DJ OF THE WEEK 3.17.14: NINA KRAVIZ
It would be easy to say that Nina Kraviz, much like her homeland of Russia seems to always be wrapped up in some controversy. In 2013, it was her infamous bubble bath interview with Resident Advisor in which she appears in one in a short portion at one point; one might think, what possible controversy could arise from a beautiful woman holding down an interview while taking a bubble bath. Well, many in the scene did find something wrong with it. For the most part, the backlash could be summed up in a comment made by Maceo Plex who opined that “the blatant uses of sexuality and superficiality” of the act overshadows those who have been “hustling vinyl and spending countless hours in the studio.” Kraviz also has an ongoing beef with Seth Troxler, who basically just called her a bitch after a few negative run-ins with her in the DJ booth and a party or two. But that’s enough of the negative ish, we all have our imperfect side and speaking of sides, each story has more than one. For her part, Kraviz like her home country, manages to not only survive the controversies and maintain her place as one of the top DJs from our comrades to the west, but she always seems to come out better in the end. And that says a lot.
Nina Kraviz first fell in love with dance music as a podrostok (teenager) in Irkutsk, Russia. Like many born way before the Internet was mainstream, radio was where she first discovered the booming sounds of House and Techno. Once she was bitten she dived right in and learned all she could about the music, its origins, producers and DJs. She became so knowledgeable she began writing for a fanzine located in Moscow, though she was hundreds of miles away.
Kraviz would eventually move to the big city of Moscow with plans of becoming a dentist, she had already been enrolled in medical school for quite some time, but the call of that four to the floor was too strong; Kraviz decided to pursue her dreams of being a DJ and producer and though she managed to finish her studies, she knew she was going in a different direction.
The next few years were a blur, she began practicing and soon after scored her first gigs, she joined a band named MySpaceRocket (she was a big MySpace junkie she claims), and began producing. In fact, it was her eagerness to produce that did in the band. She wanted to mixdown the album and the band refused. But, it didn’t matter, Kraviz was already making a name for herself and in 2005 she was invited to participate in the Red Bull Academy! She couldn’t make RBMA that year which was taking place in Seattle because she didn’t have a passport, but they booked her to play at Sónar in 2006 and to attend that years RBMA in Australia. With her passport in hand Kraviz was ready to take off and so was her career.
DJ Jus-Ed gave her one of her first big breaks in 2009 with the ‘Voices RMX Project.’ Then came ‘Pain In The Ass,’ ‘I’m Week,’ the bold and booming ‘Ghetto Kraviz,’ the percussion laden ‘Aus,’ and her self-titled album released in 2012 which featured the beautiful and dreamy ‘Walking In The Night.’ Over the years, Kraviz has toured the globe from one hot club to another, festivals on every continent, and rubbed elbows with the biggest names in the scene, establishing herself as one of the best DJs, male or female, from her country, period.
Kraviz’s success is no fluke; her passion and love for the music is palpable; not only can you sense it in her music, you can see it in the DJ booth (spinning preferably vinyl – take note purists) when she is dancing and otherwise lost in the groove. And what a groove it is. The thing about Kraviz’s music is that it is hard, melodic, engulfing, and like her, it is sexy. And this is both a blessing and a curse.
It’s no secret women have to climb a lot more hurdles than their male counterparts and are subject to a lot more (and primarily unfair) criticism. Their ability to do the job, let alone being creative, is questioned from the get. And when women do make it, they have to walk a fine line and all but abandon their natural female energy lest they be called out for being unreputable. Yes, Kriviz is beautiful but just because she is comfortable in her own skin and wears high heel shoes in the DJ booth and doesn’t really care whether you are turned on by her or not, doesn’t mean she has to face detractors who question her motives.
If I didn’t know any better, I’d think that what we as a culture are saying is that if a woman has a brain she cannot move or behave in such a way that can be construed as “sexy” or provocative. However, if a woman is to turn in her brain and give us her body to serve as sexual object instead, we’ll put her on fliers, record covers, billboards, even the DJ booth. Thankfully, Kraviz doesn’t let any of that get in her way and she remains focused, creating great music for our ears; nothing more, and nothing less.