H A G H O R R O R is the solo project of Berlin-based producer Dmitri Voronianski. Whilst H A G H O R R O R is minimal and dark, Dmitri also makes dreamy synthwave under the name Ksmtk. In November 2017, H A G H O R R O R’s debut EP , “Der Neue Kult” (“The New Cult”) was digitally self-released. The release includes a remix of the track Der Neue Kult by Starfounder and was mastered by synthwave legend Vincenzo Salvia.
Self-described as “a soundtrack for some imaginary thriller suspense movie”, we found it to be catchy, hypnotic and somewhat upbeat. Given we are tortured goths who write utterly pathetic music, this is not surprising! We really enjoyed the EP and recommend purchasing the digital release from bandcamp.
Dmitri was kind enough to answer our questions:
Tell us about H A G H O R R O R and how the project came into fruition.
The idea of H A G H O R R O R persona came out of my desire to record and experiment with more dark and cinematographic sound. Before I’ve recorded several tracks as Ksmtk (short form of “Kosmetika” which means “Cosmetics” in German), their genre can be described as dreamy 80s synthwave. But I quickly realized that I do not want to stick only to these tags. So I decided to create a new name for covering drastically different sounds that were coming out of my synths, so to say. This way it was also easier for me to focus on making things actually done because with introducing H A G H O R R O R concept I’ve got a clear image of what I want to achieve.
What is your musical background?
I made my first attempts in making music back in 2009 when I studied in University. I recorded several rough post-punk inspired tracks on my old PC at home with some weird software instruments and bass guitar. The sound was cold, cheezy and primitive but one of my friends even made a video for the track. The project name was “The Not Popular Adults”, you can probably still find some tracks on the web.
Then I abandoned this project for an indefinite time. I was very passionate about the world of software engineering that I was just discovering for myself. There were not so much free time to spend on learning music. I do not have any musical education, so I had to learn everything by myself. I returned to the process of creating music in 2016 when I realized that it’s still something that I want to do, something that keeps me inspired everyday. So I bought my first MIDI-controller, DAW and started to practice. After some time the first Ksmtk tracks appeared.
Top 5 musical influences?
I’m a huge fan of Johnny Jewel’s works, so almost all acts from Italians Do It Better label can be considered as influences, especially Chromatics and Symmetry. Another contemporary acts that I’d like to point out are S U R V I V E and Terrortron. I really love dark and melodic synthwave produced by them. And obviously I’m still really into late 70s – early 80s new wave/post-punk/whatever related sound. Constantly opening new acts that passed me by for some reason – for example, I only recently discovered for myself early works of such cult goth guys as Christian Death. But as for main influence from that era I would say it’s Suicide.
I think currently it’s turquoise.
Musicians can be very enthusiastic and devoted to their favourite equipment. Do you feel this way about any of your gear/hardware/DAW?
I can say so, I really like DAW that I’m using Logic Pro X. I think as long as I’m getting better with it and my confidence grows, my devotion to it also grows. Also I feel that I’m in a slow process of switching from software instruments to hardware ones. My latest toy is hardware step sequencer Korg SQ-1. The funny thing is that I actually connect it to DAW to control and produce sounds from software synths that emulate old-school ones! It may sound as a silly setup but I really like this kinda unusual decisions that limit you in someway and boost creativity.
Dream holiday destination?
Do you have any recommendations for those seeking an introduction to Berlin and German electronic music? What are some of your current artists making music in Berlin?
The best historical introduction is to listen to some of Tangerine Dreams records, especially from the years 1976-79. As for nowadays, Berlin is mostly techno driven and I can’t say that I’m really into this kind music. If you like synthwave you can check the cool guys like LeveL -1 on this compilation.
You described H A G H O R R O R as “a soundtrack for some imaginary thriller movie”. What are some of your favourite movies? Are you a fan of horror, as the name H A G H O R R O R suggests?
Not sure that “fan” is the right word, also “horror” is quite broad term. I would say that I really like thrillers, suspense, noir movies. Also music plays an important role for me, sometimes you can find and watch the title only by a soundtrack recording that took your interest. From the movies that I watched recently I can point out “Blue Velvet” by David Lynch it made a great impression on me in all aspects. Pure classic.
Do you have any plans for 2018? What can we expect from H A G H O R R O R or any of your other project, Ksmtk?
Yes! I actually plan to make my first release as H A G H O R R O R with a label next year. I really want to make a physical release (vinyl or cassette), not only digital. This is a kind of obsession to me now. Musically I will continue the ideas I started with “Der Neue Kult” – dark and cinematic. Though I plan to try new things like releasing a track with guest vocals.
Also I’d like to release the first Ksmtk EP, a few tracks are ready and waiting for a long time but other ones still need finishing. I just need a right mood to get it done.