… breaks the mould as a violin player. Bali can do that to you.
GERMAN, tell it like it is.
My name is German Dmitriev, I am from Russia, 26-years-old; born in Siberia – Krasnoyarsk City. I am married, no children. I have a dog.
Did you come from a musical background?
Yes, my mother is a pianist. My younger sister teaches piano.
At what age did you start playing violin?
When I was six years old.
Did you like playing violin at that age or were you sort of forced into it?
Good question. The truth is I really didn’t take pleasure in music until I was about 15. I studied at beginner’s school and then went on to music college, and then at a music academy for a master’s degree.
During that time were you playing professionally?
Yes, my first big performance was with The Symphony Orchestra when I was nine. I played solo.
Impressive. How did you feel onstage at that age?
I was shaking right down to my toes, but it was a success. I also had my first radio recording at 10.
How do you feel on stage now, you seem to go off into another world?
I feel as if in another time, much faster than the audience.
Your selections of music are so varied, what do you like to play by yourself?
Most of the time I play classical music, but now I like rock music for my show. When I was a boy I dreamed of big bands – I enjoyed rock music so much then that I started to doubt whether I had chosen the right musical instrument.
I really enjoyed playing guitar and thought I should be taking lessons, and then I discovered playing rock on violin … fusion.
On that note, do you prefer acoustic opposed to electric?
I prefer acoustic, but need a powerful sound, so I play electric violin onstage. At home I play only acoustic violin, and this is a pleasure for me.
Do you play other instruments?
Yes, I play guitar, piano and drums. I must add, playing on acoustic violin requires way more skills – it’s much more complicated. Also when performing in front of the audience, the technical aspect of an acoustic violin is quite complicated – it’s a living instrument and anything can go wrong. Electric violin gives you the confidence of having control, but the sound is not alive, it’s different.
Who were your influences?
David Garrett, the most famous violinist in the world. I take inspiration from Metallica, heavy metal, and Led Zeppelin, also Pompera. I like emotional extremes.
On stage you have backing soundtracks over which you play solos. Do you record these yourself?
I create with keyboards, guitar and drum machines. When I need it I have professionals to play saxophone, flute and other instruments.
Have you recorded any albums?
Not yet, that’s why I’m here in Bali. My solo career started two years ago, before that I was playing classical music and touring Russia, Europe and Japan. It was the career of a classical musician and I wanted to perform and create on my own.
At what age did you freak out?
That was about four years ago.
Ha ha, right. So what brought you to Bali?
Destiny, really I don’t know, this is a hard question. I guess I reached a point, a certain level where the next logical step was to go to Moscow to try to build a career. Previously I had come to Bali to learn how to surf and I reached a point where I needed a change – climate, culture, environment … Bali is a popular destination for Russians. I think Bali is a very good place for creative people. Back home the climate is very extreme, minus 40 during the winter, not better in the summer, you’re always in furs.
Now that you’re here, do you think you will be going back to Russia in the near future?
I don’t know, I feel maybe something great here, maybe my album, maybe doing fusion with Balinese instrumentation. I think I’ll be here for a couple of years. I have plans to go to Moscow and London, but I want to record here.
How do you find the music scene here?
It’s not that progressive or competitive but in a way it is. I have played with Rio Sidik and Erik Sondhy … both very good.
What is your philosophy?
To do what I’m doing – enjoying life through music. S.B.