101 with Yulia Niko

Yulia Niko, a Russian-born DJ, and label owner has been slowly but surely crafting her name amongst electronic music brightest talents. She managed to release beats on labels such as Get Physical, Crosstown Rebels, Deeperfect, and her TochnoTechno. This opened many new doors for her playing all around the world, from Europe, South Africa, North America, and elsewhere. She recently released an EP via Crosstown Rebels which comes with a superb remix from Romanian talent Priku. You can already get it HERE.

What was the funniest / most bizarre request you’ve ever had while playing?

It was a Calvin Harris song. The request was from a young American girl in the Hamptons. The bizarre part was that I didn’t have a clue who he was! It was at the beginning of my career and he was already super famous. I was like; “what? Who the hell is that?!”

Can you describe your studio setup for us?

I’m actually a laptop producer with a few tricks, secrets, and some essential toys for inspiration. Most of my kit is made by Roland, more recently I got a new HPD20 drum pad and I can't get enough of it. You can hear it in my previous releases ‘Man Like Star’ and ‘Molly and Sally’. If I want to get inspired, I visit a friend in Berlin who is crazy about modular. I lose myself in his studio for a few days until I finish some solid projects.

Could you tell us the story about your first gig?

I was newly 16 years old when I played my first gig at the most well-known club in my town. I had around 20 pieces of vinyl including records by Giu Borrato, Tiga, and Michael Jackson plus CDs by Axwell, Sebastian Ingrosso, and Tim Deluxe. What a mess. My hands were shaking so much that I tried to press one of my elbows to stop blood coming into the wrist to finally be able to catch the beat with the needle.

The good thing was that no one on the dance floor that knew the music, and I didn’t think they would be able to hear my lousy mixing! It was a terrible set but people danced. Recently, I was asked to be a resident of the club and played there all night long every Sunday. Fun times.

Name three artists that currently inspire you

Tibi Dabo, Rampa & Moodyman.

What do you do before and after your set?

When I DJ, I imagine a gold ray illuminating from my heart to the crowd to try to create an energy connection. After I play, I like to eat. I’d probably snack on pizza or falafel, these are the only things I can find in the middle of the night. I’m always hungry.

What’s the worst job you’ve ever had?

I was once a waitress at a French restaurant in downtown Manhattan. It wasn’t the work that was hard but the people. I’m a really open and positive person so when moody people are seated and you greet them with a smile then they reply super rudely back… I was mentally exhausted after two months.

What are your favorite labels at the moment?

Of course, it’s Crosstown Rebels. I really like Rekinds too which is more on the techno side. I was recently sent their most recent releases on vinyl. I like them a lot.

Imagine a cold winter, a fireplace, and two glasses of wine—what song would you play?

Sade - Kiss of Life.

Last but not least. What's the best advice you've ever received?

When I decided I wanted to DJ professionally, someone told me; “don’t listen to everyone you meet. Do what you feel is right”. Straightforward, but it works.

By Saša, edited on 16 June 2020