Maša at Butik Festival. Photo by Jaka Rogelij
Interviewer: Domenico Frascino
In our quest to discover talented emerging artists around the world, we sat for a talk with Maša, the vibrant 26-year-old resident of the legendary Klub K4 in Ljubljana, Slovenia. Maša’s style defies genre boundaries, blending old-school beats infused with electro, garage, funk, and RnB elements. Let’s dive together into her DJ journey in this interview and listen to her mind-blowing afternoon set at Butik Festival!
The Partae: Maša, thanks for taking the time for this interview. Briefly describe yourself to an audience that is not familiar with you.
Maša: I’m Maša (pronounced Masha), from Slovenia and I just turned 26. Originally, I’m from a small town called Sevnica, but since moving to the capital Ljubljana 7 years ago, my influences and interests shaped me into a graphic designer, music event organiser and DJ.
The Partae: Can tell us a bit about your DJ journey, how did it start? How did you get inspired?
Maša: In the beginning, I didn’t listen to electronic music at all. I didn’t even like it, or better, I didn’t give it a proper chance. Then I started working in a bar where the owners were producers and DJs (Pritličje in Ljubljana). The owners had this random event where all the bartenders would be DJing and they said, “You’re really good. You should maybe try doing it”. And I was like: “No, I haven’t listened to enough music yet”. And then they kind of pushed me into this “You should do it, you should do it”. I really started enjoying it. So then I started learning more about the culture, found my own sound, and went on a different journey from there. This was the beginning.
The Partae: What type of style? What were your influences before you switched to electronic music?
Maša: Before, I would listen to just about anything, but indie rock had a special place in my playlist. When I started to listen to electronic music, I started to like funky, tropical and electro-like sounds. Then I went more and more towards the house.
The Partae: Do you have any other artists who played a relevant influence in your journey?
Maša: It’s hard to pinpoint a name right now. In the beginning, I was mostly inspired by the local crews, such as Kvalitat, Just Us, LuckIsOn. I always felt it was not just about the music, but also their parties and the whole experience. How somebody prepares a club for the night and stuff like that.
The Partae: These days, I find that electronic music is evolving into a genreless type of music and it becomes very difficult to explain. However, I still think it’s important to describe it somehow. What are three labels you would categorize your music with?
Maša: We’re now in the era where people are taking so many influences from the past and mixing them together. And that’s why you can’t belong to a genre. I especially enjoy some of the old-school sounds, when putting that into a housey perspective. When I say “housey” I usually describe the beat. Then I would use other adjectives which describe my sound. I get influences from electro, garage, funk and RnB sounds.
The Partae: Switching to a more personal question. Besides deejaying, you mentioned that you’re a designer. How do you bring these two passions together? And how do you feel those two worlds influence each other?
Maša: I currently work as a graphic designer and I consider myself a designer, so I see my career developing into that path. Of course, I translate these skills into the music world. For example, when we organize parties, I like to think about how every aspect of the event will be perceived. From designing the visuals, decorating the venue, and overall making sure the vibe is alright and everything works as a whole.
On the other side, I feel that doing music matches well with design: at their core, it’s all about the layers! Both are about how you build and layer different elements visually or in sound.
For now, I would not want DJing to be like my full-time occupation. I just enjoy the privilege of having it as my main hobby and I get the opportunities to play in front of more people, to travel to new places I’ve never been, and to meet a lot of like-minded individuals. I feel that if this would become my full-time gig, it would bring a lot of stress and other negative aspects to it. At the moment, I want to keep it at this level, keep the quality high and build bit after bit, and we’ll see what happens. I want to give some more time to production in the future.
The Partae: Do you take care of your DJ image outside of the club, are you present on any social media?
Maša: My Instagram was private until six months ago. Before I have a gig, I always make a post to promote the venue or when I have a good experience after the party. I always enjoy showing places to other people and giving shout-outs to people who deserve it. Lately, it’s been public, I don’t do so much with it, I feel like with social media these days, it’s also your mental health and you cannot always handle it at 100%. There are times when you just don’t feel like doing it. However, I realized that social media presence is sadly important in 2023.
The Partae: Do you like when people add you after you do a set and when they compliment you for your selection?
Maša: It does make me happy. My goal is always to help people have a good time, so it’s rewarding when someone reaches out and it makes you feel good. It’s quite an ego boost. Gotta admit, every now and then anyone needs some validation
The Partae: Let’s explore your future. Do you have like any specific dream location, venue or festivals or places where you would like to play?
Maša: There’s no specific festival or club that I want to go to, but I just enjoy going to new places and meeting new people. So everywhere I haven’t been yet. Also love to cross the borders of Europe one day.
The Partae: Where do you usually play as a resident and what were your favourite gigs last summer?
Maša: I’m a resident at Klub K4 in Ljubljana, so you can usually find me playing there, while in summer we’re very active with outdoor parties. Past summer was a very hectic time for my DJ career, as I played in many gigs. Obviously, it started with our home festival Butik in the Slovenian Alps. I also played in Munich for the crew Cyclic Existence. It was my first time in Munich and my first time playing for them. It’s a cute independent club, where you can feel the passion of the team behind it, both execution and vibe-wise. I had a blast! At the end of September, I played at the festival L’Ode Mere, located at a stunning chateau on the Western coast of France. It’s a new festival at its first edition and I like the ideas behind it. They’re very aware of the minorities and they’re very transparent. Before the festival, they posted on Instagram a breakdown of the costs to show how much money goes into fees for the artists, how much into the venues, etc. I like their incorporation of social awareness into the party culture. It doesn’t need to be political, but it’s nice that we’re aware of some stuff.
The Partae: Since you mentioned social awareness, let’s talk about equal opportunities. Do you feel that female DJs get the same recognition and opportunities as their male counterparts?
Maša: Just in the past few years. When I started deejaying, there were fewer girls. People told me that before, it was even more challenging for women. I don’t feel like it’s because people would not be accepting of it. It was just a boy’s world, and girls just didn’t enter that. Nowadays, every girl that I know from our scene, gets opportunities. Sometimes it seems like positive discrimination. More and more organisers are actually being inclusive, but some just want to fill the quotas. It has happened to me that I got a gig just because “they needed a girl”. I feel like we sometimes get even more opportunities just because there’s less female DJs in the industry. It’s kinda problematic if inclusivity is prioritised before quality, but if you show up and prove your worth, when given the chance, it’s okay. So fellow girlies, go for it!
The Partae: Would you like to inspire other girls to start a career in DJing?
Maša: I would love to inspire more girls, but even better, I would like to inspire more people! I don’t feel like it’s a gender battle. Just go for it, whoever you are!
Maša’s set at Butik Festival
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