Russia’s Alexander Lay-Far released his long-awaited third studio album “War Is Over” this past Friday on his own In-Beat-Ween imprint.
The deeply personal, honest, and uncompromising album covers a lot of ground stylistically and shows a ton of versatility and musical knowledge. It makes sense that the album nods to many different spheres as Lay-Far’s Chinese roots and Russian mentality, his B-Boy past, his fascination with Post-Punk, House and Broken Beat all lend as constant sources of inspiration. There are tracks for the dance floor, tracks for the headphones, tracks for the cypher, take your pick!
Here Lay-Far answers some questions about the behind the scenes of “War Is Over” and what it took to come together.
Does this release have an overarching idea or ethos that ties it all together?
Lay-Far: Yes of course! This album actually has several connotations. I think it’s my most personal record to date so I tried to reflect the things I’ve been through and the way I feel / see life in it. Some ideas may be obvious, others have hidden meanings or serve as metaphors. I believe artists shouldn’t disclose things like that because every listener can find their own personal meanings and associations in the album and every song. It’s more exciting that way! Understatement is the beauty of art.
Can you give a bit of context regarding the various collaborations on the record?
Lay-Far: All of the collaborative projects came naturally during the recording period, and I have a feeling that everything is in its right place now. Every collaborative effort happened for a reason and took as long as it needed to (some took very long, some didn’t even end being on the album). It’s like when you look back on a certain period of your life and find that every bit fits together in a logical puzzle. This album is that sort of puzzle.
Let’s start with Riddim Research Lab – I met these guys while on tour in the UK back in 2014-2015. ‘Dub underdogs’ is the best way to describe them. I ended up producing their first LP in early 2017. With Pete Simpson we have a long history going back to my first album “So Many Ways” for which we recorded the beautiful single “Stand Up”. I’m a big fan and supporter of Recloose, Stee Downes and Jesse Futerman – so these collabs were bound to happen someday. I should also mention Valique, Phil Gerus, Andrei dbnn, and Andy Compton for their invaluable contribution on some of the tracks.
What songs would you play before and after this release in a DJ set?
Lay-Far: I think this album is pretty versatile for a DJ to pick a track to suit almost any part of their set, be it a warm up, prime time, afterhours… most of the surroundings.
What was the hardest part to get right when creating this release – was there something in particular that you got stuck on?
Lay-Far: I will be honest… the whole project took some time because it’s a DIY effort carried out on my own label, using my limited resources and relying on the help and support of my friends at home and worldwide… Joel VDK in charge of artwork and general design, Martin Iveson AKA Atjazz for the mastering, Jonna for the PR work, Artem Khayrets and Denis Ant for the design and template updates, Andrey Algorythmik doing the vinyl sampler pressing collab, Midori Aoyama on the CD version collab, Natalia Khromochkina doing press-releases and Russian media help, Banzay, Crab and Kristy for music video collaboration, etc. I want to thank them all!
Did you draw inspiration from anything other than other music?
Lay-Far: It’s life! The things I experienced which I think I understand or I still don’t understand, happy accidents (which ended up being not quite accidental), pure emotions and general curiosity.