Downtime is a new series that showcases a different side of our favourite DJs. Up next, a headbanging mix from Anastasia Kristensen.
Anastasia Kristensen’s DJ sets are like rocket fuel for the dance. Her varied selections are underpinned by a consistent flow of energy: whether that’s through waves of trippy techno or crackling flurries of rave records.
We first met the Russian-born, Copenhagen-based artist in early 2017 for an instalment in our Impact series. At the time she was living a double life: working a day job as an IT consultant before spending evenings and weekends dedicated to dance music. Her Impact mix demonstrated an emergent DJ already brimming with confidence, accelerating towards the 140 BPM mark within the opening minutes and riding a potent sense of intensity through to its close. The plaudits came in thick and fast: it was crowned a Resident Advisor mix of the day, a Pitchfork mix of the month, and then one of FACT’s best mixes of the year, around the time she secured fourth spot in our breakthrough DJs of 2017 rundown.
Since then Anastasia Kristensen’s star has continued to ascend. A debut EP on Warp sublabel Arcola, follow-up on Houndstooth and remixes for the likes of Special Request, Daniel Avery and Locked Groove have shown her skill at making tracks that energise and dazzle dancefloors, while many more mixes and globe-trotting club sets have fuelled her impeccable reputation.
Now the world has ground to a halt. But club closures haven’t stopped the music, and for our new series Downtime, Anastasia Kristensen has gone beyond the rave to put together a mix encompassing rock, shoegaze, electronica, and more. Gun fingers and devil horns are unified at last.
We also had a chat about lockdown life and the future of the dance music industry. Check out the mix, tracklist and Q+A below.
Where are you living during lockdown and how has it affected the local area?
I am residing in my own pad in Copenhagen close to the airport. It’s already a fairly quiet/transit area but the streets and traffic have emptied out of course. My plan was to move to London next month actually, but now this seems pretty impossible.
How have you been spending your time?
At first I think I struggled accepting this new reality, but during the past two weeks I have pulled myself together and been doing everything I wanted to: renovate my living room, acquire new tools so I can build new furniture, set shelves up and all sorts of stuff. And most importantly I got to upgrade my DJ setup, so now my living room feels like a wee club too.
I found it joyful to spontaneously call my friends overseas, like from Hong Kong, Russia or Canada. We all are bored these days and a little surprise call brought great memories back, but also a hope for new and better future.
Have you been speaking to other artists across the world? Is there still a sense of community during this period of separation?
Yeah, I keep in touch with a few, and some that I usually don’t keep much in touch with. I think the sense of community has raised more than ever. For me it’s very important that some of the dear to me crews out there survive this and are able to return once this whole thing is back. That’s why I urge to support your local crew/club/record store - anyone who always made a great local effort. Personally, I was happy to support 5 venues that I truly respect and had a great time at throughout the recent years.
Do you have any tips to share for things people can do and enjoy during this time?
There’s been many suggestions already, and I’ll add this, because it worked for me: Let your crazy ideas evolve. You want to make a booty house track for 1000 years’ now - make it (we did with a couple of friends, it’s so jokes). You never cooked lasagne - it’s time to try, even if you ruin the whole thing - the process itself matters.
Finding a joy in the projects you never had time for - is the most gratifying feeling and I really discovered loads about myself in this sense. It’s a super interesting time, as people have a really great chance to look inwards and figure out what they truly are and what is important to them. As most of us never have time for it, because we always run in this hamster wheel in order to pay bills, live up to own and everyone’s expectations and meet the pressure.
On the less enjoyable side - I want to encourage everyone to check up on their more vulnerable friends. The suicidal thoughts are very much amplified in this climate and a simple call and a message can prevent a real tragedy.
How much has COVID-19 affected your original plans for this year? How are you adapting to that?
It has affected it massively - literally everything is either rescheduled or cancelled. Think it is not helpful to be upset about it, even though it’s understandable, but personally I’d use this time and energy to focus on the good things mentioned above. I have applied for government aid now to get some financial relief from this.
What are your favourite releases that have come out during this period?
Zebra Katz album. It has the full spectrum of emotions and some of the tracks have a great club narrative. And I miss clubs, so it’s perfect!
How do you think the effects of this pandemic might change the dance music scene?
It is really interesting, there could be so many scenarios. But I believe the local underground scenes are going to bloom more than ever and the sense of community will be important to more people, than before crisis.
How did you approach your Downtime mix and what inspired that decision?
The mix has all sorts of non-club tracks with favourite rock, electronica and blended genders. The mix is really not intellectualised by any means, it is literally tunes that proved to be all time favorites throughout many years and situations in life.
To end on a positive, what’s your dream for the best-case scenario when this is over?
The dream is to gradually reopen the societies and that we adapt new values, that prioritise care for people first of all and before anything else. I know, I’m a dreamer haha.
Pencilbrain - Central Line South
Frank Duval - Element
Modern Rocketry - Space Walk
Bryan Ferry - Kiss And Tell
Trent Reznor - Purest Feeling
Esoteric - Silence
My Bloody Valentine - Only Shallow
Machine of Loving Grace - Content
Tool - Parabola
IFK - Nebo
Recoil - Bloodline
Voicedrone - Goddess
The 2 - We Is 1
Thee J Johanz - Invaders of The Dance (Vocoder Version)
Patrick Hinton is Mixmag's Digital Features Editor, follow him on Twitter
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