by Alex Poznyak
I was born in the small Ukrainian town of Sumy in 1986, during Perestroika. The best moments of my childhood were spent running around with my best friend and making wooden carvings. My parents were constantly concerned with all the economic troubles that came about during the post-Soviet period, but as a kid, I just was trying to make the most of what I had around.
In the ‘90s, I was a passionate music lover. These were the times when we recorded songs from the radio on to cassettes.
At the age of 15, listening to music wasn’t enough for me. I wanted to let out the music that I was hearing in my head. I was lucky enough to get a computer, which was a rare luxury for those times. I wanted to write music, and my first attempts included using samples to make my own tracks. I would take sample packs, find the sounds that I liked, and combine them into a song. My first attempts were in a program called CoolEdit Pro. Maybe some of you still remember this tool. Later, I found one of the first releases of the FruityLoops application. That was somewhere between 2000 and 2002.
I furthered my music production attempts by using my own beats created within FruityLoops and then putting samples on top of it. But I couldn’t stop there. I remember when I first heard “Time of Our Lives” by Paul Van Dyke back in 2003. My first thoughts were, “Oh my God!!! What a wonderful melody! How can I do something like that?” I started looking through the huge sample packs I had accumulated over time and found nothing. I started to hate the fact that instead of making real music, I was searching for samples. What if I played music myself?
I became obsessed with the idea of being able to play some kind of instrument. The only problem was, we didn't have any musical instrument shops in the city! I couldn’t figure out what instrument to buy and where. Plus, I had to worry about how much it would cost. There was a local shop that sold some household equipment, like washing machines, fridges, etc., but when I went in, I saw there were two synthesizers for sale: a Casio ctk-811ex and a ctk-711. The ctk-811ex sounded more professional to me, since an 811 seemed better than a 711, right!? This was my dream come true, but I was still in school and didn’t have any money to buy it. Instead, I started asking my dad. He’s a smart guy, so he told me that if I found a music teacher and started learning music, he would buy it for me within the next month. And he did! I was taking piano lessons with a private teacher for two years, which is the only “official” music education I’ve had. Everything else I’ve learned, I did so through practice.
I continued my generous attempts at writing music. Then it came time to choose what I’d do for a living. I couldn’t imagine I would be able to earn money doing music. I entered university in Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine. My studies were boring as shit, but that was my chance to stay in Kyiv. I was still bringing my tracks to local producers, but I didn’t have any luck. At the same time, my skills were becoming better and better. I started leaning toward rock music and played in a couple of bands at that time.
One day, my friend told me there was a major jazz big band called Alex Fokin RadioBand who were looking for a sound guy. I decided to take a chance. and eventually I started working as a sound-engineer back in 2007.
I had to do studio, FOH and monitoring engineer tasks, and I was involved in such projects as DVD Schiller 2008 (Part "Live in Kyiv"), as well as shows with “Schiller,” Freddy Ravel, and Walfredo Reyes. After a couple of years there, I became bored and wanted to move forward, even though it was definitely an awesome time. That was the place where I learned what big band should sound like and how awesome the brass section is. What is Rhodes and Hammond, what is Fender Twin and what is Roland-JC120, and how should they sound? I learned all of that and more. It was a great experience.
After that, I was fortunate enough to work at Studio 211 since 2009 in Kyiv as a recording engineer/editor with such bands as Dymna Sumish, Lyapis Trubetskoy (photo above), etc. You can definitely find all those bands on the Internet. Those were times of rock-n-roll, great friends and new knowledge. This is where I first touched Neve and SSL, learned MS and ORTF, and figured out how to get a great drum sound.
Meanwhile, I kept writing my own tracks.
Then I became obsessed with another idea. I wanted my own recording studio! I was daydreaming about it constantly. After one and a half years of hustling, I opened my own recording studio/rehearsal place in my hometown called "kHz records" (on the photos below). I wanted to be independent so I could be in control of every aspect of the studio. That project required a lot of money, so I immediately decided to enter IT. I’ve invested my time, energy and money into the studio for more than eight years, living in Kyiv and taking a five-hour train back and forth every two weeks for the weekend.
Quite a few projects were made there. Many bands rehearsed at this spot. Eventually, having my studio in a small town in addition to living in a different city made me think of what I should do next.
In 2017, I found an opportunity to move to Berlin. Within the first year, I’ve discovered the perfect place for a new studio. Of course, it is not as big as the studio back in Ukraine, but my focus has also changed from a big live rehearsal and recording studio to a small production facility. I’ve brought all my best gear from Ukraine and added new equipment since I’ve been here. Now I have a perfect facility for recording live drums, an impressive array of guitar amplifiers, great microphones, and a real analog console with my day-to-day usage outboard equipment. Now It's the perfect place for writing my own music and helping you with your music projects!
Now you can find the kHz Records studio in Art-traktiv Berlin. Contact me to discuss our possible collaboration: