At Dawn with Daria Kolosova: A Glimpse into one of Ukraine's emerging DJ talents
As dawn painted the horizon one August morning, I found myself in a quiet corner of the NEOPOP festival grounds talking with Ukrainian DJ Daria Kolosova. On stage, Daria is transformed. It becomes her sanctuary, a realm where the constraints of shyness melt away, replaced by the raw passion for her craft. To her, music is a unifying force, forging bonds between strangers and transmuting fleeting moments into deep-seated connections. She celebrates every shared dance, believing in the power of music to turn us all into a singular collective. In this interview, Daria Kolosova, offers us a glimpse into her world and position as one of Ukraine's emerging DJ talents.
Hugh Barton: Daria! With your 7 a.m. set on the horizon, how are you feeling?
Daria Kolosova: Energised, if you can believe it! There's something special about closing sets; they have a vibe. I'm ready to dive into it.
HB: This is your third stint at NEOPOP. What makes this year special for you?
DK: It's like returning to a familiar place. The festival feels like home now. I've experienced its evolution, and tonight's set is something I've been eagerly awaiting. Last year was phenomenal, the crowd was electrifying, and I hope to recreate that magic again.
HB: You're sharing the stage with your husband, Etapp Kyle. How do you two blend your styles?
DK: It’s interesting. While we have distinct styles, there's a sweet spot between my techno and his house and breakbeat. We often discover this synergy in real time.
HB: Do you remember the first time you both played together?
DK: Vividly! It was the Ostrov festival in Kyiv. We had never played back-to-back before. There was this spontaneous energy; we laughed and enjoyed the music. It was super fun.
HB: Your set at Berghain last Sunday was epic. How do you plan to differentiate this today?
DK: Thank you! Festivals have this open, expansive energy, while Berghain is more intense and underground. But both have their own magic. I cherish and approach them differently.
HB: I can resonate with you on that. How was it stepping on stage after the iconic Jeff Mills last year?
DK: It was a surreal experience. It’s funny because when I played for the first time at NEOPOP, I played before Jeff Mills, but last year, he played before me. So we switched (laughs). A memory I cherish.
HB: How do you describe your style of DJing?
DK: My style is all about energy. If you see me playing, you’ll notice I’m always dancing like crazy. I feel like I'm out of this world. I can be different in my life; you know, sometimes I'm shy. But when I'm in a DJ booth, I'm 100% myself. I can do whatever I want, all my demons and all my energy comes out.
HB: When facing massive crowds, what runs through your mind?
DK: Most of the time, I'm not nervous when I see a huge crowd. It’s a mix of excitement and curiosity. I'm always keen to see how they'll react to my set.
HB: How do you relate to perfectionism?
DK: It's both a motivator and a trap. I’m learning to embrace imperfections and view them as part of the creative process. Mistakes can teach us a lot. It's not always a smooth journey. I sometimes strive for perfection, and sometimes that becomes a challenge in itself. It's something I've been working on— understanding that being human means being imperfect. With the help of my therapist, I've been learning to embrace my flaws. Because in mistakes, we grow, and through them, we learn.
HB: Is there an allure to the unpredictability of live sets?
DK: Absolutely. I think the most beautiful thing about music and parties is the connection between people. You’ve never met these people before and probably will never meet them again. But the synergy on the dancefloor, the energy and unity that creates. It’s like a family, even if just for that night, it’s powerful.
HB: When not performing, where do you find your musical inspiration?
DK: Often at home. My life is hectic, especially on the road, so I cherish quiet moments on my couch, watching movies or simply listening to new tracks.
HB: The relentless travel must be taxing.
DK: It's the most difficult part of DJ life because you don't have the opportunity to sleep. The fatigue, the physical toll, it's a lot. But the thrill of performing makes it worthwhile.
HB: The future of music, any predictions?
DK: It's hard to pin down. Currently, hard 'TikTok techno' dominates. I just hope we keep exploring and diversifying, allowing artists the freedom to express themselves without constraints. I hope the next thing will be something new and more diverse.
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