Festival preview: Nastia at Mint Festival

Ukrainian DJ Nastia Topolskaia has been gathering an international reputation over the past decade.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 25th August 2016, 7:00 am
Updated Thursday, 25th August 2016, 5:06 pm

So much so, she’s due to play everywhere from Israel to Australia in the coming months.

On September 24 she’ll be at Mint Festival at The Tetley in Leeds.

You first discovered the nightclubbing scene while visiting your sisters in Donetsk. What made you want to become a DJ?

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In between discovering the night life clubbing scene and becoming a DJ I was dancing – this was the key. I have always imagined myself dancing rather than playing and I was good at it. I was so good I started to travel around the Ukraine dancing in different clubs and this made me think, wow… traveling is a dope. How can I travel more? The answer was next to me – as my boyfriend at the time was DJ Cross who used to be one of the best DJ’s in Donetsk. I learnt extremely quickly, so I stopped dancing and started to DJ and travel. But I must admit dancing is more my thing... I miss it. Although unfortunately I have no perspective on it.

What have you learned from the years you’ve spent presenting a radio show on Kiss FM Ukraine?

I’ve been doing my weekly radio show since 2006. But now im overly busy with my gigs, I mainly have to send over prerecorded shows. You learn a lot with it. The most important thing is finding new music to play on the show, because you can’t play the same stuff again and it makes you move and discover more. I love my special editions where I play hip-hop, trip-hop, drum and bass, experimental mixes. I am one of those DJs who has freedom on the radio and I always make the most of that opportunity. Having a radio show every week helps you grow a lot as an artist.

What is the dance/electronic music scene currently like in Ukraine?


If we’re talking about club culture, I think it’s the best. We never had clubs and parties like we do now. I’ve seen progress in line ups at the events – guys bringing the artists that are more conceptual, more intelligent rather than simple and commercial. And people love it. They respect, support, and enjoy it for real. I think it will only grow in the future. If the crisis didn’t stop it than nothing will.

You launched your own vinyl-only record label, Propaganda, three years ago. What do you look for in music that you want to release on it?

At the moment I am changing, my taste of music is moving and growing. And with me, my label changes too. Memorability has always been one of the most important things in music. If you listen to a track and you remember it when you aren’t listening to it then it’s good. If it wasn’t, you wouldn’t be able to remember it. I am constantly searching for tracks that suit the dance floor and are memorable. It has to be special. I want to release more complex music, more conceptual and intelligent. At the moment I am not that satisfied but it takes time.

What has been your favourite club night or festival to DJ at in the last 10 years?

My favourite festival is definitely OUTLINE in Moscow which has been cancelled this year.

When you’re DJ-ing, do you have a particular sound – or do you prefer to be open-minded?

I never had a sound style. I always think to be a DJ is to have and play everything. In DJing it’s better to be eclectic.

Your tour schedule this year has been hectic. Do you enjoy the challenge of playing to so many different kinds of audiences all over the world?

Of course I do. Playing for different people with different cultures and taste makes me much more experienced, flexible and educated.

What can we look forward to when you play at Mint Festival in Leeds?

Even I don’t know what I am going to play. It is always an improvisation. Depends on the venue, people and atmosphere... I never plan my sets I’m really looking forward to laying that new venue, I can’t wait for the show.

For full details on Mint Festival visit http://www.mintfestival.co.uk/