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Interview: Bedroom Talks

by François Zappa

Two years and three months ago the Russian invasion of Ukraine began and, for now, there is no end in sight. Bedroom Talks, the coldwave project of Jin Kei (ex-member of Cold Comfort) tells us today what the situation in his country is like and how the war is affecting his songwriting. His latest album, Call Me Malespero has been recently released by Oracle Records. We highly recommend it.

—How is living in Ukraine at the moment? We are really sorry for how things are going and the poor response of the EU.

It’s hard and stressful. But we are getting used to live in this hell. Adaptation scares me a bit and I cannot even imagine the aftermaths of all this after the war ends.

I appreciate all the support from European countries and people, but at the same time grandma Europe is slow, sometimes passive, and not all westerners understand the real problem and think that it’s something far away so they shouldn’t care. Again, a lot of people from different countries and continents support Ukraine, visit it knowing that there is war here. Much appreciated.

—In an interview, you said that you were not really happy with the Ukrainian music scene. Has it gone better or worse because of the war?

First of all, we should separate different music scenes. It’s not so bad at pop scene, or metal scene. But if we are talking about coldwave/darkwave then it’s pretty poor here. Not so long ago I’ve discovered the young project Eozdis. It sounds good, similar to Keluar. And Sexual Purity which is similar to Boy Harsher. And probably that’s all. We also have Kurs Valut, but it’s more synthpop with EBM. Oh, not so long ago Ritual Lovers appeared, which is the most promising.

—You started in a Black metal band called Fleurs du Mal. Do you think that there are still some influences of this music in Bedroom Talks?

I have a pretty big background in metal music as listener and musician. It’s what I was enjoying at school, and even now I like to listen to some early My Dying Bride, Anathema, Katatonia, Ulver, Marduk, Emperor, Suffocation, or Death. But at the same time, I’m a fan of coldwave, post-punk, EBM, goth rock and so on. It definitely influences of what I’m doing, but it doesn’t mean that I’m blending or will, for example, black or death metal with my music. It’s just my background which makes my music taste wider and helps me write more interesting music.

—You were part of the band Cold Comfort, can you please tell us more about them? You were a founder member, weren’t you?

I wouldn’t say that I was the only founder. Cold Comfort was a trio of close friends. One day we just went out for a couple of beers and shared our love for post-punk, coldwave and discussed artists we love and decided to play together. At that moment we were all playing in different bands. I was playing black metal, Alex (Bruno) was playing slamming death metal, and another Alex, our guitarist, was playing post-metal at that moment. So, we all had different music background, but common love for cold, dark, goth music. After we released our first EP, a lot of people were saying that we were the first in Ukraine who called their music coldwave, so we were pioneers from some perspective. We had a lot of concerts with different bands from abroad, for example Selofan, Mirim and so on. But at 2016 I left the band due to some personal issues and the next year, in 2017 I’ve started my own project Bedroom Talks.

—Why did you choose the name Bedroom Talks, is it because you consider yourself a bedroom producer?

—Bedroom Talks it’s about intimacy. The bedroom it’s a place of warmth, an intimate place of lovely small talks, a place of despair, a place of quarrels… So, you can experience different emotions and feelings there. Bedroom Talks is all about this.

—How and why did you start the project? You said that, after Cold Comfort you wanted to do something on your own, right?

In 2017 I bought my Korg Electribe2 and after practicing with this new instrument, I’ve never worked with before, I’ve started making some drafts and as a result Bedroom Talks was born. At the very beginning I didn’t know what exactly I would have liked to play, but my drafts evolved into the first songs.

—What are according to you the main influences in this project? Mainly darkwave? 

I was experimenting with sound, melodies to understand how I saw my own music, how I could make it, if I would like what I was doing or not. The main problem was with vocals. I’d never sang before. And I was afraid to do this. Later I understood that it was a child’s trauma. When the teacher of music says to a child that he has an awful voice, please don’t even try to sing and the rest of children laughs, it makes a huge effect on him. That’s why I have never used my clean vocal before Bedroom Talks. Now I am more or less ok with this.

As a result, I’ve started blending music I like. It could be darkwave, coldwave, minimal synth, ebm, even some techno influence.

—You made a list of your favourite albums and the one that called my attention was Dancehall by The Blaze. What do you find interesting in the music of this duo? 

I fell in love with their songs “Virile” and “Territory”. So, I was waiting for their full length. It’s pretty beautiful, a bit different from their first singles I’ve mentioned previously, but the album is still interesting. And I like their live shows, hope someday will see them live.

Machines know no love was you first single/EP. What was your biggest challenge when doing it? Singing as you said before?

Every track in this EP is different, but I still like everyone of it and even play them live from time to time. This EP was my first try not just as person who writes music but also as a singer. I didn’t know how to use my voice, how to sing correctly, how to breath correctly. And the main problem was that I was afraid to sing in front of someone else.

La Solitude was your EP from 2020, do you think that loneliness is one of main topics in your music? 

I would say not just loneliness, but our emotions, feelings, experience in relationships and our perception. It’s not always about bright and warm moments, but at the same time it’s not always a  negative experience.

—In an interview you spoke about the emotional intimacy of your lyrics. Is there any topic/subject that you wouldn’t write about?

Probably now my lyrics are a bit darker, and it was expected when you live in a country where war takes too many lives, breaks too many hopes and dreams

—How do you compose your music? In the past, you said that you start with the drum section, why?

I don’t like to use metronome so it’s easier for me to just create some drum loop on electribe and after I can start working with the bass part or melodies. During the process I can change the drum part, so it sounds better with the bass, for example. My main machine and brain is Electribe2. I’m more gear fan so I’m using Ableton only for recording, mixing, and mastering.

—From Nothing No More I notice that your music gest a bit more danceable. Is this something that you were looking for?

Probably it’s a natural evolution. To be honest, some of the songs from this release could have been easily  part of previous EPs, I just didn’t know how to complete them at that period of time or didn’t understand how to make vocal part.

—Your last album, Call Me Malespero, was released by the Spanish label Oráculo. Do you follow their music? It will be great to see you at Ombra, the festival co-organized by Nico of Oráculo.

Yes, I like artists this label released or is releasing. I like Jager 90, Second Sight, Ortrotasce, N8noface, Sad Madona, Ultra Sunn, NNHMN, Bram Droulers and many, many others who were released on Oráculo Records. I was asked if I can join Ombra, but for now I cannot leave Ukraine. Hope in the future I will join Ombra and not just it.

—When you released the single Burden of Epoch, you said that it was recorded with old synthesizers; which ones do you use? You said that you prefer analogue gear for recording, why?

For now, I’m using Kawai K1, Yamaha TQ5, Roland TR626 together with electribe2. They are not analog, but these synths are pretty old, from the 80s and sound amazing. I prefer to use live synths instead of VST instruments. I also have Prophet 6, Microkorg, Yamaha tg33, Wardolf Blofeld, Behringer Pro-1. Old synths, not only the analog but also the digital have its unique sound and grains, and you cannot do the same with VST instruments. If everything will be ok, I will probably buy few more old synths to use with my music.

—How do you think the evolution of Bedroom Talks with this album? You have added guitars, and the music seems more elaborated than before.

Call me Malespero it’s a big step up. I’ve added new instruments to my setup and my skills are better as well. This album was created in pretty hard situation. Full-scale war, missiles and black outs but I tried to do my best whenever I had such possibility. My friend Alex (ex-Cold Comfort, Ritual Lovers) helped me with guitar, and I believe it added it’s grimness, gothic rock elements to the “Burden of Epoch” track. This album is not about war, but it was created during war, and war definitely impacted on it, on me as an artist, person and citizen.

—So, how would you describe this impact in the album?

It definitely influenced on me as an artist. War just could not influence. When you are sitting in an air raid shelter at night and less than 1 kilometre away a missile destroys few floors of building where people were living, such moments have big impact. It’s not happening somewhere far away it’s here. When instead of sleeping you are in the shelter and hear multiple explosions above. It’s all hard, and you are in this every day, for the last few years. I cannot imagine how people feel in the cities closer to the frontline. As the result these all left it’s footprint on the sound and mood of the album.

—Malespero means Despair in Esperanto. Do you think that it’s difficult to have hope in this time that we are living?

Hope it’s all we have. I’m more optimistic, sometimes more realistic, but not pessimist.

—Side projects time: with Alex also an ex-Cold Comfort you have created Ritual Lovers, what can you please tell us about this?

Alex and I are close friends with similar music tastes that now are living in different cities. Last summer we started working on new material as a duet. We didn’t know what exactly we will have as a final result, but we knew that it was definitely going to be something interesting. As a result, we’ve got Ritual Lovers. Ritual Lovers it’s a mix of cold and beauty with its goth atmosphere. Previously we were working together in Cold Comfort, so we knew our music tastes and understood each other’s vision, but now we have much better music gear and wider possibilities. Not so long ago we self-released our first EP called Modern Rawmantique. It’s a pretty interesting blend of darkwave, coldwave, ebm, goth rock, post punk, with two voices.

Now we are working on new material.

And the other side project is Angst, that started being more atmospheric techno but moved to EBM. What can you please tell us of this other side of you?

Sometimes I have too many ideas which cannot be a part of one project, that’s why I’ve started ANGST. From the very beginning it was planned to be some kind of atmospheric ambient with raw techno. And I recorded a few tracks which were also recorded on Reel-to-Reel tape recorder Revox A77, which gave a pretty interesting sound to the songs. But later I decided to change my direction, and instead of ambient added old aggressive EBM. And as a result, I’ve released a small EP Down the Circles. I’m continuing working with new songs and improving the ones already created but my main priorities are Bedroom Talks and Ritual Lovers for now. But again, I hope that in the future I’ll release a full-length.

—What can we expect of Bedroom Talks in the future?

Good question. Right now, I’m working in a new release. All instruments are already recorded, and now I’m working with the vocal parts. For now, I don’t have any title, even songs don’t have titles now. But it’s going to be something interesting.

I really hope that more people will know about Bedroom Talks, and I hope that in the future I’ll have concerts abroad.

With best regards, Eugene.

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