Tell us about your project “Blackstate”.
Hey there 👋! My name is Filip (Blackstate), but most people call me Fitz. I come from Skopje, North Macedonia – but I’d prefer to say that I’m just Fitz from Earth.
Blackstate is a DIY audio-visual experiment of mine, and a completely open concept. I’m currently 34 and the project is (still) brand new, as I started it officially when I was 30. It was originally conceived when I was a teenager (I even had a MySpace page:) and planned it to be executed exactly when I’ll be turning 30 years.
The reason why I realized it few years ago is simply because on the music side I was actively too busy touring/performing, writing and releasing music with my hardcore / punk rock band – “The Beginnings” or orginally known as “Noviot Pochetok” for nearly 20 years. We did 8 tours across Europe, released 5 LP’s and a lot of stuff happend. Besides all of that, I did plenty of other music projects, a lot of local music events, and I’m also involved in the design industry for 15 years and actively work as a visual designer, artist and art director. Sociologist by diploma.
I’d say Blackstate is a sublimate of all my alter egos, a darker side of me where I’m exploring different music styles and I like to think of it as a completely open concept. The sound right now is dark moody / alt-poppy / new wavvy / experimental and in general based on synths. But you know – genres and styles today are quite boring.
How did you get into music?
It’s mostly my grandma’s fault. She’s a singer of old traditional songs so after a lot of years I realised it’s completely her fault. She’s currently 80. In order to give thanx, I recorded her singing acapella some year ago and I’ll be releasing that as an EP (probably) accompanied with some sounds around her voice. Fala baba. (that’s “thanx grandma”:)
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What’s your view on the music industry today.
Ah, the music industry. Same as any other industry. It’s an INDUSTRY and I don’t like that word. Therefore, I don’t think much of the art is still out there in the industry (perhaps there was a time where it was). But on the other hand and in reality we’re still living in this capitalist world so you can’t throw everything out of the window and go live in a cave you know?
I’d say there’s no better time then now to be DIY as a musician (one of the reasons I like your platform – Gigmit). And if you find some small support along the way it’s fine to use it. That would be my message to the other struggling artists, and to the fans: just respect and support your local artists.
The music industry in the UK or the US is same as any other business. For the rest of Europe, I’m not sure/it’s not clear what’s going on but I don’t see too many famous or known artists (that even my granma knows). What really annoys me in Europe is that the music professionals, managers, bookers, promoters, etc. are quite bigger stars (while drinking their wine) on music conferences across Europe than the artists and musicians themselves.
I’m currently quite happy that music is not my full time job and I don’t live off it. But it’s what I live for and I’d unconditionally do to use my voice out in the world.
How political should music be?
Of course – we don’t want all music to be completely political – sometimes music needs to be just the relaxing ambiental layer of your living room – but I’d personally rather use the music as a weapon and I do appreciate / I’m thankful to the artists and especially the hardcore / punk bands that influnced me to build my character when I was much younger so that I’d become much more ethical and don’t do things that are bad such as throw out garbage on the street, eat meat, hate or be a sexist, racist, a shitty nationalist or a loser patriot.
One of the biggest musical / melodical (and not lyrical) influences in my childhood was Liam Howlett. Imagine if The Prodigy were a politically active band at some point? Have you ever thought how many people would have been affected and probably different today? But they decided not to use the weapon.
Tell me about the making of your latest single “The Arsonist”?
So there are a few things that can be pointed out of “The Arsonist”.
First of all the song implies on my personal view on the world right now – it is quite messed up – but the song exudes optimism in not giving up, and also drives the listener to be positive and dance while everyting collapses (hopefully not). Is that a hidden optimism? Yay!
On the other hand – I got the idea that it can be ironically understood as well – we can all just dance, enjoy and do nothing while the world’s on fire – so shame on us all. I hope that it would inspire at least a minor change in somebody (hidden optimism agaaain).
So yes – in both cases there is Blackstate’s hidden love for optimism of course. Or as some others would say: “…perfect pinch of melancholy while exuding fragile optimism” (Amelia Vandergast A&R Factory, Voted 10 Music Blog in the UK).
Tell us about the making of the music video?
The video represents exactly the arsonists – they’d dance, set the world on fire and won’t care.
We wanted to do something that would be simple, yet very aesthetically profound, and Aleksandra does exactly that in her photo and video shootings. That’s why we decided to get dancers from Skopje Dance Theater to fill the roles.
The video was shot in 2 days, and the main part (the hotel) is actually Hotel Drim in Struga, North Macedonia, which is an old hotel with beautiful architecture, built in the time of Yugoslavia – around. It is one of the rare old hotels that has mostly kept it’s original feel and is still well maintained. We thought that since the music is not very traditional and regionally-authentic, why not use something that’s authentic to our region to show to the world – and that’s exactly why we’ve chosen the hotel.
The second part of the video is shot in our second home in Skopje – the Youth Cultural Center, which helped all of us – local artists – a lot, and especially in the past 10 years. It’s kind of a gratitude to our all time favourite local place.
Written by: Filip Tasevski – Fitz
Recorded and produced by: Fitz
Post-produced by: Ivica Jankulovski – Shtraf
Directed: Aleksandra Kostadinovska
Camera: Boris Ralev
Edited: Aleksandra Kostadinovska and Mihail Namichev
Choreography: Adrijana Danchevska
Dancers: Anastasija Danchevska, Dejan Bitrovski
Location management: Borjan Sandrevski
Graphic art: Fitz
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