Kinetic techno from one of the scene's fastest-rising stars.
It's not easy to make techno feel new, but the young Danish DJ Anastasia Kristensen offers a fresh perspective. Her view of the genre is wide-eyed and all-encompassing—she's as likely to play old-school electro, Pan Sonic and vintage rave music as she is anything by a contemporary techno producer. (A recent video of Kristensen playing intense hoover synth leads on the Copenhagen metro attests to her penchant for old-school techno.) She plays tracks that have unusual three-dimensional textures, tracks that move and shake in unexpected places, tracks that shimmy across the stereo spectrum in dazzling clarity. She can DJ at a techno club one night and play with Mumdance's experimental Different Circles crew the next. In other words, she likes techno that breaks up the genre's straight-ahead march, which is why her sets are so captivating—she keeps dancers on their toes as they await the next breakdown or unexpected left turn.
Kristensen's rise in the dance music scene has been quick. She went from being an unknown quantity at the beginning of this year to playing festivals like Unsound and Berlin Atonal just a few months later. If you haven't had a chance to experience her DJing on her recent trips around Europe and North America, then her RA podcast gives you a good idea of what you'd hear: vintage Aphex, IDM-inflected techno, rolling electro and a cheeky edit of an old tune for good measure. If you're in Lisbon this coming Friday, come see Anastasia Kristensen play our party at Village Underground Lisboa alongside Skee Mask and Sonja.
What have you been up to recently?
Where do I even start?! During the past month I played a really fun Boiler Room session, opened for Jeff Mills for my ever first English gig, at No Bounds Festival, played the opening night of Unsound in the ancient train warehouse, composed and performed a live set for a train rave on the Copenhagen Metro and have traveled to a whole bunch of new locations and venues while working on my upcoming music and balancing a full-time job with a steady tour schedule. That was a very long sentence!
How and where was the mix recorded?
This mix was recorded in my home studio on a Pioneer XDJ Aero directly from USB.
Can you tell us the idea behind the mix?
What I've done with this mix is try to represent as best I can the balance between what I dig both as a club DJ and as long-time music digger, way before I thought about approaching the mixer. I'm fond of harmonically obscure and sophisticated textures and this mix turned out to be a perfect showcase of that. When I play out, I try to build sets that have a playful, catchy and edgy narrative with a focus on warm intensity and a meaningful flow. I love knitting diverse elements together; I want my selections to "talk to each other." As a tradition with my mixes, this RA podcast consists partly of unreleased material, which I am constantly fishing for online, or gathering among friends (or it's just sitting there in my e-mails, which is wonderful.) The mix also contains unreleased tunes from Copenhagen-based talents, both established and up-and-coming.
You mix in quite a lot of older techno and experimental music into your sets, including this mix. Why is that important to you?
There are a few reasons for this. One is that I have never felt the need to provide the "latest tracks" in my sets—my priorities lie in my hunger for unique textures. If that can be more attainable in older, somewhat forgotten tracks or from the leftfield spectrum of club music, then I am not shy to include it to my sets. I sympathize with those tracks, the energy in their compositions. They usually have an intense yet harmonic approach, be it deranged Frankfurt acid trance or mid-'90s jungle from somewhere in the Midlands rave scene. I had spoken to FACT a few months ago where I had mentioned my passion for '90s rave obscura, which may also reflect on my mixing technique: I incorporate backspins, fader cuts (especially in the actual performance at a venue) and always end mixes on a conclusive note. The way older tracks are produced and presented often facilitates that well.
You've been playing all around the world this year, and many places for the first time. Have any particular cities or scenes stood out to you?
There were definitely some standout experiences—playing Säule at Berghain, playing the opening night of Unsound Festival, touring for five brilliant shows in North America and there is just so much more! I think what has especially stayed with me was my Berlin Atonal set. While I heard praise for my performance, I also felt I stepped up to another level in terms of my own perception as a performer, becoming more inspired and gaining a clearer idea of what it might take to do all this long term. It was very special also because I barely could see the crowd in the smoke and strobe light. I let the music entirely rule that basement floor in Tresor.
My first UK gig, which took place in Glasgow, was the loudest gig so far. Finally, I have to highlight my home Copenhagen—like the venue Et Andet Sted, club Culture Box, the Mainstream party and the Distortion, Click and Strøm festivals. We have supported each other and they have contributed largely to what I am today. Seeing my friends and the local community give comfort and excitement every time I come back is a heartwarming feeling and a constant motivation.
What are you up to next?
I have a few more debuts before the end of the year, including London next month! Next year is already looking really special, and I've been very lucky to have supportive friends all over the world and I am truly grateful to be working with excellent professionals around me. I can't wait to reveal my long-awaited release with Nous and something new with Houndstooth. The plans are the same as always—focus on my performances, productions and continue to nurture my love for the music.