Russian ladies on the beat pt.1: Julia Govor & Dasha Redkina

Words by: Lena Kochetkova
Posted: 27/3/13 9:23

A girl-DJ is not a rare phenomenon anymore, still the international scene is clearly male-dominated. Russian girls are famous for they beauty and charisma, and recently they started conquering the dancefloors all over the world. They create and play amazing music, they look fabulous and they are constantly pushing the boundaries. The charming representatives of the scene – Julia Govor and Dasha Redkina – speak about tough clubbing business, about their Ibiza experience and how Russian environment influences an artistic personality.

Julia GovorJulia Govor
Julia is a professional reporter, creating shows about the electronic music scene for almost a decade now. After making an impressive career as a TV presenter she started making music herself, which was a natural progression. A techno DJ, producer and writer, now she is stepping into music as a vocalist. Last year Julia got married and at the moment lives somewhere between New York and Berlin, but remains an integral part of the Russian clubbing scene.

After you moved to Europe, did life become easier for you as for a creative personality?
I have Gipsy and Jewish blood in my veins. I can’t stay at the same place for more than 10 days by my nature. Good ideas, as you know, come to you at least expected places and times. You don’t need to change cities or partners for that. My last song came to me when I was having a bath in Istanbul.

Everyone here is criticizing Moscow. But, maybe, Moscow has some positive sides that the West doesn’t have?
I am a girl from a small village in sunny Abkhazia. Moscow made all my dreams come true: I made a career of a TV presenter, acted in the best Russian art-house movie (“Shapito-show”, 2012) and earned enough money to invite all my friends to a trip around the world. Everything is so easy in Moscow, except for the one thing: I failed to meet my love here. My husband is American. No treasure in the world can make you happy if you love only yourself.

Are you a child of Russian clubbing scene or a cosmopolitan person from the very beginning?
When I was living in Abkhazia, dancing and discos already were my hobby. I had the biggest tapes collection in the whole cantonment. Since my parents are military people, we lived everywhere, in all countries of the ex-Soviet Union. I’m not ashamed of attaching myself to Russia. But it was Romania where I experienced my first clubbing shock from the energy on the dancefloor, the power of movement, the presence of so many smiley faces and like-minded people. I was conquered once and forever.

What did Russian clubbing scene give you that it is impossible to get anywhere else?
Contacts! Our brain, all our nervous system are meant to make contacts. I met wonderful people who contributed enormously to my life and my personal development. Where do you get acquainted with new people most easily? At discos, of course. Yes, it’s noisy there, but in the night everyone is more open, more liberated.

Does you husband worry about you rushing around the planet as a party vortex?
We “rush around” together, and when not together, the power of our kisses and the fire I see in his eyes are stronger than worries. He is worried when I am worried, and I am worried only in case I can’t change anything. For me it’s important to see the result, because everything I do definitely influences future, next generations. People follow my example and I don’t want this example to be a bad one.

Music journalism nowadays is inseparably linked with PR. Many people believe interviews serve only for the artist’s promotion. Do you agree with such a viewpoint?
Yes! Let me unveil a secret of many media’s daily practice: “We put you on our cover and you play for free at our corporate party, ok?”. Everything is so interconnected. There is continuous advertising in press. I don’t believe to what artists say in programs and magazines. It looks as if they were copying each other and covering up by speaking about how industriously they work! I can’t remember a cool interview where the protagonist would really expose himself.

What is the meaning and the message of your reportages?
My reportages are meaningless))) They just set you in a good mood and give you a sense of a celebration. It’s an advertising for happiness, I sell happiness! Beautiful picture, beautiful Julia in this picture, happy protagonists and branding! Yes, all my reportages are well-paid by sponsors and I don’t hide it. It is easily seen.

What is the perception of the Sochi Winter Music Conference among the similar events abroad? Has it already reached the level of a “serious international conference”?
It depends on how you look at it. If you are a serious person and you want to work, than it will be like this. If you are a slacker looking for a chance to dance with a glass in your hand, then the conference will look like just another weekend for you. I always leave Sochi with a smart booking half a year ahead, I think it’s a good result! I recommend many artists to go there, especially those who would like to work at the Russian entertainment market.

Tell us please some cool and crazy story that happened to you in Ibiza.
Last summer I got to know a Brazilian shaman and tried tree-frog poison at a “Combo” ceremony. I almost died, then I felt the power of fire in my hands and an incredible inflow of energy, like electroshock. It helped me realize who I am and what my goal in life is. I am a muse, an inspirer. I give people an opportunity to believe in themselves without trying to change.

Julia Govor Online
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Dasha RedkinaDasha Redkina
Dasha spent her teen years in the UK. It was there where she got acquainted with the party scene, worked in a record store and studied Sound and Film at the university, which helped her acquire a closer relationship to the technical side of music. In 2011 Dasha returned to Moscow and became a resident DJ at Arma17. Being a true connoisseur of records, she came out with the idea of the Vinyl Picnic – market where any music enthusiast can display their collection for sale, which is a salutary solution for a city with no proper vinyl shops.

Compared to the UK, did Moscow seem a favourable artistic environment for you when you moved here? Why?
I was lucky to have a warm welcome in Arma17 when I returned to Moscow and this surely gave my artistic incentives a boost. I did not feel like I was evolving artistically during the last period of time I had in London and this change of coming back to my homelands after years of living away definitely affected me in a positive way. Moscow in general is not a friendly city for artistic minds to expand freely, because of our politics and repressions and commercialism that dominates all around. It's expensive and ruthless, but at the same time provokes your energy to respond to its tough conditions and to be very active. You have to move. Otherwise it swallows you merciless and depression is inevitable. But there are a few special individuals that I have met here, who are inspiring and forward-thinking.

What was your first encounter with the Russian clubbing scene? What impression did it produce on you?
There is a lot of money around, people make things and break things after they get bored of it quickly. A lot of club owners and promoters have no idea about music culture and are simply following trends or doing it for their own narcissist purpose. But, like I said, I was lucky to find myself in Arma17, the minority of like-minded individuals here are doing the right thing, musically speaking. The young generation is definitely hungry for certain avant-garde music education and the intentions of Arma are there.

How do you assess clubbing culture in Russia? Is it developing or stagnating, following European trends or going its own way?
Developing for sure. But undoubtedly following trends. Unfortunately most of parties have financial support from the commercial sector, which I've already mentioned is the dominating attribute in Russia now. Brands are sponsoring music events, and club scene mostly has cigarette and alcohol sponsorship. The sense of a free artistic environment is destroyed when sponsors are dictating the rules. Yes, in a way they give the opportunity to create and promote something, which people need, but this is a very important job of a promoter to find the balance between keeping true to the music scene and satisfying the sponsor. A lot of the cases fail, because parties and events become totally commercial, ruled by the money-making system. What Russia needs is individuals with money to invest into selective artistic organisations, because the government support is out of the question here and the marketing sector is only preoccupied about selling.

Dasha RedkinaTell us about the Vinyl Picnic please. How many people normally come to the event? Do you manage to attract a lot of neophytes to the vinyl culture?
It has been a wonderful experiment for me so far. And surely it is growing in size and importance, example to which is the latest one we held at Arma17 on 10th of March! It was the best location so far for this event, we had the vinyl market as the main attraction, then a cinema room, music lectures room and nice healthy food corners around. I love that it’s a gathering, which happens during the day, families and kids are around. It’s a totally different vibe, more natural.

I think 800-1000 people passed through that day. All kinds of characters: DJs, collectors, music intellectuals and fanatics for the vinyl format. Neophytes probably also, as I see young people really spending time at the market, selecting, trying, listening, comparing. It's the perfect training for the ears, I think!

A good music school for the day, even if you don’t have so much money to buy so many records, but that’s the point of selecting carefully. And the personal value for the record you take home that day.

                                between the swinging wax from redkina on Vimeo.
                    Camera - Dasha Redkina, Alena Vladyko - Film Editor - Dasha Redkina
A set with Ricardo Villalobos is a big landmark for I guess any DJ. After playing with him at Kazantip 2011, did you feel that something in your life changed irreversibly?
Any close encounter with Ricardo is a life changing experience, be it small or big. He has an immense power to influence people. He was my main music mentor when I started this path of a DJ. I learnt a lot from him and it was a natural incident that we happened to play together that day in Kazantip. A spontaneous afterhours moment, when he invited me to share the decks with him for the fun of it. Unfortunately it was very short because there were a lot of DJs around distracting the process and of course I was a little nervous and self-conscious. Nothing changed irreversibely, it just made me wish for another experience with him.:)) In Robert Johnson for example (I just exposed my secret wish to you!)

How did it happen that you were invited to play at Underground Ibiza? In general, what does Ibiza mean in your personal clubbing geography?
At the time I was spending a lot of time around the Romanian bunch of musically talented people and Rhadoo had his weekly Thursday night at Underground, where he would play himself and invite close friends to play with him. He was never announcing anything, just the friends who knew would come and hang out. Underground is perfect, cosy and very intimate. It was the first club I randomly found myself in when came to Ibiza with my father in 2002. Ibiza means a lot to me. It was a stepping stone to many mind-opening aknowledgements, simply a place of enlightment. Its nature and energies recharge you, the freedom of mind you can have there and the special musical encounters are all around. It is a place that grabs you by the heart and its painfully hard to leave every time!

Dasha Redkina Online
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