It’s a bright, sunny afternoon in the party capital. The majority of the dance music community has all flocked to the Hard Rock Hotel over in Playa d’En Bossa as they prepare to gather, engage and debate at the 11th annual International Music Summit. In and amongst the thick of it is Ukrainian superstar, Anastasia Topolskaia, as she prepares for a first ever back-to-back with the mighty Dubfire.
A DJ’s DJ, Anastasia is one of the busiest females in dance music today. More commonly known by her artist name, Nastia, the Kiev native is a globally in-demand selector, chief of her own label and now the very first female mentor for the world famous BURN Residency programme. Oh, and on top of all of this, she also balances the role of being an incredible role model to her wonderful daughter, Uliana.
Such a highly acclaimed list of credentials doesn’t come as any surprise to us either. Unlike many of today’s top-tier talent in the music industry, Nastia was never born into a family with a musical background. She had to evolve and adapt in order to gain those opportunities which elevated her to status she has reached today.
“People can become adapted to many different types of things. If you end up on a remote island alone, you have no other choice but to try and find things in order to survive. You will adapt and after a certain period of time, you will feel like you have been doing it your whole life. We all adapt into any kind of conditions and situations and I myself have adapted.”
Sitting on the roof of the Hard Rock Hotel surrounded by crystal-clear blue skies, Nastia appears tired and exhausted from a relentless media schedule at the 2018 summit. Pleasant enough to take the time to sit down with us, the overwhelming demands of an internationally touring DJ are evident to see.
Speaking of busy schedules, this month alone has seen the Propaganda temptress play a five-date tour of South America, and she still has a further six gigs to go. Smiling graciously as she takes a swig from an ice cool bottle of water, she highlights the privileges of her lifestyle embracing its positives. “I have become used to travel demands, to social media pressures and I like it. It’s not difficult, it’s fun. You always change the picture. You always travel, you meet people of different languages in different cultures and you will always have a story to tell.”
Another huge aspect that accompanies this seemingly box-ticking bucket-list lifestyle is the time-consuming commands of social media. A daily illustration of memorable festival moments and dream collaborations becoming a living reality, a consistent social media presence is absolutely essential in order to succeed as an artist in the modern era of electronic music.
From publishing relevant content to sincere interaction with your followers, for many selectors, this is a core part of their day-to-day social media activities. However, for Nastia, the utilisation of social media is viewed in a different light. Quite a receptive individual, her openness on Facebook became an issue back in December 2016. With all content on her personal page becoming public knowledge in the media, she sparked a written outburst at her own country’s solemnised mood of the plane crash that occurred in Russia. Speaking to Mixmag, she said: “You shouldn’t be happy when people die, even if it’s the country we’re at war with. How you can judge them if you behave the same?”
Talking about the present day, she discussed the honest content she posts on her social media channels. “There are no secrets, no rules, no instructions… you just do it as you share what you feel is interesting or important and it will work naturally.” She then proudly added: “I just post content which reflects how I feel.” Her latest Instagram post which sees her stood outside Warung Beach Club in Brazil cherishing the entire experience is a fine example of this.
A hectic July schedule is only an insight into what is arguably Nastia’s busiest summer to date too. 2018 sees the once Arma17 resident establish herself as the very first female mentor for the world-renowned BURN Residency programme, a platform which is now in the midst of its eighth consecutive year.
Despite this ground-breaking progress, Nastia believes there is still a long way to go before gender equality is achieved in the industry. “I think it it would be perfect if things were balanced between men and women in the industry. However, I feel this will only be possible when women are on the same level and men in terms of musical quality.”
Touching on the impact of forcing gender equality can have within underground music, she emphasised: “By putting more girls in the business just to make the industry more balanced isn’t always a good thing. This is because it will impact upon the quality of the music. There is only space in the industry for those who are fitting, for those who are hard workers, for those who continue to strive and only aim to be the best.”
The same applies for the 10 finalists in this year’s BURN Residency competition as they all do battle for a €100,000 investment into their career. “For me, I was always interested in both the music they play and the way that the DJ behaves in the booth when performing.” Further elaborating on this, Nastia explains: “I love it when they move naturally with the music and that you can see that they are really enjoying the music that they are playing. It doesn’t happen too often and it is really interesting to watch.”
Nastia is one name who certainly doesn’t lack passion when behind the decks. From getting up close and personal with her at her Mixmag Lab drum ’n bass session at Sol House in Ibiza last season to her debut outing at Time Warp back in April, passion is a quality that doesn’t stop running through the Ukrainian’s veins.
In what will be a year of firsts for Nastia on the White Isle, this summer will see her grace the stages of Privilege’s Vista Club, the recently renovated Pacha and Hï Ibiza.
Grinning with excitement, she lights up with sheer delirium. “I think RESISTANCE will be very interesting because I will be appearing for PLAYdifferently. I will play a vinyl-only set and I have never played in the Vista Club in Privilege before and I am curious to see how this room works.” She then added: “Also, Cocoon will be an interesting date as I have no idea how Pacha looks now. I will also be appearing at Hi Ibiza for Black Coffee and I have never been there before either.”
With a list of hugely anticipated dates chalked into her Ibiza diary over the coming months, the 2018 chapter on Nastia’s continued path to the promised land has been far from straight-forward. However, her dedication to her craft and a refusal to be constrained by limitations will fuel her progression for years to come.
Nastia will appear in Ibiza on the following dates this summer:
RESISTANCE at Privilege – 24th July
Cocoon at Pacha – 15th August
Black Coffee at Hï Ibiza – 8th September