In Conversation
Nastia and Daria Kolosova give an insight into Kiev’s burgeoning electronic music scene

Something special is happening in eastern Europe. While artists like [a:rpia:r] have been the key proponents for a stripped-back style of house in Bucharest since the mid-2000s, in recent years there’s been a new electronic music scene developing in Kiev. The city’s favoured style is house and techno, a sound that’s frequently championed at parties like CXEMA and Ukraine’s premier nightclub, Closer. Few artists have done more to put the city on the electronic music map than Nastia. As well as being Ukraine’s biggest techno DJ, she helps run Strichka, the beloved annual festival from the Closer team that brings together a killer cast of local talents and international guests. Recently she’s found a sparring partner in Daria Kolosova, another Kiev selector who’s frequently found spinning colourful techno and electro alongside Nastia. Ahead of the pair’s upcoming head-to-head in Room One, they told us more about their musical backgrounds, how they first met, and why electronic music is thriving in their hometown right now.

What styles of music were you exposed to through childhood?

Nastia: I was born in 1987. My sisters were listening to pop music at the time, but from what they had I liked Enigma. Then The Prodigy, Chemical Brothers and Fatboy Slim came out. I used to collect movie soundtracks too – that was my passion.

Daria Kolosova: My passion for music came from my father. He was a bassist in a rock band, and used to be a DJ. He took me to rehearsals when I was only 3. I grew up on my dad’s records – stuff like Pantera and Metallica, or electronic music such as The Prodigy, Groove Armada and Crystal Method. I went to musical school for piano classes, and DJing became the next natural step in my relationship with music.

How did you first discover electronic music in Kiev?

Nastia: For me, it happened in around 2005 or 2006. I started to travel from Donetsk to Kiev to party. There were several clubs, which I would now consider places playing mainstream music. There was also an underground scene, but I was removed from that. I was living in Donetsk, and started DJing in February 2005. Before that I was a dancer, and met all the local DJs who showed me this wonderful lifestyle.

Daria Kolosova: In 2010 I came to Kiev from my hometown Lugansk. I visited Cinema Club with my friends. It was a huge underground club playing big techno, hard techno and drum & bass. This was a super new experience because there’s nothing like this in my hometown. My second time was a Sunday daytime party at Closer. I’d just moved to Kiev, and this was a revelation for me. Beautiful people, amazing vibe and music. One of the residents dropped Call That Love (Rob Rives remix) by X-press 2, which I’ll associate with Closer forever.

How did you obtain records when you first started collecting?

Nastia: I started to collect records quite late, in 2010. I was travelling a lot and mostly going to record shops. I also used to order from online shops, but it would take three weeks to receive them. Nowadays it’s easy – I adore Discogs for that. At the moment there’s also Closer Record Store, which is run by serious diggers.

Daria Kolosova: I started to buy records when I was travelling – from small no-name music stores to big ones like Spacehall Berlin. There are a few vinyl shops in Kiev. My favourites are Closer Record Store and Diskultura. Closer is a super cosy place with new releases and rare items, perfect for “diggers”. Diskultura is the oldest multi-genre store in the city with a big collection of old-school techno, electro and more.
“People here really dance”
It seems like electronic music is going through a golden period in Kiev at the moment. How would you describe the scene right now?

Daria Kolosova: It’s a really historical moment happening in Ukraine now. The post-Maidan financial crisis helped the discovery of a generation of local talents, because organisers didn’t have the money for big names. That’s why we have such a strong local scene. For example, at the recent CXEMA x Boiler Room rave, 4,000 people came for a local line-up. Young ravers are open-minded and educated, they don’t want to hear something expected. This builds to a raw phenomenon in Ukraine, and we are very lucky to be part of it.

Nastia: Golden period – it’s true. Ukraine finally got on the map of the worldwide electronic music scene. It’s been a fast rise: in 2013 Closer club opened its doors, and by 2014 we had Strichka Festival, CXEMA, Rhythm Bureau and a few more local promoters. Now it’s huge, fresh and amazing. People here really dance, I don’t see people express themselves like this anywhere else. The club community is educated, curious, united and cultural. Strict face control at Closer helps keep the vibe on a high level. CXEMA keeps it raw with local artists. Brave! Factory and Strichka are the best festivals right now. I must admit we have very good residents: most of the time they are better than the international guests. People’s tastes and those who run the scene are always stepping forward. For me, Ukraine is the most interesting clubbing spot at the moment.

We’ve travelled to the city a few times specifically to spend the weekend at Closer. What do you think makes this club so special?

Nastia: The team behind it. You can feel they do it for themselves – not for people or business, but for themselves to be able to live the life they want, and do something for the history and culture. They were the ones who built the scene in 2013. The team used to do parties before, but everything started seriously with the club. I don’t know any stronger family-style relations than them. In five years, I’ve never seen any conflict in their group. They are just perfect.
“The post-Maidan financial crisis helped the discovery of a generation of local talents”
Where did you both first meet?

Daria Kolosova: It was Outline Festival 2015 in Moscow. We met through mutual friends on the main stage, when Nastia played.

Nastia: We have mutual friends and we all met there to party together. At first, I didn’t take Daria seriously as a DJ. She seemed a very nice, friendly and funny girl, but I didn’t know her potential in music.

Can you name one place you’d recommend as a must-see to anyone visiting Kiev?

Daria Kolosova: Vernadsky National Library of Ukraine. One of the most beautiful buildings in Kiev, a unique example of soviet modernism and brutalist architecture.

Nastia: Closer!

Finally can you name one record you’ll be bringing along to fabric?

Nastia: Michael Burkat – All Due Respect [Temper]

Daria Kolosova: Inigo Kennedy – Jednu Dvanáctku A3 [Asymmetric]

An old Inigo release, fast, polyrhythmic and trippy. 00s techno at its best.


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