Interview: Ljubov Dzuzhynska
Photo: Noam Ofir
Pre order Sterac – Aeras (AERA025) – 12 -> here. Out 11.11.2019
Why do you think music is such a vital element to (y)our existence?
As I always say, music is an everlasting thread that in a big part defines who I am. It goes way back when I got my first mixer at the age of 12 and started playing around, learning myself how to mix. A few years later I got my first club gig in a small Amsterdam club. Little by little, my obsession started bringing some concrete results, Dj and production-wise. It has soon become a number one thing in my life and basically it has not left my head ever since. I can’t imagine my life without music. Music is a non-verbal way to communicate and connect it; it’s a universal message that leaves space for subjective interpretation, and this is what I love about it.
What’s it like to be you?
Well, I’m a down to earth person, or at least I think I am, and I like to keep everything in my life relaxed, going at its pace. I don’t like too much craziness surrounding me. Although my schedule is quite hectic most of the time, I always try to have my inner peace, take care of my health and chill. And yeah, eat nice & healthy as well.
If you could travel in time where would you go and why?
To be honest, I’m perfectly happy being right here right now, living in a moment. I would be curious to see the word in 100 or even 500 years for a moment, but then I would prefer to come back.
You’ve mentioned that your father wanted you to focus on the future, and that meant getting good grades and being a good student. What have you learned from your father? What is the most valuable lesson he had taught you?
Indirectly, I learned because of him that I have to follow my heart.
What interests you outside of music right now?
I see my life as a journey on which I’m constantly reinventing myself and that takes most of my time and efforts – musically and privately. I do follow the news and all but I’m trying to stay away from all that craziness. Although, I am a foodie, so I probably could talk about good food for days. I spend a lot of time these days with myself or in guided environments, focusing on personal growth and awakening of sub-consciousness, spirituality, contemplating on and exercising some of the ancient ways of getting in touch with myself, the world, reality.
What was your biggest challenge in life?
There was a time when I struggled with my identity as a DJ and producer. I was feeling lost, I didn’t want to follow some trends, I had to satisfy myself from inside. So, I went back to my roots and did exactly that. It turned out to be the right decision, for which I can also thank people close to me because their support gave me the strength to go through all that and that’s something I’ll always be grateful for.
You`ve mentioned that you always keep track of trends but never jump on them as they come and go. Is there a modern trend that annoys or bothers you the most?
Not really. Maybe in the past, I couldn’t understand certain trends, but not anymore. Trends come and go, generations and the public’s taste change, maybe I would be worried more if I was a typical entertainer, but I’ve always seen myself as more of an artist doing his own thing. Yes, artists come and go too and I’ve changed as an artist a lot, it’s all part of the process, evolution. You need to have a clear vision of where you want to go with your art, it shouldn’t be a problem then. If you want to follow some modern trend, by all means, feel free to do that if it makes you happy.
You’ve said that you separate yourself in the studio from what is going on in the DJ world and that you create music straight from the heart. Is it always easy to keep yourself within that margin?
For me, it’s important to stay true to my vision. There’s still plenty of space to create something unique and original. Lots of producers are doing it at the moment, both old and upcoming ones, taking on the new audiences on one hand and inspiring me and others on the other. Music really is like a universe, no borders in sight, there’s always something happening. New generations of young people, new technologies, new styles, new collaborations, new inspirations… all of that helps to keep it going and makes my heart full. I’m not saying it’s easy, but for me, it’s the only way forward.
What have you learned from your projects both on a personal and professional level?
Stay true to yourself, stay open-minded. You never know what’s coming next, let it surprise you. That way you can experience it properly, with all senses. When I’m playing music or producing, I usually don’t really know what I’m going to do next. I tend to let the music lead me. Sometimes the most unexpected results come out of it. Simply enjoy the process. It’s the same with everything in life. I’m most happy simply making music in my studio, hanging with my friends, enjoying a good meal. Those moments of simply living life I cherish the most. I think it can be felt in my music too, being not too complicated, but steady and dependable DJ tools.
What book would you recommend and why?
I’m not a big book reader, I simply don’t have that much time and patience for it. That’s why my only reads are limited to music books and magazines. Although, there are a few books that caught my attention; one of them a while ago – The New Earth from Eckhart Tolle. It’s sort of a humble, enlightened vision of the world, encouraging readers to live their lives in a present moment. A message I can relate to. And another one recently, The Outlaws Ocean by Ian Urbina, who tells us true, shocking stories of the happenings in the international sea waters.
What do you realize as you get older?
I have learned that you should not take things too seriously and that the learning process never stops. Don’t think you are there, because if you think that, you are not!
You were supposed to play an illegal party in The Netherlands, at the dunes, but the police ruined the fun. Could you share any other fun or awkward stories from your career, or some fucked up situations that happened during tour time?
Yeah, the police ruined the fun that time, but we did it a year before. First, we had to collect people in the parking lot and go quietly in the woods, past the security. After about half an hour’s walk, we ended up in a beautifully decorated spot in the dunes. It was like a dream.
There were many awkward stories during my career, like that time a speaker on stage caught fire and someone almost tried to put the fire down by throwing a glass of whiskey into it (luckily I stopped them in time ;)… I do play for a long time now – even quite a few fucked up ones, not sure if some should be even remembered…
What was the most challenging aspect of creating your recent EP “11“ on Kanzleramt? Is there something particular you wanted to convey to your audience?
It was a challenge for me to accept this being released; namely, it was a live studio take which I never finished. Because of this, it also didn’t sound how I would want it to sound. When Heiko selected the tracks to be released, I was really convinced the tracks were simply not ready, and not worthy of releasing in the form as they were. Thanks to the amazing mastering work by Walter Coelho, we managed to get it to the standard I was content with. I usually don’t like to give such work to the mastering companies; I prefer to mix the track in a way so the mastering only needs to do a few ouch-ups. This release was on the contrary saved by the mastering!
As for the message I wanted to communicate… I was struck by the number 11; how many times I saw it in things, on the clock, on TV… Then I did some Googling and tried to search for the possible meanings. The track titles came out of that research. So I’d say, go Google.
What do you think really matters at the end of life?
That you have lived it to the fullest.
What’s the most memorable question you were asked?
One of the most memorable ones is probably the one about my biggest musical influences, which I must have answered wrong most of the time, mentioning this or that. It has always been and is simply music. I get totally excited by music, any music, any time. Hearing music is always inspiring. Luckily, I’m surrounded by it most of the time.