Konstantin Ilyin is a multi-instrumentalist and man behind the instrumental fusion project Konstant Singularity. Back in December, he released his second studio album with the project. It’s titled Randomnicity, and we talked with Konstantin about his work on the record.
Define the mission of Konstant Singularity.
The mission is to prove that music without words can tell a story, reach the heart. Prove that lyrics are not necessary for the music to be interesting and meaningful. I didn’t start the project just to fulfil this mission, but if I manage to make some people listen to instrumental music more, I will be happy. I think nowadays most population considers instrumental music boring.
Tell me about the creative process that informed your debut album Randomnicity.
I have let my subconsciousness to drive the process. I was writing what sounds good to me, what moves me. Without following strict composition rules or harmony tables. For many years I’ve been writing music with my brain and this time it was my experiment to let it go. Most of the time I have been improvising with an instrument: guitar, bass or piano – searching for the melody or harmony. More often with guitar, of course, because it is my main musical tool.
Though the album is instrumental, does it carry any kind of message?
Every composition is a short novel or a story in itself. Although they don’t tell you details, they carry the feelings which I had when I was writing. It is like a snapshot of emotions. This is my way of sharing very intimate thoughts. I would not be able to express them with words. For example “Wind Behind the Windows” was written when I was alone at home, missing my friends, feeling sad that they are so far away. And it was so windy outside, almost like a storm. Just that could make you feel anxious. So these conditions interfered with my feelings. In that composition, I tried to express that sadness and anxiety.
How did you document the music while it was being formulated?
I usually record right away. Whatever I think sounds cool I record on my laptop. And also transcribe in music scores so that I know what I have been playing. And later this recording grows into actual production recording if it is good enough.
Is the dynamic flow of the pieces carefully architected?
It is carefully architected in terms of feelings. I go through the track many times and I try to listen to it as if it was written by somebody else. And I see if I can feel anything. How is this feeling being developed? Is there anything breaking the flow of emotions? In that way, it is very carefully designed. But I don’t sit with a music theory book checking if I follow all the rules.
Describe the approach to recording the album.
I start with an idea, which becomes the draft. I build the skeleton with the main instrument. Sometimes it is a synth or a bass, but mostly a guitar. Usually I find some harmony which excites me. Then I try to imagine what other instruments should be playing and how this harmony can be developed. In most cases, I can see the full arrangement of the piece right away. And then I just have to find all the sounds I have heard in my head.
How long Randomnicity was in the making?
About a year and a half. The work coincided with my relocation to Ireland so I had to spend a lot of time arranging my life in a new environment. It gave me a lot of inspiration, though. Also, the recording and mixing of drums took significant time.
Which bands or artists influenced your work on the release?
I think every band I ever loved influenced my music. I could mention most recent. Andy Timmons influenced my guitar playing. I admire this guitarist so much. His musicality with an instrument — that is what I tried to learn. Also, you could hear some Niacin on “Hyacinth Sky” track. Even the title sounds alike. That is on purpose. With the track “From Deep Inside” I express my love to Esbjorn Svensson, the amazing jazz pianist. He is a music god to me. I could go on and on. Jeff Beck, Scott Henderson, Mutemath, King Crimson. I love different music.
What is your view on technology in music?
This album would not be possible without technology. It is such a great time for a musician. You can record and produce a high-quality recording in your apartment! Isn’t it amazing?! I learned a lot just watching Youtube. All the great people sharing their experience. I would not be able to meet all my gurus in person. But the Internet gives me a possibility to get a piece of their knowledge and wisdom. For me, technology is a tool. It is not good and not bad. The way you use it defines if it is good or not.
Do you see your music as serving a purpose beyond music?
I use music to control my emotions. If I want to get more relaxed I turn on some smooth jazz. If I want to pull myself together I listen to metal. I hope my music will serve people in happiness and sadness. When someone in a storm of emotions turns on my music… This empathy inspires me. I am so grateful to my favourite musicians that their music accompanied me in hard and great times. I can only dream that I could do the same for somebody else.
What are your plans for the future?
Currently I have a plan to work on progressive fusion album with my mates from “Jam It!” band. Maybe learn some new musical instrument. And of course, I have some ideas for the next Konstant Singularity album. I hope to bring more good musicians to the next recording to make it more diverse and “spicy”.
Randomnicity is available from Bandcamp. You can also stream it below.