We’ve been a bit quiet on the interview front of late, but we’re absolutely made up that we managed to throw a few questions in the direction of one of St. Petersburg’s most exciting talents of the moment, Kito Jempere. Kito (real name Kirill Sergeev) has been busy over the past few years, releasing on a variety of labels, such as Dirt Crew Recordings, Let’s Play House, Freerange, his own label ‘Fata Morgana’, and most recently the mighty Bahnsteig 23.
To get you in the mood, here’s a fairly recent mix from the man himself, put together for Not An Animal.
YAMB: Hi Kirill. For our readers not in the know, can you give us the lowdown on who you are, where you come from and what you do?
KJ: Hi! I live a calm family life in Saint Petersburg, Russia, and produce some music. Since my school years I’ve composed music and I think I can say that in 2005 it started to become something like my first steps towards a “professional career” when I formed the Uniquetunes band (split in 2010 and back to work this year). In 2010 I tried my first solo thing as Saint Petersburg Disco Spin Club and since 2013 I’ve operated under the Kito Jempere moniker.
YAMB: What is your earliest memory of music?
KJ: Ah, I can’t really properly say what was my first (I think some opera where I was going with parents), but first really strong impressions came after listening to the ”Surfer Rosa” album by The Pixies. Thats when I decided that I wanted to connect my life with music.
YAMB: The first record you ever bought?
KJ: It actually was Surfer Rosa, but on CD. I bought it because of the cover when was in the CD shop with my dad. As for first vinyl…hard to say I remember, but it was probably around 2005/2006 when I started to buy a lot (before that i had no equipment to listen vinyl, so my flat was full of CDs). Some Ninja Tune/Warp I think, some cheap records were there for sure, so it was bit mixed up. Cant pick one record, but I have to, let it be Coldcut 😉
YAMB: I recently picked up a copy of Contemporary Sounds of Russia Vol. 1, compiled by St Petersburg Disco Spin Club. I only just found out that’s you. Pretty cool. So, what is SPDSC and will there ever be a Vol. 2?
KJ: I don’t think so. It was a Glenview Records connection and after this record I was working for them as head of A&R for about 2 years. It was an awesome time, but for now the label is on hold. Lets see, maybe one day it will come back with Vol.2 and more.
YAMB: What’s happening musically in St Petersburg at the moment?
KJ: Small bars & techno spots. There was a big techno invasion over the past year/year & a half. But now I’m happy people are getting back into all kinds of music in the clubs, as it all matters. Now I’m happy I can do half disco sets in Mosaique and everybody’s really happy. Also I have really high hopes for New Holland Island, which will be opened this summer.
YAMB: As we’ve already established, your real name is Kirill. What’s the story behind your alter ego, ‘Kito Jempere’?
KJ: Ah I told it so many times, but seems it’s still unknown. My mum told me that I was born under 3 signs of a Japanese emperor: Tuesday, rain and a black dog (you’ll find of these in the Objects album design). So when Jimpster asked me if I want to change name from SPDSC as it didn’t suit my recent production (Confusion EP for Freerange Records) it didn’t take long to choose the name. Emperor of Japan, Japan Emperor, Jemperor, Jempere. As I made ‘e’ the last letter it starts to sound a bit Finnish, and as I love Findland and it’s strongly connected with my childhood, I decided to add Kito – it sounds like a Finnish/Japanese name.
YAMB: Listening through your back catalogue, I can’t pin down a particular sound, but it’s evolved into something pretty spectacular. How would you describe your current sound?
KJ: I don’t think I have one genre or style to underline all production, but I defo have a sound, or let’s call it “way of producing”. You will find that all my music music is made by hand – with no use of quantize etc. and with some special moods etc. Also it’s the way I know or don’t know things – I have pretty obscured harmonies everywhere and not really “right/in-tune” hooks.
YAMB: From what I’ve heard, some of your recent DJ mixes feature quite a lot of Poland’s latest exports, in particular tracks from Zambon’s Transatlantyk. Likewise, those guys have featured some of your releases in radio shows/podcasts etc. What’s the connection there?
KJ: I think 2 years ago my friend from Moscow, Sergey aka Orange (he’s doing bookings for the famous Denis Simachev Shop & Bar) offered to share his recent booking Zambon (TVPCO) and bring him to Saint P. Zambon came with his girlfriend Olga and I remember what a cool time we spent all together with my wife Nastya also. So, right from that weekend we became friends and now we see each other every time I’m in Berlin (he lives there now) and we even had one crazy trip to Poznan Poland with Boiler Room. Loads of vodka etc. Crazy memories. Aside from that I found the Poland sound really amazing. Ptaki and Selvy, Maciek Sienkievich and others. Das Komplex. I play all of these a lot.
YAMB: I need to ask about the new EP. After listening to your Not An Animal podcast (it’s awesome by the way) I contacted you to find out what the hell one of the track was. A few months later and it’s just about to be released on Bahnsteig 23. Can you tell us a bit about the record, in particular ‘Melnaa’, which has already made it on to our end of year list!
KJ: Thanks, I love this podcast too. Well, this release for Bahnsteig is really something special. They are the first original edits I’ve made without adding any instruments etc. All 4 tracks were found and bought on vinyl in different small shops all over Europe and I was playing them heavily in my non-club sets during that period. And then just by chance I made this Melnna just to make it longer and with less vocals and with more of a build-up. So then it goes like crazy and in 1 week I had 5 tracks already, so 4 went on vinyl and 5th one…lets see.
YAMB: You’re releasing on a whole load of different labels, whilst running your own, Fata Morgana. What’s the latest news with that? Any new releases scheduled?
KJ: I’m still thinking on it. It was a project for my album Objects and now it’s completely finished. I need to release maybe one more vinyl with 4 remixes that were released only on cassette. But I had problems with distribution, so now I need to wait. I had a next release by TMO (Lipelis) but now we feel we want to open something for both of us, so lets see how it will roll. Probably Fata Morgana will be a label for Objects only, or maybe not.
YAMB: Who is really doing it for you in the world of music right now?
KJ: Hmmm. Hard to say. My son. When he plays some keys I go crazy.
YAMB: What’s next for Kito Jempere?
KJ: This year is important. I will release a really intimate EP on Room with a View, these Bahnsteig edits, a colloboration EP with my friend Jay Shepheard on Retrofit, I have a track on the Freerange 20 years compilation, I have a remix for Miskotom on Pleasure Unit and I have a second full-length album ready and will soon be released by Hell Yeah Records. Cant wait for these all.
YAMB: Any trips to the UK scheduled?
KJ: Not yet.
YAMB: One record we all need to listen to…
KJ: Let it be that one which is now on my car stereo, “Siamese Dream” by The Smashing Pumpkins
YAMB: Thanks for talking to us and we wish you the best of luck with the new record.