In Conversation With Anastasia Kristensen: Natural Born Performer
High-quality techno, breaks and electro sounding, as well as authentic dancefloor experiences for crowds is what Anastasia Kristensen represents and appreciates the most. The Danish DJ has already a remarkable past performing at internationally renowned clubs and festivals around the world, and yet the future holds so much more for her. Always making sure to mix various styles in her sets, Anastasia Kristensen provides ravers maximum fun and ecstatic experiences on the dancefloor. We spoke to the energy driven artist about her work, inspirations, the contemporary techno scene, Awakenings and much more…
How did you come to work as a DJ – what motivated you in your early beginnings?
I started working as one after djing for fun has become a rather serious activity. It’s started taking all of my free time from another job I had (IT-consultant), as more and more places began to invite me to play. Inevitably it’s become a full time profession with a team around me. It’s funny you ask about motivation, only until much later, after gaining certain experience I realized that providing the right soundtrack with my own signature to people was and is my actual motivation itself.
What is your creative process like, what inspires you when preparing new sets and producing new music?
At the moment I’ve definitely had most of my focus on the DJ sets and digging. Everything from hearing my colleagues in the club as a guest, digging through new promos, old catalogs, unreleased tunes in my inbox – all of those somehow always merge into something wholesome at the events itself. During the week I constantly listen to the new material, so the knowledge of the tracks is there and I know what turns I am taking. I then imagine how this may sound to the dancers, but yet balancing that with leaving some space for the unpredictable in the set.
That process is flowing naturally to me. The production is a different story, as it requires certain inspirational moments for me, which can be difficult to capture – I do try to take notes with my ideas, when they occur in order to then translate them in Ableton later on.
You have performed in larger clubs and festival stages, like Bassiani and Fabric, but also at smaller, more intimate events – what is your ideal environment to play in?
That’s a question nearly every seasoned DJ could write thick books about! The ideal setting is where everything becomes one, regardless whether it’s a festival or a club. That setting includes perfect sound, comfortable atmosphere (especially the right height for a DJ table), respectful and mindful crowd, safer space practice, particular soft and fitting lighting and loads of fog (for my sake at least!). These are the ideal technical conditions I would say. On the other hand I do not believe in ideal settings at all! I think each event and each situation is unique and we shall embrace them as they flow. Maybe this sounds happy-hippie-philosphical, but then be it. The element of surprising yourself and the crowd with music and performance in a naturally occurring manner is what this profession has really become for me. That preserves the element of fun and excitement. Imagine working the way that you can predict every single step during your work day – I would retire rather quickly then.
Besides your outstanding crowd-engaging DJ skills, you are also known for your enthusiastic and authentically artistic nature – how do you find peace and balance despite your busy lifestyle of traveling from gig to gig across the world?
These past 8 months I have visited 4 different continents, while touring, so finding balance and peace is essential, because it’s a very hectic living. In my case, I keep it simple – less phones, more presence in the moment and loads of high quality self care. When I have a chance, I always explore the local area and if a promoter offers to show around, I usually accept that. Dipping into local customs is another unique and unpredictable experience that comes along with this job.
You often DJ in front of all different audiences – how do you experience your diverse live performances and what makes them special for you?
Having big crowds outdoor or indoor, versus smaller intimate settings is where the DJ skills and selection really step in, and where the professional and artistic challenges begin. I love that and wouldn’t want it otherwise. It’s become a thing for my artistic profile and I’m happy it’s unfolded this way throughout these past few years. The fact of shifting styles several times during one week is what makes it special and worthwhile. Bringing unity and insisting on a strong idea of safe space is another important element of the job for me.
As mentioned before, an open mind and letting the unknown magic happen is a leading cursor here. Recently, I have been fascinated by a sociologist Hartmut Rosa, where he has a take on critical theory, suggesting that the technological and social acceleration in our modern times is what possibly ruins our resonance in the moment with the world. Our need to own the knowledge, predict the outcomes and gain control over everything is essentially eliminating beautiful irregularities. Practically it means – I need to have an idea where I play, of course, but I strongly believe in the presence and moment I am about to get dissolved in, which is impossible to plan and in fact I wouldn’t want to for the previously mentioned reasoning.
You will be playing both at the Awakenings Summer Festival and Milkshake Festival at the end of this month. How do you perceive the festivals and the Dutch techno scene and crowd?
Dutch crowds are rather spoiled – not necessarily in a bad way, but the tradition and electronic music culture is particularly common here already. Sometimes you wonder what can I add to here? But that also makes the process a fun challenge. I love that the scene here is very organized, diverse and nearly every city has some high quality events I can align myself with artistically, which isn’t always the case with other countries.
Having to play these 2 super different events also proves I can showcase different music for these settings, and as I’ve said – that is just ideal! Electronic music is a vast nebula – imagine all the moods, shifts and cuts you can do artistically depending on where you are and what decisions you get to make on the spot. The idea of it itself makes me buzz.
What other exciting future projects or gigs do you have coming up?
I am working on some collaborations for production, preparing a large mix series I yet can’t reveal any details about and finally I am excited to play back to back with Identified Patient in Copenhagen in a few weeks. A Dutch artist I’ve been admiring a lot for many years and we finally have a chance to try this out.
Gigs wise, going back to Portugal for Neopop Festival, London for my favorite venue FOLD and my debut in Amnesia club in Ibiza is what I am really excited about!
Want to see Anastasia live in action? There are still some tickets left for Awakenings Summer Festival, Milkshake Festival and Neopop Festival – but act fast!
& her Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/anastasia.kristensen/?hl=en
Photography by SØREN DRASTRUP
Hair & Makeup by BELA BEAUTY
Styling by MORTEN IVERSEN
Interview by THORE DAMWERTH