Miles Away by Jekka
Our friend and talented musician Jekka has made a mixtape for Aloha Gaia. Recently Jekka has started the next chapter in her grand experiment with Russian folk music and released of her first mini-album called "YUNOST". In the interview for Aloha Gaia she told us about her life path as a musician, challenges that she has faced, things that inspire her to create music, and her talismans.
Tell us a few words about yourself. What is your name as a musician?
I can be called Jekka. In high school, I had a ridiculous nickname: as I have a long last name and it cannot be made short, everyone called me Jekkson. And then, it transformed into Jekka, and remains the same.
How long have you been looking for your music style?
Music has always been present in my life. All years I can remember I have always sung. Usually, all children sing, but they do it unconsciously. For me, it became a more conscious process when I was 8-9 years. At that time, I started to write tunes in my notebook in the form of texts.
The funny thing is that the first song that I remember was about the carousel, and the song that I first wrote in my notebook was called "Feeling like a kid again’. Then I imagined that I'm an adult, but singing about what it's like to be a young girl. So, I can say that since I was 9 years old I have been recording songs. Now I play electronic music because it is created using the virtual and electronic instruments. I am a composer, arranger, and singer.
And did you play any musical instrument as a child?
No. It so happened that my parents have not brought me to a music school, although I really wanted to play the piano. Therefore, I was trying to learn by myself. My parents had their own direction that they chose for me, and the music was not a priority. So, I never got a traditional musical education. Through trial and error I began to play some melodies on the keys, and then, fortunately, technology came. They allowed me to expand and experiment with sounds, so I learned specifically to convey the sounds that were born in my head.
Have you learned everything on your own or there were mentor musicians?
I have always been a very closed person and not particularly sociable. And even now I think this has not changed a lot. It is always very difficult to be in among a big group of people, so there were no like-minded musicians around. Already at the Architectural Institute, I found the band and started to sing with guys. They were looking for a vocalist: the band was composed of middle-aged British expatriates, and they just loved to get together and play musical instruments.
I was looking for people with whom I can just sing and try me songs in practice. We used to play covers of Diana Ross, different country, and jazz musicians. Usually, we played in all sorts of strange places and bars. Once I remember we played in one club called ‘Point". It was probably our biggest concert place at that time. In fact, in this exact club, I met someone who became my mentor. I usually wrote my own stuff and was not interested in foreign music, neither I was looking for new musicians.
You have just recently released your extended play. There, clearly identifiable voice vibration that reminds us of folk singing can be heard. Tell us, what has inspired you for this EP?
This year I chose the creative direction of Russian folk music. That is an authentic musical folklore: field recordings mixed with records from various expeditions. I was very inspired as it gave me lots of motivation to do something new.
Now, unfortunately, Russian folk art is not taken seriously. Partly because everywhere at fairs and festivals with Russian folklore, it looks ridiculous, with the poor quality of performance and has an entertainment format.
In Russian folklore, each song has its place and time. Certain songs cannot be performed in the summer if they are meant to be for the winter. It is a form of interaction with nature. Everything is timed to the events and ceremonies. For example, in the early spring people were come up to the high places, to awaken the earth and the sun, they sing special songs so that spring could hear them.
Have you always been interested in Russian folklore?
Never. In my youth, I was not a fan of musicians except for Destiny's Сhild and Whitney Huston who have influenced me a lot. In my childhood, I loved R'n'B music.
Do you draw inspiration from nature or traveling?
I recently went to Montenegro: there one can see incredibly beautiful nature, spectacular lakes, and combination of forested mountains and blue sea that are impossible to forget. But local lifestyle seemed too slow and relaxed for me. I'm still more of a city person: I cannot do anything and just lie on the beach. Of course, there were a couple of days when I had to force myself not to rush. So just walk slowly: indeed, in Montenegro, no one is in a hurry. So if you hear “15 minutes", you can confidently transfer it into an hour.
What needs to happen for you to sit down and write songs?
This is always different. But most importantly is that my life had constant changes both inside and outside. And, of course, successfully catching the moment that touches my soul. I even try to find the vibe that can inspire in small things around.
I'm not a musician: I can't sit with the instrument and create music this way. Usually, if an idea comes to my mind, I'm going for a walk and think about it. And then it will become more detailed for me. Also, if we talk about writing lyrics: it is very important for me to be on the move and be distracted by other thoughts.
How many albums have you already released?
I have released two albums and one collaboration. And recently I have released the third mini-album. By the way, I have no label, I release everything by myself.
You wrote a mixtape for Aloha Gaia. Tell us more about it and why do you love our brand?
If we talk about the mixtape, I love melodic music, which can then be repeated and stays in my mind. In the tracks that I have selected, there is an interesting combination of femininity and inner strength. I was guided by this: for example, sensual voice and guitar music. The confrontation of tenderness and strength is about women, I think. Sometimes under a feminine and sophisticated appearance, inner core and strength are hidden.
I love that all Aloha Gaia jewelry is quite subtle but pretty massive and serious. This combination of confidence and gentleness has impressed me a lot. Natural motifs and ornaments in the design are very delicately embedded with every detail so that everything looks magical.