1. What's the first piece of music you listened to today?
James Brown—I'm black and I'm proud.
2. What are your vices?
Smoking, cheese and bread, coffee, e-mail.
3. What is one of your prejudices?
I think teenagers are deformed.
4. In what way do you think music has the ability to change the way people live their lives?
In today's world, nothing can change people's lives, in the sense that I think you are intending the question. Music is the universal language, but there is no more universal. Art, music, literature is a fetish, and so is politics, family and spirituality.
5. At what age did you first feel distrust?
It feels prenatal.
6. Do you think that your name is appropriate for you? (If not, what name would be more appropriate?)
I'm Soviet by birth and I think I got the right name, but I do feel that it's been lost in translation. I would have preferred Fela Kuti.
7. What is the best piece of music you've ever created, in your opinion?
Does this mean something I've composed (or supposed, as I like to call it), or something that I've executed? If it's the former, then I'd have to say "I Saved a Junky Once." (It's a song that appears on Deep Dark United's Ancient CD and also on my own current CD, Connexions.) If it's the latter, I'm sure I'll never know.
8. Right now, how are you trying to change yourself?
I want to always be gentle and kind.
9. If you had the time, what else would you do?
Paint pictures, make sculptures out of stone or brick and mortar, take a poetry class, play badminton and ping pong everyday, install a "green" roof on my house and grow my own food, get off the grid, learn French, go to Africa and S. America with my family...or at least camping in Northern Ontario.
10. What social cause do you feel the most strongly about (negative or positive)?
Food and school.
11. What are your fears?
That I'm not a human being.
12. What is your favorite joke (tasteful or tasteless)?
13. Who is your favorite author?
Right now it's Hannah Arendt (although she's not an author per se). I've sort of fallen out of reading fiction in the last couple of years although the last piece of fiction I tried was Sheila Heti's Ticknor and it was terrific. I love Isaac Babel and Kafka. Osip Mandelstam is my favorite non-English poet.
14. What is your favorite movie?
15. Favorite album(s) from the last few years?
Matthew Welch's CDs are great (he's a composer, and bag-piper from NY). I love the Ethiopiques series. Laura Barrett's CD is great—I like the way the words rest in her mouth and the kind of chords she builds with her thumb piano...but the thing about recordings that I always have to say is that I prefer to hear someone, almost anyone (as long as it's not in an arena, or at some ultra-hyped indie pageant) play live any day of the week.
16. What would you like to know more about?
17. What is one thing you would like to do/see/accomplish before you die?
The only thing I ask for at this point, is for my children to out live me.