ASBO Meets: Cape Cod
Kiev Native Cape Cod is an electronic music artist who takes his work beyond just the music. He was awarded ' Best Electronic Artist ' at the Jägermeister Indie Awards following his debut "Cult" album in 2016 and recently released his second album ‘Echoes’ he has already collaborated with the likes of Adidas Ukraine and Ditch. We caught up with Cape Cod to discuss all things about his music, growing up in Ukraine, influencing the younger generation and more.
ASBO: How did you first get started in music?
It all started when I bought my first musical instrument (bass guitar) at the age of 15, if you could call it a bass guitar (laughs). It was a dream come true and a moment I still cherish to this day.
Sitting at home and playing for myself was unbearably boring, so I decided to put together a band with my classmate. This was at the end of the 90s when we would buy all types of music possible in the local pop-up markets and we’d absorb it like sponges. In 2004 I was introduced to the hardcore scene, which was unlike anything I had heard before. There were very few bands in the Ukraine that were playing this kind if music, so through both youthfulness and determination to deliver music that was not yet being heard, my first band was born.
ASBO: Who were some of your early musical influences growing up?
I had many heroes from multiple eras growing up, but those who have continued to be an inspirational reference to me are Jacob Bannon (Converge), James Blake, Frank Ocean and more recently Robert Glasper, Sade and Lewis Taylor.
ASBO: What was your experience like growing up in Ukraine and how has that influenced your musical ability?
Many musicians say that their work is influenced by the place where they grew up or lived for a certain period of time, until more recently this did not extend to me at all. Most of my life was spent pretty unconciously and in the most limbotic rhythm - you live all your life tired, looking out of the window 24 hours a day, contemplating the same panel house in which you live. When I moved to the historical epicenter of Kiev, my new window overlooked a small park and the stadium and I saw a distinct change in my outlook on life. It is quite difficult to describe in words, but there was an infinite sense of freedom, which I had not yet experienced before and in due time Kiev inspired me and continues to inspire me every day, especially my music.
ASBO: How would you describe your style of music?
Electronic music with different stylistic inclusions – juke, soul, funk, r’n’b, jazz, house, dream rock, IDM.
ASBO: What is your process when it comes to music?
It all starts with the formation of ideas. I want each track that I create to have its own zest and so it usually takes me a fair amount of time to think of distinct ideas to begin the composition process. Once the idea and form has been created, the practical process of creating the piece of music happens very quickly. The creation of the track takes a week or two, plus a little more time once I've listened with fresh ears and honed in on the little things. The most time consuming part of the project is understanding how to find a new idea and correctly submit it in the context.
ASBO: What sort of things inspire your music?
Music is the main source of my inspiration, I listen to it whenever and wherever possible. There was a time when I could listen to upwards of 20-30 albums in a single day, all completely different in sound - baroque pop, surf punk, hip hop, sacred minimalism and noise. While listening to all of these albums, I would try to find interesting musical constructions. These musical constructions have been cemented in my memory after all these years and now, with a new level of intuition and application, I can use them to help with my own compositions.
ASBO: What message do you want to put across in your music?
Until recently, during my live performances I would focus the attention and energy on myself. Along the way I realised that this was not right and now see that too many artists make the show about themselves rather than the audience and the music. Some festivals and concerts can seem almost circus like now as so many artists want to be 'stars' but few people want to be a true artist. I often talk to people about what worries me within the music industry - fickleness and dis-honesty, information noise and the sense that music often gets lost beneath the ego of the artist. It has taught me who I want to be as an artist and I want my music to be a reflection of this message.
ASBO: As a creative person, how do you want your work to influence the people around you in terms of young people?
I want young people to dig more and explore the diverse array of music that’s available to them. It’s exciting when you have a new generation of artists who are not tied to the past but you hope that rather than regurgitating music that’s be done before, that they will experiment and look into producing something completely new. It is important that they get a grip of their own individuality and develop it, rather than jumping from trend to trend, because that’s what will inevitably separate them as musicians and in turn will make for a more eclectic mix of popular music in the future.
ASBO: Your work has been something that has been able to bring people together in terms of celebrating the LGBT community how important is it you that you are able to celebrate these people and be inclusive?
I came out of hardcore music, where a conscious positive attitude toward self-determination was always cultivated, just like the attitude toward vegetarianism and support for the poor. Societies in the Ukraine could adopt these attitudes but the presence of poverty continues to add to the aggression that we see here. When the USSR collapsed, people were forced to survive. My parents and the parents of my friends survived and worked as best they could so that their children were always fed and clothed but it seems to me that the Ukraine has never come out of this crisis and everyone has grown accustomed to it. Recently I began to re-think why aggression so often appears here and why poverty exists but the truth is, it always has, we just choose when to be aware of it. I want more and more people to treat other’s choices with a real understanding and acceptance rather than dictate what is right or wrong with the way they live their life.
ASBO: Do you find this challenging because of the political and social views that are prominent in Ukraine?
Certainly, but it pleases me that every year more and more people are sympathetic to the personal identity of others. Again, when a country overcomes all socio-economic problems, only then can something change and I believe now that we are on the cusp of this.
ASBO: What advice you would give to young people wanting to become singers or just even young creative people?
Never stop, even when everything appears to be going badly. I’ve had many ‘fuck-ups’ with each of my musical projects – ‘fuck-ups’ in my opinion are the dynamics of development. I had to record my debut album twice from scratch because technology kept failing me but I never gave up. I often had thoughts of, “Maybe this isn’t good enough?” but these negative feelings never lasted more than 5 minutes as I was supported by inner faith.
ASBO: What can we expect from you next?
Lots of experimenting and new music. For me, experimenting is the most important path of development. Some people can be tempted to rush their productions but for me music, like most art forms, needs to be fully developed and this requires a lot of patience and skill.
Words: Seneo Mwamba