The Internet might be awash with production courses that promise users they’ll be a dab hand at Ableton etc in next to no time, but far more impactful are actual in-person bootcamps of the like offered by Ukraine’s House of Culture, “Masterskaya”. Founded by acclaimed Ukranian DJ/producer Ivan Dorn, the idea behind the courses – free for any fledgling musician in the EU to apply to – is that aside from studio time, they’ll also be granted with the tools to start a career in the music industry. In these times when positivity and good news stories are all too rare, we felt this was an opportunity worth embracing. We decided to put some questions to its director, Grigory Fatyanov, about what was to come. All in all, this sounds like a great opportunity!
Please introduce yourself and give us some background on who you are and what you do.
Hi, my name is Grigory, and I am the director of the record label Masterskaya, as well as the director of the House of Culture “Masterskaya”, a music hub founded by Ivan Dorn. The hub has three recording studios, the largest collection of vintage synthesizers in Ukraine, a small stage for 150 people and a small bar. All this is located in the city centre of Kyiv.
How has the last year been for you personally, professionally and musically?
Due to the situation with COVID, which was faced by the creative industries around the world, it is impossible to add the year to an asset because it was not filled with those events because most of them were cancelled. From the point of view of professional development, this year can be considered an asset because I devoted more time to my personal business education.
Do you think we need music now more than ever? Does music act as form of therapy for you?
Definitely, music gives us emotions. And if you answer the second part of the question – yes, music is to some extent a therapy for me.
Do you think there are a lack of great initiatives currently like this? And what makes this one stand out from the crowd?
I have been in the music industry for over 15 years. I started working as an artist manager and record label manager, mainly with electronic music. Later, I began to work as a booking manager and organizer of events in the CIS countries. During this time, the labels under my control released about 80 releases on vinyl; we organized many events. We made our own stage of the legendary festival Kazantip Republic. During all this time, I have booked about 180 artists, including such names as Alan Fitzpatrick, Benno Bloom, Blake Baxter, Haim, Dave Seaman, Deepchild, Funk D’Void, Gel Abril, Guy J, Guy Mantzur, Gwen Maze, Henry Saiz, Hernan Cattaneo, John Digweed, John Rundell, Just Be (Bushwacka!), Layo & Bushwacka, Louis Junior, Marco Bailey, Marc Marzenit, Michalis Safras, Monkey Brothers, Nick Muir, Nicola Gala, Pig and Dan, Psycatron, Robert Babich, Sahar Z, Santos, Sasha, Slam, Superlounge, Timo Maas and others.
How did you get involved in the music industry and when did you join House of Culture Masterskaya?
I went to the Masterskaya at Ivan Dorn’s invitation; he turned to us at an advertising agency to help him realize his idea of creating a creative hub and a record label. We caught fire with this idea because we liked it, and at some point, our relationship moved from business to partnership. After that, I headed both the label and the House of Culture “Masterskaya”.
Tell us about this new MasterCamp, how it came about, what the idea is, how hard it has been to get off the ground?
The idea has been in the air for a long time. I wanted to make a musical residence, where we could gather under one roof artists from different countries who live in small towns. Using the example of our record label Masterskaya, we get most of the music from artists from the regions, but, unfortunately, not everyone has the opportunity to make a record properly, prepare their biography, an electronic press kit, because they do not know how to do it. I solve this problem; together with the team, we have developed a program – a basic course for novice artists. But we realized that it is quite voluminous and large-scale, and we cannot cope with this task alone. We were lucky that last year we could formulate our idea and apply for competition within the framework of the Creative Europe program, which the European Union supports. It’s great that our project has become one of the winners in the territory of Ukraine, and now we can implement it with the support of the EU.
Can you tell us a bit about your relationship with Ivan Dore and who else is involved in the project?
He is the mastermind behind the project. Unfortunately, due to his busy schedule, he will not fully participate in the project. Still, I am sure that he will have time to hold a motivational meeting with the participants.
Tell us about the sort of experts you have sharing knowledge then? How did they end being part of the story?
While creating our program, we tried to cover all aspects and spheres of activity that a young artist encounters in one form or another. I will talk about how the music business works, who the main players are and how an artist interacts with them throughout his career. Next, we will have a block on copyright, which will be led by my colleague Alexander Selivanov, one of the leading Ukrainian lawyers in the field of copyright. This is a crucial topic that most artists do not pay enough attention to, leading to problems if the artist reaches great heights. We’ll cover the marketing and promotion of artists and the tools that every artist needs to use. Within the framework of this block, Valentin Panyuta, a leading expert in marketing, the leader of the advertising agency Fedoriv, will become teachers, and Daritsa Torkovskaya, co-founder of the Music Export Office of Ukraine, will help him in this. Next, we will move on to artist promotion, and Alex Jukes from the Jukebox agency will help us with this. As part of his lecture, he will tell you what you need to pay attention to young artists who want to promote themselves and their music. Next, we will have a lecture on organizing tours and offsite events, which will be given by Natalya Podabed – concert director of artists such as alyona alyona and shortparis. And at the end, there will be a lecture on finance with the direct participation of Chris Cook – known to many music managers and artists from his CMU resource, where he is the chief editor.
What format will it take, where will it be?
We have divided the program into two stages. After selecting applications, 60 participants go to our impromptu online university, where within 7 weeks, they will have the opportunity to go through all the basics of the music business that I talked about earlier. Next, we will select 20 participants from among those who will be active in this phase and complete all homework. After that, we bring 20 participants to Kyiv, to our House of Culture “Masterskaya”. We provide them with round-trip tickets, as well as accommodation. As part of the second stage, the participants will have a week, which they will spend learning the basics of music production, recording, mixing and mastering at our recording studios. We hope that the joint work in the studio will push them towards closer musical collaboration, which will result in cool tracks, which we will then release as a separate compilation on our label.
Is this something you wish you were able to avail of as a young musician?
Yes, absolutely. Considering that I myself am from a small town, I understand how valuable this information would be for me.
What are you most looking forward to about the camp?
The fact that we can do cool networking between artists, musicians and performers from different countries. I hope that this will show that it is better to build bridges than walls and that music has no boundaries. I would be glad if, as a result of this program, most musicians will have the opportunity to expose themselves more thoroughly.
What made the Ukraine government and the EU want to become involved in this project do you think?
Ukraine recently joined the Creative Europe program, which exists with the support of the European Union. Most organizations from our country, such as ours, have the opportunity to implement really cool projects in the field of music and creative industries. I think this is a great opportunity for all of us.
What else have you got coming up/are you working on?
We are launching several music projects for both the local and European markets – these are young musicians who are just starting their way into the industry. We hope this year to organize our own small music festival in Kyiv if there are no restrictions associated with the epidemic situation. And we are developing one project with one of the international brands aimed at supporting young artists from regional centres in Ukraine.