Introducing Chekma - Diversity in Dubstep #5

Introducing Chekma

Diversity in Dubstep #5

NB: the usual SSL caveat applies – add ‘:’ into any broken links and they’ll work for you! You’ll be pleased to hear this will be fixed shortly, thanks for your continuing patience.

Who knew I’d see out 2020 and all its oddities by editing and publishing the final Diversity in Dubstep interview and guest mix on New Year’s Eve. It’s kind of fitting, to end the year with what I hope continues to play a core part of (the non-label side of) FatKidOnFire in 2021 and beyond.

A quick side note: I’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone who’s taken part in this year’s interviews, guest mixes, written/ verbal content, radio shows and everything in-between. It’s been nice to flex the occasional creative muscle and hopefully an uptick in content from us (that’s not releases – we’re not slowing down on those in the New Year!) hasn’t gone unnoticed. Here’s to a slightly less shit 2021, and thanks again for all your support, love and involvement this year. 

Anyway. Back to here. As teased in the last DiD feature in October, we’re closing out the year with another Russian DJ I discovered during my audial adventures avoiding the outside world.
This introduction comes via Owen – you may know him as Kami-O, who featured our next guest on his radio show earlier this year. I hit Chekma up after listening to her guest mix, we got chatting and here we are. Interview and incredible addition to the DiD mix series below…

Hey Sveta, how’s it going? Excited to finally have a feature on the go with you! Hello, Wil, it is going well, thank you. Yes, excited for this!

For anyone that might not know you, can you give a quick introduction? Whereabouts in the world are you at the minute, and how’s lockdown life treating you? I am a selector and a DJ from Perm, Russia. I also run a Telegram channel/ blog called “Party I Won’t Be At” – which is about Perm nightlife (or was, before lockdown…) and I am promoter as well.

Now I am in Krasnodar, an awesome city in southern Russia.

As you can see, it wasn’t a problem for me to change my location, even during lockdown. This year was difficult and astonishing at the same time, I have had a lot of time for myself and my future projects, I started to hear myself and do what I really want. But let’s move on to the next question, otherwise I’ll start talking about astrology and esotericism…!

Starting at the beginning. What was your route into music, and how did you end up with the interest in what you call ‘UK Sound’? If you can remember, what was the first 140bpm track you ever heard? If we are talk about music in general, my parents instilled a love for it in me: there wasn’t a day without music playing in our house. Then it was my best friend who showed me the Black Eyed Peas and Fergie’s solo project. After R&B, I switched to rock music and decided to play guitar.

I graduated from music school after three years out of four and dropped out because I was bored of solfeggio and wanted to improvise. So I decided to dance hip-hop and house… A few years later in 2016, I met Max Ninety, we became friends and he initiated me into music that I didn’t know before. It was bassline. A month later, together with Gosha Baadwrk, they created the MOWA (Sight by Sight now) project, one of the sensational ones in our city. It was incredible: partying in the old house we called the “mansion”. Guys there played bassline, dubstep, grime and drum and bass.

About the first 140bpm track… Hmm, as far as I remember, it was either ‘Anti War Dub’ by DMZ or Jook’s ‘Tokyo Drift‘.

How did you get into playing tunes? So, this music enticed me, and I started to learn how to DJ. Max Solo helped me out – a super teacher and a founder of the platform Apunkt, a selector with great taste and just a beautiful person. Also I recorded my first mix and put it up on SoundCloud, I called it “I am not a DJ”. That’s how it started!

You’ve done a bunch of well regarded guest spots on radio, SoundCloud platforms etc. Talk us through a few of your highlights as a DJ. My first gig around 140bpm was at a Bassota party; another highlight was my first encounter with the DUB.RAW guys, the most nerve-wracking set (because of them haha) at the Into the Bus festival in the mountains during a heavy thunderstorm; also my gig at the DUB.RAW party this September.

But, I think, every moment when I play is a highlight for me, because of new experience and energy of the crowd…

What’s your process for putting a set or a recorded mix together, how to go about it? Does it differ if it’s a live show or a recorded set? When I just started playing, I made tracklists, with a certain order and matching keys, and in general curated the sets beforehand. Now I approach pre-recorded and radio mixes in the same way, and only then start recording.

As for the live sets, I don’t prepare – it’s an improvisation according to the mood (both mine and an audience’s).

Which producers are you rating at the moment – anyone in particular you’d like to mention? Here’s the small fraction of whom I’ve been into recently: Borai, Denham Sound, Coubo, Q100, Oddkut, Ninety, Biome, Las, Saule, Drew’s Theory, Kercha, Teffa, Kami-O, Kessler, Coco Bryce, Quoma, Anunaku, Eva808, Zygos, Om Unit, Champion Sound, Distant Roots and Hotcut.

You’re not the first (and most likely the last) Russian producer or DJ I’ve worked with on FKOF in 2020. What’s making the scene so healthy, and why has 2020 been the year this has (seemingly) popped off? The scene really came to life this year, and it 100% is the effect of self-isolation.

But I know a lot of dudes who played and promoted this music when I was in school. Russia has always been behind the West, this is a fact, but now we seem to have become closer and real talents are getting noticed!

How is the scene for diverse (gender/ race/ other) artists where you are at the moment? Surprisingly, everything is fine with it, no stereotypes and prejudices, at least during the night. Every artist is respected.

Talk us through; your ‘party with a focus on women’? Is that still going? In 2017, we started the night with a couple of my friends, but unfortunately, it didn’t work out the way we wanted. We were a little disappointed, and our interests started to diverge. Then we had to shut the project down in the March of 2018. It is in my bio because of the memory of our first steps.

How do we bring 140bpm music (and adjacent scenes) forward from a diversity point of view? What, in your experience, has worked (or not)? To be honest, I’m still figuring this all out, even though my diploma is about running events. Basically, I like watching the scene develop. And I think if someone is really dedicated, they’ll find a way to be a part of it.

I see a lot of women in Russia getting into the scene, which is great, and I am happy to see it’s becoming less intimidating for them to get involved, even if they are just starting out, because overall the scene here is quite supportive in my experience!

I also have a lot of friends who are ‘not into dubstep’ and stuff, but it’s great to hear comments like “I don’t usually like this kind of music, but I want to listen to your set forever” from them. I feel that it is a matter of energy and people having an open mind to unexpected sounds.

Who, or what, helped you starting out as a DJ? Do you have any advice or tips you could share to anyone interested in learning to mix or trying to land their first gig? My friend Mikola Maklai a.K.a DJ Boss from the Bassota crew helped a lot with feedback for my mixes! Also Anton Jahsteez from the DUB.RAW crew, who noticed me and gave me faith in myself, and my beautiful friends who support me.

Maks Solo taught me how to DJ, Denis Mugrah taught me to play vinyl a few times and Max 137 has been a huge inspiration. But also, dedication! As for advice, firstly, listen to your heart and include all your soul in what you do. Secondly, don’t give up! Practice makes perfect.

Who are your heroes? Kind people with their big hearts <3

Any genre, but who would you say your favourite musician is? What makes a good producer/ DJ/ artist for you? It’s a hard question, I don’t think I could pick only one – my playlist consists of tracks from Paris Hilton to Slayer haha! But here is the one which I can listen to always: The Killers’ ‘Mr Brightside’ [the JLC remix is one of my fave tunes/ remixes of all time, so selfishly included below – Wil]. The most important things for me are the quality and emotions I get from music/ performance.

As for what makes a good producer/ DJ/ artist… Firstly, they need to love what they do, and be diligent and patient. Secondly – in the DJ’s case – they need to feel the crowd, and work around people’s mood but not be afraid of introducing something new.

If you could b2b on a mix with anyone, who would that be? Sherelle or DJ Koco 🙂

Outside of music, what makes you happy? Cooking, dancing and learning something new. It is exactly cooking, dancing and learning something new like a language or skill.

Where can people find you online – and any final words or shout outs?

Big up to you, Wil, for giving me this opportunity to be here. Shout out to DUB.RAW, United Gang and a very big thanks to Sofya Staune aka VAJ.Power for checking my English grammar <3

Click to DOWNLOAD (81MB)

Track list:

  1. Inyoka – Program VIP 
  2. Biome – Dislocate
  3. Ninety – Snake Kiss VIP [dub]
  4. Biome, Cartridge & Lampa – Gyroscope
  5. Benga & Skream – Judgement
  6. Biome – Unity
  7. Jrun – Wicked Dub
  8. The Widdler – This Generation
  9. Abomnabl – Vision
  10. Dubamine – Soundsystem
  11. Goth-Trad – Sunbeam
  12. Biome – Muppets
  13. Zygos – Sick As A Dog
  14. Mystic State – Mahdi
  15. Mala – Miracles (Commodo remix)
  16. Skream – Metal Mouth
  17. Mr.K – IP13 VIP Mix
  18. Ninety – Movement [dub]
  19. Helktram – Mineral
  20. Trends & Boylan – Kruger
  21. Atom Dubs – Future INI
  22. Hebbe – Galata

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