You might know him as one half of Mario & Vidis, but Mario Basanov is making firm strides on his own work too. The Lithuanian producer and DJ, who's a celebrated star in his home country, released an album with Vidis in February this year and has previously had music out on the likes of NeedWant, Future Classic and Under The Shade. 2012 will see him release his own solo album and tour both alone and with Vidis through Europe and Brazil, and he plays London's Needwant party this Friday 27th April. Before he sets off, we pinned him down at this turning point in his musical career.
You changed your name to Mario Basanov. Has this become a name you now answer to or is it only a working title for your music? Yes, sometimes I answer to Mario, because over time I’ve got used to this artist name. But I prefer then in casual life people called me Marijus or just Mario. The two often merge together.
What was it like growing up in Lithuania? It was much like growing up in any country I guess. I don’t know that to say, it was absolutely routine life. Except that I was growing up within a family of musicians. I was always listening to only good quality music, and also was playing a bassoon.
Reading up on your home town the words strange and interesting come up? Would you agree with that? How is it strange? Yes, I agree. It’s difficult to say about Vilnius, it’s more of a feeling. Everyone should visit, it's a great city, but much smaller than somewhere like London.
What is the party or music culture like there? The parties and music culture is very varied. From Techno, House, Trance to Dubstep. I think it’s much like everywhere else with lots of different scenes. But it was House music in Lithuania that was most popular in our days.
Any plans on moving to a 'music' capital? London, Berlin or Ibiza? I want to live here in Lithuania, but I’m always glad to have gigs in capital cities and great places such as London, Berlin and Rome. I'm playing most weekends and I’m excited about traveling to all these places: this week is London, later Ibiza, Brazil and more for this year already. But in fact I want to live in Vilnius, it’s my home and family here. I feel good here.
What's your studio set up like? My studio is not big, but it’s enough for me to feel good here. I’m proud of it, because I built it almost by my self. (except equipment which I have). For the past 15 years I use Cubase, sometimes I work with Ableton live, but that's more for preparing for live performances. Also I have Speakers Quested s7, analog synthesizers: minimoog-voyager, prophet 08, Vermona –M.A.R.S., Korg- Polysix, Polyvox, compressor Avalon 747sp, but it’s not enough for me. I want more synthesizers, all these new sounds ripen my new tracks.
What sort of music do you look for to mix with your own when making a mix or doing a remix? It depends for a mix. But in general I always looking for good feel and a real groove in the music. If I feel it, I can do a remix, or I use track in my mixes.
Who are you most influenced by with your production? Silence.
The first I heard of you was with your work with Vidis. Will you continue working together or is there now more focus on your solo work? I’m both working with Vidis and by my own. Sometimes it happens that I spend more time with Vidis, sometimes on my own. I can’t say that I’m more focused on my solo work, maybe right now, but not all the time.
There's a very melancholic and moody feel to much of yours and Vidis' album Changed. Was that the intended sound for the album, or did it just end up that way? Everything turned out spontaneously. It’s like making a vine. You never know if it will be sweet, medium sweet or dry, but sometimes it can be deep.
Baltic singer Jazzu features in quite a few of your productions. Where did you find her? Actually Vidis found Jazzu, and I don’t know exactly where he found her. He just came to the studio, and told me, that he knows somebody who can sing on our style of music. The rest is history.
What have you got coming up this year that you're excited about? I’m very excited about my solo album. I’m working this a lot right now. It’s making me kind of crazy but in a good way.