Q: What was it like being a part of the Belgrade indie music scene?
Milutin of Bones In Butter: Since Luna knows a lot more about Belgrade’s indie scene, she shall answer the question:
Luna of Bones In Butter: It’s a rather small scene, and we are all connected one way or another. There are few places that we all enjoy going out to, and most people are open for various collaborations. Many of us used to hang out and rehearse at this huge building which used to be Belgrade Publishing-Graphic Institute known as BIGZ. The building is located close to the city center, and anyone who had a band of their own during the last two decades had to pass through BIGZ at some point. The building was, at different times, full of clubs, music studios for recording and rehearsals, art spaces and sport clubs. I believe that our alternative music community exists the way it does largely thanks to that place. Unfortunately – the building was sold, and a few months ago everybody had to move out. This resulted in the formation of an association called “Belgrade Alternative Scene”, which entered into negotiations with the government demanding an appropriate space for musicians and artists to move into. Hopefully – we’ll get a new cultural center soon, and continue nourishing our dear musician community!
Q: I love the tension building instrumental along with your unique voice. Can you take me through your production and writing process with “Her Cave”?
Milutin: The story behind “Her Cave” is a special one. It’s the story of a simple chord progression I recorded more than 10 years ago. It sounded quite appealing back then but I didn’t really know what to do with it because it just wouldn’t fit into any project I had running at that moment. So I forgot about it. Then, last year, Corona kicked in, and a lockdown was imposed. We were forced to change our lives. But good things, too, happened: My creativity grew out of proportion. Somehow I remembered that demo fragment and thought now would be the time to build a song around it. And that song wrote itself… First I recorded the whole piece using synths and software plugins. That simple F – A#minor chord progression became the verse and the focus of the song. I sent this demo version to the drummer, the bassist and the guitarist to provide live instruments. Then, it became clear that the track also needed a ghostly female voice. That’s how I met Luna, a rather famous vocalist from Belgrade, who did an exquisit job and who’s become an essential element of the Bones in Butter sound ever since.
Q: What first got you into music? Is your family musical?
Milutin: Actually, it was my parents that got me into music first. They were not professional musicians but rather gifted enthusiasts. While my mother used to sing in the choir of Radio Belgrade to finance her studies, my father loved to jam on both piano and guitar. So I had been surrounded by music before I could walk. Even though I loved to sing and play with instruments; I hated every single piano lesson my parents forced me to attend from the age of seven. I quit only after a couple of years. Consequently, I never really had a proper formal musical training. Instead, I’ve learned everything by myself. Piano, guitar, composition, production.
Q: Who are your biggest influences?
Milutin: As I grew up during the late 70s and early 80s, my most important influences are all rooted in the Proto-Punk, Punk and Post-Punk genres. And there’s tons of influences 🙂 There’s of course Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground, there’s Bowie, then there are bands like Wire, the Stranglers and Magazine, or more experimental and electronic ones – such as Tuxedomoon, Fad Gadget, Wall of Voodoo. But I’ve always also loved beautiful melodies and harmonies so that I regularly used to listen to old Italian pop songs. I am also a huge fan of the Electric Light Orchestra and I deeply admire Italian artist Franco Battiato.
Q: How did your band members initially come together?
Luna: Last summer during the lockdown due to the pandemic, Milutin reached out to me through an online platform with his song “Her Cave”. I instantly fell in love with it, but little did I know that Milutin had a lot of material coming my way that matched my sensibility in a special way. I was and still am quite enthusiastic about our material, and suggested that we try working with some of my dearest colleagues and friends, who eventually became permanent members of our project! Firstly, Todor Živković started recording his guitar ideas, and Srđan Popov took the role of mixing and mastering engineer, and did bass guitars. Srđan suggested Feđa Franklin to do the drums, and lastly my father Dejan Škopelja came into picture on bass guitar. We worked on a lot of songs over the past while, and we’re excited about everybody hearing what we have in store!
Q: The music video is very mesmerizing. What was your favorite moment in making the music video, and what do you hope viewers take from watching it?
Milutin: Haha, my favorite moment in making the music video for “Her Cave” was the moment when I received the final version of the clip from director Mimi Salajan. As a matter of fact, I had virtually nothing to do with the making of the video but, instead, was kept in the dark until the very end. Mimi had simply told me to lean back and focus on the music while he would take care of the visuals. The moment he had heard the song he already had a precise vision of how the clip was supposed to look like. To cut a long story short, a huge thank you goes to director Mimi Salajan and his crew and to actress Roxi Orz who made this music clip possible. I sincerely hope that viewers will enjoy watching that clip with its dark imagery and hidden beauty that go so well with the music.
Q: If you were stranded on a desert island and could only take one song or album to listen to, what would it be?
Milutin: Oh, I’ve been dreading this question since the start of this Q and A… But in the end it doesn’t really matter, for I’ve memorized all the good songs. They’re all in my head and I can hum them whenever I please 🙂 But to answer your question, that would probably be the album “Eldorado” by the Electric Light Orchestra. This record is so good on so many levels and I clearly remember the goosebumps I had when I heard it for the first time.
Luna: A song – “La petite fille de la mer” by greek god Vangelis. That’s my soul-song.
Interviewed by Melissa Cusano