Between Music & Technology

05 Nov, 2018


Andriy Marchenko 

Head of People Partnership Program at Intellias and rock singer

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Starting from the first year of the university, I’ve been a frontman in different rock bands. I’ve been singing, playing guitar and writing lyrics for more than 10 years now, and I’m still very excited about it.

Firejam is my current band. We describe our music as a combination of grunge, stoner rock, and psychedelic. The rest of the band are also very experienced musicians. All of us play in a band, not just for fun, but because we really love exactly this kind of musiс and we would like to reach new heights in what we are doing. We have lots of gigs in Lviv, often tour around Ukraine, perform at festivals, and plan to organize a European tour soon.

The feeling when I’m on stage and sing for people makes me feel different, transforms my character and behavior. Composing songs is a very creative process, and I admit, it’s my hobby. Usually, I lock myself in a room for half a day and write. Sometimes it works out, sometimes I can’t manage to write anything. Singing as well as being on stage is a chance for me to tell the audience about different things in a very special way. In my lyrics, I try to describe my thoughts and feelings with the usage of various characters and images. This is actually my main goal as a musician and songwriter.

It’s great to have a place where you can come after a long workday, and shift the attention to something else, refresh your mind. In the modern world, I certainly think, that having such a hobby is a rescue. It’s one of the rare chances to do something different, without having to stare at your laptop or smartphone.

My company has few offices in Ukraine and I’m managing a team of almost 10 People Partners in different locations. People partner is a person responsible for providing assistance and support to employees regarding corporate procedures, processes, and practices. We strongly believe that People Partners are acting like a really helpful contact point for all our co-workers. Once for the company day, we’ve organized a festival with a few music bands of our co-workers, including Firejam. It was a surprise for some colleagues to find out that I am a singer in a rock band. It was an experience to mix my work and music hobby in one place.

To be good at something, you need to invest a lot of your time. Every weekend I rehearse with my band. I’m sure that I will continue playing music as this is a very big part of my being and it gives me tons of resources to deal with my everyday life.


Oleksandr Bogachuk
Project Manager and world breakdance champion

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What drives me most is being in that moment when I dance, when I compete. Everything I have worked for, every day that I trained counts in that moment. This is the moment when everything comes together, when everything depends on me, I am responsible for reaching my goal. When all my efforts transform into result. This is what motivates me most, this is what pushes me forward.

Overall no one can say that there is some certain number of days or hours that you have to train in order to become a champion, this number is different for everyone. Each b-boy works with what he has, and figures out how much, and how intensive they need to train to get the result they want. If the desired result is becoming a champion, then you need to analyze the best b-boys and figure out how intensively you need to train in order to get to their level, based on where you are today.

This is not a sport. Some people mistakenly state that breaking is a sport, because of the physical aspect that is required for this style of dance. Breaking is self-expression, which you do based on how you feel, how you envision. Of course, there is a foundation for this style that makes breaking different from other dance styles, but that’s just like a poet needs to know the alphabet in order to create. Breaking itself is totally about expressing what’s inside of you through the moves while interacting with the music.

It is impossible to describe your style on paper, you have to see it to understand it. If I were to try to explain it, I can say that I am famous for my “blow-up” moves, but better check out my videos on YouTube to understand what I mean.

I create my music when I have something to say, when I want something to say, when I accumulated so many ideas that I have to let them out on paper in form of a poem or a song. I do not plan in advance what style it will have, it comes out as it needs to.

My background as a PM allowed me to be able to invest financially in my dance, and music. I was able to travel, compete, experience a lot of new things that allowed me to grow professionally in these fields. Also, it allowed me to be more focused and intentional in how I was approaching the career in arts in general, manage people that I worked with for better outcomes.


Solomiya Zheplinska
Technical Recruiter at Lohika and DJ Miya

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I am a big music fan. I come from a family closely connected to music, and I studied music at a special school. After graduating from music school, I’ve always wanted to continue to work with music. However, the idea of me becoming a DJ belongs to my boyfriend. Once he suggested it, and I realized that it’s actually something I’d really like to do, even though, I was afraid to admit it for a while. Then I met a really experienced DJ and he tutored me for a few months.

There are so many things to learn in this area – feeling the rhythm, tempo, using various devices and controllers. Being able to control the music with your fingers using, for example, an old vinyl is a  very special feeling. This is what makes me excited.

It’s interesting to manipulate and change tracks. There are so many devices that can influence a sound, make a track faster or slower, as well as programs with filters to add additional sound effects to a track. You can strengthen an important moment in a song with echo, or by adding more drums, for instance. I like the effect of speeding up tempo for a song’s culminating point, it’s great for dancing.

My first DJ experience was at my friend’s party called Table, a small gathering of random people with nice food and music that takes place in some hidden locations of the city. It was scary, but very exciting. Later, I played at my friends’ birthday parties and other small gigs in Lviv. The biggest party I played at was Z-Games at Bukovel Ski Resort and a rooftop party here in Lviv, both visited by a few hundred participants. I get many offers to play at various events, just to create a background music, but I prefer playing for an audience to dance, so I have refused many offers already. I also refuse to play at weddings, because I want to use my favorite tracks, not someone’s.

I make a unique playlist for every party because it’s always different depending on the audience, location, theme, even the weather. It takes time, therefore, I don’t play spontaneously, it just doesn’t work. I don’t use the same playlist twice, maybe some songs, but not the same playlist for different parties. To keep myself inspired, I listen to music all the time – on the way to work, after work, at home, on the weekends, when traveling, etc. This way, I try to collect the music I liked the most for future party playlists. I often visit electronic music festivals abroad or in Ukraine. The last one was a rave fest Strichka in Kyiv.

Many things might happen to a DJ on stage. Most of fails are connected with devices, technical glitches of loudspeakers, etc. Also, the system might fail to mix tracks in time, which results in a horrible gap between tracks. An important part of any preparation – is to ask about all technical equipment well in advance.

At Lohika, I work as a recruiter responsible for finding the right candidates for technical positions in the company. A few funny situations connected to my hobby happened at work. The potential candidates I was communicating with, have said that they were at the party where I played and it was cool. So, in the end, I can say, that my hobby even helps me in my work a bit.


Stepan Plotytsia
Software Engineering Manager, EPAM and vinyl collector

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We had an old stereo console at home. Once, I found a few old records in the attic (fairy tales, pop-artists) and decided to listen to them. It turned out, that the record player wasn’t working. With simple manipulations and a turntable needle replacement, I managed to bring it back to life. The flickering of lamps, rotating of a record, and distinctive sound – I was amazed by all of it. This, apparently, gave rise to my interest in vinyl back in school. However, I started collecting LPs much later.

Three years ago I received a turntable as a gift from my wife, who knows about my passion  for music. That’s how my collection started. Currently, there are a few dozen LPs in my collection. I definitely don’t buy records just for the sake of collecting them. Every vinyl is connected to a certain memory. Whenever I travel, I try to a get a new vinyl – let’s say it’s my way of bringing magnets from trips. A part of my collection includes gifts from friends and close people.

The process of choosing records is as exciting as listening to them, therefore, I prefer to buy them in specialized stores. Only a few LPs from the collection were bought online.

I have Queen vinyl produced almost 40 years ago for the Japanese market. I have no idea how it miraculously survived this long, but it’s still in perfect condition and remains one of my favorites.

I have at least two interesting stories about the origins of my records. Once, I was reading a review of a Hi-Fi player, and author of the article was so emotional when talking about Time by Electric Light Orchestra, I had nothing left than to learn more about the artist and finally buy the vinyl. The vinyl itself is quite special – it’s transparent. If we talk about the album, its separate tracks are by no means special, but listening to all of them together, generates a whole new range of emotions. I have completely rediscovered Ticket to the moon, the main soundtrack for the Armageddon movie.

Another story is funnier, it happened with my colleague at Vinyl Club Lviv. She was looking for a vinyl to give me as a birthday gift: a young man stood nearby, describing to a salesperson music preference that clearly resembled my own. They started to talk, and it turned out that both of them were looking for a present for the same person – me.

A vinyl is definitely not the most convenient way to listen to music, but it’s great if you want to wind down. With our dynamic pace of life, things get mix up, and bright moments can be scarce. Yes, we still listen to music, but very often just as a background while doing something else.

Modern technologies contribute to this – services like Apple Music, which offer playlists based on our preferences have completely changed the value of music and the way we listen to it. It’s different with a vinyl – the listening process becomes a whole ritual and requires your direct participation: choosing a record, placing it at the plate, starting it, and, finally, listening. It makes you stop and dive into the process, like a meditation.

The equipment I use: Audio-Technica AT-LP60USB turntable, Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi HD amplifier and over-the-ear headphones Beyerdynamic DTX 710. With sufficient sampling, the sound from digital media won’t be worse, however, by listening to a vinyl, you can enjoy the authenticity of sound. Listening to a record is always accompanied by tactile sensations (touching the vinyl, moving the tonearm), it’s a whole unique process.


Oleksandr Hladyshchuk
Software Engineer at Perfectial and drummer at nu-metal band

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Many years ago, a friend of mine who had a band was looking for a drummer. I really wanted to play with him, so I chose drums. Back at school, I’d experiment with different instruments, but this case made me choose drums. Having played in different bands, including rock bands and a cover band, two years ago I joined ANNA, a famous Lviv nu-metal band, created in 2002.

Playing drums in many ways reminds sport, as it involves all muscles. I bet, it’s better than CrossFit. Drums give me an amazing opportunity to develop new skills like training my brain to control all of my moves and limbs. When I’m playing, my brain is super focused as my hands and feet have completely different roles, and play different drum sections.

I learned to play drums by myself, but I constantly continue to practice, I take part in various drum camps, rehearse, play at home. Once, in one of the drum camps, a teacher told me that it’s silly to play very loud. I was surprised by this, as I’m playing metal music, it has to be loud. However, being able to play quiet and control all your moves and hitting force is a very professional skill.

To be able to regularly improve my skills, I have an electronic drum set at home. I’ve actually made a little stage for it (using table tennis balls inside), hoping that my neighbors won’t complain about vibrations. It worked in the beginning, and I didn’t have any problems with the neighbors. But a few weeks ago, one of my neighbors, politely asked me not to play drums at 11 pm. I’ve actually improved my little stage since then – now it’s higher with more tennis balls, two rows of foam rubber, and a tourist mat.

There are some rules in metal music, for example, a special tempo. I’m free to experiment with other things, like creating my own vision of a drum section. Usually, we make tracks together with other band members, starting from the main idea and melody, and then, experiment, change and improve it together. Adding different instruments to a track is a whole process, and it’s very exciting.

After work, I don’t go home and watch TV. I think it’s utterly boring, and a waste of time. I like meeting my band members, rehearse together, make plans, be on stage, visit festivals. ANNA is more than my hobby.

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