Nastia’s personal journey towards the summit of the underground dance music scene began in her home country of Ukraine. “The village where I grew up is like one big family,” she begins. “Today people live in the online social networks. You can write something bad on a message board and there are no repercussions. But growing up in a village you feel responsible for everything you say. If you mess up in the city and lose your friends, you can find more tomorrow. But in a village it’s not like that. If you talk about people in a bad way they’ll come to your house and you’ll have to take responsibility for what you’ve said. I think village life is responsible for sixty percent of my personality. You get a good basic upbringing.”
These days, Nastia lives in Kiev, Ukraine’s capital city. Despite the recent political upheaval across the region the city has become her home. “I had the option to move to Berlin or New York,” she explains, “but I feel amazing in Kiev. After the revolution, Kiev has returned to normal life. The mess has moved to the Crimea and the eastern part of Ukraine. But in Kiev life is just as safe as before. We don’t have any problems. Nobody is shooting anybody.”
After the Euromaidan revolution of 2014, many Ukrainian people lost their jobs, while the hryvnia fell sharply against the euro, losing three times its previous value. “If, for example, you wanted to book an artist for your party,” Nastia continues, “you suddenly had to pay three times more in local money and raise the entrance fee. We had to change a lot of things. And yet today Ukraine has the strongest dance scene I can remember. It’s like Great Britain at the end of the 1980s when everything first started. Now the younger generation in the Ukraine are following the same path.”
Indeed, Ukraine’s recent revolution seems to have ignited a burgeoning dance scene across the region, as a disaffected generation look to find solace in the pursuit of hedonistic pleasure. “I am very excited about what is happening in Ukraine right now,” Nastia smiles. “For sure, we’ve had some adventures with revolution and war, but not only bad things have come out of it. The younger generation are really getting into the culture. They’re dressing raver style, making their outfits special. It’s all very stylish. And we’ve just opened an amazing new club in Odessa in southern Ukraine. It has the same feeling as Berlin in the beginning of 2000s, with a proper soundsystem, wooden floor, low ceilings, freedom and safety inside the place. Along with Kiev, there are now two cities in the country for people to party.”
Another interesting consequence of the revolution is that dance music parties and festivals in Ukraine are, in a sense, lawless – which means the music keeps pumping until people stop dancing. “At the moment, there are no laws for this,” Nastia concludes, “no limits. At my festival, for instance, we started at Saturday at 6pm and finished at 6am on Monday morning. People go together: ravers, promoters, club owners, they are all connected. It’s freedom, a community – a unique situation.”
This summer, Nastia will perform for Circoloco at DC10, and for Cocoon at Amnesia. You can also hear her on Ibiza Sonica Radio on Mondays until September 26.