Life is unpredictable. We go through life assuming that we’re walking down a linear path toward some perceived goal, only for life to suddenly take us for a loop, and we find ourselves on a totally different journey. Nina Kraviz is perhaps better acquainted with life’s inherent unpredictability than most. She was once working as a dentist at a war veterans’ hospital in Moscow. Now, the Irkutsk native is internationally recognized as one of the world’s top DJs. Though an undeniably dramatic career change, Kraviz’s foray into the music industry did not come out of the blue.
Growing up in Siberia, Kraviz developed her taste in music by listening to radio broadcasts and opening a window to many different musical worlds, including electronic music. Later, while working in Moscow, she spent her weekdays caring for teeth, but her weekend nights holding a residency at one of the city’s best-known nightclubs, hosting visiting electronic artists from around the world and freelancing as a music journalist. That said, however, her established affinity for music and her passion for DJ’ing did not make the career transition any less drastic or challenging as she recalls, “It was very hard to quit my love of dentistry.”
Since then, she has cemented her status as an unforgettable presence in the field of electronic dance music. In addition to her albums Nina Kraviz (2012) and Nina Kraviz presents MASSEDUCTION Rewired (soon to be released), she has started her own record labels: трип (which means “trip” and is celebrating 5 years) and Galaxiid. Moreover, she has contributed to the legendary DJ-KiCKS and fabric series (released in 2015 and 2016, respectively), and has also played every notable music festival, such as Primavera Sound, Tomorrowland, DEMF, and Coachella. “The fact that you literally can do whatever you want with a very minimum set-up and are limited only by your imagination – you can record the entire song with just a kick drum in different modifications, if you really feel like. You can go full-on John Cage vibe and make music outside of principles of harmony. You can even play with time like Pauline Oliveros did. You can put people in a trance by playing a repetitive fast-paced rhythm,” says Kraviz of her attraction to electronic music. “I was never solely interested in electronic music. In fact, this separation seems a little forced to me. It’s blurred. From a very early age, I have been exposed to all sorts of music. I noticed that Led Zeppelin can sound pretty electronic with all the delays and reverbs they put the guitars through. Coming back to the music I am mostly known for – I am sure that the bridge from Donna Summer to techno is very short.”
In the past decade or so, Kraviz has risen to become one of the most respected figures in the industry, thanks in large part to her incredible and irrefutable talent. However, talent is not always enough to succeed in the music business. “There are two things that made my current professional life possible: discipline and responsibility,” she explains. “You can be the most creative person on Earth but when the next plane is in 2 hours, it’s early morning, and you just finished playing a long set, there must be something that makes you want to keep going. For me, it’s this sense that the people are waiting for me – like in the dental clinic – they need me, and I just can’t let them down.” It’s far from a settled 9-to-5 lifestyle, something she relishes. “My most creative hours are at night. When everyone is asleep, I can look for my muse better. If the flow is there, I can make music all night long, continue into the morning, and finish in the afternoon recording something if it’s going really strong,” she adds.
Now, she is looking forward to her next album. “Hopefully, the biggest turning point in my career is yet to come,” affirms Kraviz, who has no plans to slow down anytime soon but will continue to dazzle us for years to come.
Writer: Monica Dias
Photographer & Videographer: Indy Sagoo
Stylist: Emma Lightbown
Hair & Makeup: Ruth Warrior
Editor: Eiko Watanabe
Special thanks to The Standard, London (@thestandardlondon - www.standardhotels.com/london/properties/london) & EPK Media (@myepk & @epkmedia - epkmedia.com)