Independent, charismatic and straight talking, Nastia has always gone about things the way she wanted. The Ukrainian DJ and ARMA17 resident made her name on the club circuit, shunning the modern need to produce music of her own. Her undeniable talent as a diverse and in-tune DJ has been enough though, to propel her into the upper echelons of electronic music. Her extended sets are renowned for their ability to twist and turn whilst always keeping the crowd locked in. The complexities and contradictions in her music match the subtleties of her personality, fiery yet open and engaging; intelligent and considered yet a whole lot of fun.
These nuances come out in everything she does musically, making Nastia one of the scene’s most interesting performers. Earlier this year she took the step into production with killer results. I Voice caught up with her to discuss her productions, her residency and her plans for Ibiza and beyond.
At the moment it is almost impossible to get into the big scene without production. I don’t know so many people who came out only as a DJ...You have always said you are a DJ, not a producer. I think it’s great that you have made that distinction – it is certainly not a given that if you can do one you can do the other. But why do you think so many people see those skills as interchangeable?
I think because to make music now, it’s not so difficult anymore, plus it’s good for promotion to go out with it. At the moment it is almost impossible to get into the big scene without production. I don’t know so many people who came out only as a DJ. But there is a nice thing about doing both – you could show more of your personality, taste and character. And I think I am so lucky to get where I am now without any production. Not so many people get this chance nowadays.
What made you decide to actually make some music yourself?
I didn’t do any music by myself; I always work with someone, mostly with Alexander Pavlenko known as Sunchase on the drum’n’ bass scene. Of course I play a big part in a process, but it’s more about ideas. I can’t stay at the studio more than 2 hours – after this I understand nothing, because it’s a bit too much sound, too many decisions, and choices. Everyone is different and I am not so much into the machines, that’s why probably I am not into the studio time. And that’s why usually there is only 1 record coming out in a year. It’s like if you are more into the humanities than you can’t work on mathematics.
How did you find the process for your latest release? From producing it to getting involved with the promo and marketing etc.? What have you liked / disliked about it?
I was working in the studio with Alex for more than a year. We did a lot of parts and some complete tracks, but they never went out. Then my friend Norbert from All Inn records was pushing me a bit to make some music for them and slowly but surely, we did it. He choose 2 tracks and we requested a remix from our friend Fumiya Tanaka. We are really happy with the results and the sound. The track which went out on Park & Ride, we did 1 year ago. All of the tracks are completely different from each other. But this is how I am – I don’t have my sound, cause I always move. I always play differently, learning, changing. The only thing I follow is the urge to make people happy and dance.
If we talk about the marketing process – I have no idea about it. I just send the music. Even for my label I don’t do any promotion. I just release and that’s it. Rarely I check how it goes on sales, where it is in the charts... But really I don’t care. Usually my friends send me messages and this is how I follow the news.
My own aim has always been a good connection, reaction on what I am trying to say in my set. If people dance, smile, look at me and by their moves say “thank you” – I am happy. Cause in the end we all came to have fun, nothing else...As a DJ, what do you set out to do when you are performing in a club?
My answer will be boring and basic – I am not a performer. I am a DJ, the person who decides what the best sound is for all of us who are in the club at the moment. Everyone as a DJ chooses his own destination. My own aim has always been a good connection, reaction on what I am trying to say in my set. If people dance, smile, look at me and by their moves say “thank you” – I am happy. Cause in the end we all came to have fun, nothing else. Sometimes there are special parties with the concepts and I am open for experiments. But let’s be honest - usually people come for the party to chill, drink, meet someone, get high and fuck in the end of it. Shall I do something special or outstanding for it…? )
You clearly have a very strong affinity with ARMA17. What is it that you love about the night so much?
The thing is ARMA17 does something very, very special. The way they do their events is totally not commercial. Any move of ARMA17 has a concept, idea, design, art, visuals, and installations. All members of the crew are very intelligent. I have never worked with people like them. That’s why it always has a special meaning for me. Their energy brings me into another level of my vision. It’s definitely not just a night clubbing.
What has your residency there taught you?
Any time I go there I open my mind more and more. I always learn something, get inspired and discover some things I didn’t know before. They bring a lot of underground, totally unknown artists and it’s never boring for me to see and hear something new. First of all I was working on myself. I was breaking myself many times to do another step into the future with the sound I play and my imagination of the party.
ARMA17 is the only place in the world I don’t really care where it’s located. ARMA17 is not in Russia, or Germany, or Norway; whatever. It’s in my mind; in my heart...Can you tell us a bit about what ARMA17 is like now the venue has changed? Has it kept the same atmosphere and energy etc.?
I have no idea guys, cause last time I was there was for a Closing Party. I am coming back just 1 year after – in April for their Birthday.
As a proud Ukrainian who has a residency for a Russian club night, how do you feel about the recent political tensions and violence that has marred the region of late?
ARMA17 is the only place in the world I don’t really care where it’s located. ARMA17 is not in Russia, or Germany, or Norway; whatever. It’s in my mind; in my heart. I have a very strong feeling for people working on it and I am always able for them. Anywhere, anytime.
Has this situation ever affected the way you see your residency for ARMA17 or your DJ dates in Russia or indeed Ukraine?
I have no dates in Russia or Ukraine. We all used to say “music is out of politics”, but our industry is full of politics by its own. Anyhow I am open for some of the places in Russia to play. But generally I don’t play in Ukraine or Russia cause there is no place for it besides very few clubs.
Electronic music has a real stronghold in Eastern Europe. Which cities in the region do you think have the best music scene?
I didn’t think about it. Also I don’t know much about all Eastern Europe clubs. I can only say that in Russia it’s Moscow’s ARMA17 and in Ukraine it’s Closer Club in Kiev. Also we have great guys to organize proper parties in Odessa called Feeleed.
I believe or at least am pretty sure that it all depends on the way you think, so I don’t like to complain for myself. I like to make my life easier and be flexible and able to adapt to any changes...Travelling so much must be really amazing but also put certain strains on your life. How easy have you found it to manage that balance?
I am very easy-going with my psychology for that. I believe or at least am pretty sure that it all depends on the way you think, so I don’t like to complain for myself. I like to make my life easier and be flexible and able to adapt to any changes. So the balance is in my mind and I feel myself very good. Having amazing intuition, experience, good vibes, mixing all of them and having balance. I am well organized, professional and focused. That’s enough to manage anything.
Have you been anywhere that has surprised you with how good the party was of late? Where was it?
The first place that comes to mind now is Closer Club in Kiev. I have nothing to say about it besides that I just love it so far. It’s like a sister of ARMA17 for me, the way I compare my feelings I have for it. Any time I am there – I am the happiest kid in the world. Plus I found myself very comfortable and cool at DC10. That is also totally my place ) Last time I’ve played there I had so much funny and crazy that at one point my friend came to me, took my hand and said strictly: “It’s enough for tonight, you are too much right now”. I am still laughing about it now. Also I liked early parties of the year in Curitiba, club Vibe (Brazil). I have to think more to remember all of them.
What were your highlights of 2014 and why?
Our festival “Strichka” I did for my Birthday with Closer Club in Kiev. That was the most important and impressive point of last year. We did it so well and nice… I am full of happiness about it. Kiev has never experienced anything like we did in the way of house music. I was so proud.
And answering on your next question “What have you got coming up in the future that excites you?” I would say the same – our festival. Its looks many times better now; we have plans already, line-up, concept and plenty of new stuff coming... I am burning imagining how it will be.
And finally I got back to my label! I have few records to release already. Next will be Verrina & Ventura, Andrey Zots and remixes from Dan Andrei + Rhadoo, first record from Alexander Pavlenko is coming (he is huge! ), also some music from me.
And… summer on Ibiza is already planned!!
Nastia's Upcoming Gigs
Saturday 14 March : Europa Sunrise, Lisbon, Portugal
Thursday 19 March : D-Edge , Sao Paulo SP , Brazil
Friday 20 March : CLUB 88, CAMPINAS, Brazil
Saturday 21 March : Warung Day Festival , Curitiba, Brazil
Wednesday 25 March : Vatos Locos , Miami, Florida, United States
Wednesday 25 March: Flying Circus Miami 2015, Miami, Florida, United States
Friday 27 March: CIRCOLOCO Night @ Mana Wynwood,Miami, Florida, United States
Sunday 29 March : Used & Abused , The Surfcomber, Miami, , United States
Wednesday 01 April : Club Deputamadre, Belo Horizonte, Brazil
Thursday 02 April : Beehive Club, Passo Fundo, Brazil
Friday 03 April : Warung Beach Club, Itajaí / SC, Brazil
Saturday 04 April : Cave Sessions, Cave, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Friday 10 April : Caprices Festival , Crans Montana, Switzerland
Saturday 11 April : Goa Club, Rome, Italy
Saturday 18 April : Fuse Bday , Fuse , Brussels, Belgium
Friday 24 April : Paladarq Music Festival, Mantova, Italy
Saturday 25 April : Arma17 Bday , TBA , Moscow , Russia
Thursday 30 April : Detroit Milano, Milano, Italy
Friday 15 May : Maximus, Kotor, Montenegro
Friday 22 May : Strichka Festival Day 1, Closer, Kiev, Ukraine
Saturday 23 May : Strichka Festival Day 2, Closer, Kiev, Ukraine
Saturday 30 May : Il Muretto Opening, Jesolo, Italy
Sunday 31 May : Zu Shaman, Pescara, Italy
Monday 01 June : Rizla, Catania, Italy
Thursday 04 June : Hellmut List Halle, Graz, Austria
Friday 05 June : Grelle Forelle, Wien, Austria
Saturday 06 June : Club Schlaflos , Aarau, Switzerland
Friday 12 June : Le Rouge, Paris, France
Tuesday 30 June : Hideout , Papaya Beachclub, Zrce Beach, Croatia
Friday 31 July : Barrakud Festival , Barrakud Festival , Corfu, Greece
Thursday 13 August : Club4, City Hall , Barcelona, Spain
Friday 14 August : Papagayo Beach Club , Tenerife, Spain
Saturday 15 August : Under your Seat , Mood, Las Palmas, Spain
Monday 17 August : Sonus Festival, Zrce Beach, Pag Island, Croatia