For this week’s episode of the MNMT podcast, we are delighted to welcome Yuka. She is a DJ based in Moscow, who began her career in distant Bratsk, Siberia. She has released her exquisite sounds on various labels, including FullPanda, Silent Season, Semantica, Kabalion and Ovunqve. Ahead of this podcast and her upcoming gig at Monument in Oslo on September 21st, we had a brief chat with her.
Yuka, you are now based in Moscow, but you began your career in Bratsk, Siberia. This town was listed as one of the thirty most polluted cities in the world. To what extent have your experiences in Bratsk shaped or changed your vision on techno?
I can’t say that my career began in Bratsk, because I moved to Irkutsk at age 17 and to Moscow in 1998 when I was 24. My career began in Moscow in 1999, when accidentally I became a resident of one club. This story is funny because I had only 5 records and a weak technic to mix vinyl at that moment. But I was full of energy and ideas about my artistic future. So, I was working there for a while, and even had an interesting collaborative experience with a throat singer from Altai.
Bratsk is a really uncomfortable place for living, but I’m happy because it’s the best reason to travel away. I feel like I’ve got no roots just because I was born in such a town. My home – Planet Earth now.
What are your thoughts on the state of the Moscow techno scene? Do you see a lot of talent that is rising up and is given the opportunity to develop, if so, could you name some talents that we should keep an eye on?
The techno scene in Moscow is weak. Sorry to say, but it’s true. I’m not talking about the commercial side of the music. Moscow audience prefers minimal house, witch house, micro house, EDM and stuff like that. I guess, this was influenced by ARMA17 – a group of promoters of the biggest club and festivals which were very popular in Moscow a few years ago, but lost the power now after police raids and canceled events. There are not many promoters doing something different, it’s hard. These are SUBSPACE and Monasterio – small promo groups making good parties, but not often and not every time successful. The rest of communities are doing something commercial. Also police closed many night clubs.
The situation is better in St. Petersburg, I think because of m_division – well known promo group which organizes techno events, festivals and not only techno, but media art, experimental, modern art etc. Maybe you heard of GAMMA Festival. But that is not going on every weekend.
There are many interesting talented techno artists in Russia i think, but their path is hard because of this situation and they are quite unknown to the masses.
Some names to know:
Roman Korablove is the artist producing in many music styles under different aliases, has many releases and albums. One of his projects; Laiva is more techno oriented. He performs live acts with only synthesators without laptop.
Egor Sukharev (Egor Khz) is a really great musician. He had a break from releasing music, spent his time on education and came back as a professional sound producer. His live act in Berlin at Tresor (Globus) in 2017 was simply amazing! His music is deep and hypnotic.
Stef Mendesidis – artist from Greese based in Moscow – is also very interesting. I love his music. Both his old and new releases are really great
Unbalance – artist from Omsk (Siberia) based in Moscow. He has his own label (Unbalance) and just released an album. He is better known in Russia and Europe than other countries.
The techno scene is weak, but I’m proud of experimental/electronic music in Russia and especially in St.Petersburg. This scene is much bigger – so many talented, interesting musicians and performers (usually not so crowded maybe but very interesting). Some names to know (it’s a really small part of the list):
Mikhail Myasoedov (Kotä Records, Brinstaar), Oleg Makarov great musician, i love his music, Kurt Liedward (Mikroton Rec.,Brinstaar), Vlad Dobrovolski, Wolffflow, Snezhana Reizen aka Rzeng, duo Drojji, Andrey Svibovich.
This year you have brought out a new release on Ovunqve after a break from releasing music for some years. Were there reasons that you took a little break from releasing music? If so, what were they?
I produced very little for the last years and there is a reason. I stoped renting a permanent place in Moscow and began travelling. Why? To be honest I can’t live in Russia because I don’t feel happy there. Russia became a dangerous and tough place for creative people. As soon as I got a long-term European visa and Indian one I try to stay in Russia as rare as possible. It’s difficult for me to travel and to produce music at the same time, but now I found some balance and finally can say that new releases are on the way!
Yes, some tracks’ve been released as singles on Ovunqve, End of Perception and Fabrik Music and soon I’ll announce releases on Mountain Explosion Device – the Swedish label I love. First will be my remix of Kalawila’s track and then – my personal release. Also, I began a collaboration with Edit Select and we are working on a new release too, it will be out in December. These are my nearest plans.
All your earlier releases were mostly on Dasha Rush’s imprint Fullpanda Records. Tell us a bit about how you met and your relationship with Dasha.
I’m a resident producer of Fullpanda Rec. and a resident dj at All You Need Is Ears (series of events by this label).
I heard from friends about Dasha before we met, people said that our music is very similar. So when Dasha came to Moscow I invited her to perform on radio and fell in love with what she does. By magic chance we were in the same line-up in Riga just a couple of month later. That was a very special event – I was warming up for Dasha’s live and after her performance we were playing together, improvising and blasting the club and that was an absolutely unforgetable experience. After that night Dasha said to me: “I need you as a dj for my label nights”. Soon, in 2008 she released my first track and I became a label resident. She supports many good artists and helps me very much too. I’m so grateful to her and to Fullpanda. And I hope to release some tracks on this label again and soon.
What has been your favourite city and event to DJ at?
This is ALL YOU NEED IS EARS at Tresor in Berlin of course!
Who would be your dream B2B partner, if you could pick any DJ?
Donato Dozzy, Dino Sabatini, Dasha Rush, Kalawila.
Soon you will be making your debut in Oslo at the Monument event in September. Are you looking forward to this? Can we expect something special for this gig?
I’m very excited! I’m sure there will be something special. I’m a big fan of Monument and am preparing my best material for this gig and put all my energy in that. Also, this will be the 21st country I ever visited and the northest one!