With little else than the love of dance in her bones, Ukraine’s Nastia forged her way into being on of electronic music’s all around dance music ambassadors. First getting behind a pair of decks in 2005, Nastia has since toured the world in many cities throughout Europe and further abroad to Japan, North Africa, South America and Mauritius. Aside from touring as a DJ, Nastia’s presence has been felt as a promoter, radio host and, most recently, a resident of Moscow’s famed Arma17. Self-considered more of a true DJ than a producer, Nastia’s skills behind the decks are unquestioned, mixing everything from minimal to drum & bass to industrial techno with ease.
First of all Nastia, you originate from Ukraine. How did you first get involved in underground music?
I was listening to the likes of The Prodigy and more around 20 years ago and of course I got influenced by electronic music more and more, I then couldn’t let go of this music and I became so passionate about it, it sucked me in until I was a slave to it. So I’m like a slave! Haha.
What were your local influences whilst you were growing up in your home town of Kiev?
We had our local heroes, but they are not heroes anymore. We had great DJs playing in Kiev and I was looking at them thinking: “I want to be like them, I wish I could play like them.”
You are pretty versatile in different styles of music that you play. What is your favourite genre of music to play and why?
I think my favourite is Drum & Bass because it is full of soul and melodies. It is very dynamic and you can jam and the music and energy is just amazing. I like this music more but I discovered it later than Techno and House. I am a House and Techno DJ but this is my passion.
I also wanted to talk about your record label Propaganda. What do you have coming up? What is your philosophy behind the label? I’ll leave it open to you as how you would like to speak about it.
There is no real sound. There is a similar line if you listen track by track. In the future, that will be tricky as I am planning on releasing much different music, so everything is different. It is as different as me. I don’t like limiting myself so I look at the label that way as well. I will release the tracks I want to release. When I hear a track, even if I don’t play it myself, if it’s good I will release it. The last track went out last week and the next one is coming up from various artists. It has a track from a young Italian producer who sent me the demo on my Soundcloud page. As I check them all myself this one really stood out. All my friends were like, “What the fuck is that?” I knew from there I would release it.
Finally, in September we have the sixth release. I am actually flying to the artists studio this weekend, which is quite far..in the mountains. He came to my festival, Strichka back in . After the festival he texted me some music and I thought it was great. It is dance but very musical, like jazzy house. I used this one on my fabric promo mix. Then, he sent me his next track and it was even better, so I knew he was someone to work with.
With a label, the creative decisions aren’t just limited to music. You also have to make aesthetic decisions and such. How do you approach the visual look of your releases?
I wanted to make the records 180 grams, heavy and strong. Then, I wanted to make them inside out, which is quite tricky. Sometimes people will put the record on and not know why it isn’t going the “right” way. They will tell me how they always forget the trick. This is what makes the record special.
With the design, I wanted to use pictures of the artists featured, but from when they were children. This tells a lot about people. When you look at the picture you can’t believe that person is the same who made this amazing track. Of course, the person in those pictures has no idea what they would be doing later in life. This kind of style makes the whole idea very warm.
You recently appeared behind the decks for Cocoon at Amnesia Ibiza. What do you love the most about Cocoon and why?
Why do I love Cocoon? Because they are strong enough to hold and host most heavyweight DJ’s on their line-ups. It is not easy to attain the best slots and attract the best DJs or artists so I respect them because they always produce very amazing line-ups each time and you need to have power and influence to be successful.
Of course, Sven Vath is the creative genius behind the Cocoon brand. How did you first meet Sven and what is your relationship like with him?
I first met Sven back in 2010 at kaZantip – a Ukrainian festival. It was his first time to come and play in Ukraine, and I was there but I was really shy. I was like: “Sven, I love you so much, can you please give me a record as a present?” He then gave me a record…
What record was it?
The record was called ‘Fusion’. It was in a white box and when I returned back home, and Sven may not be happy about this, but I made a clock watch from the record. He doesn’t know but it is on my wall as a watch.