Hello, my friends, this is Alexey Kostylev and this is the long-awaited interview with Denis Sharipov aka Electronic. — Hello, Denis. — Hello. Tell we why “Electronic”? How did you choose your nickname? I was 12-13 years old, I was thinking about my nickname, I considered electric, but it didn’t sound right. Then I chose Electronic, and it’s been my nick for 7 years now. Why electric? Maybe someone was an electrician in your family? To be honest I didn’t have many ideas… Electro music? Probably not, I just came up with the idea. You just liked the electricity, right? Yeah. Tell me how did you start you career? How did you start playing games? It was a long time ago, I was very young. How old were you? I was around 5. I have an older brother who introduced me to video games. Sometimes he took me from the kindergarten, and then he went to PC cafes with his friends. He’d take me along, because he didn’t want to leave me alone at home, our mother was working back then. So he showed me Warcraft, then CS and I liked CS since then, I still play it now. Don’t you remember the exact year or version of CS? I remember clearly that my first version was 1.5, the PC cafe wasn’t great back then, PCs were weak. What was the name of that place? I don’t remember, it was in Kazan, in the city center. So you started playing Counter-Strike, how did you start your esports career? What was your first team and how did you get there? It was in Kazan, I came to some LAN in that PC cafe, I went there without my brother, I met some guys there and we agreed to participate in the tournament together. We played well there, we defeated some famous local players, we were happy, but I was still very young and they decided to continue without me. What was the name of the team? I don’t remember… So you don’t remember you first team… I think it was called Impulse. How old were your after leaving that team? What were the future steps in your career? I was around 11-12 years old, I didn’t attend LANs, I switched to mod maps and I took them very seriously, I secured world records at some maps, speed runs I mean. So you had a world record in a custom map? I had a few. I played a lot, I didn’t stop playing CS. I continued playing, but I didn’t practice shooting for around 2 years, I was tired of custom maps, then my old team needed one player for a tournament and they invited me. I practiced and realized that my level improved drastically since the first tournament. My mentality changed, I started thinking differently in the game, I was getting better and better, and since the year 2010, when I started attending Kazan LANs, I’ve been playing competitively. Your former team invited you to join, you noticed the improvements, what happened next? What was the first professional team you were intvited to? Do you mean the first team that paid me salary? Yes. It was the team from Belarus – Evolution. After I played in Kazan, Mitya “Hooch” noticed me and introduced me to the CIS scene. Then I made one of the biggest mistakes, I returned to Kazan from Hooch’s team. But I didn’t succeed there, I overestimated Kazan CS scene, I thought the local guys could get on a higher level and at least win some Russian tournaments, but it didn’t happen, and later I was contacted by the guys from Belarus. Why did you make that mistake? Why did you leave? I was around 15-16 years old. So you mean you didn’t understand the whole thing? Yes, something like that, I had babyrage or something. Mitya criticized me in a good way to help me grow, but I didn’t listen to him, I told him some rude words and left the team. That just happened. Evolution was the best Belorussian team, my salary was $200, it was more than enough for me, I could afford anything I wanted. So, my first team was Evolution. Where did you go after the Evolution team? After… Evolution team disbanded because S1mple left Flipsid3, Cyberfocus was close to S1mple and Spaze. Cyber was in good relations with them and invited them to play together, they wanted to invite me as well, but their captain decided to take Fix back then. I was left alone, without a team, but the guys from Evolution let me gather my own team, I tried my best but I didn’t succeed. Then Team Empire invited me after Evolution, also players from Kazan invited me at the same time, they told me everything will be at pro-level, like salaries, bootcamp and stuff. But you decided not to make the same mistake again? No, I believed them, and I did give a try, but after two month there was still a place for me in Empire, so I went there. So we can say that Team Empire was the start of your pro career, right? Yes, probably. How much did you play there? I played there for half a year, I worked with our manager Nirvana for a year though, we tried different rosters, we joined Rebels, Empire and other teams, we tried different people, I tried to make a name for myself, and my efforts were not wasted, Flipsid3 noticed me and invited for tryouts, I passed them successfully. So since you joined Flipsid3 you didn’t change teams, before joining NAVI? Yes. How much time did you play for Flipsid3? I think it was the last year, the end of September, the beginning of October when they invited me. So I played there for around a year. Did you receive any support from your friends, family, brother? Or did they think it was a hobby only? At first my mother didn’t understand what I was doing, she gave me money for tournaments and stuff, but then she was tired of me wasting money and she thought I was gambling. My farther always supported me, so did my brother, back in 2010 or so, he told me that I will join NAVI one day, that I will reach my goal and play at the top level. Did you believe him? Yes I did, I tried my best not to let him down, he introduced me to the game and did everything to help me. I am very grateful to him for this, he showed me the way. What was your first prize and what was the largest prize in your career? What did you do with the money? My first prize was about $10-15, it was at Kazan tournament, that was a fair amount back then. My largest victory was at Dreamhack, $50.000 for the team, I don’t remember how I spent them. You just spent them? There are some daily needs… So you didn’t buy anything extraordinary, right? Yes, I still have some savings, I didn’t spend all the money… So you know how to handle money… 50/50. So now you are in NAVI, let’s move to the next part of our interview. There were a lot of rumors in the community, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, rumors were everywhere, Blad3 talked about it on Twitch… How did the negotiations go, why did they take so long and what was the deciding factor? It was a while ago, in the summer, when the first rumors appeared. The team manager Ugin contacted me and said they wanted to try me out. I thought I can’t decline… And you were like, “Brother, you were right!” But you said something like, “Let me think about it”… I didn’t think, I said I’m ready to join NAVI, but I had a contract with Flipsid3, NAVI had to negotiate with them. I said my answer was yes, but if Flipsid3 don’t allow me, I can’t do anything. What was the duration of your contract? My contract was until October 2018. October 2018? So we’d have to wait one more year, right? Give us some details. How did the negotiations go down? It was a hot topic of discussion on the news websites and the community, according to rumors, the transfer fee was ridiculous. Tell us the whole story. NAVI really wanted me to join this summer, both the management and the players, but it didn’t work out then because NAVI decided to give Seized a second chance. They needed a support player, which I’m not, and decided to keep Seized. He was given a trial period of 3-4 tournaments, I was told, and I knew I would be approached once again if things wouldn’t work out. And then, after some tournament, I don’t remember which one… After ESL One New York, right? That was the end of Seized’s career at NAVI. No, it was this year. That’s right, but NAVI won this tournament (ESL One New York) last year. And this period of one year turned out to be fatal for Denis. I was contacted by NAVI and asked if I still wanted to give it a try, and if I still had the desire to join the team after the first failed negotiations, because it really affected my morale a lot. I wanted to join them badly. You mean NAVI? Yes, and when you find out that it’s not gonna happen, your motivation goes down significantly. I overcame myself first of all, and continued to practice hard, because I knew that even after the failed negotiations I would still join NAVI one day. All hard work pays off in the end. Did you tell your teammates that you had been approached by NAVI? Or did you keep it a secret? After the negotiations in the summer, my manager in Flipsid3 asked me to keep it confidential. Only my manager, the CEO of the organization and Andrey B1ad3 were aware of the situation. No one else knew it, the others could only guess. Little to no one knew that. I kept it a secret, but somehow it became publicly known. The rumors still occurred, somebody must have leaked the information, maybe it was B1ad3? We’ll never find out. How did things unfold in the end? It was easier this time as NAVI were much more determined to buy out my contract. They really wanted me to join and, roughly speaking, were willing to pay any money to have me on the team. The negotiations were very hard, although at first, everything seemed to be ok, then some issues on the Flipsid3 side had popped up that stalled the transfer for quite some time. I could have joined NAVI 3 weeks or a month ago. But since the negotiations didn’t go easy, I joined much later. Why didn’t they want to let you go? Did they want to wring some extra cash out of the deal? Yes, they wanted a large sum of money, and second, they didn’t want to lose me as a player from the squad. Because they told me that they wanted to build a lineup around me. How did your teammates react when they found out about the transfer? Were they happy for you or offended that you’re leaving the team? I think they are happy for me after all because they know that this is a whole new level, and every player, especially a young one, wants to play for NAVI. They were okay with my decision and supported me, which I’m very grateful for. Your first day with the team, you flew to the bootcamp from Moscow, got to the house… How did the team welcome you? Did you know anybody before? Was there a welcoming ritual of some sort or a team dinner? Did you know anyone before joining NAVI? I think the community would really like to know how teams welcome new players. I hung out a bit with everyone except Sasha s1mple. I hung out a lot with Misha Kane at the last major, before joining NAVI – with Egor Flamie. I talked with Zeus in Krakow. And sometimes exchanged a few words with Edward when we were standing next to each other. We can say that you had friendly relations but as colleagues? Yes. You didn’t really talk much in real life? Just online or tournaments? That’s right. How did they welcome you? Surprisingly well. Everyone’s super friendly, communicative, kind, just a very cool team. They are very down to earth, no one’s putting themselves above the rest, everyone is treated equally. Did you have a welcoming party or a team dinner, if yes, what did you discuss during it? We all sat at the table drinking some tea and just talked. Everyone greeted me, we discussed our future plans, and now we’re getting to work. And what are your future plans exactly? What is the atmosphere in the team now? You are a new member of the team, what did you see from the inside? Share your impressions. Everyone wants to win, everyone strives to win, everyone tries his best, but… We need more synergy, we’re still figuring out roles, because I used to play different positions. We need to find the best way to properly integrate me into the team structure. What do you think the team is lacking now? Well, I think we lack… proper communication, plus we’ve been switching positions a lot lately to see what fits best. For example, I used to play roles that are taken here, and we want to change things, so that everyone would feel comfortable and play to their full potential, and not because they were forced to. Communication, positions. What about map pool and tactics? We’ve kind of decided on the map pool, but we didn’t have much time to practice all maps we want to play. We need more time to practice them, and I think in a month or two we’ll see whether or not this roster has potential. Speaking of tactics, we’re coming up with new ones, but again, we’re swapping around for certain tactics, and since these tactics are new… Good morning, Misha. I heard about tactics. Misha Kane heard about tactics and came to us, say hello to Misha, guys. It’s live, you can come through. Say hello to the viewers. We’re changing positions in certain setups. You might forget some things because there’s a lot of tactics to remember and your head just explodes. Speaking of roles, have you figured out what role each member of the team is going to play? S1mple is going to be the main AWPer, Flamie is the secondary AWPer, and Zeus is IGL. Edward and I are still deciding our roles. We’re switching positons to see what fits best. So, to get good results and start playing consistently, you need to figure out roles and positions first and then start practicing tactics? Sure. For example, if I can’t understand what my role is, I don’t know what I’m supposed to do in a certain situation. You can’t get good results right away without figuring out roles and setups. When FaZe played their first tournament with the new roster, it was some kind of a mess, then they changed roles and their current setup is working really well. I hope we can do that too. How do you like Misha Kane as a coach? Does he have a different approach than your former coach? How do you like working with him? This is my first experience of working with the coach. So far, only positive emotions. He helps us a lot in and out of the game, he helps us with tactics, he says what we did wrong and what information we should’ve provided in certain situations, points out our communication issues. He explains those things and it makes it easier to play. It’s also easier to play official matches with his assistance on how the opponent likes to play and which setups they prefer. Each player makes their own conclusions and tries to make the most out of the information they have. What are your expectations for the bootcamp? Do you agree with Zeus that the results will come in the long run? Yes, totally. First, the main reason we’ve gathered here is that we urgently need to figure out roles and positions, as we have to prepare for the upcoming tournaments as best as we can. We gathered at the bootcamp to discuss roles and see what fits best. Discussing it online is much harder because one is sitting on VK, another one is checking the phone, some listen, some don’t. That’s why practicing at home is not always as productive as at the bootcamp. A question from the community, “When will Denis start streaming?” I can start streaming right now if the community promises me to I’ll have enough viewers, because I don’t really want to stream for 50 people. Guys, we should allay Denis’s fear and show him that we wanna watch his stream. Denis will start streaming if you want him to. Leave your comments and he will stream for you. To wrap it up, a few words to our fans. Cheer for us, guys, we really want to give our best in every game we play. We do our best, but it’s not working out yet, I hope we’ll get there eventually. We don’t want to get flamed by the community, as some people tend to. We’re doing our utmost to return NAVI to the level they were on 1,5-2 years ago. Denis, thank you for the honest interview, I wish our renewed roster the best of luck. Guys, I hope you enjoyed this interview, drop a like and hit the subscribe button. Turn on notifications, because the next honest interview that features s1mple is coming soon. Bye.