Mapping Stories with Vladimir Radinovic

Vladimir Radinović aka Manovski grew up in the New Belgrade Blocks and started off performing as an MC and reggae/dancehall DJ. Living in different cities offered him different influences, hence the multitude of genres drawn into his different acts – including punk, hip-hop, glitch and electronic music.

Since returning to Belgrade Vladimir has been involved in various sound art and experimental electronic music projects, sound mapping and field recording, as well as DJing. Together with Piotr Żyła, who runs the Polish radio network Radiofonia, he has founded a radio management company, RadioKit and an associated foundation through which they produce sound art related projects.

 Piotr and Vladimir will be leading a 4-day sound-mapping workshop with Katerina Tzedaki at Kinisi Festival of Sound from Thursday 20 – Sunday 23 October 2016. To sign up for the workshop send an email to kinisifestival@gmail.com.  

To listen to previous sound mappings of Belgrade go to: http://zvucnamapabeograda.rs/ 

HH: What do you plan on doing at the festival?

VR: Our plan is to do a sound mapping workshop where we teach participants how to record, how to interview people and the techniques that we’ve been using to best reach a story. Most of the time we’ll be going around the island to collect stories and specific sounds, so that we can create a sound map of Santorini through its people, both tourists and locals. For me, sound mapping is always more about the locals, but I also think you can’t have one without the other.

The idea is to preserve the local stories, histories and non-material heritage of the island through collecting these stories and putting them on a map so that people can have a place they can visit and a story they can listen to about the place. We’re always looking for stories that are connected to a building or to the location – anything we can map.  We don’t care about historical stuff, like when the building was built, or by what architect – you can read that’s stuff on Wikipedia, or in tourist guides and history books. We’re interested in some of the alternative histories of cities and places.

HH: Who will you be working with on Santorini?

VR: Piotr Żyła. He is a sound designer and my colleague from Poland. Together we run RadioKit, which is a company that produces all kinds of tools for radio management. Besides the company we have a foundation in Poland through which we do all kinds of sound art related projects, and sound mapping is one of them. We are building these tools for radio and most of them are based on archiving audio, so we realised we can actually use this for a lot of other stuff as well. I was working with sound maps before, but when I started working with Piotr it clicked, he is also a phonographer, and we both love to record sounds.

HH: How did you and Piotr meet and how did you end up working together?

VR: I met Piotr through Marcin, who I met a few years ago on a workshop in Budapest that was on empowering community radios in the Balkans. He was one of the teachers there and used to run a radio in Krakow called Radiofonia, which Piotr is now running. So we all joined together on this start-up idea and went for it. We work with a couple of other guys in Poland so we’re 8 people now. I’m the reason why we all have to speak in English. They always tell me: “Come on man, you should learn Polish.”

HH: What impact have the places you’ve lived in had on your relation to music and sound?

VR: The sound mapping and recording of stories has more to do with my family than with a country. Because there are many things that I never got to ask my grandparents that I would love to know. And many of the stories they told me when I was a kid I cannot remember or I can only remember parts of it, and that sucks. That is kind of what got me into the whole idea of recording stories.

With music making I kind of noticed when I was moving around that certain cities have more of an affect on me. I used to listen to and try to make one type of music when I was in Novi Sad, and when I was in Finland I went in to really dark ambient electronic music, and then when I went to Berlin all of a sudden it shifted towards the club scene. But I kind of gave up on music to be honest; I don’t remember the last time I made a track. I’ve really transitioned towards sound design and sound recordings. I do play live with a bunch of friends here in Belgrade, the project is called ImprovE. I usually play field recordings and create some loops out of them so the friends who actually know how to play instruments play on top of it, and it’s just kind of a tapestry for them, like a background ambience sort of thing. So this is kind of my musical direction at the moment. 

HH: Why do you have so many names for yourself?

 

VR: That has always been a fun thing for me. Like the guy who did all these crazy comic books, Robert Crumb. He also did this thing with inventing thousands and thousands of names for himself to try and keep his work anonymous. Because I was all over the place when I first started making music. I was a drum & bass mc, and then I was a reggae dj, and then I was in a punk band, and I started this thing with electronic music, and then I wanted to make some hip-hop. So I decided I needed to separate all these things, because it was weird for people that I was doing all these different things at the same time. The different names reflect different styles, cultural and emotional associations. In Serbian Pitchi is slang for fast, so I chose the name Pitchi Suzuki for techno. Then there’s John Revolta for the punk music, [*]nuclear2 relates to my grandfather. You know how dancehall and reggae artists often use “man” in their names, like Elephant Man, Beenie Man and Yellowman? While I was in Finland so many people struggled with pronouncing Eastern European names, so I wanted to use a name that was stereotypical of both Jamaican artists and my own background. So I came up with Manovski. Just like the Finish musician Sasu Ripatti used Vladislav Delay. But at one point - or now that I’m a bit older - I really stopped caring.

HH: Have you got a particular story from your sound mapping projects that stand out?

VR: I have this crazy story from when we were recording people during this street art festival in Belgrade. We met a homeless guy who took us on a tour around the city. He showed us the best places to hide, where you could get food, and he told us the story of how he became homeless. He was originally from Sarajevo where he used to be a geography professor, but eventually ended up living on the streets in Belgrade. He even has a son in Bosnia, but never got in touch with his family there. Some time later we found out he had died of cancer and I realised how powerful recordings can be. I cried for half an hour. I wanted to try and find his family so we could give them the recording, but there are so many people in Bosnia with the same name. But one day I may start from the top of the phonebook, you know. But this is why I do it – to record and preserve these strange and powerful moments. 

Photo by: Dragan Markovic