We're going to keep this introduction short for two reasons: there's already been a lot written about Nastia and her journey thus far (including our recent 20 Questions feature); secondly, the music is more interesting and original than this piece of text could ever be. So, in the interests of those few who haven't yet heard of Nastia, real name Anastasia Topolskaia, here are some key points to acquaint you.
Nastia is Ukrainian, born into a "normal" family in a small village in the east of the country that was typically disconnected from music. Her first exposure came through movie soundtracks—"I was an outsider to club music so the first introduction came from the movies," she says—and she began DJing in 2005 while enrolled at Donetsk University, where she also worked as a dancer in one of the best clubs in the city. Her career really took off in 2009, just before she became a resident at Moscow's now legendary Arma 17 club, and now she tours more than almost any other artist, recognised as one of the world's most in demand DJs. Finally, she only dabbles in production; and her sound is almost impossible to pigeonhole: in any given set, you're likely to hear industrial techno, experimental, house, drum & bass, and just about anything else.
And her XLR8R podcast is testament to this versatility. At her request, she's compiled a set of "intelligent dum & bass" and minimal/experimental," much less club-ready than those who've seen her perform but laced with that Nastia groove. It hooks you from the opening track, a gorgeous vocal-laden number, before picking up the pace with some drum & bass, and then closing sublimely. "I loved it and listened to it five times on the way to America before I sent it to you," Nastia explains. "It’s perfect for listening on the plane, in the car, at the hotel or home, before sleep and before the party. It became one of my favorites and I am very much happy with this work." We feel similarly, hence we haven't been able to put it down since we received it last week!
"I don’t remember myself making the mix with music I play, like a clear techno sound. I wanted to experiment, to express myself in a different way and give an alternative sound to people to maybe discover something else together. It's not a secret that I adore drum & bass and jungle music. I've been into it since 2007. Recently, I've even been playing drum & bass sets at some festivals and it gave me a different energy; it's raw and fresh, as real and clear as it was in 2005 when I started to play. The coolest thing about it is that I don’t pretend to have any position in the drum & bass scene, I just do it for myself; let's say I am filling some gaps by playing this music and it gives me a lot of inspiration. I truly love it and I like to keep it just as a passion without working in this direction professionally.
"Since I didn't record any mix for a year, it was difficult to push myself to sit down and create it. It took longer than usual, but somehow it's easier for me to record drum & bass mixes rather than techno, because I don’t know much about this scene and I was counting only on my feelings and intuition. I've always stuck to minimalistic music, because it has a lot of room for a fantasy; it's soft, intelligent and smooth, so I definitely had an idea how this podcast should sound like.
"I checked the whole collection of drum & bass on my laptop and I selected some tracks first, then I stayed in the studio for a couple of hours checking how I can build my story up and then I recorded it at my home studio the next night before I left to my USA tour—always the last minute, just couple of hours before my flight.
"All my mixes I’ve ever done in my life were recorded live in real time without using any programs or a laptop, just with my little friend Sony PCM-M10 recorder. Somehow I have never recorded any of my mixes twice, they've always been made on the first take. And this time, I even tried to mix this podcast in an alternative way, but I stopped on minute 21—I felt I shouldn’t. But I wasn’t sure about the quality and perfection of this mix, I had a lot of doubts and stress before I listened to it for the first time. Actually I was surprised how good it is in the end and basically I found it really perfect. The way I built it up and told my story is real and flowing, it’s unpredictable and eclectic, soulful and futuristic, dubby and dynamic, all in the same time. I loved it and listened to it five times on the way to America before I sent it to you. It’s perfect for listening on the plane, in the car, at the hotel or home, before sleep and before the party. It became one of my favorites and I am very much happy with this work. Thank you for giving me an opportunity to release and express myself in this beautiful way, I really appreciate it. ❤️
"Now I feel free and on my horizon I can only see two months off from January to March. I am super excited to live a normal life for a while, because I don’t remember how it feels. Since 2009, I've been touring non-stop and it's only in the last year that I've been home for longer than 1 month. I am planning to do a Vipassanā course in February and my intuition says it will change my life, so no serious plans until and after that, I want to leave my space open for any kind of spontaneous decisions. Also I am having a long wish list of different things to do and I am planning to change my life style a little to make them all happen."—Nastia
Due to issues regarding the GDPR, EU readers can download the podcast here.