Cxemcast 092 – Vani Vachi
Interviewed by Amina Ahmed.

Cxemcast 092 – Vani Vachi
Interviewed by Amina Ahmed.

Aiess — Smk [система]

Polygonia — Acacia [Deflection Music]

SI Process — Dissappear [-]

Karoon — Степ (feat. ТУЧА) [Khvylia Records]

Samoh & Taïk — Budah [Space Trax]

Seigg — Undefined Loopwork 00 [-]

Arthur Kriulyn — Error 34 [Standard Deviation]

Elad Magdasi — Dance With Me Bitte [Selected]

BFVR — Dark Sewing Machine (Original Mix) [Animal Farm]

Arnaud Le Texier — Obscurity (Original) [Emphatic]

Ian Axide — Parallel 43 (Original) [Black Codes]

Union of trident — Povitryana tryvoga [Progressive Future]

Cristian Varela — Paranoid [Primate]

Saturn Reigns — Escaping Scene [-]

Umek — Enhance The Tension (Original Mix) [Music Therapy]

BLANKA (ES) — Reality's Escape (Original Mix) [Animal Farm]

Drua — Leisureplex (Mor Elian Remix) [Spray]

Boulderhead — Into The Void (Master) [Coma Traxx]

Sublime — The Theme — Fade Mix [Limbo]

DJ Trance — Indians And Aliens (Roza Terenzi Terrestrial Mix) [Kalahari Oyster Cult]

Hi! How is it going? After the full-scale war has begun, you moved to Berlin. How did your life change in general? 

Hi! In general, I'm reasonably good. Of course, life has changed radically. Both in a good way and in a strange way. Before the full-scale invasion, life seemed to be made up of immovable bricks — plans and ideas. All of a sudden, it all crumbled. It turns out, you can be picked up and carried away by a wave, so you have to learn how to breathe underwater. 

Have you adapted to the new city already? What do you miss there, and what brings you joy?

I have been to Berlin many times, I played at parties and have friends there. That's why I have chosen this city initially. I had some thoughts about relocating there before the full-scale invasion, but still, I like Kyiv better. It may sound strange, but in Berlin, there's a lack of freedom. Everything is so normalized, so arranged, so rigidly set within frameworks and limits! For those who have come here for the first time, it may seem that being able to kiss anyone, do drugs outside, or walk around seminude without anybody leering is true freedom, but in fact, it's only its shell. Being free is a revolution, a protest. Here, there's no such energy, only stability and peace. 

Was relocating a difficult decision?

I left, or fled, to be precise, in early March, with one suitcase and my cat. It was scary then because Lukyanivka started getting bombed (I live in Podil, a neighbouring district), there were rumours that the Russian tanks are about to enter Kyiv, and I had those terrible photos from Kharkiv before my eyes. It seemed that the same would happen here. The decision was emotional, so here I was: an evacuation train, Lviv, Poland, and then Berlin. If I had waited for the moment when it calmed down in Kyiv a bit, this decision would have been more difficult. 

Are you going to return to Ukraine? 

The experience I gained in Europe can and should be brought back, shared, and invested into recovery and development. As an artist, I think that our music scene is going through dramatic changes right now. Before the full-scale war, it was developing at an incredible pace, people relocated from Europe to Kyiv just for its sake. And now we have new metamorphoses. Many people have left, and some won't return. But I believe that it is important to develop our scene after the victory. 

The German government is often criticized for its reluctance to help Ukraine. Are the German citizens also passive, or is it the reverse? Tell me about your experience. 

There are two sides to this coin: politics and humanity. Objectively, European politicians are to blame for this war. They pumped oil and gas money into the terrorist country, being greedy and trying to please both sides. Politics is always like that, it's built on ego, vanity, and profit. Then there are the people, the humaneness. Those who sheltered us, who volunteered at refugee arrival stations non-stop, or those who just texted "how are you feeling" on the first day of the war. Our music industry has been connected to the German one for a long time, and now it is clear to me that those connections are far more substantial than just hanging out in a club. I received a lot of help and support from both members of our scene and strangers. 

You organized and curated the Outside festival, which took place in Kyiv in 2020 and 2021. How do you feel about this event? 

It is a very cool stage in my life, very spontaneous and reckless. It all began by accident: I sat down with a friend to discuss a garage sale but, in the end, came up with a festival of music and art. We involved three venues on Nyzhnoiurkivska street: Otel', Uncovered, and 20ft Radio. It was an experience, an event! A stream of ideas surged and formed the big picture on the go. In some incredible way, quarantine restrictions were relaxed right before our dates. We had no money, but great artists gave discounts. If something was needed, it came up at once. This energy afforded us a huge creative canvas: we had techno lives, mornings with house music in the backyard, jazz concerts, performances, drag events, and just crazy stuff. It was a lot of fun, learning, and oddities. Still, like any experiment, it could not last forever. An experiment has to either acquire a concrete form or disappear into infinity. If not for the full-scale war, we would have made the third instalment of this event, a more mature one. Unfortunately, 2022 changed a lot of plans. 

There was another area of Outside's activities: Gems parties, which promoted young Ukrainian artists. What will become of this project?

The idea was simple. We wanted to show Kyiv a fresh sound, something new, and to give young artists possibilities to develop. I haven't been playing for very long myself, and I remember perfectly fine how it feels when you want to share your creative work at a party, but nobody invites you yet. So we announced an open call, listened through all the material in good faith with my party partner, discussed it, and made our choices. I was looking for a non-standard sound approach, a unique style. I was happy to see that after the party, some of the bigger promoters invited our Gems to their events. I'd like to continue working on this project. 

You are a resident of Veselka queer parties. Tell me more about this cooperation. What's Veselka's team working on now?

We fell in love at the ICKPA festival, where I was invited to play by Veselka. There was a very memorable dance floor: a gym with low ceilings, red lights, and a crazy organism made up of sweaty half-naked dancing people. Even the walls were wet! At first, I was a little scared, but then managed to play one of the best sets of my life, I think. Later, the boys invited me to become a resident, and we celebrated it with lots of champagne! In general, I believe that being a resident opens a lot of possibilities for a musician. It's about community, support, and a space for creativity and experiments. Recently, Veselka had a party in Berlin, and speaking of their plans, they're going to continue to travel the world with this project, speak for the Ukrainian queer community, raise money, and help the army. After the victory, they will definitely return to Ukraine, because the rainbow ["Veselka" — "rainbow" in Ukrainian] always appears after the rain! 

Finally, I'd like to talk about your mix. What's the idea behind it? 

I'll start with the song. It's a collaboration between Karoon and singer and musician Maria Tucha, released on the Khvylia label. The song — mystical, natural, and very Ukrainian — was stuck in my head for a long time. I wanted to start the podcast with something strong and magical, with something that gives hope. Now I play a lot of old European music and old '90s music. I am very much inspired by this era. But I also follow a lot of new Ukrainian music. So, regarding the artists, it turned out to be an exchange between two worlds: labels that released music after the beginning of the full-scale war, and tracks written before I was born, plus a few recent European releases. And the actual story of the mix is a metaphorical journey from a dark forest to a river bank, at dawn. Not without adventures on the way, of course! But no matter how dark the night is, the victory, in the end, is already visible! 

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