what a cool musician or project is applying for. I guess it works like this not only in here..

Сreate music for your soul, in my opinion, it is possible only if you have a permanent job, especially if you want to save yourself, your vision and your nerves

How do you find the artistic community in Russia in general?

In a case of music, I can not call it a community - rather there are hangouts by interests, which are often not connected with each other, they have their own laws and hierarchical systems.

The most interesting for me is the "group" of electronic musicians, who now live in Moscow for the most part: they are bright, they make very high-quality stuff.
If to talk about me, I would not have taken myself to any group at all - it so happened that I always was and remain separate from everyone, but I try to communicate and collaborate with those who are really interesting to me, but I can say that at the very beginning - it's not my goal to be a part of some community

Are there any local artists you’d like to recommend?
In Russia and even in Yekaterinburg there are a lot of interesting guys, on my own I can recommend a few who just came to my head: Slideultraunity, Online Lipnem, Rad Machine (they are from Yekaterinburg), Paul Hares, Buttechno, Kate NV, kedr livansky, Jekka, Poko Cox, Ivan Zoloto, "Parks, Squares and Alleys", Igor Len', The parks... There are really many of them in Russia and they are not really worldwide popular maybe(most of them), but I really like them and know a few of them.

All tracks created especially for this mix.

Words, images & interview by Jack Hardwicke.
Métron Records 2018. Hampshire, UK.