Retrospective and introspective, both meditative and intoxicating rhythms of classic gems and fresh exotics.
#002 / Urbex
Jelisejev, or Justas Jelisejevas in full, is an upcoming DJ and music journalist from Vilnius, Lithuania. These past couple years have been quite hectic for him: from a party-going regular he emerged as a selector with a quite unique taste of electronic music, ranging from tribal feelings to industrial soundscapes. Not to mention interviews he made with Kris Baha, Frak, Neues Fleisch and other freaks we love too.
@justas_j reflected upon his experience as a music selector and party-goer from 2016 to 2018 for this edition of “Urbex”. From a time when he started to play music in venues to a time when he started to seriously question his identity as DJ and selector. The mix is made out of three parts, each of which represents music and emotions that were together with him at the time. Chronological and retrospective.
Your mix for “Urbex” showcases a range of sound going from Brian Eno to Olsvangèr. Would you like to tell us a few words about your selections?
Probably like most people, I build mixes around a narrative. For “Urbex” I wanted to reflect upon my experience as a music selector and party-goer from 2016 to 2018, from a time when I started to play music in venues to a time when I started to seriously question my identity as DJ/selector. The mix is made out of three parts, each of which represents music and emotions that were together with me at the time. Chronological and retrospective.
It is noticeable you have a soft spot for the all-time greats, such as the aforementioned Brian Eno, Ennio Morricone and Front 242, yet your sets also usually display contemporary and fresh releases. What music do you usually dig for and where do you strike the balance between old and new?
When I dig for music, I look for particular sounds that I resonate with the most at the particular moment, as my mood shifts, the music I dig for changes as well. I never had a priority for an era, but it happens so that most of the tunes and rhythmic patterns I love come from 80’s or 90’s artists. Yet there is an unimaginable amount of contemporary artists that produce music I resonate with, it is just harder to find them, since the inflation of information is unstoppable and the classics stand out in it.
You’ve started DJing as part of a gang called “Black Pink Purple” at first, right? Tell us more about the start of DJing and how did you fall in love with music in general.
I remember when I came to “Yucatan” for the first time and by accident Matas Aerobica was hosting his “STRC” party there. I have never heard that kind of music before but at that moment I knew that this music is me. I started to go out constantly and met a lot of people with whom we shared the same interests in music, guys from Black Pink Purple were the ones that supported me the most and encouraged me start sharing my selections.
A DJ and cocktail bar “Amadeus” in Vilnius, run by Manfredas, seems to have become a place of residency for you, attracting a whole new level of attention. Could you tell us more about the relationship between you and “Amadeus”?
My relationship with “Amadeus” is pretty simple, lately in Vilnius a lot of venues that prefer non conventional music have closed or changed so it became almost impossible to organise a decent evening there. “Amadeus” is one of very few places where one can play music without commitments.
2018 seemed like a breakthrough year in the local scene. What happened?
It seems that we have raised a young generation that is fascinated by experimental music and art in general. I have made a lot of great friends that just recently hit their twenties and they are incredibly bright and interesting people. For me it is that a new generation has grew up and matured.
Your first step into 2019 was marked by a fresh track on SoundCloud titled “Sphinx”, reminiscent both of the exotic groove of the Vilnius club scene, and the dark rhythms of the Lithuanian industrial culture. Which local happenings would you say are most influential to you?
I believe “Digital Tsunami” made the greatest influence for me in 2018. After their festival “Digital Tsunami Camp”, I was full of ambition to broaden up my music library, improve my technical DJing skills and finally start learning to produce music. I started to dig deeper into industrial and other more aggressive music genres, I always loved them but maybe I was a bit afraid of how much energy it can release. Yet I am coming back to a phase where I enjoy slower and more mystical tunes.
A young DJ starting out in the scene can find it hard to make a name for himself at first, nevertheless, you have already played in some of the more noteworthy local parties and venues. What was it that helped you distinguish yourself?
Well, I always did everything out of passion and didn‘t seek to climb some kind of ladders of acceptance. I am quite a humble and shy person, but I can‘t stop myself from sharing music that sounds different and is emotionally deep. So I was always looking for ways to share music to wider audiences – DJing was the answer.
Working with Calypso Magazine and having interviewed artists such as Lukas Echterhoff, Kris Baha, Manfredas, the band Frak and others, was there anything that you found particularly interesting or inspiring in such conversations?
Working with Calypso magazine is very influential to me, every artist I speak with enlightens me in different ways and gives authentic insights to music and its production. The most inspiring moments for me are when artists speak their mind about things we have in common, but I couldn‘t have put those experiences or ideas into words better than they did. Then I understand once more how strongly music connects people.
If you could speak to any artist, who would you like to interview the most?
Mozart. I would like to know if he would create electronic music instead of classical if he would still be around.
In the electronic music scene, there are always debates of going international vs. developing the local scene, promoting and exporting music vs. staying underground and insular. As someone involved with the blossoming international platform Calypso, but also a DJ playing in smaller parties, is your ultimate goal to make it big on a foreign scale?
I am always interested in new experiences and every new venue has its own authentic spirit. Of course I would love to experience what does it mean to play outside of Lithuania for different people with different mentality. But it is not my goal.
What was it that got you into “weird-sounding” music at the very start? What did you listen to when you were younger and how did your taste evolve?
My parents have been playing radio 24/7 and I heard all the classical rock and pop music that exists. Eventually I started to get bored of it and wanted to know more. Firstly I found artists such as The Pixies, Jimi Hendrix, Nirvana, Joy Division, New Order, etc. I spent my teenage years with them. Then I wanted to look even for more different sounds. Spotify was a breakthrough for me, that‘s a platform where I was introduced to such projects as Absolute Body Control, In Aeternam Vale and many other artists. The more I learned to more I wanted to know.
Does the constant action of the Vilnius party scene ever get exhausting, if so, what do you listen to or do in your spare time to get a break from it?
Everything that occurs too often becomes dull. At those moments when I feel tired from the constant action I usually spend my time working on some personal creative projects and I don‘t go out much since going out usually involves music or parties. If the weather is good, cycling around the neighbourhood is what I love doing the most.
DJ, music journalist, party-goer, producer – which of your many roles in the scene would you rather accentuate and be known for the most?
I love doing everything and I am not giving a bigger priority for any of these things, since all of them are interconnected. I want to produce ideas that would make people feel or think. So I would like to be known for someone who does that.
By Viktoras Urbaitis and Algirdas Šapoka.
- Richard Bone -The Lurking [Quirkworks Laboratory, 2010]
- Jac Zinder – Children’s Wire [Catasonic Records, 2015]
- Brian Eno – Tension Block [All Saints, 1988]
- The Fixx – Reach the Beach (Dub) [Sonar Kollektiv, 2007]
- Axxess – Xylobones [Lamborghini Records, 1983]
- Richard Wahnfried – Time Actor [Innovative Communication, 1979]
- No Unauthorized – The Human Being (Extended Edit) [Unknown, 1990]
- Moon Wheel – Elbsandsteingebirge [Not Not Fun Records, 2010]
- Baleina 3000 – Heroica (Ambient Mix) [Vlek, 2016]
- Ennio Morricone – Non Fare L’Indiano (Oberwasser Edit) [Not On Label, 2015]
- OGRE and Dallas Campbell – Rabbit Run (Jelisejev Edit) [Spun Out Of Control, 2016]
- Asmus Tietchens – Zeebrugge [Sky Records, 1983]
- Front 242 – See The Future [Alfa Matrix, 2016]
- Rodion G. A. – Cântec Fulger [Strut, 2013]
- Krikor – Paula Abdul [Not On Label, 2018]
- Five o’clock Traffic – After The Orgy [Börft Records, 2013]
- Kelp – Double Punt [Svetlana Industries, 2012]
- SeaDragon – Dale Que Te Dale [Pakapi Records, 2018]
- AT – System [Prima Edizione, 2018]
- Olsvangèr – Jorka [Tofistock, 2018]
- Bruce Roach – Hows Everything 4 [Not On Label, 2018]