Xenia: “Along with attention, there also comes hate and discrimination”

Xenia is an electronic music artist whose breathtaking success stems from her unwavering determination and hard work.

Born in 1996 in western Ukraine, Xenia’s passion for music led her to learn the accordion at a young age, showcasing her commitment by traveling 20 kilometers to a neighboring village for music school. In 2013, she left university to pursue a career as a DJ in Kyiv’s vibrant nightlife scene. With her mastery of DJ techniques and a debut on the Radio Intense streaming project in 2016, Xenia quickly gained recognition and embarked on a flourishing professional DJ career.

Setting up her own home studio in 2018, Xenia began releasing her own music and became a resident DJ at the renowned Kyiv afterparty club Heaven. Her talent and popularity soared, earning her headlining slots at clubs and festivals across Ukraine. Collaborating with Radio Intense and releasing tracks on esteemed labels like Codex and Set About, Xenia’s influence expanded internationally, solidifying her position as a prominent figure in the electronic music scene. Amid the challenges of the pandemic, she founded her own label, Numen, attracting both emerging and established techno producers. With captivating videos and joining Analog, one of the world’s top agencies, Xenia is poised to leave a lasting impact on the global techno community and further cement her status as a rising star.

EG caught up with Xenia to learn more about her artist development, her future plans, her new partnership with Analog, and more.

EG: Hi Xenia. Welcome to EG. Where are you right now?

Xenia: Hi guys! Thanks for having me. It’s a pleasure to talk to you today! I’m currently on tour, traveling to Germany where I’ll be playing at the Ikarus Festival tonight. I’m super excited for this one!

EG: Can you tell us a bit about your background and how you got started in electronic music?

Xenia: I’ve been listening to electronic music and going to clubs since a very young age, and I’ve always loved it. Then I took some DJing courses and started playing at small underground events in Kyiv. At that time, I didn’t know much about the global techno scene, but I was passionate about music and wanted to play abroad to explore more. After a couple of years of DJing, I realized that making music could be the key to becoming an internationally recognized artist and performing all over the world. So, I decided to learn production, and it turned out to be incredibly captivating. It took me more than a year of learning and practicing before I released my first EP on Codex at the end of 2019. After that, I released music on several other great techno labels, which helped me gain recognition in the industry.

EG: As a woman in the electronic music industry…What challenges have you faced, and how have you navigated them?

Xenia: I believe both male and female artists face numerous challenges in their careers in the electronic music industry. Some people argue that women DJs receive more attention from the audience, but it’s mainly because there are significantly more male listeners in the techno and electronic music scene. However, along with attention, there also comes hate and discrimination. I receive a lot of sexist comments directed towards me every day. While it’s nice that these individuals appreciate my appearance, I don’t understand why they devalue my professional skills based on that. For example, I recently saw a comment on one of my videos that said something like, “When you play garbage but you have looks,” but in a much ruder manner. Such comments are clear discrimination and indicate that there are still men who don’t view women as equal individuals in society. It’s very disheartening and unfair. You have to become stronger and unaffected by such remarks; otherwise, you can end up feeling sad and completely give up doing what you love.

EG: You’ve released music on various labels. Can you walk us through your creative process and how you come up with ideas for your tracks?

Xenia: I find the music production process to be fascinating and calming. It’s like meditation in action. I love getting lost in the process, forgetting about all my thoughts and problems, and spending time creating and shaping sounds. Usually, ideas come to me during the process itself. I always start with the drums since they are the main component of techno music. It takes a lot of time to craft a great kick, and then I move on to the percussions. A techno track sounds amazing when it has a solid foundation created by powerful drums. Once I have that, I work on the melody, which sometimes takes a long time for me because I often change it significantly from my initial idea.

I’m quite critical of my work and have trouble being satisfied with something. So, it’s not easy for me to finish projects. I currently have over 100 unfinished projects, and I still start new ones because I stop liking the older ones. I hope to find the strength within myself to be less self-critical and complete them all.

“I receive a lot of sexist comments directed towards me every day. While it’s nice that these individuals appreciate my appearance, I don’t understand why they devalue my professional skills based on that.” 

EG: You recently joined Analog, one of the most respected agencies in the industry. How has this impacted your career, and what are your plans for the future?

Xenia: I’m extremely happy to have joined Analog. It’s such an honor for me to be part of their roster alongside legends like Carl Cox, the amazing Deborah de Luca, and other renowned names known worldwide. The way the team at Analog manages everything is on another level. I never have any problems at my gigs because everything is handled professionally. I always feel safe and relaxed while touring, which allows me to focus on my performance. Thanks to Analog, more promoters have noticed me, and I’m playing at many more events around the world. My plan is to create more music, continue touring, and bring crazy vibes to every corner of the world. I don’t plan on slowing down anytime soon.

EG: You’ve gained a lot of attention for your videos. Can you tell us about your experience creating them and how they fit into your artistic vision?

Xenia: I started making videos with the Radio Intense YouTube channel when I was just a beginner and didn’t have any gigs yet. I was advised to try that approach to gain recognition as a DJ among electronic music listeners and promoters. And it really worked. I got lucky with the first video mix we recorded, which garnered over a million views in just one year, as did many of the subsequent ones. At the moment, I don’t see the need to record as many video mixes because I’m playing at different venues every weekend, allowing people to see me perform live. Besides, I’m not a big fan of cameras on the dance floor.

EG: You’ve been a resident at Heaven Club in Kyiv. What has your experience been like there, and what is it like playing for a home crowd?

Xenia: Yes, I played at Heaven Club almost every week for about a year, and it was an incredible experience. I look back at that time as a crazy but wonderfully memorable period of my life. It wasn’t just my home crowd and colleagues; it felt like being part of a big, loving family. As a DJ, I learned a lot and grew during my residency at this after-party club. It was my favorite place for many years. And let me tell you, it’s the absolute truth. I started learning DJing because I loved that club so much and wanted to play there. However, it didn’t happen right away. I played my first set at Heaven three years after completing my DJing courses and gaining unwavering confidence that I was ready to tear up that club. I remember people telling me that I looked like a child and questioning my DJing skills. Fortunately, I grew and eventually achieved my goal. The dance floor aesthetic, the energy, and the “never go home mood”… I loved everything about partying in Ukraine.

EG: The music industry in Ukraine has been thriving in recent years. How do you see the future of the industry in light of current events?

Xenia: Yes, definitely, Ukraine has been thriving when it comes to partying. I’ve met people from all over the world whose main purpose in visiting Kyiv was to experience the raves. The future of the industry in Ukraine depends on whether the unbelievably horrifying and brutal military actions continue on its territory. Even now, despite the war, there are parties taking place during the day due to the curfew. However, they can’t bring in international artists or organize something truly loud and incredibly cool. On the other hand, we can witness a large number of top and rapidly developing Ukrainian artists representing the Ukrainian scene all around the world.

EG: You’ve achieved a lot of success at a young age. What advice would you give to aspiring DJs and producers who want to follow in your footsteps?

Xenia: Be prepared for numerous failures and dissatisfaction with your early results. The challenge is to keep moving forward and remain persistent, especially when things don’t work out. According to statistics, it’s not necessarily the most talented individuals who achieve the most success, but rather the ones who are extremely determined. Therefore, the rule “never give up” should be the guiding principle in life. It’s also crucial to play the music you genuinely love because the audience can always sense it. Events where DJs play music they think they should play but don’t enjoy themselves are often not remembered as great parties due to the lack of energy exchange between the artist and the audience. So, it makes sense and is even necessary to give yourself the freedom to be an artist and not just follow trends. If your art is good, a vast number of appreciators will surely come.

“Not everyone can go out every weekend, but they still want to see their favorite artists in action. Social media platforms serve this purpose excellently.”

EG: Social media plays a significant role in promoting music and connecting with fans. How do you use social media to engage with your audience, and what role do you think it plays in the industry today?

Xenia: That’s absolutely true. Social media has become an integral part of promotion in the industry. For me, social media is a great way to stay in touch with my fans. I share updates about the events I’m playing, videos, and photos from the parties to keep people informed. I think it’s amazing that regardless of where you are in the world, you can stay connected with those who love your music. Not everyone can go out every weekend, but they still want to see their favorite artists in action. Social media platforms serve this purpose excellently. Moreover, promoters also follow DJs’ social media accounts to observe their artistic skills and interaction with the crowd, which helps them discover DJs for their events.

EG: Can you share with us a guilty pleasure?

Xenia: Yes, it’s easy. Chocolate cake, haha. The thing is, I try to avoid eating sugar…well, I do my best. But chocolate cake is incredibly tempting.

EG: Haha! Thank you for your time, Xenia. Is there anything else you’d like to share with our audience before we wrap up?

Xenia: Thank you for this wonderful conversation, guys! I’d also like to express my gratitude to everyone for their incredible support. Follow my social media accounts to stay updated on my gigs and new music that’s on the way. And I hope to see you soon somewhere in this crazy big, yet small and intimate world!

Follow Xenia: SoundcloudInstagram | Facebook

Inspired by:electronicgroove.com

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