Abul Mogard was born in Belgrade. An ex-factory worker, he began his career in electronic music following retirement. His remarkable debut album (see below) was recently released on C60 cassette via Steve Moore and Anthony Paterra’s excellent VCO Recordings label. Mogard agreed to talk to The Outer Church about his life and music.
What goods did your factory produce?
"It was a steel plant, so we produced and cut steel."
Can you describe its atmosphere and environment?
"We had to work very hard and for many hours. What I recall mostly is the repetitiveness of it, which I suppose influenced the way I make music."
What was retirement like prior to beginning your musical endeavours?
"I felt lost. I think that this happens to most people when they retire. If you belong to an environment for most of your life, it’s difficult to adapt to a new condition."
What made you want to recreate your work environment in the form of music?
"As I am very sensitive to sounds, they mostly act as my memory. I noticed that when I heard sounds similar to the ones of the factory I felt more complete. So music was a consequence."
Why did you start using electronic instruments in particular?
"I don’t have a proper music education, although I was always interested in the quality of the sounds around me. I think I have good ears and always noticed details in what I heard more then others. The variation of timbre and natural reverb when you move to a different place is something that I still enjoy a lot. I then slowly discovered electronic musical instruments, which seemed suitable for me and gradually acquired confidence with them."
Do you recall your initial encounters with music technology?
"Aside from the factory where I worked I enjoyed building small electronic devices like radio transmitters and receivers. I can still remember the first time I could listen to some music coming out of one of these devices made by me. The music wasn’t so clear. It was the mixture of music and interferences and that fascinated me most. I especially enjoyed the way those random noises created unexpected variations on popular tunes. I recall it as my first encounter with electronic music. Over the past few years I built more specific sound machines, which I used a lot on my works."
What inspired you aside from the factory?
"This project was like a diary for me. As I was never very good with words, I embraced music as a way to somehow make my feelings come out of me. I was going through hard times when I made the pieces that are on the cassette and this certainly influenced my work a lot. In those moments music was a necessity more than inspiration. Hopefully it will be different from now on."
Were you also influenced by the sights and sounds of Belgrade?
"I suppose so. I think that when you express yourself making music or other forms of art it is inevitable that you are influenced or inspired by whatever surrounds you. Maybe the more melodic part of my work comes from this."
Do you consider your work to be a ‘true’ form of industrial music?
"I have been associated with industrial music but I never tried to recreate any particular style. My knowledge regarding music genres is not so wide and it all just came very instinctively. I believe my past made my music be this way."
How long did it take to make your first tape release?
"It’s difficult to tell. Since I started it took a few years before I felt that was I was doing was ready to be shared. After that I started looking for some feedback and I feel more than lucky that I got all those positive responses and eventually an official release. I wasn’t expecting that."
Do you feel you successfully achieved everything you set out to do with the tape?
“Yes, I am very happy with the way the tape came out and I even found that the audio quality of the actual cassette is very good and pleasant to listen to. I also love Marja de Sanctis’s artwork as I think it fits really well with the music. For me it’s a deep and personal project and for a while I got very emotional when I played it back. Right now I can handle it much better.”
How did you come into contact with VCO Recordings? Are you happy with how they’ve handled the release?
"After having sent demos to various people, someone told me that Steve Moore and Anthony Paterra were starting a new label. So I sent them a CD together with a short letter with some information about me. Later on they kindly offered to release my work on tape. I am more than surprised that the cassettes sold out so quickly and I truly believe it has a lot to do with the way they have handled this project."
Do you have plans for further releases?
"I am now working on new compositions that hopefully will see the light of day soon. I don’t have any official schedules planned for now."