Loose Lips

DJ Karawai on the Russian music scene, the internet and upcoming projects.


DJ Karawai on the Russian music scene, the internet and upcoming projects.

Hailing from Saint-Petersburg, Russia, DJ Karawai is a DJ, producer, programmer and data scientist, and one of the heads of urwaxx label. In the last few years, he’s kept himself busy pushing and blending Memphis, Acid, Electro and Trance by throwing club nights and music releases. Buoyant yet emotionally intense, his sounds mainly focus on ghettotech production, yet are inspired by dubstep and UK sounds. We reached him out in occasion of his latest release “GoaTekk EP” - which is out now - and we’ve asked him about the Russian electronic music scene, his relation with the internet, daily inspirations and upcoming projects. 

Who were your first musical influences that you can remember? Who inspired you to start producing music?

I started to be interested in electronic music when I found some remixes on the tracks from the “Portal” game OST near 2010. I then found remix from Skrillex and occasionally dig deeper into his first electronic releases, it was 'Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites' I guess. Then I found some movies from his DJ gigs in LA when he was not so famous, it's like 10-15 people in some kind of basement were partying out and I thought that it's really cool. After it comes dubstep, juke, vaporware and so on.

What would you like to achieve with your music? What does success look like to you?

To be honest I just like to see people going crazy listening to my tunes on dancefloors. It's a really energising thing. But I almost never play it by myself… So success is maybe when you play your own tunes in front of a crowd and feel the vibe, haha.

Can you narrate to us the electronic music scene in Russia? 

We got a pretty huge scene at the moment. There are a lot of different genres presented in clubs and in releases as well. We have a strong local community in Saint Petersburg, there are a lot of promo groups in Moscow. I think the best option to dig deeper is to listen to Test FM (our Saint Petersburg hub) where a lot of local artists often play. 

What does your current software/hardware setup currently consist of?

My main workstation is my iMac with Ableton live. I also have some synthesisers and drum machines: my favourite one is definitely x0xb0x which I use almost in every tune. I also have Behringer MS101 (like Roland 101) and RD8 (808 type) all going through Mackie1202 mixer. 

Outside of music, what inspires you?

As a self taught programmer and data scientist I really enjoy digging into math and computer science things, really inspiring! Also I am really digging into the world of quantum mechanics and quantum computing. All these nerdy stuff is going into track names actually, and overall vibe as well.

What kind of relationship do you have with the internet? How does this inform your artistic expression?

The internet is the place where I found all the stuff that gives me a kick into music production. I think most producers learned all these stuff from tutorials or such. So my relationship with the web is lovely, like an addiction. I hope at some time I will be able to upload my digital mind copy into the web and live here forever.

As a performer or as a member of the audience, what single show has been the most memorable for you?

It's hard to choose… Okay let's say it was the DJ Stingray in Saint-Petersburg some time around 2018… His skill is impressive and collection is heart-breaker. Also maybe a party in HillTop Goa where I saw the one of the biggest crowds ever going mad under heavy Trance beats. I hope I can give two points here...

Any new or upcoming artists on your radar?

Can’t say… Listening mostly to old trance these days. 

Please suggest an album for us to listen to.

Electric Universe - One Love (try it slowed down to 100 bpm)

What can we expect from you in the near future? Any upcoming projects or gigs in the pipeline that you would like to tell us about? Any upcoming release on your label urwaxx? 

There will be new releases for sure! I think they will be still Goa Trance focused as my inspiration in this genre is just starting to saturate. My plan is to mix fast breakbeat rhythms and squelchy psybass leads, and also want to make old style arpeggio based Goa Trance tunes. GoaTech! (Already saw this hashtag in the wild haha). There will be a new release of WorldWide juke via my friends label URBAN with my track on board - check it out! (It's a  melancholic fast trance juke - tribute to Ukraine party Kazantip that was popular around 2010 on post-soviet region). As for urwaxx - the new tape release is upcoming, it will be MASSIVE DREXCIYA STYLE ELECTRO KILLER… It will be out in May :) There will be more vinyl too, from my colleague and label co-owner Greenwald. 

Famous last words?

GOA FOR THE WIN…. Listen to my tape bro!