Impact: Julia Govor - Music - Mixmag

Impact: Julia Govor

Heart and soul

  • Funster
  • 19 April 2016

Impact is a new series dedicated to profiling raw talent that's about to turn dance music on its head. Next up: Julia Govor

There aren’t many DJs who are exciting us as much as Julia Govor is right now.

In April 2015, the Russian DJ made her Lab LA debut and showcased an intricate, deep and at times heavy-hitting techno sound, one that almost sounds like a cross between Nina Kraviz and Zip with the added enthusiasm behind the decks of someone like Mr G, a DJ whose tracks she drew for during the session.

For that session in particular, the smile didn’t leave her face and her all round enthusiasm for what she does and passion for her craft beams in abundance. At the end of last year we featured her as one of our 16 artists for 2016 that you should been keeping tabs on. Having just just reached April, she hasn’t disappointed us thus far.

After a profile piece in March, she gave us a premiere taken from her most prolific release to date. We say ‘most prolific to date’ even though she’s released via Get Physical and Visionquest, but this one really is her finest hour.

The ‘Open Possibility’ EP came out via Body Parts at the end of February and features two incredible remixes, one from Kamran Sadeghi and the other from the king, the daddy, the emperor Ricardo Villalobos. It was a project that she poured her heart and soul into but after talking to Govor, it’s become apparent that this is simply how she operates on every level.

We think that Julia’s Impact recording is her most accomplished mix to date, delicately blending tech-house with rolling techno cuts. She's loaded the hour with an array of incredible, unreleased material. Exclusive mix and Q+A below.

To start with, what was it like growing up in a small Russian town. What was your childhood like?

It wasn't really a Russian town, it was part of USSR, Abkhazia, by the Black Sea coast. Until 1991, it was part of the USSR and, as you know after 1991, all of those countries and republics became separate. I was in a military small town and my parents were military soldiers. There were around 300 families around us. Everyone knew each other, but it was very hard with the military’s regime. It was very isolated, but it was a beautiful part of my childhood because I learned a lot, mainly how to support people. We would share everything: gossip, food. I didn’t even have ice cream when I was a kid but I didn’t feel like that was something unusual. We had different things, like sea and mountains and forests and we hiked so it was a different type of lifestyle.

You started playing music at a really young age though right?

I’d play in Abkhazia as they have a small nightclub. There was no bar, there was just a dancefloor and sound system, and I started to DJ when I was six years old, when I brought my tape cassette machine to the club because my dad wouldn’t let my sister take it. I was the responsible one. It’s not like we had a mixer, or CDJS, no way. So that was my first kind of experience in music and it got so deep in my heart and in my soul. I learned that it’s about the way it can connect all people together. It’s such a powerful thing and I’m a very touchy person, I like to hug people. I’m a social animal, I can tell. Yes, a social butterfly. I actually have a song that’s called ‘Metal Butterfly,’ I didn’t finish it, fuck. I felt like the music and it’s just another way to get together and share my feelings, my emotions, my past, my future.

So obviously with the tape recorders, you mentioned that was very early days so what about decks and CDJs. When did you start mixing on them and learning your craft there?

I was 11 years old I guess. When I was moving from Abkhazia to South of Russia to a real Russian town called Temryuk, I met a guy on this trip because I was a big fan of The Prodigy. The Prodigy were the hype in those days. I met this guy and he told me, “Oh you have to listen to some really cool music, and you should come to our party,” so he took me to the party and he showed me a Russian magazine which doesn’t exist anymore. There were huge, huge letters and a word that said ‘rave’, and I’m like, "What is a rave? What is this?"

That guy was playing records and he played drum 'n' bass. That was my first real, physical connection with records, when I saw it I was like, "Oh wow this is so cool." I had a physical feeling. It was very special, I’m sure everyone’s told you this but it’s like another way to play instruments. So I can play the piano or I can jam with the drums but I feel like playing records and turntables and mixing, is a sort of instrument.

You just play music to other people. It came to my head absolutely in a different era, maybe after seven years when I realised I play music to other people, well, what if I tried to make my own music? You know what I mean? So you always come back to the place where you started, I was a singer and then I was playing piano, I had all of those experiences in my childhood. You know sometimes, I have a melody in my head and I imagine the notes and then I imagine myself playing piano, it’s just so strange. I have a huge imagination which is the most important part and the power of my production in music.

So there’s a place in Moscow, Arma17. Was that an important stepping stone for you in terms of honing your craft?

Julia: Yes, Arma17 was my start. Basically, before I was just going out and I was doing these videos and interviews with musicians and with DJs and I liked progressive house. I started to listen to minimal and then I came in 2005 to Moscow, I was like, "what is this different music? I’ve never heard stuff like this." It was a full-on experience, this era of clubbing and techno and house and minimal music, but Arma17, it was something really serious. I was 25 years old, I realised I’d been doing it so long and DJing since I was a kid and I love it so much.

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