Calm, slow and steady grooves of ambient waves and soundscape walls.
#007 / Urbex
Marius Va is known to most of the people who are into electronic music here in Lithuania. At least to the active side of it: promoters, organizers, DJs and other enthusiasts. For some years he’s been running a radio show called “Dėžė Dėžutėj” (en. “A Box In a Box”) on “Start FM” radio and questioning every other interesting personality of this niche music scene. Without hesitation and giving shit to stupid comments, he has been doing this for half a decade now.
Although Marius Va spent his time talking with people, his music has always been mostly speechless, calm, steady and raw in a sense. His selections has always been melancholic and ambient-related, covering beatless grooves and soundscapes from different scenes, times, places and environments. His sound is full of calm sense and magical feeling, giving you goosebumps on an early festival morning or late home night. Take a seat and chill your anxiety.
You are most known as the host of an underground radio show “Dėžė Dėžutėj” (en. “A Box in a Box”). What was your relationship with music before becoming a radio DJ?
My deeper introduction to music began during my teenage years when I started getting to know the hip-hop culture. I started listening to both Russian and Lithuanian rap, tried creating tracks myself. In retrospect it was quite an important time in my life when I was trying to understand my outlook of the world. In late 2007 while attending an event in a pub “White Elephants” for the very first time I heard dubstep and it completely blew my mind. From that point on all my attention shifted mainly to electronic music in general. As time went on my personal need for more subtle music grew, that was when I discovered the “Sutemos” net-label. This discovery marked the beginning of the formation of my taste and outlook on music. My personal collection of music and knowledge was growing rapidly and then I understood that I wanted to share it with others and this revelation was behind the birth of the radio show “A Box in a Box”.
You’ve asked hundreds of questions behind the microphone during all the years in radio. Do you often switch sides and become not the inquisitor, but the responder?
Yes, during those four years when we started doing broadcasts on the “Start FM” radio station, we had the pleasure of doing many interviews with producers, event organizers and other individuals who had direct ties with the electronic music scene. I think the best conversations happened when the formalities and roles of a typical interview disappeared and a genuine discussion between two people would start to take place. Then the conversation would get a breath of fresh air, personal stories, opinions would push more monotonous answers to the side. But, to be honest, that wasn’t always achievable.
Your music reflects your persona perfectly – calm, slow and steady. Even though a lot of things changed, you stayed behind the radio mic, slow and steady, without trying many other possible roles in the scene. Do you think music always reflects our inner selves?
If I’m talking about myself I would agree that the energy of a person’s preferred style of music can reflect his current state of mind, way of life or even his character. On the other hand I have spoken to many industrial, noise artists and even though these styles are often quite dark and aggressive in reality all of the artists were really positive people. So judging from that experience I would tend to disagree with this argument.
You’ve been reflecting the scene actively in the radio for perhaps the past 5 years. How has it changed during this time?
During those five years the show changed its format, team members were also changing. Currently I am alone, trying to continue the work which has been started under the “A Box in a Box” name.
Explain the name of your show “Dėžė Dėžutėj” (en. “A Box in a Box”).
I wanted the name of the show to reflect the subtleties of the electronic music scene. To show that it’s not just a random mix of primitive sounds, that if you actually devote your time to look through all the boxes, eventually you can find refined, quality music. That’s why “A Box in a Box” symbolises the process of “digging”, which is a part of every creator’s daily life.
You promote your radio show nowadays as a “search of musical calmness”. In general, calmness is a repetitive motive in your work. Are you an anxious person searching for inner peace?
There is so much noise in everyday life which disrupts your balance, for that reason I try to project calmness in my radio shows. Calmness is the feeling that I get from listening to music and to me the ability to be calm is a thing of luxury.
What’s your most memorable interview?
I don’t want to single out any one of my interviews as being the most memorable because I feel deep respect for each and every one who came to our show to share their personal experience and perspective of musical culture.
“Dėžė Dėžutėj” is one of few radio shows speaking about non-commercial, underground music. In addition to this, for a period of time it was the only show speaking about this scene. What do you think about music journalism in Lithuania in general?
I think that currently in Lithuania the state of electronic music journalism is quite sad. I remember when I used to read Daina Dubauskaitė reviews, her interviews with various artists. I can say that she is the only one who I could call a music journalist. But at the same time I’m glad that the website “Ore.lt” still exists, which not only thoroughly explores and publishes musical reviews, but also examines societies social processes. We should also be glad for the international success of “Secret Thirteen” magazine. I truly would like to see many more of these initiatives to appear, that would truly help us widen our perspective about our local electronic music scene. Looking from the side it appears that our scene is really active, there are many things to talk and to write about, but the group of people doing it is quite small.
Although you’ve stayed as a keystone of the aforementioned radio show, a few people have been around you since the start, constantly changing. Who are they and what happened?
The first one to join me was Laimonas Salimovas (Malvo) when we used to share our musical selections on “Audiomastering.lt” internet radio. When we started doing shows for “Start FM” radio Eduardo De Bucini also joined us. Malvo is currently actively playing and belongs to the “HAARP” and “Ghia” movements and Eduardo has left his music-oriented days behind him. In 2015 I invited Shapoka to the team and I’m happy to say that during his time with us he started shaping Ghia, which currently is the face of industrial scene of the Lithuania. Later on Jaroška joined our ranks and I was lucky enough to see him grow as an artist and now he is picking the fruit of his labour. I want to thank each and everyone who was a part of this show because the thing that united us was our love for music and this culture.
As a strong proponent of ambient and new age music – how would you evaluate this genre’s scene in Lithuania?
This musical genre is quite niche in the context of electronic music and it’s hard to evaluate and perceive it as a scene compared to other genres. I’m happy that no matter the circumstances you can still find quite a few events. For example, Electron Emitter organize live shows every Sunday where you can discover new artists who play really beautiful ambient music. Also in the beginning of every Minimal Monday party artists never miss a chance to play more relaxing, close to ambient genre music. But, in my opinion, the biggest event is the festival “Yaga”, where during the four days you can hear many artists from around the world playing and cultivating the ambient genre in the Chill Out stage.
- Akira Ito – Praying for Mother / Earth, PT1 (Light In The Attic, 2019)
- Suzo Saiz – Abrazo Mirando (Music from Memory, 2019)
- Kareem Lofty – Equilibrum (Quiet Time, 2018)
- Yoshio Ojima – Flius (Wacoat Art Center, 1988)
- You Will Never Get to Heaven – Vapor Frames (Yellow K Records, 2017)
- Gigi Masin – Ship Beetel (Music from Memory, 2014)
- DJ Healer – Far Away (Planet Lonely, 2019)
- Acronym – Final Decision (Field Records, 2017)
- Mike Nigro & Andrew Osterhoudt – In Between (Constellation Tatsu, 2018)
- Other Joe – I Was that the Book (Self-realeased, 2019)
- Hyperspace Jelly – Cave Dive (Self-realeased, 2019)
- Sonmi451- Probe (Astral Industries, 2019)
- Money Morning – Therah (Acting Press, 2017)
- JON – Tristitia (Self-released, 2018)
- Isorinne – Medan Världen Passerar Förbi (Northern Electronics, 2018)