Interview: Puritan [Murder Tbilisi]

Interview by Helena Markos

Photo credits: Levan Maisuradze

Puritan is an artist and DJ who spreads body music energy from KHIDI’s and BASSIANI’s mighty dancefloors to the world. Tales of Psychofonia asked him some questions about his music, his potent imprint Murder Tbilisi, his perception of DJing, and his side project, Body Pressure. We introduce you to David Japaridze and his crowd-moving DJ sets.

We would like you to tell us a few things about your project and your creative process.

Hi Natasa! Firstly, thank you for having me on your platform! I find it very hard to talk about myself, especially in the beginning of the conversation but I will tell you that I cut my teeth in the electronic music scene from the age of 18 and music has been the strongest form of expression for me since then. This was the time when the electronic music scene in Georgia was starting to form and as there were many kinds of music to be absorbed at that time, I slowly ran over all genres of Techno and finally came to the sound my project is reflecting right now.

You are the person behind the well-established Murder Tbilisi, a record label with an amazing roster of artists such as Terence Fixmer, Soft Crash, Silent Servant, Ron Morelli, Zanias, Reeko, JK Flesh, Reka, Volvox, Years of Denial. What is the vision behind it and the future plans?

I always say to people that Murder is a reflection of my musical taste. Artists you see on the label are either ones that inspired me in the beginning of my musical career (and still continue to do so) or the ones that I believe in and think that share the same vision as I do. For me music is as important as the artwork and the whole concept of the release, so when I started producing music and release requests came in from other record labels, I found myself rejecting most of them because I wasn’t really fascinated how they were handling the process of compiling releases and working on the visual side of the releases.

There were very few record labels I liked at that time and I always appreciated how record labels carried the beautiful idea of building a roster of artists and community under the name of the label. Record label seemed to be a great space to test my artistic vision and to use it as a platform to release music I like as well as my productions.

As for the plans of the label, right now we are giving final touches to our fifth various artists compilation which will be announced this month. It features many of my favourite artists and I can’t wait to present it to the listener. I love all previous releases on my label but I have a very good feeling about this one. I think the various artists’ releases prepared the ground of the label and showed the listener the direction we are headed in. After the fifth one we will move to releasing different formats such as EP’s, LP’s and Albums, with different and interesting concepts in between, also with the aim to give more space to young talents especially ones from Georgia. Plus, I want to work more on the label showcases around the world. So many interesting things lie ahead!

What do you think are the challenges as an artist and label owner?

As an artist I find it very hard to find a balance between day and night. It’s not easy for me to start a day late and then finish working on music when everyone around you is getting ready to sleep. I’m trying to push myself to be a more morning person but then Friday comes and you have to play at the club at 6 AM and your sleep cycle is ruined once again. So, it’s never ending suffering for me. As for the label owner, I can say that, In recent times, running a vinyl record label has become a very complicated process. I can tell how hard it was before Covid and how hard it is right now. It takes almost a year (if not more) from compiling the release to having the finished product in your hands. Add almost doubled production and shipping costs and you can find yourself stressing out if you want to continue doing it more or not. But thanks to our loyal and extremely patient fans and my passion for it, because I’m not sure if I will ever stop doing it.

You have just announced your side project ‘Body Pressure’ , would you like to tell us a few things about it?

During my closing sets at KHIDI’s second floor G2, after playing banging techno for hours I had moments in the mornings where I would completely erase the genre boundaries and slowly transfer to more intimate and melancholic tracks mostly focused on my influences from 80’s and 90’s EBM, Italo Disco, New Beat and to the current new wave of Italo-Body Music.
It turned out that I had too many tracks in this specific field and could go on for hours and I decided that it would be a good idea to dedicate a separate project to this specific sound. I don’t want to stick ‘Body Pressure’ to one specific genre, it is more like an extension to my musical world for more explorative genres and influences with the aim to blend past, present and future with my modern touch. After the launch, I was lucky enough to have trust from the people to debut in a place where it all started and made many memories there. Now I’m trying to transfer accumulated emotions into tracks and planning to do an EP which will see the light hopefully soon on my label.

How has the electronic music scene in Tbilisi feels nowadays and in what ways you think it has that shaped your projects?

I was at a very young age when clubs like KHIDI and BASSIANI opened and I have observed and experienced the rise of the Georgian electronic music scene since then. I would say that if I were born outside Georgia, me as an artist or person in general wouldn’t be the same. I can remember myself standing on the pool railing of BASSIANI for hours above the DJ and crowd and watching them in action or going to KHIDI to listen to many interesting acts they had pushed back then which was very fresh for the scene.

Looking back now, those moments were almost like a subconscious schooling for me and definitely shaped my vision or perception of music.  Since that period I try my maximum to contribute to the scene and give right directions to the upcoming artists that I think I needed during my starting years.  Even though we had many ups and downs in recent times, I think our scene is stronger than ever right now and the quality limit is already set on all sides. And
hopefully it will get better and better from here. 

Based on your experience, what are the ingredients for a good party?

I don’t look at Djing as a way of just playing one track after another. My sets always carry a carefully narrated story that aims to bring the listener on a journey where they can lose or find themselves. For me the best nights are made when people on the dance floor are united as a whole and share almost identical emotions. I’m lucky enough that I have experienced it a couple of times during my raving period and know what it feels like to be on the other side during those moments. And now when I look from the DJ booth and see the crowd moving as a whole, I perceive that as a musician, there is no more powerful achievement when these feelings emerge from the music you play.

If your music awakens feelings inside people, it doesn’t matter if it’s good or bad, you can say that the history is written…