Saturday, 18 January 2014 00:00
Beautiful, talented and armed with a CD bag full of passion for the music she plays, DJ Angelica from Ukraine is the new addition to the Taj Samudra’s latest entertainment line up at its exciting concept bar and restaurant – Yumi. Spinning her mix of eclectic mood music ranging from smooth chillout to deep house, Angelica seems like she knows what she’s doing when she gets behind her console. Having constantly travelled for the past couple of years and playing at a host of high end hotels and clubs all over the world, the Weekend FT sat down with her to see what makes her tick. Following are excerpts:By David EbertQ: What made you become a DJ?A: I have been a dancer all my life from my childhood and after I decided to go to a capital and try to dance in TV shows with artistes like on MTV and I did this and after two years I felt that I wanted to try something else and because of my work with music I decided I wanted to try out being a DJ because of my love of music and the lifestyle. I taught myself how to be a DJ without going to a DJ school and that maybe six or seven years ago.
Q: What’s your style of music?A: In Ukraine I play not only club music, I play music that is funky, hip hop but now I think I may be growing up and my music taste has changed, so now I like house, deep house and tech house. I like house more. So I can’t say that house is the only style I like but for the moment it is what I’m playing.
Q: Tell me about how you came to be playing in Sri Lanka?A: I had heard before about Taj Hotels when I was working with other high class hotels and when Taj invited me I was very happy because I know that it is a very high class hotel and I found the Yumi concept very interesting and so I guess I came.
Q: Is this your first time in Asia?A: Actually no. I was four months ago in China where I had a bit of a big contract with five clubs and I worked there but a month ago I came to Sri Lanka.
Q: So what kind of music have you got planned out for Yumi? A: You know, for me atmosphere is very important. So I always try to understand what is comfortable for the guests and to put them in a good mood. Maybe in the evenings I’ll be playing lounge music without heavy beats and later on in the night I would switch to house music. But it depends on the mood but I think house, deep house and chill is the best at Yumi.
Q: Tell me about your background in the Ukraine? What was it like growing up, etc.?A: I’m from Kharkiw City in the Ukraine and it is the second largest city and 100 years ago it was the capital of the country. My family was big with five sisters and all of us look the same, almost like quintuplets, and of course my mother, father and grandmother. I liked growing up in a big family.
Q: So is your family happy with your choice of career being a DJ?A: I don’t think so (laughs). Because I always travel and I miss them but I like it because I travel all over the world and it is important but they we have a very respectful relationship, my family, so they respect my choice and that I like my freedom and I live my life like this.
Q: So for how long have you been travelling around playing music?A: Five years. I have many new friends around the world and I have many friends – DJs, artistes, very talented people and I am happy that I had the chance to meet them all because for me it is very important to communicate with people like that who have open minds and are very creative.
Q: How many countries have you played in so far?A: Many countries (laughs). Ten maybe more countries but I can’t remember exactly. Lots of countries in Europelike Slovenia, Netherlands and Poland, and in the last year countries in Asia such as China, India and lots of cities in Russia as well. Definitely way more than 10 and now I’m here in Sri Lanka.
Q: Which has been your favourite country to play in so far?A: It depends you know because it’s very different in each country. In every country there has been a different mood and for example in China they have really big clubs and there are old people chilling every single day. Ukraine in comparison has only Friday and Saturday for me to work. In China when I speak to the people in charge of the clubs there, they ask me ‘how can you work for only two days and do a business?’ because in China they have big parties everyday in big clubs with big stages and very professional sound and lighting. The club culture is very professional and of a very high level and this is not only in big cities, and people spend a lot of time chilling out in clubs. In Ukraine it’s mostly young people aged 20, etc., but in China most clubbers are over 25 and their mentality is different. They’re grown up people working hard every day and partying hard each night. So it depends; it has been interesting for me.
Q: So do you listen to a lot of deep house, etc., when you’re chilling yourself?A: Yes I do and for me it’s very important for me to be comfortable with the music I play at any location that I work at.
Q: What is it about your work that makes you want to wake up and do it every day?A: For me it’s very easy at first, secondly I really enjoy what I do. I find it exciting trying to find new songs to play and when I do I feel like it is very precious (laughs). For example, I find a new track and I have to wait for some time for my set to begin to get the chance to play it and share it with people. I really enjoy this part of it.
Q: Do you see yourself doing this in 20 years time?A: I think yes. Because for me it’s not my job, it is my lifestyle and I am not searching for something new right now because maybe I have found it already. I am happy with it. But we’ll see; nobody knows for sure. Nobody knows what will happen in the next year; only God. Maybe I may get married and have children and sit in my house with my equipment and I will spin my music when my husband goes to work and my children have gone to school (laughs). For sure!
Pix by Sameera Wijesinghe