DTF Magazine continues to investigate Kyiv underground electronic music scene and write about its top representatives, events and places. This text is about ten talented female DJs and producers that’s not all of them, but you should at least know these ten names if you like electronic music.
In the interview, DTF Magazine asked the girls about how comfortable they feel on thelocal stage, whether they experienced any prejudices, and who they recommend to follow.
And it’s important to remember: it is not a ranking of any kind!
Nastia is the most famous Ukrainian female DJ who actively tours around. There is a lot of information available about her, so it would make sense to focus on the latest news: last year she was the first Ukrainian musician who became a BBC Radio 1 resident and already recorded five out of six podcasts for them.
In December, Nastia launched a new label called Nechto Records under which she plans to record new artists, including those of Ukrainian origin. Moreover, she is going to release her music under a pseudonym SHEIS. She used this nickname for the first time when she played a set of quite untypical techno, electro and acid 140+ bpm at the autumn Veselka party .
However, Nastia does not want to restrict herself by genres or styles, so we are looking forward to hearing what she comes up with. Nastia always has an intense tour schedule in many foreign countries, but the Ukrainian cities are also on the itinerary. Next party is to take place on 6 March in Closer.
Although DJ and producer Sasha Zakrevska returned to Ukraine from Poland, where she had studied, worked, played on stage and wrote music, just over a year ago, she managed to become one of key figures on the Kyiv stage. Zakrevska is interested in different kinds of music: from experimental and ambient to electronic dance, house and acid. But Poly Chain is, first and foremost, a live music performer.
“By playing live music I am not a product, but an artist. I have to satisfy not the public’s needs and expectations, but my inner ones. DJ-ing is on the second place for me and it is more utilitarian: make everyone dance, feel better and more relaxed, and do not forget to create a story with those tracks.”
Last year Poly Chain released two solo albums and collaborated on three albums, while this year she is going to release a vinyl and take part in at least three albums. Her first track, created under Ukrainian label Corridor Audio, will be released at the end of the month on V. A. Modular Traffic 3/3 together with the tracks of other Ukrainian performers. Concerning collaborative projects: Zakrevska works on the material she jammed together with Koloah before the New Year’s Eve. During the party in Otel’ she also had an interesting B2B with Mental which culminated in the battle on 20ft Radio.
Last autumn Poly Chain had a European tour where, except for the festival Unsound in Krakow, she also played in Prague, Bratislava and Leipzig. The DJ refused to travel by plane in order to reduce the carbon footprint. She played at different local parties, for example, Scheme, Veselka, “Avantazh”, Osnova and Club ∄ on Kyrylivska St. opening. When Sasha performed at the second Kyiv Boiler Room, two different agencies offered her collaboration, with one of them -French Nomade Booking – she decided to collaborate.
At the same time, Zakrevska can simultaneously work as a designer. For example, she collaborates with the label Dom Trojga which belong to DJ and producer Eltron. At the end of spring her vinyl album under this label will be released and we will be able to listen to them at Boiler Room and Scheme.
“I have been doing this since I was four, and all my friends have supported me. There was no special treatment: a chick plays on synths and tries to do a good and professional job. My friends and colleagues tell me about my masculine character, but I do not find anything gender-related in the desire to seek realization in something I have been doing my whole life.”
She recommends the music of her colleagues:
“We crossed paths with Dasha Kolosova and Nastia Muravyova and I want to point out not only their professionalism, but also a great sense of humor: actually, it is such a pleasure to work and spend time with these people. I would recommend NFNR and Noisynth.among live-performers. I would also check out Sirakusy, since it is the best thing that has happened to the Ukrainian music. I hope in 2020, I will hear more of them in club and festival line-ups.”
Last year was quite busy for Daria Kolosova because she performed in Tresor (Berlin), Fabric (London), Rex (Paris), Boiler Room in Ibiza together with Nastia, did a warm-up for Jeff Mills at the festival Neopop, toured in Brasil and Asia, became a resident in System 108, and put on performances at great Ukrainian parties and festivals. Dasha also organizes events with her team from promogroup Materia.
Certainly, her friendship and joint performances with Nastia gave a boost to her career, but, at the same time, Dasha is barely hardly a rookie: she has been known due to the Materia’s parties and residency in Kyiv club called Keller. Her energetic sets of harsh techno, strong bass and broken electronic made her a famous DJ actively touring in Ukraine, and later abroad. She likes to joke that she is a bad role model for a successful performer because it took her 10 years to get where she is today.
“The last couple of years have seen a trend of gender balance on the stage and festivals adjust the ratio of female and male performers in line-ups to make it 50/ 50. On the one hand, it enabled new talented performers to draw public’s attention. On the other hand, new quasi-stars began to appear at line-ups of great festivals and events more frequently solely on condition that promoters artificially rushed to eliminate that gender imbalance. Fortunately, we do not face such problem.
“Recently I have got a message from a girl who graduated from a DJ-school: she was advised to speak to me, since she did not know what to do next. She sent me some mixes and asked me to recommend her to promoters who would be interested in working with her. It is a brilliant decision – to ask an experienced person for such help. As a result, one of the promoters I introduced to her offered her collaboration.”
She recommends the tracks of her colleagues:
“Make sure to listen to some Ukrainian DJs such as Poly Chain, Ponura, Vero and Nastia Vogan.”
Jana started to play at small parties in clubs like “56” and Otel’ five years ago, and now she is a resident of the formation Osnova Kyiv, a frequent guest of line-ups at Scheme and at dark-vibe parties Joy in Moscow, she also plays at Brave! Factory and Black! Factory, and took part in the recent Boiler Room party in Kyiv. Woodstock has a clear, memorable image and sounding: a Nordic cold consisting of industrial-techno, relaxing minimal and traces of trance and punk.
Apart from performances at parties in Kyiv, she also tours around Europe: she plays in Germany, France, Italy, Israel and other countries. Jana writes music: last year her track was released in an album under the Milan label called Marguerite Records.
Vera has been working on the project Rhythm Büro with Igor Glushko and Aleksandr Pavlenko (Na Nich) for five years, and she also performs at great parties and festivals. In general, her career of a DJ started from drum and bass, but over time Vera Sue became Vero on the techno scene. Now she is an established DJ with a variety of different experiences and a wide genre range who also writes music. Last year she released two new tracks.
Vera was a co-founder of the promogroup “22:22” (which brought legendary Grandmaster Flash to Kyiv — comment by DTF Magazine) and a drum and bass label of the same name, however it is not active now as it became difficult to reconcile two projects, and priorities have changed.
Today Logdanidi focuses on Rhythm Büro, especially since the project launched a new format Extra that will soon open the season with the very first event, experimenting with another format, and is generally expected to undergo changes this year. She also promises not to forget about ideas concerning the jungle/ drum and bass music, and, perhaps, will implement them together with the team this year. Vera is a host on the 20ft “Chestnut” radio show which is about the Ukrainian electronic scene (by the way, listen to her interview with Nastia).
“I feel comfortable working on our electronic scene. I know that my colleagues respect me, both men and women, and I don’t need to prove my worth to anyone. The way I see it, everything is fair, and it is always felt. During the early stages of my career of a DJ there were more sexism prejudices, but it was a long time ago. Since then, the electronic music industry in Ukraine has developed, and I can confidently declare that I am happy to work in the most tolerant and open-minded society. But around our “musical bubble,” unfortunately, there is lots of doom and gloom.”
Several years ago, Yana Ponura started to play at small platforms such as “56” and Keller, and now she performs at various festivals, for example, at Strichka, Brave! Factory, Scheme parties, Closer and other large local parties and raves; eagerly studies and gives the impression of a modest but promising DJ.
She combines techno, garage, electronic, breakbeat and IDM in her sets. Yana tours a little and mainly in Ukraine, but she has been already noticed at a party in the Berlin club Griessmuehle.
Muravyova is one of those who are usually expected at Kiev parties no less than foreign guests. Her sets include tough techno with breakbeat, EBM and electro elements.
It seems that every story about Nastya begins with the fact that she works as a flight attendant. It is a common thing for her to land at 2 a.m., and then get up to perform at 6 a.m. Muravyova explains that her passion for both professions helps her to cope with such schedule.
“It seems to me that the schedule of those DJs who constantly tour and stay away from home for months is even more complicated. Of course, I would have liked to do only one thing, but I cannot because I love both jobs. Being a flight attendant is a dream of my childhood and a dream of my parents, who are also working in this industry. And it is really a dream job, though very difficult. Love of music made me become a DJ. I love it when people dance, have fun and enjoy themselves because I play for them.”
She is a self-taught DJ, and even before she had a laptop, she jotted down tracks she heard and liked in a notebook. She says that she first experienced biased views not because of gender, but because few people believed in the seriousness of her passion for the craft.
Now the name of Muravyova is among the most promising young Ukrainian DJs, as well as in the line-ups of European parties and festivals. For example, Nastya performed at the clubs Tresor and Berghain in Berlin (at the club’s birthday party). Last year she celebrated her first performance in Glasgow, and also was next to Jeff Mills in line-ups of the Slovak Pohoda Festival.
In Kyiv, we may hear her tracks at Skhema, Veselka, Black! Factory, and, actually, at many local events. Muravyova cooperates with the Kyiv booking agency known as Celestial, which organizes parties with foreign DJs, as well as Urbanum in Berlin. She is planning to take up producing.
She recommends checking out tracks of her colleagues:
“Dasha Kolosova, Yana Ponura, Jana Woodstock, Poly Chain and Raw Uncut, and those from abroad are VTSS, Helena Hauff, SPFDJ, Luna Vassarotti, Hyperaktivist, Jessie Granqvist and Mama Snake. The list is extremely long, because the girls always have been and will be among electronic DJs. They are the flowers that decorate the stage by bringing new sounding.”
Nastya Vogan is from Odessa, has become a renowned guest on the Kiev stage. Nastya’s love for music is about twenty years if counted from the time of attending music school. She has a classical composer’s education, which she has coped to combine with the desire to experiment in electronic music. It was because of her studies at the Ukrainian National Tchaikovsky Academy of Music that Vogan stopped playing and producing for a while, but last year she resumed it again.
Previously, Nastya performed under the names of Ladan, Lollibou and others, was a frequent guest of the s h u ƒƒ l e events and her own series of techno parties called Leisure, which mainly took place at the club “56”. She played at Skhema and other notable Ukrainian events. She is now engaged in the electro-acoustic project Cyclones slowly rose, where performances sometimes are given with a string orchestra, and in 2018 she released the album Spray under this name.
Vogan’s genre interests extend from techno to IDM, from ambient to breakbeat and electronic music. You can hear both rhythmic and completely dance sets, and mesmerizing cinematic and experimental tracks created by her. By the way, recently Nastya played a set with academic music on Radio 20ft.
In addition to working on Cyclones slowly rose and performing, Vogan also teaches beginner musicians how to play lives at Module.
“I see people simply as people, I wonder what kind of music a person does and what he/ she can demonstrate. But if it means there are more girls on the stage, then I like this tendency. It is bad if someone cannot prove themselves because of some framework or stereotypes. I know a lot of beautiful female musicians, but in general, the more people do something beautiful, the better.”
She recommends the tracks of such colleagues:
“I advise you to pay attention to Bryozone and P. I also like Waveskania (heard it at Metaculture), and I love what Leila Masharipova does. I like Rroxymore, I love what Caterina Barbieri does on modulators and how her friend Kali Malone plays on the organ. I recently heard Sybil Jason and got inspired.”
Nastya Flur is a DJ from Donetsk who has settled on the Kiev stage in the last five years. She got interested in electronic music in her teens, and then year after year she learned to create it on her own. Before she moved to Kyiv, she had been working as the head of the school of DJs for a couple of years. Previously, Nastya performed under the name of Stacie Flür, and in 2016 launched a pilot live project Noisynth.
The DJ is distinguished by a non-standard approach to sound design and established genres, the ability to create something hybrid, experimental and fascinating at their intersection. Her music, often mystical and even aggressive, covers a wide range of interpretations of techno, IDM, electronic, breakbeat, industrial, rhythmic-noise and ambient. Noisynth is a resident and a regular participant in Next Sound events.
Olesya Onikienko supervises the sociocultural and educational initiative called Womens Sound, platform “The Institute of Sound” dedicated to supporting women on the electronic stage. Under the pseudonym of NFNR she plays ambient, industrial, experimental techno, drone and noise.
Olesya collaborates with music projects from Ukraine, Germany, Sweden, Japan and India. She is a theatre and film composer, a member of the experimental folk-electronics laboratory MOKOSHO and co-founder of the art group Deus Ex Machina where she explores rave culture together with the artist Katerina Berlova. At the same time, Olesya has time to perform not only at European or Kyiv events, but also at events in Severodonetsk, Kamianets-Podilskyi, Ternopil, Kharkiv and other cities.
“As a performer I sometimes want more performances, but this problem does not depend on gender: we just do not have many events or places where we can hear non-dance electronic music or something very original. Sometimes I encounter sexists comments from some unfamiliar sound technicians at new events, but usually it only applies to the older generation.”
At Womens Sound she oversees the recording of podcasts and the organization of workshops, presentations and parties, both in Ukraine and in other countries. Over the past year, Womens Sound has already presented 20 DJs and now continues to receive letters with demos or offers to perform. Thanks to this platform, some of the girls get experience of organizing performances, sometimes even debut, and someone gets help with signing foreign contacts.
“I think our stage is quite diverse and alternative. I don’t know DJs who sound alike, and this is a great trend. Of course, compared to the world stage, we are still at the initial stage, because there is a problem of gender inequality in music, although it is not solved, but there are many more girls on the stage.”
“I also believe that we are in a certain isolation and there is no female musical community, which could hold events, create joint projects, solve problems together and be visible in principle. But this is my personal opinion: of course, for someone it is normal and productive to exist individually and remotely. That’s why one of the goals of Womens Sound now is to form connections between performers and help them introduce themselves more on the international arena.”
She recommends the tracks of her colleagues: