With a mixture of house, 90s extravagant pop music and jazz influences, the post-Soviet pop star defied the limits of Eastern Europe mainstream with his debut album “Co’n’Dorn” released back in 2011. Blending his different influences, the artist managed to create his own trend on the Ukranian music scene becoming with just a few singles, one of the most exciting acts of his generation. Always playing with the thin gap between mainstream and underground music, the artist stands out not only thanks to his avant-garde music style, but also with his flamboyant performances making of him a successful judge in the Ukranian version of “The Voice.”
In 2016, he decided to create his record label Masterskaya that he shaped up as the mirror of his own musical expression. After working exclusively in Ukranian, the young artist decided to move to Los Angeles to release his first English-only album soon-to-be released. We had a chance to chat with Ivan Dorn about his influences, his new record label, his moving to Los Angeles and his relationship with his fans.
Highclouds: Since the beginning of your career, you have been inspired by different sounds. Where do you get your inspirations from?
I am getting it out of everything. It could happen while I am digging vynils in store, or walking with music playing in my ears, or while I am taking shower… There are many options, but the main thing is that I can anywhere whenever I want! Talking about the music, now it is jazz and classic music commonly: Tchaykovskiy, Prokof’ev, Hachaturian, Coltraine, Miles Davis, Dave Brubeck…- here are those guys now I am inspiring by!
After a career completely in Ukranian, why did you decide to release an album in English?
It is simple! I always like to challenge myself. I think that getting my foreign audience, especially in well advanced and developed world music market, it is a big challenge! I want to compete for my audience and to prove to myself, that iI can have it, because I reached a plateau in CIS countries.
What can you tell us about Masterskaya, your new record label? How do you pick the artists that are going to be released via your label?
Masterskaya is a platform for another artist to be seen, but they need to fit my own taste , which is totally spreaded (it is as good as bad)! Main criteria is that artist should do his stuff because of the music – honestly, innovative, rebelly, musically right for me and my taste! that’s it! Nowadays almost every musician, upcoming or existing, knows that we are searching for new stuff and they can send their music to firstname.lastname@example.org, where we are always checking deliveries and responding. A year ago, when we just had launched Masterskaya there were just me and my friends, who were looking for artists via social recourses and street rumours! it was completely push-searching period!
How did your experience in “The Voice” as a judge help you to showcase your unique voice into the mainstream?
Ammmmm, actually, I don’t know! I don’t think that judging The Voice show is an opportunity to showcase your unique voice, because it’s more about your own taste, your music inspiration, which you sharing with your team and “showcasing’ to the audience. My goal in The Voice was to find some some artist for my upcoming, at that moment, label and to realize possibilities of the new generation arsenal. Plus to share my experience, since I have been getting it for more than a decade. And I did it.
“[My fans] are totally digging it now, so they wouldn’t change their relation towards me and my music, or they changing it in parallel with my changes in the same direction!” – Ivan Dorn
In which way the fact that you moved to Los Angeles will inspire your new direction as a musician? How are you feeling in the US and how different is it from working in Ukraine?
Moving to LA inspires me just because it’s a new place, where I can have so many options to be inspired by: palm trees (we don’t have them in Ukraine), people, weather, ocean, at the end of the day LA – is a world’s music epicenter, where I can find musicians to collaborate, cool synths to buy and use them in the album, find cool lyric writers… I can tell just about the difference between KYIV and LA in recording album process: it is a lot easier to do that in LA, because every other recording engineer in LA studios is a real PRO and they know how to get that sound that I want. Almost each studio is well equipped and has big selection of everything from mics to consoles (we don’t have so many cool studios in KYIV) – rest is, probably, same.
In which way do you think your old Ukranian fans can relate to your new direction?
They are totally digging it now, so they wouldn’t change their relation towards me and my music, or they changing it in parallel with my changes in the same direction! And I am very grateful to them for that support.