Interview: Taavi Laatsit (Galaktlan)


1. Greetings, Taavi! Tell us more about your project Galaktlan! What constitutes its main idea? What does its name mean? Is there any difference with the Uni's music concept?

Hello! Galaktlan first started around 2000 as my side project to Uni and it is my main project now. Actually, it was first meant to be for only one perfomance at a special private party in an abandoned rocket base. But it was well received and I had a lot of ideas to go further, so the project continued. Musically, there are similarities of course, but initially Galaktlan was meant to be more experimental. And, Uni was a duo, whereas Galaktlan is my solo project. And as for the meaning of the name, back then I was thinking of a word to describe the citizen of the Galaxy. Estonian, Russian, Martian — they are all Galaktlan.

2. As of now, the month of March, you have published a new Uni album alongside Hendrik Luuk. Is it just a desire to publish some already recorded material or can we hope for something brand new?

I had this 15 years old material on my hard drive and we thought, it's better to share it before it's gone for good. It has already miraculously survived two hard disk crashes and I was afraid it would not survive the next one. At the moment, there are no plans to record new material as Uni.

3. What is your opinion of Russian electronic music? Are you familiar with it?

There are quite a few artists from Russia whom I follow in Soundcloud. Ambidextrous is the first name that came to my mind. Sometimes I also listen to 16Bit.FM net radio. I also check some Russian netlabels occasionally.

4. Do you associate your music with any specific genres or do you want to be free of such labels?

I usually do not produce music with specific genre in mind, but it still ends up in what people call IDM, ambient or electronica.

5. As a musician, who is your idol and your inspiration?

Estonian composer Sven Grünberg was my childhood favourite. He is a renowned film music composer and I remember recording movies from TV to tape just to listen to his music. Later, when I started with Galaktlan, I was a big fan of Arovane. And I am really glad he is now making music again.

6. What can you tell us about the current treds in Ambient music? Are you impressed with the latest releases? Could you name any releases in particular?

I think ambient music lately has become more complex and layered. And also, as analog synths and modular systems have become prominent again so there’s also a lot of new stuff recorded with those. Personally, I think it's nice to listen to the same album again and discover something that you have previuosly missed. The latest releases I have bought are Purl & Sinius «Oceans of Sound», Bvdub «Safety in a Number» and I would also recommend another Estonian procject called Tehnoloogiline Päike, who recently released their third album «Technological Sun».

7. Where on this planet would you like to do a live performance? (Could be a country, but could also be a place like a coast of the Atlantic, a bunker, etc.)

I have performed in various places around the world over the years, but I always liked private parties in special places. Currently, I would more prefer to work in my studio. But if all goes as planned, then this summer I will perform under the oldest tree in Estonia. I am sure performing under the oak tree born in 1326 will be something to remember.

8. What is your main message to the audience?

I remember my emotion when I was first introduced to experimental electronic music back in the beginning of 90s. Some music sounded so beautiful to me that I almost cried and thought «Where have I been? Why have not I heard it before? Why so few people seem to grasp the beauty of this?» I would like to offer the same sensation and emotion to my listeners as well.

9. Are you planning on publishing a new Galaktlan album? Have you begun working on it?

I do have quite many unreleased tracks but I do not have the concept for a new Galaktlan album yet. But I am working with a collaboration with another Estonian artist called Kroma.

10. As we all know, the Estonian music scene has been famous through its talented people since the times of being a part of the USSR. How are the things going right now? What genres of experimental electronic music are especially prominent?

In the 90s, I probably knew personally all the electronic musicians in Estonia. Now, the scene is quite big and many are releasing under foreign labels as well. These are definitely good times for Estonian electronic music. It’s been said that the Estonian music festival Tallinn Music Week, which also hosts a lot of local artists, is one of the most important music events in Europe. There are developments in almost every genre.

11. Who would you like to perform with?

I would really love at least once to share the stage and backstage with the legends like Boards of Canada or Aphex Twin. Have a little chat, take a couple of beers with them. Back in the 90s, we sent a letter to Boards of Canada and asked them to join us in sauna in the wilderness of Estonia, but as expected, there was no answer (laughs).

Taavi Laatsit

12. What is your opinion on contemporary art? Do you have any favorite artists in this trade?

My wife studied jewellery design and she occasionally also paints, though only for herself. But she is my favourite artist of course (laughs).

13. Do you think it is necessary to have visuals at events or should music be just perceived independently, through human consciousness?

I think visuals are also important. Although music can speak for itself, visuals can help to open the new channels to go deeper.

14. Do you support free distribution of music?

Only if the artist has decided it to be free. I do not make music for money, but paying for the music you really like is an act of respect that every musician appreciates.

15. Do you have children? Do you try to make them develop a musical taste?

I do have 2 children and they are still very small. But I already play my synths together with them and my wife is teaching them to paint. I think it's very important to introduce children to creative skills even if they will not become artists.

16. Is your music an avant-garde/underground phenomenon or would you say your work might be understood by the masses? What is your opinion on this?

I have noticed that there are a lot of people who find instrumental music difficult to understand. If they could only break this barrier, they would discover a whole new world of music. Galaktlan could also be part of that new world.

17. A well-known Russian musician and actor, founder of the Pop-Mekhanika ensemble, Sergey Kuryokhin once said: «Art is something that affects you and makes you think». What is art for you?

It is true, no doubt. I have always thought that art and culture are something that are above politics and something that connects people. But sadly, the artists nowadays are in danger. Many of them seem to feel that they are not needed anymore and this is a very bad sign for the society.

18. Can you share any information about Hendrik Luuk? What is he busy with at the moment?

He is raising his son and occasionally performs with his another project Popidiot. We are still good friends.

19. Tell us about your guest material. What have you specially prepared for our podcast?

All the tracks are studio live recordings performed for Data Wave podcast. The tracks sound different from the original versions and there’s a bunch of unreleased material as well.

20. Would you like to say anything to the Data.Wave audience?

Please enjoy the show and support the artists you like.

Official Galaktlan website
Galaktlan on Bandcamp
Galaktlan on SoundCloud
Galaktlan on Facebook

Questions: Ilya Kudrin