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Lithuanian Electronic Music: Start Locally, Play Globally

Lithuanian electronic music scene is probably the one that has managed to export itself beyond the national scope most successfully. Where representatives of other scenes and genres found it fairly challenging to make the international audiences interested in their music and become equal players on the global scale, electronic music producers and sound artists, due to the very cosmopolitan or nomadic nature of their music, found themselves enjoying the foreign listeners’, critics’ and fellow artists’ acclaim rather quickly.


It all had started locally, however, before the time when broadband Internet connection became a staple and collaborating or simply communicating online with like-minded artists from elsewhere was possible. The beginning of the explosion that later had repercussions in the international electronic music scene had taken place at small but inventive local parties, festivals and collaborative events that had brought together very different artists. It was probably the sincere do-it-yourself attitude and eagerness to explore what seemed so new and refreshing that enabled these people to take it to the next level. Through hard work and communication skills, the initial adoration of established favorites from abroad was followed by the ability to eventually become their equals and join the international community.


Depending on the sub-scene, the success stories are different. Genys is a vivid example of how musical taste and experience of playing music as a DJ can assist in starting one’s own career in production. He had started playing very diverse and intriguing sets in the late 90’s as one part of One Ear Stereo, one of Lithuania’s most acclaimed DJ teams, playing alongside renowned guests from abroad and frequently playing outside of Lithuania as well. The vast knowledge of musical culture later enabled him to kickstart his production work in a matter of months and start successfully collaborating with Paulius Kilbauskas in Dublicate and producing music for various hiphop and dub reggae performers.


One Ear Stereo’s colleagues RyRalio, the most celebrated Lithuanian house DJ duo based in Kaunas, were, for a long time, best known for their fiery parties and dance festivals in various unusual locations, featuring some of the biggest international names and, frequently, live performers. They didn’t rest on that fame, however, and established their own record label, producing fresh dance music themselves, promoting other local talents like Santi Touch and making their releases appear in the catalogues of major online DJ services. In Vilnius, the electrified trio of Metal on Metal eventually extended their activity from playing the cult resident nights to hundreds of their crazed fans to producing their own dancefloor smashers and remixes for international heavyweights like Bloc Party and Datarock.


Twentytwentyone, the star collective of the experimental electronic music scene, and their unique approach to turning various graphic and visual artifacts into sound, whereby a concert becomes an exhibition and a film screening becomes a concert, are much-wanted by high-profile international contemporary music festivals, so they have far more concerts abroad than in Lithuania. Another prominent representative of this scene, Gintas K, alongside some fellow scene members like composer Antanas Jasenka, is already used to releasing his works through various international labels dedicated to this kind of music.


Bands and producers who work in the field of indie electronica and intelligent electronic pop, namely Fusedmarc, Pieno lazeriai and, most recently, Mario Basanov & Vidis and Leon Somov feat. Jazzu, have received considerable attention from international labels, festival and music channels like MTV. These artists constitute what can be considered the elite of Lithuanian contemporary popular music in the best sense of this term. They are joined by Happyendless, an experienced producer and DJ team-turned-band who are expected to make it big on the international scale.


The mentioned artists and many of their fellow scene members, each in their own way, seem to demonstrate to the audiences and professionals abroad that Lithuanian electronic music has something fresh to say – knowing how to play globally, yet finding strength in their local origin, experience and support.


©Jurij Dobriakov

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