We publish a shortened translation of an exclusive interview with Bogdan Taran from April, 2015, initially published in afisha.eu
Interview, photo: Anna Gabo
Bogdan Taran, a renowned Riga DJ, came to Double Coffee by bicycle despite a still cool weather. A free fashion style posed that he is a person, who is a DJ and an author of popular tracks, as well as a professional working in the field of electronic dance music. Among his achievements in addition to the first place in the top of Latvian DJs, which he hold for several years, is own record label Amber Muse Records and own radio show Dance Box (Archive. Now there is an Amber Muse hour at Radio Naba – a comment by Expats in Riga). Bogdan Taran is also one of the founders of internet magazine about electronic dance music (now TestPress – a comment by Expats in Riga). An active lifestyle defines a communication style. Indeed an interview appeared to be intense and wide.
AG: Now you are a well known DJ, but it would be interesting to know, how it started. Please, tell when and why did you decide to dedicate yourself to electronic music?
BT: Initially I was interested in electronic music. My parents had a big collection of Soviet vynil with various records, also from other countries. In Soviet Union vinyl plates of those foreign artists, who were allowed, were pressed. I started to listen to and found myself deep into it…
In the end of 80s and in the beginning of 90s I was even listening to Russian music and attended concerts by Russian musicians, who were regular guests then, interviewed them – I started my journalist’s career those days. That was the beginning of my interest in music in general.
In 1992 because of a lucky coincidence in a newspaper «СМ-Сегодня» I read an article or an interview with Ugis Polis and Janis Krauklis about their first radio station they opened in Riga, where a dance music was played. Since I was an active with lots of goals in my head, I called them and said: I want to do a program. They answered: Come, visit us and tell. I came, told, and started to create a show about Russian music. But in general this radio station played progressive electronic dance music: acid house, jungle, drum’n’bass. I got into this environment and was amazed by the sound.
AG: So, everything startted from radio DJing.
BT: Mostly yes. But everything started a little bit earlier. Already at school I got an access to radio room. I was trying to create own small programs during the breaks. Later I got to the big radio.
AG: Now you work as a promoter and as a musician. When everything just started, what was the first – a work as a DJ or as a promoter?
BT: As a DJ. In December, 2003, when Max Lomov, who I work with now, one more friend of mine, Anatoly Roytman, who some time ago went to England and lives there, and me decided that we need to organise parties. Those days I was actively DJing around the Baltics and didn’t have time for a work as a promoter. I told them: Guys, do it, I have neither time for that nor interest. They started and later on, in two or three events, I joined them. So the work as a promoter began in the middle of 00s.
AG: Those days, when you started to be a DJ, what was the main benchmark for you, what inspired you?
BT: I was always led my an emotional side, I liked house music very much, so I was listening to radio shows, including those on BBC, Dutch and German radio stations. I watched shows on MTV, when on Fridays and Saturdays they had a program Party Zone. No matter how trivial it could sound, it is a love to the music. I liked music very much, and I still like it a lot. It was the main moving force.
AG: How did you get to Love Parade in 2006 and how did it look like – to participate in such a big event and perform in front of a numerous audience?
BT: I would start from a small background. Until 2006 there was a four year break. Love Parade was not organised because of financial constraints or absense of support by Berlin authorities. In 2006 they decided to change an economic scheme a bit and found sponsors and organised a contest among European countries. They had selected platforms and created a voting. Those who had got the largest amount of voices received platforms with a defined budget. Then leading DJs form the Baltics, namely Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia, were very active and cooperated. We organised a campaign using radio and as a result of voting we got the second place, after Poland. This way we got one platform, where Marius Ivanov and Mindaugelis from Lithuania, me, [ex] Da Bass and Lona from Latvia as well as Kolsaar from Estonia participated. Of course, it was cool. I had not been to Love Parade before. And I don’t like events with big number of people as much as I like small parties. It is difficult to describe by words, but it was impressive. It is like you are moving on a big kind of a ship in a sea of people. The people who surround you are smiling and experience positive emotions. This lorry was moving quite slowly, so we could jump off it and walk in a zone of urban forest. During 6 or 8 hours we didn’t face any kind of aggression from people who gathered there. That was a positive point.
AG: Let’s talk about Riga stage. Which place does Riga take among other cities in the world, where electronic music is played and danced to?
BT: If we could imagine a contest between the capitals of the Baltic states, the first place would take Vilnius. I don’t know how would the places be distributed among Riga and Tallinn. Partly and probably to a big extent it is related to the fact that the population of Lithuania is bigger. Secondly, people in Vilnius are kind of more hungry in a sense that they are willing to listen to electronic dance music. In addition to that there are at least two or three radio stations in Lithuania, which play dance music. In Riga formally there is one, which plays a kind of rough material. It is not related to the scene we are talking about right now. In fact, there is no a dance music radio station in Riga. And this also defines the fact that there is a music information background, which ensures that people get to know more, while in Riga there is no such.
AG: Basically, this answers my previous question as well as the question what could be changed.
BT: Yes, we together with Maksim (Max Lomov – a comment by Expats in Riga) are trying to do it all the time. In 2006 I participated in a contest by National radio and television board for the frequency in order to create a dance radio station, but won another participant. After that we created our own internet radio project danceradio.lv.
AG: You have a very active lifestyle, work a lot, do a creative and promoter’s work, write music, perform, invite artists to the events and work on own internet resource. How do you manage to do it all?
BT: The largest share of my life takes music. But all that you have counted, a radioshow, a website, and events – there is enough time for these as well.
AG: Could you elaborate on your own creative plans?
BT: To work on music. Now we work on a project Taran and Lomov.
AG: Thank you for your time!