Written by Julia Czub.
Ukrainian artists have always had a significant impact on the ever-changing raw European club culture. Now, scattered around the continent, these incredible djs from the war-torn Ukraine make their mark in different cities.
We’ve talked to some of these rising talents making a change from behind the deck on their sound, the industry, and ways to help creatives from their country.
Poly Chain, from Kyiv, now based in Berlin
What are your biggest music influences?
I listen to a lot of music. Yesterday it was Babyfather, today I was dancing in my room to Martin Dupont and a while ago I cried to the tracks of Ukrainian band Cym.
What do you think makes a good track?
Years of experience.
What do you think is the most effective way to help artists and creatives from Ukraine right now?
First of all, listen to them. And of course, book them and collaborate with them. And stop booking silent or shady russian artists. It’s disrespectful to those defending democracy on the frontline, who lost their beloved ones or died during the war.
Are there any releases you’re working on now?
At the moment I’m finishing a dance EP and an ambient album. I’m also planning a little non-danceable collaborative EP with one talented artist from Kyiv. This year you can also expect 2 EPs – one digital for the Italian label Fanclub Records, who booked a b2b with my partner in crime Mell G and another one that I can’t talk about too much is coming out in October!
Lostlojic, from Kyiv, now based in Kyiv
As a head of Mystictrax you organised, along with Standard Deviation, a charity compilation featuring 65 artists. What do you think are the best ways for others to support Ukraine right now?
Buy everything you can from Ukrainian shops – we donate parts of our income to volunteers and loved ones in Armed Forces anyway and action like that also helps our economical system stay alive.
Do you feel like your job as a creative has gotten a new meaning since the war became nation-wide?
Yes, because of a full-scale war and the explosions happening so close to my home I feel like I must do all I can while I’m alive.
What does the scene look like now in Ukraine?
The energy is wild, now fast electro, breakbeat, UKG, bass music and even jungle are the way to go! There are also many cool new collaborations between rapers, punks and EDM musicians.
How would you describe your sound aesthetic?
Right now its mostly electro retrofuturistic music with Ukrainian voices or samples from movies and poems, weird drums and mystical melodies. Check out my album Nevidomo, coming soon!
Nastya Muravyova, from Kyiv, now based in Prague.
What’s your favourite place to perform?
I think it’s Kyiv. I was recently playing there at Laboratorium for over 1500 people and all that during a full-scale war. Another place is Tbilisi. I only played there once, but I’m in love with this country and I appreciate their support.
How would you describe your djing style in 3 words?
Techno. Some trance. Techno.
What’s the sexiest sound on the scene right now?
Pretty old techno.
Do you feel like the industry gives Ukraine enough support during these turbulent times?
I feel a full support from promoters and clubs in Europe. Without that support it will be difficult to win. Not inviting russians to the clubs, parties and festivals – we need this kind of actions. Music ain’t out of politics.
Facheroia, from Crimea, now based in Warsaw
How long have you been in Warsaw?
I came to Warsaw around 9 years ago. It wasn’t supposed to be permanent, but then the russian invasion on Crimea started and I decided to stay. At that time, I had no place to go back to.
Do you feel like you’ve found your community here?
In 2017 I started to pursue artistic projects and I became a part of KEM – a queer initiative focused on performance and choreography. I’m also working with Teatr 21, a theater group that consists of actors with intellectual disabilities. In Poland you also don’t have to explain why you need to stand in solidarity with Ukraine. Polish society has also faced russian oppression in their time, so all that can be found here in terms of war is support and understanding.
What’s the most memorable set you’ve ever played?
New Year’s Eve party in Kyiv in 2020. It was at K41 (also called ∄ or Kyrylivska 41). I was playing a closing set for five hours and I love long performances.
Do you feel like your work with sound scape somehow intersects how you play your sets?
I feel like I keep my artistic projects and club life very separate. They coexist, but they are completely different worlds.