How has the Kazakhstan dance music scene modified because you began ZVUK?
It modified drastically – there are extra DJs, extra venues to play and an even bigger viewers. It additionally acquired extra adventurous – sounds actually fluctuate and you’ll hear a wide range of genres and experiments! There’s additionally extra creativity about the entire thing – extra digital music collectives with totally different messages and sounds, extra DJs with outlined tastes. There’s extra high quality in the entire thing too – when there’s extra wholesome competitors, one has to maintain growing and turning into extra artistic, which positively makes the scene extra attention-grabbing and numerous.
After I began ZVUK we struggled to search out DJs to play on the get together, as a result of there was a really small pool and most of them performed fairly boring units. So I’d simply find yourself reserving the identical ones and a few of them didn’t even match the ZVUK imaginative and prescient a lot. Now there are such a lot of nice DJs that you would be able to actually throw any get together with and it is going to be nice. It’s been 4 or 5 years since that Mixmag article about Kazakhstan’s underground being on the map got here out. Since then we had our first ever Boiler Room in Almaty, extra artists began to go worldwide, and the way forward for the Kazakhstani scene seems to be brighter than ever.
Learn this subsequent: The New East: Kazakhstan’s underground is on the map
What are a number of the largest highlights you’ve achieved in six years of throwing ZVUK events?
I feel assembling the ZVUK workforce is the largest achievement and spotlight. A lot of the workforce has been at ZVUK for years now. We went from having no funds and having to do all the things by ourselves – stuff like cleansing the whole venue earlier than and after the get together, working the bar and cloakroom – to us now having individuals work for us. For the longest time we earned no cash from this. With a number of the events, we even misplaced cash. Everybody was working totally free – simply because they believed within the thought and the values of ZVUK. And at the moment, we’re nonetheless right here, working collectively.
This complete yr was in all probability one huge spotlight for us — we did have a two yr pandemic-induced break so once we had a possibility to restart we simply went all in — organized the primary ever Boiler Room in Kazakhstan, had a NYE get together with Philip Gorbachev in a historic mansion that was closed to public for 30 years, organised Herrensauna and Bassiani showcases. With the showcases, we didn’t merely convey the DJs, however educated the native viewers about their values and messages. With Bassiani, we talked loads about how the dancefloor is a spot the place individuals unite for freedom, and with Herrensauna, we talked loads about how necessary freedom of expression is. We attempt to maintain it mild – we do social media posts and maintain them informative but additionally simple to know. With Bassiani we went a bit additional — we organized a lecture and a panel dialogue. Having the ability to do these huge initiatives, not simply occasions, is large, considering the place we began from.
Events have usually taken place in ‘non-traditional areas’ – what are a few of your favorite spots?
The spot for Boiler Room was my favorite in all probability – we did it in the principle hallway of the State Theatre. It’s a really lovely and historic place which performs an necessary function in Kazakhstani tradition. That place could be very pleasing visually however there additionally was a symbolic that means to selecting this location. Digital music and the tradition that surrounds it was not thought of part of trendy tradition of Kazakhstan for a very long time. It used to essentially piss me off and one of many issues I needed to vary was for digital music scene to be taken significantly. I feel ZVUK succeeded in that. Having Boiler Room in State Theatre was type of sending the message that we’re a part of the tradition and we’re right here to remain.
My different favorite spots embody a basement of the functioning cinema, a Soviet bunker, a strip membership, and all the economic spots we used – factories, warehouses. Almaty was an industrial powerhouse however numerous factories closed down and the areas had been left empty. A few of them are used for storage now, some will not be. We found numerous these and did events there. Primary inspiration behind these areas was positively historical past of Detroit and Berlin. One other notable location is a toikhana, we did the occasion with Bassiani residents there lately. Toikhana is a conventional Kazakh celebration corridor which is stuffed with conservative traditions. We needed to convey rave with its values of freedom and acceptance into this conservative house and simply present that it’s not all these traditions and conservatism that separate us nevertheless it’s issues that unite us – simply having enjoyable and dancing – that may and needs to be the true objective and that means of toikhana.