Divergent rhythms and mysterious messages from acclaimed selector Machine Woman.
Anastasia Vtorova aka Machine Woman is a sound artist and image maker who pushes the boundaries of different art forms. From her punk background to entering the electronic scene as an abstract ambient artist to gritty techno, you can be assured of a sincerity and originality in her works. This convention defying spirit has brought both industry and fan recognition, as both a DJ and via her own productions released on the likes of Technicolour, Where to Now? and her very own Take Away Jazz Records.
We caught up with Anastasia to hear about upcoming label business, her foray into other musical directions and events, including her new night ‘One Night Down South’ at The Carpet Shop, one of London’s hottest new venues. Expect abstract ambience, minimalist grooves through to heavy dance floor bombs. In typical Machine Woman style, listen out for 5 hidden messages she has also placed in the mix.
Hi Anastasia, How’s summer treating you so far? Looks like plenty going on with releases, label business, events and your Rinse show, which we’ll dive into below.
Hello, hello. Summer has been interesting, it is full of new learning experiences.
First, we were intrigued to hear a bit more about one of London’s newest venues The Carpet Shop? Where we understand you have launched your own night ‘One Night Down South’. What can you tell us about the vibe and are there more dates already pencilled in?
I was reaching out to different venues in the UK and specifically London. Corsica Studios came back to me and offered a deal I could financially handle for their new smaller venue in Peckham, The Carpet Shop. Putting on a show at this venue was one of the learning experiences. The Carpet Shop is a smaller version of Corsica Studios. I loved working with the team at the venue. The night manager and the security staff were professional and caring. It was important for me that everyone felt welcome and safe. I believe the vibe was welcoming and the artists who played that night all presented incredible sets. However, being a promoter and taking on all the financial responsibilities is not an easy ride. You have to keep reminding yourself why are you doing it and what are you aiming to achieve. Yes, even with all this in mind I absolutely want to do it all over again but now with more experience and a small team. So watch the space.
It looks like you’ve also been pretty busy with your label Take Away Jazz Records? With the latest release landing from SL a couple of months back… we’d love to hear a bit more about the label, the thought behind it, the curation, musical direction etc. And what is lined up for the remainder of 2022?
So the label started as an idea in my mum’s kitchen many years back. My mother’s husband was a vinyl jazz collector and one day he decided to get rid of his collection so I said something like I will take away the jazz and set up a cafe to sell the jazz it can be called Take Away Jazz Records hahaha. After a few years, I set up a Bandcamp under TAJR and start selling my own self-released music. I didn’t really think about it that much but in 2020 just before the Covid years I was having a middle-age crisis and moved back to Nottingham. I found a little art community and approached them to set up a record shop. You know life was not hard enough I set up a pop-up shop during Covid… What can I say I love a challenge. At that time I registered TAJR as a limited company and thought it is great to release other people’s music. The actual pop-up record shop existed for a few months and I was selling the record collection I had and other stock I have purchased for the shop.
I love different music and if I hear something exciting that lands in my hands I want to release it. However it is a small business and there are licensing contracts, consultations with artists, and budgets involved. Sometimes you need to re-evaluate your decision and pull back and that can happen on both sides the artist and the label. A number of moments in my label’s history that stand out for me right now: my artists’ music being plaid by Mary Ann Hobbs on BBC6 music, the label’s catalogue being now added to the British Library Sound and Moving Images Archive and clearing 2-second obscure sample with a giant Japanese game company. Currently, I am working with an artist in Mexico and the release should be coming out in November.
Of course a lot of your own music features on this label, however we saw a step into even more abstract territories with a mind warping track on NMC Recordings, can you tell us more about this other side of your musical sphere? Also what else have you coming up by way or new music in the coming months?
Well, actually at the beginning Machine Woman was an abstract ambient artist. My 1st record was released on Salford’s Gnod’s label Tesla Tapes in 2014 under the title PINK SILK. I was making the transition between playing in bands to becoming a solo project. I am working on re-issuing PINK SILK e.p on vinyl. I think I can also exclusively reveal that I have done a remix for Solomun’s 2DIY4 label. They send me a copy of the physical vinyl compilation and my name is next to Solomun’s name. My dream came true. It is probably the most tech house thing I have ever done but again this comes back to my love for music, all music.
On a more general note, we’re real admirers of your all-rounded creative drive and unique output as a sound artist, visual designer to the regular content shared via your Rinse residency and other guest curations over the years. Do you have a continual sources of inspiration or you believe there is a thread which connects all of our work? Or perhaps the direction you take is more impromptu?
I had to think about this question for a minute. I have always been full of ideas and visions in my head. The inspirations come from everywhere. For example, I and my dear friend Marika The Alien with whom I’m working on a new project IBIZA PARTY GIRLS were taking a walk in Soho, London. I was thinking out loud about how I imagine a DJ set in one of the places in Soho, a small basement with 50 people capacity, a sweaty, basement with red lights. Before we know it we are writing down lyrics for Soho Daddies our 1st track together. So my inspiration comes from people in my life, emotions – be it sadness or happiness, other people’s art and music, food, places, books, noises etc oh and science. I want everyone to check out Huberman’s Lab podcast, it changed my health and empowered my mind.
Finally what kind of energy are you bringing us with this mix today? Any favourite and upcoming bits from you tucked away in there?
Well, the mix showcases the music of my friends and labels I admire as well as my own labels’ sounds. I start gentle and take you on a journey of machine woman’s prefered music consumption. But as with everything I do there are always hidden messages in my work. The mix has 5 hidden messages.