Interview with Yulia Kasa

The exclusive interview!

The journey of Yulia Kasa: A DJ adventure

🎶 Immerse yourself in the world of Yulia Kasa, an up-and-coming Melbourne DJ who has turned her passion for electronic music into a vibrant adventure! 🚀

🎧 The beginning:
From getting started with a DDJ 400 to breathtaking live performances, find out how Yulia Kasa began her DJ journey and the mental blocks she had to overcome to live her dream.

💡 The inspiration:
Why electronic music? Yulia shares her love for the energy found in hard groove, melodic techno and tech house, while also diving deep into the world of house and progressive in her sets.

🌈 Musical diversity:
From acid kicks to hypnotic sounds - discover which genres and elements appeal to Yulia and how she weaves them together in her unique sets.

How do you want to grow old? When you imagine personally looking back on your life in the future, how do you want people to remember you and your personal experiences?

Whether it be my professional relationships, my personal relationships, or through my music journey, I want to be the connector and conduit for amazing people. I want to leave behind something beautiful that touches the soul to help heal people. I want to connect like-minded people, support them and help them grow, thrive and heal others as well and be remembered for that.

Biggest mistake in life: Is there a personal mistake or decision in your life that has had a formative impact on you and from which you have learnt important personal lessons?

Making the same mistakes over and over again and not honouring myself, my needs and prioritising my mental health, my journey, and in turn, my spiritual health. I had been stubborn for a long time and too afraid of the journey I needed to undertake in nurturing my inner world and spiritual health. I have since realiseed that spiritual awareness, boundary setting and nurturing my needs is the key to all success in life. By doing this myself, I can also set an example and help others to take care of themselves. Due to my mental blockers I didn’t pursue my musical desires and journey until very recently. However, I believe everything comes at the right time and I am ready now.

Main character trait: What main personal trait do you see as particularly formative for your personality in your daily life and in your creative work?

Having been brought up as a Russian communist (haha) I am very disciplined and always very outcome driven in all areas of my life. I believe I’m authentic and honest and I know how to balance this by having fun and feeling and creating joy. In my creative work, fun and energy is what I represent most, as my sets are exactly that. High energy! My favourite mantras are “everything happens for a good reason” and Nike’s “just do it!”.

What should the scene be ashamed of? Do you think there are personal aspects of the techno scene that it should be ashamed of? If so, what personal approaches would you take to bring about positive change?

So far, I can see that there is a massive influence from social media in the scene. As a newcomer to this industry, having an active public Instagram and a SoundCloud is the bare minimum to be noticed. As an artist, managing your persona on social media can be very time-consuming and energy draining. For some, these marketing skills don’t come naturally and that takes even longer, having to learn more skills just to remain relevant. It would be a shame for artists to not be booked because of their lack of online use. Of course, social media is very rewarding. Personally, I can see many advantages and disadvantages. Finding like-minded people and a community has been a huge one for me, as well as gig opportunities across the globe. I suppose the challenge is that it sits with us as individuals to find the work/life balance by creating boundaries on what time and energy we spend on our social media use and music.

What are you ashamed of? Are there any personal moments or decisions in your own career that you are personally ashamed of in hindsight or that you have personally learned from?

Going back to not honouring myself and setting boundaries for myself, I have a history of people-pleasing. I would continue to participate in things that don’t make me happy or that take my energy, which then interrupts my creative process and makes me exhausted during my week. I am trying to do much better at speaking up for what I need and leaving behind things that do not feel right for me or my musical journey.

Influences and favourite artists: What artists or bands have been a major influence on you, and is there anyone you consider your "techno hero"?

Duran Duran, Depeche Mode, Faitheless , Prodigy and Carl Cox have been some of my biggest influences as an early teenager. My techno heroes would have to be Richie Hawtin, Ben Clock and Surgeon (aka Anthony Child). Thank you to my Instagram friend Daniel who introduced me to these incredible artists (yet another advantage of social media I guess!). I have recently been obsessed with the legendary Ben Sims, Chlar, Marron and Alarico’s sound who plays hypnotic / hardgroove techno. These sounds are definitely influencing my current techno sound and tempo.

Technical aspects: What equipment or software do you prefer when producing music, and are there certain techniques that shape your signature sounds?

I am not producing yet, but I started my production journey slowly at the end of 2023 using Ableton software and a few basic plug-ins.

Live performances: How do you prepare for live performances, and are there any particular rituals or habits you cultivate before a show?

When preparing a set, I love to prepare at least my first 5 tracks and I like to know roughly how I’d like to close my set. I always aim to have my intro and outro as something memorable or unique. Before it’s my turn to play, I have a maximum of 1 drink and always have water with me. If my set is 1am or later, I make sure to have a nap and ensure I eat a healthy and nutritional meal prior. I really like to do a quick set and sound test run, especially if I play at a bigger event or party. I feel good when I dress up nice and do my make up before performing as it makes me feel feminine and gives me a confidence boost which then projects when I’m playing to the crowd.

Audience interaction: How does the audience's reaction influence your song selection during a DJ set or your performance on stage?

I always select groovy and driving techno tracks which means that people in the crowd are moving pretty much all the time! I like to put myself in the shoes of the dancer and ask myself, would I dance to this track? There may be a track I love with a long break or build up, however I do try to avoid them so I don’t lose momentum on the dancefloor. If I see people moving, people screaming, I know I’m doing my magic. If it happens to slow down, I try to cut out the build ups and select a groovy/driving track with great powerful drops.

Memorable moments: Is there a particularly memorable experience or story from your career that you would like to share with us?

My greatest story is that I learned DJing from scratch at the end of the pandemic in my bedroom and then very quickly I found myself playing live at the biggest and best clubs in Melbourne like Revolver Upstairs and New Guernica. Within 6 months I was able to play these clubs, record a video of a live melodic techno set for YouTube and play on KissFM radio as a female duo with my friend.

Yulia Kasa - Kiss fm

Development of the techno scene: How do you see the development of the techno scene in recent years? Are there any trends or changes that you have observed?

I have actually only been a part of this scene for less than a year. From what I can observe so far, there is a massive love of hard techno and hard genres at the moment in Melbourne. I have been hearing that the general BPM of sets at clubs is higher than it used to be. Besides that, I know that a lot more females in the scene are being booked which is amazing. There is always still a long way to go with equality in the scene, but it is improving.

The future of techno music: How do you see the future of techno music? Are there any developments or trends that you are particularly excited about?

Techno has always been a huge part of Australia’s music scene and particularly in Melbourne. I can see a wave of trance and dnb/breaks coming into techno music coming now. I’ve always been a huge fan of trance/psytrance so I’m very excited to try and test these genres out with techno. In fact, I actually have two opportunities coming in early 2024 to test this out. I am also excited to experiment with dnb/breaks, particularly blending them with hardgroove techno which will be seen in my upcoming mixes/podcasts.

Techno as a lifestyle: Do you see techno more as a music genre or as a lifestyle and cultural movement? How does this influence your approach to music?

Techno is most definitely a lifestyle and a movement. Underground genres and intense and high energy music connect the misfits and the creative people and creates communities. It takes a certain type of person to attend raves, appreciate techno and DJ these genres. The more immersed in the scene you become, the more support and love you experience, which then trickles out into your personal and professional life, and therefore changes how you feel about the world. It is very special to find that feeling of like-mindedness and belonging from this type of music.

Entry and background:

How did your journey as a DJ begin?

I have always loved electronic music. After so many mental blocks and excuses, I finally allowed myself to pursue this journey. I started to learn the basics of DJing online. I bought my first controller at the end of the pandemic which was a DDJ 400. I began learning how to mix different genres together for myself and my loved ones.

What inspired you to become a DJ?

As I mentioned, I've always been attracted to electronic music. DJing is something I wanted to do for a long time but I put it off and kept not prioritising it. I love to dance, I love to spread joy and high energy, and it feels amazing to release that high energy and share it with a crowd. The feeling of playing fast grooves gives me goosebumps and feels like a heightened state for me. It is good for my mental health to mix even just by myself. When I began learning, I would not have expected to be doing gigs like I am. I originally just wanted to learn for myself and for my friends and to have some fun.

How would you describe your musical style and preferences?

Groovy and driving are my top priorities, as well as high energy and adding uniqueness. Currently, my sound when performing live is hard groove, fast hypnotic and driving techno, particularly 135BPM and above. The sounds of hard groove, acid kicks and speedy hypnotic are unlike anything else for me. I also absolutely love melodic techno, progressive house and tech house. I have always enjoyed these genres at home when playing alone more so than at club gigs, as they help me connect with myself and feel like ‘me’ time. However, I have played them at a few special parties.

The importance of music: In your previous message, you mentioned that music is a source of energy and meaning in life for you. Can you elaborate on that? How does music influence your daily life?

Music brings me so much energy and inspires me every day. I listen to music every single day and it motivates me, connects me to nature, myself and my community. It has helped me through some of the hardest times in my life. It has created an ever bigger meaning for me in life, as it has given me a new community of beautiful people where I can be myself and experience so much joy. Being able to then showcase the music that gives me such meaning is very beautiful.

In the perspective of being a DJ, when having gigs regularly, or mixes to put for particular collectives, it means that I have to balance my time, allow myself enough time that I don’t feel rushed and lose my love of making my musical journeys and keeps my boundaries in check, as music life comes with many challenges in choosing the right opportunities for me, and turning down others. It has helped me to actively practice saying no if a date or a commitment for a gig/etc does not align with my energy levels or other commitments.

Femme Fatale Music:

As a co-founder of Femme Fatale Music, how did the duo come to be?

Lana and I had been hanging out and drinking a little bit and having fun, when we kept talking about how cool it would be to start a DJ duo. Our original thought was that it would be far less intimidating to perform live if we had each other. I did find it less scary having a friend with me!

What experiences have you had performing in Melbourne clubs?

As the Femme Fatale duo, we performed at Revolver Upstairs for Shadows and New Guernica for Eat the Beat, among others. These experiences were absolutely crazy and incredibly nerve-wracking. But of course, so much fun.

How does working with Femme Fatale Music influence your personal DJ journey?

I worked under the Femme Fatale duo for 6 months (April to September 2023) but no longer do. Performing as a duo was my very first performance experience as a DJ. It was such a personal challenge for me to overcome the fear of being on stage and the anxiety of something going wrong. Being part of this duo set me up with confidence and experience to pursue my solo DJ journey and for that I am very grateful.

What does the presence of women in the techno scene mean to you?

It is so important to me to see myself represented in the scene that I love and amongst the music that speaks to my soul. Women in techno are my greatest inspiration and it is my mission to support them online and in person. I always watch videos of amazing women DJs all around the world and it shows me that I can do it too. I love it. It has been the biggest pleasure to connect with other women in my local techno community and the friendships I have made mean so much to me.

Music genres and depth:

Why did you choose the genres of techno, melodic tech and house?

These sounds in electronic music have always influenced me. In my teenage years I loved all forms of house music. It was more recently that I discovered melodic techno and techno. Melodic techno is the perfect fusion of everything I love about house music, with elements of techno. Melodic and house are in my soul and they are what I mix when I’m alone. Those genres help me go deep into myself, almost like meditation. Techno, hard groove etc are different, these are more my genres when I’m not alone! I prefer to perform to a crowd as I love sharing that high energy with others and love to create an atmosphere where I can jump in and dance with others. The higher BPM, grooving techno especially makes me feel something that I can’t quite describe and I love that. I feel like I am on another planet when I’m mixing these genres (techno alien haha) and it is exhilarating to actually mix faster music as well. Playing these faster styles is always a stress reliever after a hard day!

Are there certain elements of these genres that particularly appeal to you?

Acid kicks, beautiful melodies, groovy beats, hypnotic sounds.

You mentioned that you love to go deep. How does that show in your musical work?

In my melodic/house sets, I curate a journey that is deep and melodic by pairing slower, deep grooves and beautiful build ups. When playing techno, I create that depth in my sets by using darker, raw or acid-based tracks with less build ups but more hypnotic repetition, focusing on not introducing too many elements or drops but focusing more on the ongoing hypnotic and groove elements. This builds the journey and creates depth in a different way to the typical peak-time/driving sub-genre.

Future and goals:

How do you see your future DJ journey? Are there specific goals you want to achieve?

I am not about fame, playing on the biggest stages in the country, playing just for the money or touring internationally. For me, this journey is about pure passion and healing through my musical journey. My community is so important to me and I aim to expand it in the future, continuing to find like-minded people and connecting other people, as well as helping others and supporting them, and receiving that support back.

In regards to playing gigs, I aim to play gigs and do podcasts with only those that align with my ethos and my sound. I would love to play my sound at events that focus on hard groove and hypnotic sounds, and something like Sub Club would be the perfect stage for me. I would like to connect more with artists and play amongst artists in these sub-genres. Of course, it would also be fantastic to support some of my top favourite techno artists when they’re in Australia like Richie Hawtin or Ben Clock!

What message do you want to convey through your music?

I want to bring happiness, joy and high energy to everybody who dances to my sets. I want to help them relieve stress and see the beauty in life at that moment and help to share how music heals.

Inspiration and creativity:

Where do you find your inspiration for your sets and productions?

I listen to music constantly on SoundCloud, Spotify, Beatport and Bandcamp. I attend many gigs to see artists play the genres I feel inspired by so much. When I see fast, hypnotic and hard groove live, I feel such a huge wave of energy and inspiration to find new tracks and play them live. I saw Perc play at Sub Club towards the end of 2023 and his style really inspired me. Recently, I went to a party by Stable Music where Techno Militia played a vinyl set and two sets by Matt Radovich and Carl Craig blew my mind. I also attended the Static 5 year anniversary party where Hasvat Informant played such good hypnotic I forgot where I was. Seeing these artists keeps re-inspiring my sound.

Are there artists or events that have an influence on your music?

As with most artists, my sound is ever-evolving and changing. Currently, my faster and groovy techno is inspired by artists like Alarico and Perc. My favourite labels that inspire me are Drumcode, Dark face recordings, Klockworks, mutual rhythm, Trip recordings and Tresor records. My favourite podcasts are HATE, BCCO, HOR, Resident Adviser and Anjunadeep.

How do you deal with creative challenges?

I allow myself time to rest and recharge in nature and by myself, making sure I have rest days and surrender to resting when I am low in energy from life. I make sure I dont book so many gigs that I can’t handle it, as I believe if I over-commit to gigs, the music loses its magic and I lose my drive. It is more special to me if I pick and choose sets when they work for me and my energy levels. If I find myself particularly stuck in creating, it is likely I have committed too much, whether that is in music or in my work or personal life. It is important to me to allow plenty of time to be creative with music and not have big deadlines that stress me out and take me out of the experience of creating.

How do you deal with creative blocks if you have trouble coming up with new ideas?

I try to slow down, relisten to sets that inspire me, relisten to tracks that I have purchased that I’m in love with and accept that you cannot be creative 24/7. It is a necessary step in the creative process to experience blocks and rest periods. When I am feeling blocks, I try to explore what may be causing the blocks in my life and try to deal with those.

Musical diversity and preferences:

As a multi-genre DJ, you favour deep, dark, raw, hypnotic and melodic sounds. How do you manage to integrate these different elements into your sets?

It is different between my melodic/house sets and my techno sets. In my melodic sets, I use melodic, slower, deep grooves and beautiful build ups, while focusing on good energy even if the BPMs are slower. When playing techno, I bring deep and darker, raw sounds throughout the set, layering acid-based tracks with less build ups and more hypnotic sounds. These sets are more raw as they do not focus as much on drops but more the groove of the journey ongoingly.

Are there certain tracks or artists that have a permanent place in your sets?

For my live sets I focus on raw, hypnotic techno and hard groove. I almost always use tracks from Ben Clock, Alrarico, Chlar, Flug, Marco Bailey, PWCCA, Shlomi Aber, Kashpitzky, David Lohlain and Ken Ishi as they fit my vibe perfectly.

Personal connection to music:

As a multi-genre DJ, you favour deep, dark, raw, hypnotic and melodic sounds. How do you manage to integrate these different elements into your sets?

Music brings me energy and purpose in life. Music is a part of my life in every aspect, every day. As I have said previously, it motivates me, connects me to nature, myself and my community. It has helped me through some of the hardest times in my life. It has helped me to spiritually awaken and to heal. It has created an ever bigger meaning for me in life, as it has given me a new community of beautiful people where I can be myself and experience so much joy.

As a DJ, being able to showcase the music that has brought me such purpose is incredible. Sharing this music amongst this community helps my and others. It is beautiful to witness other people heal in their journeys as well.

Are there certain tracks or artists that have a permanent place in your sets?

Mixing for me at home is like a form of therapy. It is definitely self-care. If I have had a busy day at work, I either listen to my current obsession of hard groove in my headphones and go out into nature, or mix my favourite genres at home. Going out and watching these genres live even if I’m not playing and connecting with everyone helps me de-stress. Music is healing!

Creative Process:

Are there certain routines or rituals that help you get into the creative flow?

Like with how I prepare myself for playing a set live, I like to ensure I eat well and eat nutritionally regularly, get enough sleep regularly and make sure to find balance in work and living. I priortise getting outside into nature and enjoying the fresh air, as well as not letting work commitments take control of my entire life. I find that when I am taking care of myself and sticking to my routines, I am able to tap into my creative flow and create something beautiful.

How do you experiment with new sounds and styles?

I am mostly a self-taught DJ, so when I find tracks that I’m unfamiliar with, I like to just experiment until I understand it. I also like observing my body sensations as if the track gives me the goosebumps feeling when it defintely goes to my Purchase busket. I have also learnt tips and tricks from a few friends and love to go down to the studio sometimes (shout out to Bull Dog Studio) and practice my new sounds. It is one of the most enjoyable aspects of DJing for me, learning new styles and techniques.
Also, I love to search until I find cool sounds tracks particularly from unknown or not very well established artists and producers. It helps keep my journey special and unique, especially when planning for podcasts.

Influence of the environment: Does the city or place where you live influence your music in any way? Are there places that particularly inspire you?

I have actually very recently moved to a new location in Melbourne where the beach and nature are right near me. It is very easy to access beautiful landscapes and go on walks. Being in nature brings me peace and calm which then influences my state of mind when I sit down to create something. This city inspires me a lot, as it is the center of techno in Australia. I am very grateful for the amount of gigs in all the genres I love happening all the time. There are so many gigs I want to go to that I can’t possibly attend them all. Lucky!

Influence of film and art: Do movies or works of art influence your music? Are there certain films or artists that particularly inspire you?

I am not so much a film person. I do like to attend art galleries though. I would say from things that I watch that my biggest influence are from watching live set videos. I recently watched the incredible sets of Felicie at HOR and Funk Assault at Intercell. These were just next level.

Experience with remixes: If you had the opportunity to remix a track by another artist, which one would it be and why?

3 tracks come to mind. With all three, my body loves these sounds and melodies and my soul loves the lyrics from there tracks. The Prodigy - No Good (Start the Dance) and Firestarter, Faithless - God is a DJ, Deadmau5 - I Remember (with Kaskade).

Favorite set length: Do you have a favorite set length to best showcase your artistic vision and why?

For any of my genres, the perfect set length for me is 1 to 1.5 hours. This length allows me the space to create a beautiful and harmonic journey with differing energies and still tell a story. To be honest, after 1.5 hours I tend to get bored!

Club gigs and audience interaction: What are your favourite memories of performing at Melbourne clubs like Revolver and New Guernica with Femme Fatale Music? Fave club memory?

Definitely when people reached out to us to give inspiring and beautiful comments and feedback on our set. From the Revolver‘s set, another female artist who played that night in the other room reached out to me and I didn't know her. She passed on amazing comments about me from a stranger who danced to our set. This person mistook her for me and she called me her doppelganger.

Connecting with the crowd: How do you manage to connect with your audience, both in the studio and during live performances?

I love to dance during my sets and feel like when I’m playing, I’m dancing with the people on the dance floor. it’s important to look up (even if nervous!) and connect with the vibe and energy of the dancefloor and ensure the crowd is enjoying the set. Reading the room is everything. I never want to be that DJ who is just playing for themselves, not looking at the dancefloor and understanding what people want. I want to focus more in 2024 on looking up more and engaging authentically with my crowd and worrying less about equipment. I am naturally quite shy and introverted too, I just hide it very well haha.

Future ambitions: Do you have any specific goals or projects you'd like to achieve as a DJ in the future?

Only play gigs and do podcasts that align with my ethos, sound and style. Play at clubs like Sub Club for events that showcase my exact style of hypnotic and hard groove and supporting those artists. Playing on the same lineup as some of the greatest names in techno.
Another long term goal on mine is to start learning music production and eventually start producing my own music as i get different sounds, lyrics all the time in my head, so it would be nice to put it in something creative and share with the world. As of recently, Ive decided to collaborate with some established producers where we could create something special together with me influncing to the track’s sound, tempo, including my lyrics and maybe my voice. So my first collaboration techno track with USA producer Josef Sautez is about to be released in mid Feb under Australian record label „Proponent Records“ as part of their VA debut compilation album together with other local and abroad artists...we are all extremely excited !!!

How do you see the music scene evolving, especially in terms of diversity and inclusivity?

It depends on where you look. In Melbourne, more females in the scene are being booked. When more females get booked, more females put themselves out there as they are not as afraid. The scene is still male-dominated though, and there is always a lot more work to be done before we can be recognised as DJs rather than as ‘female DJs’. It would be great to get to a point where they don’t even see the gender, just the DJ. On an international level, I would say there is a massive imbalance, and besides a handful of huge techno queens like Charlotte de Witte and Amelie Lens or Deborah de Luca or Rebekah, there are nowhere near as many huge names in techno for women as they are for men.

Digital vs. analog: What's your take on the digital vs. analog music production debate? Do you have a clear preference?

As I am a DJ but not yet a producer, I don’t have a preference. I’m looking forward to learning more about this in the future!

Experiences with vinyl: Does vinyl have a special meaning for you, and how do you see the renaissance of vinyl in the electronic music scene?

I think it is really impressive! I do have a great respect for the skill it takes to be a vinyl DJ. Learning with USBs must be so much easier. I want to experience it and at least give it a go. I've actually just had my first vinyl session booked. There is something truly special in digging out, holding and playing a vinyl record.

Advice for aspiring DJs:

What advice would you give to aspiring DJs starting their own journey?

Don’t wait. Don’t let mental blockers or life get in the way. Anything you can do to start is still starting, no matter how small. Get the cheapest controller you can find and learn one thing. So much will come to you once you take the first step.

How do you deal with the constant evolution of the music industry, especially in terms of technology and trends?

I think it’s exciting! That’s what music is all about. It moves and evolves with the younger generations. It’s a DJ’s job to adapt to those trends somewhat and keep music fresh and up to date. Of course, it's important to stay true to your sound, but this can be done while supporting new music and learning new things. It would be sad to be stuck in old ways and not wanting to evolve.

A heartfelt thank you to Yulia Kasa

Dear Yulia,

It is with great pleasure that we would like to thank you for the inspiring journey through your world of electronic music. Your passion, dedication and unique perspective not only enriched our interview, but also took our readers on a sonic journey.

Your openness to talk about your beginnings as a DJ, the founding of Femme Fatale Music and your personal connections to music have unfolded a fascinating story. Your words about diversity and inclusivity in the techno scene highlighted an important message.

We are grateful that you have shared your time and thoughts with us, and we look forward to continuing to witness your creative ascent. May your journey through the world of electronic sounds continue to be as exciting and fulfilling as ever.

May the beat always beat in your heart and the bass of your path always be clear and powerful.

With deep respect and musical appreciation,

@M8_Sound

"Support. Share. Unite!"

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