Estonia is a country in Northern Europe that holds beautiful landscapes and even more beautiful music. We sat down with a bi-lingual artist known as “‘PK” and he discussed his roots in Estonia, his journey so far and plans for the future in this UVC exclusive interview.

First off where are you from and how old are you?

I am from Eastern Europe. A small country called Estonia. It’s between Finland and Russia. I am golden 30.

What’s it like in Estonia? Tell me about your early years and what it was like growing up there?

Estonia is dope. What’s weird is actually going abroad because Estonia is like one of the leading, if not THE leading IT country in the world. Which means we got wifi everywhere and a lot of services are digital. I guess I am really used to it but once i go abroad, it really hits me how easy we have it here with all the IT systems and whatnot. Growing up here was relatively easy. If I would have been born a few years earlier though, it would have been way different since we were fighting for our independence before so probably would have been way harder. Many young people want to go live somewhere else for their own personal reasons but I never thought about leaving. You can always find something lacking if you are looking for it. I never looked for any reasons to dislike Estonia so yeah. It doesn’t play a big role for me, where I am. Who I’m with is way more important to me.

Growing up there was decent for you, but what music were you into when you were growing up? What did you like to listen to?

When I was little, we used to get some records sent in from my moms friend from Germany. Since it was super hard to get anything like that from here at that time. My first records were pretty much anything I could get my hands on. From Britney Spears to Vivaldi to Scooter to Offspring. The first cassette I ever bought myself from Estonia was Bomfunk Mc’s. Then I got really into Queen and Michael Jackson. I sang their songs all day long and taped them on this old cassette player. With no instruments of course so all the sounds were made by my mouth. My sister played a lot of System of a Down and Prodigy at home once we could already find CD’s easier from markets and such, so those are also very clear memories of what music was present at my house. 

I didn’t get into hip-hop/rap or any of the sorts for quite a while. It wasn’t my gateway to music so to speak, maybe that’s why I’m starting to steer a bit further from it nowadays. I had my 100% rap years at my teens though for sure. When I was already finding my personality, I loved Placebo, Belle and Sebastian, the Smiths, indie stuff basically. I had a very strong indie phase at one point. There is also this romantic punk band in Estonia called Vennaskond, who will probably always be my favorite.

When did you start making your own music? How old were you at that point?

I started at 14. There was this artist in Estonia, that made super fast rap, nobody had ever done that in Estonia before. I heard him and thought to myself “wow, I wanna try that”. Of Course my interpretation of it was horrible since at first I just wanted to copy what he did. But since I started to develop my own style at like 15 or 16, that’s when I really started seeing what making music can offer me. I was pretty much instantly hooked from the first time I ever picked up a 20 dollar shitty computer mic. I don’t think of it as something that I do on my free time or as a hobby. It’s my thing, way of life you know. Sounds cliche but I feel like it picked me haha. I actually found a very old passport last year from the time I was 10 or something like that. In the passport code it literally had “PAst” in it. Years before I ever was PK. So finding that was kind of creepy.

When did you decide you wanted to take it seriously? and at what point did you release your first song?

I never knowingly decided that. It just kind of went there itself. A year in I was already working on an album and performing all over the country. I guess my passion for it drove me. You might think “why did I rush into performing with this noob material”. Well, I never thought of it like that and always put out what I had made at home. People have said horrible things about my songs but it doesn’t really matter. I like to share everything in my life. Emotions, experiences, thoughts, you name it. Why would I not share my creation, it has always made sense to me. Every song is me at some point in my life. Keeping that only for myself never occurred. Many people say that I need to perfect my stuff before releasing it but it’s not about perfection. It’s about the process. So to answer your question in short, my first song was released in 2006. Actually I just listened to my first song ever released and in the intro I say “2004” so I was off by a bit.

You mentioned your first song was released in 2006, how did you transition throughout the years with music constantly changing? What’s the difference between making music then and now?

Music has made itself easier to make. What I mean by that is that when I made my first studio album, I had no idea what I’m doing. So much effort went into understanding how everything works. It was all very technical. Since there was no major label behind all the printing, designs, distribution etc, I had to learn it all myself. When I make an album now, I can really feel that I can put 100% of me in the songs even with no label to help me with those things because it has been made so easy to make it appealing to the ear and release it afterwards. The digital age has done big things in music, as has it everywhere else.

What’s your recording process like? How long does it typically take you to make a song?

I used to think I need to write something every day. I guess that was the case because I had no structure to my writing. But now I can go weeks without writing anything and then write 3 songs in an hour. Last year I didn’t write for several months because I had nothing to say and then made an album in weeks. Really depends on the mood. From zero to a full song the first draft is usually done in about 15 minutes but I would still change quite a lot before recording. The first draft is jotted down quickly so I don’t lose the emotion. After I get that down, I recontruate the text so it suits the beat better, so there is a minimal amount of uncomfortable phrasings etc. Basically the fix up is all technical, the point of the song is usually done pretty fast. The recording process is fairly simple, I do all my stuff at home. Used to go to a studio where things maybe got a little more complicated since I was not working alone and people always add to any situation. I used to think if I don’t create all the time, I am letting my creative side slip away. Once I realised that was not the case, everything felt better.

What’s your favorite song you’ve made or been a part of?

I’m pretty sure that off the top of my heart I can’t even remember all my songs so it’s not really fair for me to bring out any particular ones. But having said that, my favorite song is always the one I am working on at the moment because it just fills me with excitement and happiness no matter how sad it might be. I like directions more than single songs, for example the direction I’m in right now musically feels very liberating and right so I will just continue to go down this one until I find a crossroad and maybe I will switch something up and the new direction will become my favorite. Who knows. That is the magic of any artform, complete freedom and the ability to find something unique that you love at random places. What is my favorite today was never my favorite before and never will be my favorite again. It’s the diversity of creating music that will always be my favorite. 

What are your plans for the rest of the spring and 2020?

Quarantine has actually been super fruitful for me, I have been writing a lot. With no timestamp I can say that I’m in the process of making a new project. A dual language one in fact, I last wrote songs in english 12 years ago and thought “why not try that again”, I really like what came from that so the plan is to combine some of my unreleased estonian tracks with the english ones and make a digital album of it all. That will probably take me the whole of spring/early summer since i mix all my own stuff so there’s really no “sending stuff to be mixed and chilling while it returns to me” part. It’s all super fun though.

What do you want to accomplish in your music career? 

I used to be obsessed with goals. I would wake up every morning thinking about how can I manage myself better, how can I be heard by more people, how can I get more people to like me. Only recently I started really liking myself and with that I let go of the need to reach a destination in music. The goal now is to understand myself better on a different level and sharing it all in my music just comes along with that. Sometimes I still think about numbers, streams, listeners, likes and all that but I try not to. It’s not so simple to let go of the statistics of this profession, especially when you have been programmed to be lost in numbers by your own chosen lifestyle. We are our own greatest enemy, it’s very easy to forget the feeling you had when you started making music. It all becomes something else with time. I don’t really like the word “goal” because it sounds like a lose-lose phrase It gives this weird finalizing feeling, like there is an end to it all. Like if we get there, that’s it, we’re done. But if I had to say what my “goal” was, I guess it would be to parallel exist with the sounds I create without letting simplicity consume me and define who I am.

What do you do in your spare time if you aren’t creating? What keeps you sane?

To say that previous long text in one sentence – I just do what feels right. It’s kinda weird to answer that because music is what keeps me sane haha. But BESIDES that I just do regular stuff, hang out with people I enjoy, watch movies. I like to be on my own a lot, just think about stuff, try to understand different situations and also just sit back, no-life some video games, maybe have a Dr. Pepper. There is a lot of beauty in ordinary things. Isn’t that kind of the point? That is Pam Beesly by the way, I only wish I would have thought of something that clever to say but it really applies.

Do you have any shoutouts or words of motivation? 

I don’t want to shout anyone out with words, I’d like to think that my actions thank all the right people at the right moments in time. Our interest in things is the most interesting thing that exists in this world. Ideas are infinite. I will shout out to you for making this interview. It was a really cool experience and made me think of episodes in my life that I have not visited in a while.