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Five Minutes at Sónar with Nina Kraviz

The 2012 edition of Sónar certainly kept us busy—check our review for proof—but amidst all the activity, XLR8R did manage to convince a couple of our favorite artists to sit down for a quick chat during the festival. Nina Kraviz actually pulled double duty at Sónar, performing live on Friday night in the SonarDôme and then closing out Sonar by Night in the early hours of the next day. We spoke with her soon after, and although she was operating on little to no sleep, the Russian producer happily talked about her Sonár experiences (past and present) and her new live show.

XLR8R: How are you still alive right now? You did a live set last night and played again this morning.
Nina Kraviz: I finished [DJing] at seven, and then I had breakfast. My breakfasts are very long normally, because I like to enjoy them. I was done with breakfast around 10, and now I'm here talking to you before I go to Nice in France. I'm inspired, to be honest. I'm excited, and I still have some energy from last night. It's very powerful when you play for so many people. There was a really, really huge amount of space—I think it was definitely one of the biggest capacity [shows] I've done inside a venue. I really enjoyed it, it was a remarkable experience.

This isn't the first time you played Sónar.
This is the second time I'm playing Sónar, but the first time was in 2006 when I was playing as a participant of the Red Bull Music Academy. It was very different. I was playing nu-disco, and in the middle of my set, the electricity went off. It was really special and remarkable as well, but it was definitely something different. Also, it was inside a building. They used to have this amazing spot. It was a sweaty, cool, small little thing—it was the most amazing vibe ever. I really miss it.

You played live last night in the SonarDôme. How are you enjoying playing live versus DJing?
It's very different. Frankly speaking, to perform live, you really have to spend lots of time and energy to build up a really cool, good-looking [show]. When you DJ, you can always operate with other people's music to create the vibe that you want, and if something goes the wrong way, you can always break it up with something else from your crate. Playing live, you can only operate with your own music. It's totally different. It makes it more difficult. Another thing is, once you take a microphone in your hand, your life is 10 times harder than it was a second before.

When you're DJing, you can sort of hide behind the turntables, but when you're playing live, there's more focus on you as a "persona."
I am totally enjoying this part of it. Like I said, the live show is not the easiest thing to do. You have to really spend a lot of time preparing. [However,] I definitely said "yes" to [playing live]. I love interacting. I'm comfortable with a crowd. I feel totally in the mood to play, to smile—I like people in general. I like to communicate with them. I think that's why I ended up being a DJ. Music is something you can use to be in touch with someone or to keep connected. It's a very specific and special conversation between people. No matter where you are or which background you're coming from, you can always understand someone better if you like the same song. You can shake the same booty. There's something really magical about it.

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