It's rare to move from dancer to DJ. But Nastia, a 29-year-old Ukrainian native who spins at Heart Saturday, feels it's an easy transition. "When you dance for years and then become a go-go dancer in the club, you feel like a fish in water," she tells New Times. "I just wanted to stay with music and travel a lot. In this case, DJing was the closest door I opened. The first two or three years of DJing, I was even missing dancing, but later I got used to dancing in the DJ booth."
She got her start mixing with CDs. It took a while before she worked her way up to vinyl. "Only a few years later, I started to play records, and of course it’s more difficult. They are much more sensitive and way more different: You don’t see how many minutes the track goes on, you can’t use loops, or it’s harder to fix the first kick to start. It’s all about hands and skills."
After getting her feet wet, she performed in clubs all over the world, from Berlin and Ibiza to Australia. "In the beginning, I felt stressed because I am a perfectionist, and I feel frustrated making mistakes in mixing," she says. "I liked when tracks were coming and changing each other slowly and step-by-step so that you didn’t realize when and how they swapped."
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She chooses tracks for her sets to be as spontaneous as possible. They depend on the mood of the room. "I never prepare, never know." She does keep herself organized by making a folder of music depending upon the situation. "Lots of techno for a big room or festival, new stuff for an open-minded crowd, and then after-hour tunes that are soft, groovy, minimalist, and positive for a laid-back spot."
You can hear Nastia's Miami debut this Saturday, February 11, at Heart Nightclub. It's the beginning of a big year that will also include her wedding to Ukrainian journalist Serhiy Leshchenko. She doesn't plan to DJ the reception, she says. For that one night, you can count on her instead going back to her roots as a dancer.