208 Little Vanya


01. Metrist - VV Squi
02. Zeldin - High Flyin
03. Masha Motive - Cedar
04. Boggi - Simille
05. Arobass - In Space We Trust
06. Hatch - Nano Interstellar Hole
07. Siu Mata & Amor Satyr - Is This All Real
08. HVL - Night Of The Hunter
09. Western Panorama Recordings - Skulky McFck
10. Suburbass- Rychta Devcatek
11. Bjarki - 4 Alternate Form
12. Fracture - YNY?LRL?
13. Byetone - Helix (HQ Original Mix)
14. Hassan Abou Alam - Breathe
15. Autonome - Good For Ya (Remastered)
16. Aeox - She's Gotta Gun
17. DJ Y - Perpignan Avignon
18. Bloodlust - machaca
19. dampwetbody - Chrome Walker
20. Near - Static
21. Toumba - Big Murk & Rknddn - Bein w ma Bein (Toumba VIP)

The war continues to rage in Ukraine, and we must not forget to support the fight against Russian aggression. Music can make a difference, and our Ukrainian friend and Otel & Closer resident, Little Vanya, understands firsthand how it serves as a form of resistance. We've invited Vanya for an interview to discuss his journey in DJing, the challenges of life during the war, and more. He has also recorded a mix that takes us on a captivating journey, encapsulating his experiences and the soul of Otel & Closer. Jump in.

Slava, Ukraini, Vanya. First of all, thank you for taking the time to answer our questions. Where are you currently located, and what has the summer brought for you so far?

Hey guys, It’s my great pleasure to do this with you. I'm currently in Berlin, and I must say this summer has been amazing so far. It's the first summer when I don't see dead human bodies and brains that get shot out of humans while walking on the street or having a coffee at my favorite Taras Shevchenko park. Those orks were bombing the center of Kyiv while people were going to jobs, or to parks with their families, and all the things that usually terrify people in movies were happening in real life. There were even more horrible things. I never knew that the brain can dry out so fast. But it turns out that even to this, we, humans, can get used to and accept it as a life routine. Also what I was really missing was night walks and staying out without checking your time all the time. For those who read it and don’t know why, we are having curfew and it’s really strict. No one can be outside after 11pm.

Your Instagram bio says "Life is porno." This phrase can be interpreted in various ways. How would you define its meaning for yourself?

Life is Porno-porn is life. It is pretty self-explanatory - like most of the people, I also enjoy porn, and porn has many categories. You can choose your character of any variant and kind. So an orgasm that I’m getting out in my artistic mission, such as the mix for DT for example, is one of those amazing orgasms. My life, in a sense, is a catalog of BDSM. Interpret it however you want.

Let's delve into your background. You were born and raised in Ukraine. Can you share what your youth was like and how music became a part of your life?

I grew up in the city of Boyarka. As our president says, 'What kind of dream is it, to go to Paris and die? Come to Boyarka and survive - that’s the point of living.' Yeah, my youth was really tough. But nowadays, I'm happy that I went through all those cliché stories of a guy from Eastern Europe who is an outcast in a small town.

Music has been a part of my life since I was 8 years old. My brother was my music teacher and mentor; he would always bring me cassettes with Pink Floyd, AC/DC, and Black Sabbath. While everyone around me was listening to pop stuff, I would walk to school with my Sony player, shaking my head to Black Sabbath. One time, when he came back from Germany, he brought me my first trance cassette. However, when I played it, I noticed that the tape was stuck, as the beat kept looping. So, I grabbed a pen, inserted it into the cassette roll, and rolled it backward. My brother laughed at me but asked me to let it go. After the 'boom, boom, boom' beat, at some point, the high hat kicked in and brought development to the broken beat. In that moment, my life changed.

The party scene in Ukraine may be relatively unknown to some people. Especially during your early days, primarily in Kyiv, how would you describe the party scene and nightlife experiences?

Wowoowowowoowosowoeo, HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE?! I got into the scene when I was 16 years old. From the first day, I think I didn't miss a single weekend at CLOSER for the whole summer. The scene was so fresh, I would say CLOSER resident Alex Savage became my icon straight away. And the first time when they brought DJ Stingray, it was a life changing moment….

The scene provided a real free space for art, fashion, business, and more. No one cared about the stickers on your camera, and still, you could do whatever you want there. Without any back thought or fear.


CLOSER is the heart of Ukrainian scene.

All the other things that came after were just the continuation of the job that residents from CLOSER and their team had started.

Do you have an album, compilation, or discography that played a significant role in your transition to electronic music?

Yes, the moment when I fully turned my body away from tech music was a track by Remote - "Protecting My Hive". And generally, the whole discography of UR.

When and how did you become more involved in the underground scene, whether through throwing parties, contributing to it, or DJing?

As I said, it all started really early for me, but my first attempt at DJing happened when I was 18. It took place at a bar in Kyiv. I was already having a successful model career at that time, and after that I moved to the USA, spending the first year in LA. Later, when I moved to NYC and went to Detroit, where I met Danny Daze. He took me to the party called No Way Back. That party turned out to be a life-changing experience and it was the moment when it all started.

What drew you to DJing specifically? And did the perspective change over the years?

DJing always used to be my hobby, something I did on the side while having a job. Prior to returning to Ukraine from the US, my job was modeling, and I also had experience in casting direction. However, when I moved to Berlin, it seemed like DJing could become my full-time job. Yet shortly after I've moved in, during one the gigs I was hit in the ear and accidentally broke my eardrum, leading to an infection that I've been battling for almost 3 months. As a result, my full-time job shifted to working as a waiter at a cool restaurant. But to be honest, I wouldn’t say that I particularly enjoy it.

Looking back at your gigs, it seems that cultural institutions and clubbing venues like Closer and Otel have played a substantial part in your DJ career. Would it be accurate to say that these places have greatly influenced who you have become as a DJ and as a person?

I would consider that place to be the ideal starting point, both for listening to music and for becoming a DJ. The reason is that there was no room for commercial standards, unlike here in Berlin. The music was just about the music on the dance floor and nothing else. In one night, you could experience a transition from techno to black metal, and then to electro, including a wide range of styles and genres. The key emphasis was always on quality.

I've listened to your sets, and it seems that high-tempo music is your preferred style. Your approach encompasses elements of bass, leftfield, techno, all revolving around a hypnotic essence of electro. What message or atmosphere do you intend to communicate to people when you're DJing?

I always say, music has music. I always believed that styles were brought on by labels and journalists to sell music. So, for me, performing is like writing a script for a movie with love, drama, pain, discomfort and comfort too. It's all about the feelings that I have in that specific moment. Usually, it always has a slight taste of schizophrenia.

The war in Ukraine recently has reached 500 days, not including the 8 years of Russian occupation of Luhansk, Donetsk, and Crimea regions. How has your life changed during this time, and what outcomes have you experienced as a result?

First of all, it doesn't matter how bad things are going - life is amazing and all the daily routine problems are really nothing. While I was writing the answers to this interview, another friend of mine died in thewar. Yet here I am, sitting on a street in Berlin, listening to a street musician, enjoying a doner, and I want to say that I'm happy to be alive and to have survived.

In my previous life, I'm not sure if I’d be able to find the bright light in situations like situations where I lost my hearing or had to give up my favorite thing, that is music. Or being in a new city without money, a place to stay, work, or even insurance to heal my ear. Basically, I have nothing what society in a capitalistic world would call “worthy” or “successful”. However, reflecting on my experiences from the past year, I refused to give up. I found a job to secure insurance and financial stability and started healing my ear. Also, an interesting fact - the only thing that can bring your hearing back is Nootropics, si I began healing my ear using various types of healthy mushrooms, and from having only 20% of my hearing, I have now recovered to about 80-90%. Which is incredible, cause throw all the stories I collected from my friends, no one, except for one guy got their hearing back (he also did mushrooms). One guy even killed himself.

So, what I'm trying to say, problems are not problems, they make you stronger. Just never give up

What emotions do you feel when you see the world's response to the war in Ukraine?

Emotionally, I would describe this interview as a form of therapy for me. I just want to say that politicians from around the world have treated my country as a playground for showing off who has the biggest balls. No one really cares about civilians, kids and, in general, Ukraine. But what really makes me happy is normal people that show their care and support. The more people think about Ukraine and Putin's death, spread information about the realities of the war, and help in whichever way they can, the faster it will end. In what ways do you believe art, especially music, can be a powerful tool to convey the realities and struggles of a war like the one in Ukraine? A great example is Ukrainian group Repair TogetherLast summer, I was a part of their event in Chernigov. There was a bombed House of Culture in which they created a kind of event for two days, with all volunteers helping to clean the space and taking all the destroyed stuff out. While all of us were cleaning the space, a few people including myself were also playing DJ sets there and everyone was dancing. Here's the: linkThis event was also a collaboration with Lizdas Club in Kaunas. I want to say a big thank you to you guys for the support, allowing more people to see what's going on there. So, I would say it's a really good example of how art can help and bring people together, even during the hardest times.

Have you incorporated any specific themes or messages related to the aggression into your DJ sets or events that you have organized?

A lot. I think music can say more than words. My music has always been aggressive, because I grew up listening to Prodigy's Firestarter. But it's true - since the war started, my music has taken on more of that "shot of the tank" sound.

Are there any specific initiatives, organizations, or campaigns that you would like to highlight or recommend for people who want to support Ukraine and raise awareness about the Russian aggression?

Follow: united24.media, prytulafoundation.org

What does the world still need to learn about in 2023?

It's a difficult question because people often fail to learn from the experiences of others, particularly in the case of the war in Ukraine. The answer would be - to be brave as Ukraine and follow the example of the Baltic countries.

Let's shift the focus back to you. As I understand, modeling has been a part of your life alongside the underground culture. Is it still something you're currently involved in?

Modeling has always served as my instrument to travel, explore diverse cultures, meet new people, and get inspiration.

Moving beyond music, what hobbies or interests do you have outside of the electronic music realm? Are there any particular fields of cinematography, art, or literature that resonate with your personality?

Yes. Currently, I'm also involved in making videos for great artists and friends such as Ma Sha and her boyfriend Ru from Kindergarten records, as well as for Valeria Karaman.

What is the most recent thing that has inspired you?

I think a recent set by my dear friend Estella Boersma - that party at Else was mind-blowing. Thank you, Estella, for bringing my addiction to music back. It was also the first event that I went to since the ear problem started. However, in general, anything can inspire me, whether it's music I hear somewhere, an art piece, or even the smallest thing that touches me on a deeper level and leaves a lasting impact.

Tell us more about the mix you recorded for the DT Podcast series. How was it created, and what concept or idea were you trying to convey with it?

The mix I recorded for the DT Podcast series was created with honesty and desire to capture the essence of my entire musical journey. Upon reading the interview questions, I realized that the original mix I had prepared doesn't feel right. So, at 1 AM, I made the decision to create a new mix that would take listeners on a musical journey through various genres. From tech minimal to techno, from techno to trance, from trance to classic electro, then all the way to breakbeat and D&B. Basically this mix contains all genres, all of which are a part of me, and the soul is coming from Otel and Closer. It travels through different chapters of my life, including the period of war. That’s what I will play in Kyiv when P dies.

What do you plan for the rest of year?

I want to heal my ear and come back to perform. And to visit Transylvania.

Thank you, and let’s hope we'll rave on Putin's grave sooner rather than later.

Interview: Justas Kontrimas
Published: 5 Oct 2023
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