Anastasia Kristensen has an ear for the unconventional. The Russian born, Copenhagen based producer quickly established herself as one of electronic music's most exciting artists with her 'Ascetic' EP in March 2019. Fast forward two and a half years - throw in an eighteen month pandemic - and much has changed, but what remains the same is Kristensen’s intelligent, colourful and emotive take on a genre usually dominated by an industrial grey.
Cutting her teeth at Culture Box in Copenhagen, Kristensen began to build a reputation for her unpredictable sets. This natural innovation has carried itself into her productions; blurred-lines, genre-hopping, high emotion intensity with an experimental club functionality that bangs on a big sound-system. Her recent EP on Houndstooth is a testament to that experimental exploration - techno more associated with the sophistication of a ballet dancer and classical composition than with trance or hands-in-the-air energy.
As part of a blossoming scene in Copenhagen (alongside fellow DJ and producer Courtesy and her Kulør label), Anastasia Kristensen is continuing to push the boundaries of what is expected from a techno record. We caught up with her to chat about the new release.
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The EPs title comes from a Russian word for when something special happens. Was there a Volshebno moment that inspired the EP in the first place?
I think it was right after I finished the tunes. Listening back to it made me come up with this name right away. And I tend to stick to the organic process of production. if it feels right - I'll go with it.
Your love for UK techno and jungle is reflected on the extended cut. When did you first start getting into the UK sound and who are the artists that influence you?
That was very many years ago, maybe around my teenage years, like 14. The first introduction I had was stumbling upon WILDPLANET (Warp records) and all those glitchy and squelchy sounds have forever inspired me and made me love UK techno and jungle ever since.
I read on FACT that ballet inspired the sound that you are attracted to, particularly 'In The Middle, Somewhat Elevated'. Do you feel this is still a source of inspiration for you now, or where else do you look?
It definitely is, because it is so timeless and particularly that production is industrial, full of details and rhythm. I visit theatres still and that's where my soul and brain relaxes. Ballet is truly my hobby.
You are from Russia but based in Copenhagen - how does Copenhagen look now post-pandemic? It was going through a real purple patch with the scene getting a lot of worldwide attention.
Copenhagen has a lot more than fast techno, luckily. The scene has a lot of crews cultivating all sorts of genres and the city has been re-open since September with full nightclubs three - four times a week. It is nice to witness all this madness and nice to see so many local people are interested in electronic music and producing themselves too.
There are a variety of remixes on the record - did you and Houndstooth work together to select these?
Yes it was a co-operation - some of the artists they suggested, some others were entirely my idea. I really like that we reached such a great variety and diversity. None of the remixes sound like original and that's what I love.
Last year you raised funds for Equality Now through a compilation - do you have any more plans to raise money for charity in the future? What does the near-future hold for you?
At the moment I'm focusing on touring and preparing for my US tour. It's been a long time since we got to enjoy touring. It is very possible I gather more music for the charity - it is definitely something I'd like to do again some time in the future, for sure.
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'Volshebno' EP is out now on Houndstooth.
Words: Andrew Moore
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