The renowned artist shares insights on his early musical experiences, monumental concerts, and the emotional inspiration behind his latest project, Northodoxian.
Today we have the pleasure to interview this great artist on Goathead !
GH: Hello there, Inteka. What inspired you to start writing music?
Northodoxian: While I have never formally studied music, I have lived it throughout my life. Starting from my school years, just like millions of young boys before me - school bands, listening to music with friends... as my childhood and youth were spent in the Soviet Union, everything was in great shortage. In the Soviet Union, there was one record label - Melodiya - that released various Soviet-style pop music, occasionally with some friendlier Western artists mixed in. I had all those records. Legendary was Radio Luxembourg, which we listened to, despite the immense interference from special radio jammers used in the Soviet Union to suppress everything that came from the West. We managed to listen to it at certain moments, and it was life-changing. I wrote my first song when I was 16. It was an instrumental piece and won our band the grand prize at a youth ensemble review (festival) during our first major public performance.
GH: Can you tell us more about your experience performing live at gigs and what was the most memorable experience you had?
Northodoxian: I haven't been on stage for nearly 30 years. The last album I fully wrote and produced was released in 1989, featuring an Estonian artist who was quite a big star in the Soviet Union as well. The album reportedly sold over 3 million copies, which probably wasn't very unusual since it was the only record label in that enormous country. However, for us, it meant immediate success. We toured extensively throughout that immensely vast land, which is now Russia. We played in stadiums, with 20-30 thousand people at every concert, 10 stadiums in a row. That experience stays with you for a lifetime, it's something you don't forget, right?
GH: How is your process of songwriting set around?
Northodoxian: I don't have any specific routines or set activities. It all starts in my inspiring home studio, which offers a wonderful view of nature and feels like my second living room, complete with a bar cabinet, a sofa, and a collection of records. A lot depends on a riff or even a sound that inspires me and sets a sequence of actions in motion. When something emerges, I immediately turn it into a 16-bar piece. I have quite a few of these pieces. Then, from time to time, I hold special sessions where I bring several of these pieces onto my DAW screen and see if I can find any connecting solutions, playing around with them. Several songs have been born this way, pieces from entirely different sessions, sometimes even years apart. The art lies in being able to create a cohesive whole from them. And that's the process I refer to as the creative process; simply recording riffs, beats, and pieces isn't truly it.
GH: What motivates you to create music and bring awareness to different situations through your songs?
Northodoxian: I have never created music with a specific political agenda or any grand messages aimed at improving the world, saving it, or depicting the battle between good and evil. The only time I created a song driven by human emotion was when my desk neighbor and one of my best friends tragically passed away. That's when I composed a memorial song ("Igaviku Teel" in Estonian, meaning "On The Road To Eternity"). Now, in the process of creating Northodoxian, an emotion arose when our guitarist Gennadyi, who lives in Mykolaiv, Ukraine, recorded his parts of the last two songs on the guitar while under Russian missile attack. This gave birth to the song "A Hero," the final track on the album, a very anthemic and perhaps even Mike Oldfield-esque piece. It can be said that if this senseless war hadn't happened, this song likely wouldn't have been born. Otherwise, I create purely driven by inner passion or instinct, and worldly matters don't often find their way into my creative work.
GH: Could you share some insights into your next projects?
Northodoxian: I'm currently contemplating how to bring Northodoxian to the stage. We have enlisted a top Estonian director for this project. The goal is to make it as grand and profound on stage as it sounds in the studio, creating a visual, technological, and musical super-hybrid experience. I'll likely be adding more to Northodoxian soon, and the upcoming dark and cold Estonian winter nights outside my home studio window provide just the right Nordic inspiration for that. We'll see you in the spring.