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Time’s been kind of hard to keep tabs on in 2020. I sat down and wrote the first Diversity in Dubstep a few days before COVID-19 kicked off and that was seven months ago. But it feels like five minutes.
Fortunately, things are steady where they need to be. It’s been (more than) a few months since DiD #3 with musik matter/ DEEP MEDi’s Steph and there are two new features en route to you. They, as it happens, both introduce Russian DJs who I’ve come across during my audial adventures avoiding the outside world.
The first is with an up-and-coming DJ from a city 1,332 miles east of Moscow, founded in 1568 that today has a population of ~750,000 people. I came across MERIEM when the UNITED community featured a guest mix of hers. We got chatting and she recently hit me up with her latest studio mix. So here we are with a few words to go with the pretty epic track list inside…
Hey Masha, how you doing? Whereabouts in the world are you at the moment? Hey Wil, doing good! I’m in my hometown, Tyumen, which is in southern Siberia, Russia.
For anyone that might not know you, can you give a quick introduction? I guess no one knows me yet haha! I actually don’t do very well when it comes to saying a few words about myself – so let me do that while answering your questions.
How did you get into music in the first place? I suppose music’s always been a huge part of my life – since my early childhood, starting from listening to my parents’ cassettes ending up to now. No matter how clichéd it sounds, I just can’t imagine my life without it.
As far as I can see, you’ve not been DJing all that long. How did you get into playing tunes and what drew you into grime/ dubstep/ 140? I’ve been DJing for nearly 2 years.
When I was 18, I worked at a night club as a waitress and I was looking at the DJs doing their stuff. It was kinda magical for me back in those times! About six months later, my friend told me that she knew a guy in our city who taught DJing and I decided to give it a try.
Talk us through a few of your highlights as a DJ. Considering that I’ve not been doing this for very long, I’d say that those are mixes for the Saint-P based community Get High on Bass and for the Moscow based bass community UNITED.
You’ve recently done a guest mix for the UNITED crew, how did you get to know them? At the time my mix for Get High On Bass was released, I was in Moscow. I popped up to a party where guys from United were and we just hung out and got to know each other.
What do you look for in tunes, artists or vocals when you’re creating a mix? How do you go about finding new material? I’m more into dubstep and I love very deep tunes with powerful bass parts, I also like Arabic sounds in dubstep, but sometimes I wanna listen to something more wicked and so on.
Talking about artists I can’t really point out my favourite ones, because it’s always hard for me to choose a favourite! I don’t mind if there’s a vocal part in the tune, but it’s not an obligatory condition for me. I find new material mostly online, on various streaming services, as many of us do, right?
The scene seems to be pretty healthy in Russia right now. Who – DJ, producer or MC – do you think we should be following? I suppose it does! I’ll for sure point out the UNITED gang (especially ODDKUT, Moscow Legend and ttotton). Then Anna Fruit who’s a producer and a DJ, she’s amazing, also I like Dub.Raw from Krasnodar, Russia and Ghettizm run by Nodulus and based in my hometown.
Who’s running good dances, and do you have any good sound systems you like playing on? Yeah, they do. I guess the best dances are run by the guys who I’ve mentioned in the earlier. Big up!
How is the scene for female artists where you are at the moment? In my city, there’re just a few girls who are DJing, but they do other genres, like techno or trance, so the female [dubstep] scene’s very empty here haha.
What do you think we can do – collectively or individually – for diversity in 140 (and further afield in music/ creative)? How do we work to build a more diverse (whether that’s gender, race, orientation etc) community of producers/ DJs? As for me, I haven’t found a specific answer to this question yet, because it’s difficult. It will sound really naive, but I think the most important thing is to continue doing what you love, put effort into it and I hope that somehow more people will start to get involved in this culture. There’s just a question about how exactly to do it. Unfortunately, I haven’t reached the solution yet.
What would you share to anyone interested in learning to mix or trying to land their first gig? I’d recommend asking a proper DJ to help you, because he/she can explain how it all works, also YouTube videos can work as well. About landing a first gig, I just texted a guy who was running parties in my city and asked if I can join them, the easiest way I guess!
Who are your heroes? I am my own hero haha.
Any genre, but who would you say your favourite musician is? What makes a good producer/ DJ/ artist for you? If you could b2b on a mix with anyone, who would that be? I don’t have a favourite musician, there are just too many of them. I guess what makes a good artist/ DJ/ producer is hard work, passion and a little bit of talent. Talking about the dream b2b, let it be with Sicaria Sound.
Outside of music, what makes you happy? I guess some ordinary things like being with family and friends, doing stuff I love etc.
Where can people find you online – and any final words or shout outs? I wanna give a shout out to all the people I’ve mentioned here. And thanks FKOF for having me here, I really appreciate it!
Click to DOWNLOAD (72MB)
- Skream – Midnight Request Line
- Distinct Motive – Hamburg
- Commodo – Rikers
- J:Kenzo – Magneto (Feel It)
- Hebbe – Down Town Dub
- Taiko – $ea Pimp
- Commodo – Stakeout
- Ternion Sound – They’re Coming
- Kromestar & N-Type – Bad Trip
- J:Kenzo ft. Rod Azlan – Ruffhouse
- Dubamine – Jimini Dub
- Von D – Burn Baphomet
- Kromestar ft. Cessman – Kalawanji
- TMSV – Modification
- Hebbe – Numina
- Mr.k – Chit Chat
- Sukh Knight – Shutdown
- Pushloop – Secret Society
- Wraz. – Lurker
- Footsie – Mojo
- Ternion Sound – Morgawr
- Egoless – Global
- AS.IF KID & Slimzee – Bumbaclit
- Commodo – Space Cash
- J:Kenzo ft. Juiceman – Urban Gorilla
- Thelem ft. T-Man – Bring Me Down
- Von D – Obstacles
- Ternion Sound – Dovetail
- Kaiju – Justice
- Jack Sparrow – Good Old Days
- Cartridge – Outsider
- Kromestar & N-Type – Nu Era Dub
- Truth ft. Bijou – How Strange