Interview: Ljubov Dzhuzhynska
Photo: Ignis Terram
Describe the world you are trying to create during your DJ set.
There is no concept, it’s simply a matter of chance. It depends on how my relationship with the public unfolds, as well as the already created atmosphere before me. It’s like a living organism – you cannot predict it, you cannot control it, you can only slightly change it, based on your personal perception. But it’s definitely not a world, it’s a matter of circumstances and the energy flow. When being in front of the turntable you are just trying to shift the mood according to your personal view on music.
From all the artists you’ve met, who struck you the most in terms of individuality?
Nicolas Jaar. I was touched that he is a very sad and thoughtful person, with a touch of melancholy, and very intelligent. We are a little bit similar, so he instantly felt familiar to me. He is very bored because of what is happening in the current music sphere. He is so ahead of his time and so smart that he gets fed up quite fast with everything that is happening around him. He wants things to evolve, he wants challenges, but he lacks a bigger range of opportunities. Hence, you can see the disappointment in his eyes. He is truly a very deep person.
What do you think is the most annoying stereotype about the night life?
Drugs. ‘Are you going to a club? But there are so many junkies!’ This is the one stereotype that prevents people from approaching electronic music rationally and understanding this culture.This is the stereotype that in itself is an obstacle that stops people from expanding views and crushing boundaries. Quite often the prejudice on the topic of drugs is what prevents the public from assessing the significance and the scale of the club culture in general.
What is the best gig you’ve ever attended as a spectator?
The Chemical Brothers when they played in Kiev. в Киеве. It was very nice that they came to us. And their visual installations? I will never forget that clown on the screen. To me, they were a certain starting point from when I was a child, which led to my infinite love for electronic music. And then after all those years I got to see them live in Kiev, in a city where I live now. It was a very powerful combination of feelings and flashbacks. I felt their personal presence. I won’t say that it was the most fantastic concert the world has every seen, but it was definitely fantastic to me as a personal experience.
What was the most important thing your parents have taught you?
What about your daughter?
She taught me how to separate myself from biased factors and to see things for what they really are. When raising a child you have to constantly choose the right words to use, to think through your actions, and not just yours: you analyze everything in real time. A child, on the other hand, doesn’t base matters on experiences, so a child perceives everything literally. You try to see things from a different perspective, you put yourself in your child’s place in order to be sincere and not to bluff when answering questions. This is the only way to establish and maintain a trustworthy relationship between you and your kid. Our actions and words have to be explanatory, fair, understandable. If a person is conscious, he or she approaches the issue of bringing up a child responsibly and attentively, he or she discovers and learns a lot about the world, about oneself, and about the child. It’s an invaluable experience that a person cannot acquire until he or she has children.
Is there a country, city, or club left where you would like to play in?
I performed in Panorama Bar in Berlin, but I would really like to play in Berghain itself. It’s completely different and it fits my mood and current musical format. I think I would be able to express and open up myself from an entirely different perspective.
What are your thoughts on haters? Why do you think people hate what is not them?
People hate unfamiliar things because of their own ignorance and a lack of personal experience in the given matter, or perhaps because of their own failures, unresolved issues and incompleteness. It’s rather sad. At times I become a ‘hater’ myself, when I criticize something, but I try to only do that in matters that are familiar to me, so it’s not exactly ‘hating’. Hating on something is an unconscious flow of negative human thoughts, which often doesn’t have an actual basis, it’s all just superficial judgement. For some it’s a genuine source of pleasure, I must say. In other more minor cases – it’s a profession or a way of life. It’s a powerful and effective ‘black hole’ that absorbs all the energy around it. Hating requires a very low level of emotional education, a shallow perception of the world and consciousness, most importantly – lack of spirituality. In general, these people are very unhappy and poor, not in a material way, but in a moral way.
We know that you are interested in psychology. What fascinates you the most in this field?
The extent of the unexplored and the endless rediscovery of things that were assumed to be already known. Every time when I go to see my therapist, I am amazed at how much new knowledge she shares with me in just two hours. Some people can’t even learn this much during their entire lifetime, they simply end up in a vicious cycle and quite often you can’t cope with this on your own. For me, talking to my therapist is like gaining valuable knowledge that I can then use for my internal enrichment and self-development. It’s a sincere and honest dialogue, a confession in order to understand and discover yourself. It’s an instrument to unveil yet another mystery. I understand that talking about your problems with a specialist and a friend are two completely different things. When you find the time to see a therapist for two hours, it completely replaces all of your attempts to endlessly discuss your problems with friends. I was never comforted by ‘kitchen conversations’, unless they’re all about fun. A therapist is the person who you move forward with, with who you become more confident in yourself. A therapist is someone thanks to who you make enormous leaps in development. It’s a fantastic experience, I always leave my therapists office with the feeling of having wings, with big hopes, and motivation to improve myself further.
Do you consider that the subject of therapy is taboo within our society and is considered unnecessary?
It rather stems from fear. The same stereotypes come to place as with the culture of electronic music. If you love electronic music and you go to clubs then you’re labeled a junkie, if you’re seeing a therapist then you’re labeled as deranged. It’s all just an imposed stereotype. Taboo? No, I don’t think so. This industry is obviously very necessary. Recently, I notice that more parents take their kids to child psychologists. It’s a very good thing because it’s important to observe children at such a sensitive age. Parents themselves are not capable of seeing their child from afar in a detached frame of mind in order to analyze his or her behavior and actions. You don’t see your kids when they start to spend more time at school. You don’t spend enough time with your kids to find out what they are really like, what interests them, and what they are hiding from you – your child doesn’t always want to share a secret with you. So yes, I notice this tendency in Ukraine, where parents are becoming more conscious, more responsible. Yet the stereotype exists and it needs to be worked on and people should advocate that psychotherapy is completely normal. Every single person is in need of help in overcoming fears, psychological traumas, or difficult moments in life. It needs to be discussed with a specialist, it needs to be dealt with. At times, the roots of your problems are in so deep that you don’t have the slightest idea. I recommend that anyone who has questions or difficulties regarding a major life issue, should go see a therapist.
What is the ultimate life truth you’ve discovered after living all these years?
Truth is a very abstract concept and everyone has their own. You can think of it however you feel like, sort of like of God – some believe in God and find salvation in such beliefs, and some don’t believe in Gods existence at all. The same goes for truth. Some perceive it as the ultimate last resort knowledge. Truth – is a path of eternal doubt as to whether something is true, or is there something else. You have to be a very brave person in order to speak of the absolute truth, to claim that you know it. Not even the most enlightened spiritual person can claim that he or she knows the truth. It’s a great responsibility. You have to be in doubt in order to dig deeper and go further. I can’t say that I’ve determined any sort of truth. I don’t have an answer to this question.
If you could have a conversation with any historical or famous person, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
The Dalai Lama, because he is an enlightened man, from the known ones. I am sure that there are even more skillful masters of this matter, of whom we know nothing about. Even looking into the eyes of such a person would be of great value, simply because of the energy exchange, so talking wouldn’t even be a necessity in order to understand what he would say to you. The Dalai Lama is such a person among the living and the great. Therefore, I would really like to see him during one of his speeches and to at least look at him from afar, just in order to fully acknowledge that he really exists.
Tell us a funny or awkward story from your life as a DJ.
There was this one ridiculous situation in my life regarding the very first time when my Nastia page on Facebook did a live stream. It was the second day since Facebook launched live streams and we’ve decided to try it out too. The event took place at the Caprice festival in Switzerland, on top of a mountain, which you could get to only by the ski lift. The result we’ve had was astounding – a few million views and about 15 000 comments. It was quite a fascinating case, because the hype was caused not by the streaming itself, but because of the fact that people thought that I was playing a pre-recorded set, they thought I was pretending mix songs. It seemed that way because the sunlight fell on the equipment directly so it looked as if it was switched off entirely. And I was just there dancing, ‘pretending’ to play, putting on my headphones. Everyone just started arguing. Some stood up for me saying ‘no way would Nastia play a pre-recorded set like Steve Aoki’. Others attacked me by saying ‘the equipment is off’. Such an amusing discussion and people were at each others throats, just to prove which of the two sides were right. Normally such nonsense and funny situations cause a very big resonance. As a result I had an insane increase in likes and social media engagement, this video went viral. It’s been two years since then and I’m still laughing at that story. It was so unexpected to me to hear that people would actually think that I would ever play a pre-recorded set. As a matter of fact, it’s way more difficult for me to record a set, than to play it in the moment. When you improvise it becomes a live process, you don’t have an end result in mind. With a mix you have to think it through from the beginning till the end. It’s a rather big amount of work. When you simply play in the moment, you don’t care about those things, you just work with what you got. I would never even think about getting into the trouble of recording this mix at home and then pretend to play it and ruin my reputation by showing it on my own Facebook stream. People didn’t even consider the fact that I was the one to turn on that live stream in the first place. You have to be a very silly person to do that sort of thing to yourself. It was funny.
Do you prefer the intimacy of a club or the crowd at a big festival?
Small clubs, of course. I really like small parties. The thing about festivals, they are an integral part of growing as an artist, but I personally don’t enjoy playing festivals that much, due to the fact that it’s nearly impossible to create a close connection with the audience. No matter how hard you try, you can’t become personal with the crowd, unlike smaller places, like Closer, where you are at arms reach. You can reach out to people, you can see their facial expressions, and they see you in return. It’s an entirely different atmosphere, the two things are incomparable.
What is wrong with the world of today?
Because of globalization and the dynamic development of all the occurring technologies, social networks and so on – the black has become so mixed up with the white that it’s almost impossible to tell who is your enemy, who is your friend, who is right and who is not. You can twist anything into something it’s not quite easily. It’s a serious problem, because people lose any sort of indicators or a ground to stand on. I’m afraid this all might end with some type of global catastrophe. People stopped understanding things, they got lost in the crazy and never-ending flow of information, which can’t even be fully absorbed in one’s mind. It’s terrifying. To answer this question briefly – the lack of guidelines and blurred frameworks. Due do poverty in all senses of the word, people are simply going mad, especially in the world of social networks. When you’re a public person, you notice such things since you constantly face this, you see these things more clearly and you see how people are mistaken about you. It’s a scary thing truly.
What absurd and useless piece of information can you share with us?
I must say, I’m a rather conceptual person, so I can’t answer this question. Everything has to have meaning for me.
What recent trend annoys you the most?
I don’t like the endless incorporation of English words and phrases into both Ukrainian and Russian languages.
What film would you recommend and why?
My favourite director is Lars von Trier, who directed a masterpiece of a film ‘Dogville’ with Nicole Kidman. I like everything about it. The story itself is so instructive from the first to the very last second. This film portrays the entire essence of humanity: how easily we can change our attitude towards a person that is close to us, how easily we can make a friend into a foe or a subject for violence. I watched this film for the very first time when I was 13 years old, I was very young, but I understood it clearly and it affected me a big deal. I’ve seen it three times throughout my life during different age stages, yet I never cease to admire it. It’s so profound. It’s like a mirror that reflects human nature. It’s extremely evocative and reflective so I would recommend it to everybody.
What’s cool about being young in Kiev?
There are no restrictions for young people and opportunities are open. Our youth is super cool and I admire it a lot – it inspires me with its taste, its innovative approach, its freedom of expression. It’s the best time in Ukraine to be young.
What question would you like to be asked at an interview and what would your answer be?
‘What do you lack for complete happiness?’ I would answer: Ukraine without corruption.
Since I’m going to live in Kiev and I don’t plan on moving somewhere else, I am very concerned about the standard of living and the opportunities that we keep losing every day because of the greediness and incompetence of those who rule our country. The president and his subordinates are a national disgrace, which Ukraine has not yet seen.
Translation: Elena Savlokhova