Freeride Millenium kick off its 2023 with a powerful new EP from Russian emigres Delicate Features – the moniker of Pavel Diakov and Radmila Nikogosian. We sat down with the pair to discuss the upcoming release, which is in response to the war in Ukraine. We also delved deeper into their own reflections and experiences of their native country and their continued hope for peace and freedom for all.

Hello Radmila and Pavel, welcome to Music is 4 Lovers! How has the New Year been for you so far?

Hello Music is 4 Lovers. Thank you for inviting us! For the first time in a long time, the New Year holidays are far away from home. We’ve been living in Georgia since March last year. And on New Year’s eve we were just watching TV, where they were broadcasting live stages from different parts of Tbilisi and it started with a Georgian folk ensemble of a male choir. Truly mesmerising! But then we checked the New Year’s address of Russia’s President and it looked like an apocalypse, like a short film based on Orwell. It’s really difficult to celebrate anything or have fun when so many people in Ukraine are without electricity and heat and at the same time so many people had to leave Russia and are left without a clear future for themselves in foreign countries. So it’s been a tough New Year, but we’re alive and believe that all this madness will end soon. It would be the best gift for many.

You made your debut as a duo back in 2012 and have since developed your sound to create a world of your own. What inspired you to begin working together and who has influenced your sound over the years?

To be honest, it’s love. Pure and sincere. It has always inspired us, connected our hearts and minds. In 2012, when we met, we were both in awe of the “Dull Flame Of Desire” by Bjork and Anthony Hegarty with lyrics of a Russian poet Fyodor Tyutchev:

I love your eyes, my dear
Their splendid sparkling fire…

It’s impossible to mention all the wonderful artists and musicians, there are so many, but we’re especially inspired by national instruments and folk songs of different countries. They carry so much energy of the place they come from.

Is there a story behind your name Delicate Features?

It was Radmila’s idea, it just came to her and she can’t remember now how exactly it happened.

We understand that you have recently fled your native St Petersburg in response to the events that have taken place over the last year. How have you found this experience? Are you settling in?

St Petersburg is a beautiful place, and it feels like our home has been stolen from us. In fact, it’s been like that for a significant amount of time. Even before the events in February 2022, it was tense and only getting worse. What’s sad is that so many people in Russia don’t seem to realise it, as if they were asleep. Ironically, the first track in our previous EP “Fragile”, released in April 2021, is a soviet anti-war poem, translated into English. Although we understood that we would most likely have to leave, we still hoped that everything might change, because some things did change for the better in the recent years. This hope died on the day they attacked Ukraine. When we read the news first thing in the morning we couldn’t believe it was really happening, and by the end of the day we were already packing.

And then everything was like a bad dream. Constant moving and loss of people, who actually supported all this. Now we continue to look for a place where we could finally settle. In the current reality, it is not so easy to do, especially when you have a Russian passport. The Russian government not only killed a huge number of people and destroyed entire cities by its actions, it destroyed the honour and dignity of all its citizens for many generations to come.

Your upcoming release ‘Economic Outlook’ on Freeride Millenium is in direct response to this emigration from your home country. What was your creative process? How did you translate your thoughts and emotions into the music?

It’s our first EP that is completely instrumental, electronic dance music. This is partly due to technical difficulties. After all, for the last year we have been as they say on suitcases, the main equipment was left at home. So we don’t have the opportunity to record vocals properly right now. So we focused on DAW.  On the other hand, its energy kind of shows that we are constantly in stress. 

The latest events in society, the virus, wars, strikes, just show that money cannot rule the world forever. So it was our attempt to create a soundtrack for major changes in the world. The charts of our Economic Outlook are collapsing, they are turning into chaos. Instead love, mutual support, understanding and human relationships begin to prevail in the world. 

The EP is fantastic and is filled with immersive and atmospheric soundscapes that transport the listener. How do you work together as composer and vocalist to combine your ideas?

Thank you very much for the kind words about our new work. In fact, we are not exactly a composer and a vocalist. We do not have clear roles in the creative process and we generally collaborate, exchanging ideas and experience in music, working together on composition and lyrics. Yes, each of us is more savvy in some area, for example, vocals. It sometimes happens that we disagree, but most of the time it leads to the improvement of the result.

What is the most important thing to you as artists and performers?

Sincerity and truth. Usually the most important thing for us is to like what we create and listen to this music ourselves. It might sound selfish. We have a lot of tracks that we haven’t released for a long time, but we just enjoy listening to them without sharing. Anything you create is part of you, part of your environment and time period, and we capture and record this energy through music, when it’s sincere. Sometimes it’s even not so important to have any education in music, neither of us actually do, so we just create what we like.

Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with us today guys! Last thing, what is on the horizon for 2023?

Thank you again for inviting us. All analysts say 2023 will be tough. But our Economic Outlook is full of hope for a brighter future for humanity. We would like to wish everyone the best in the upcoming year, strength and confidence to overcome difficulties we may face and always support one another. 

As for us, we hope we’ll be able to find a place where we can stay and feel safe and work on new material, collaborate with talented people from all over the world. We’re lucky to have support from our friends and people we worked with through these years and from Freeride Millenium, we’re happy to be a part of such a great community.

Delicate Features ‘Economic Outlook’ is out on 23rd February via Freeride Millenium

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