Originally born in Russia, Ma Sha (aka Maria Koblyakova), is a vibrant DJ and producer who has been diligently paving her musical path in Brooklyn, NY. Her innovations to the community are influenced by her experiences in New York thus far and her recent musical research in her Russian roots.
Tell us how your career in electronic music started?
I was exposed to electronic music when I came to New York six years ago when I came from Russia. I was going to electronic music parties and very quickly was inspired by the scene. With my friend (Zanzie) we decided to host our own parties and began an event series in our backyard in Brooklyn called “Kindergarten,” which is still active today. Soon after the first party, I began learning how to DJ. I had been collecting records before the beginning of Kindergarten events and wanted to create a new palette of sounds out of the songs I had. I wanted to explore the new sounds I could get by combining two tracks together. So I started learning DJing and right after I started to play every single Kindergarten event.
You mentioned “Kindergarten” began as an event series in your own backyard. What does it look like today and where do you see it going in the future?
Since our first event in 2016 “Kindergarten has been in clubs such as Elsewhere and H0l0 in Brooklyn and we’ve been able to invite both international acts such as DJ Bus Replacement Service, Vagabundo Club Social along with local acts such as Photay, Turtle Bugg, Tom Noble, David Marston and many more. It is currently a radio show on Balamii radio, and we sometimes host our show on The Lot radio. My next goal is to establish a record label this upcoming year with digital and physical releases. Since this summer I’ve been working on an EP with my partner Ru and I’m very excited for it to be the first release on the label!
Kindergarten means a lot to me because I met so many friends, amazing DJs, and musicians during these past few years. I really love having an opportunity to bring people together and curate a musical journey adventure for everyone to share together. This project always shows me how important the community is.
How would you describe your sound as a DJ and producer? Do your Russian origins play a role in the music you’re playing and making?
My sets used to consist of funk-infused house, jazz, and disco but during the last few years, I started to play hard drum, bass music, breaks, breakbeat, acid, and jungle.
Recently I’ve been working with USSR and Eastern Bloc countries’ funk, disco, and jazz. The curiosity for my roots and to discover Soviet gems came earlier this year when I prepared a childhood themed episode for my Kindergarten radio show at the Lot Radio with DJ Bus Replacement Service. I played a lot of old school USSR breakbeat and hip-hop tracks. I kept going in this direction when I was asked to record a mix for PZRecords – a podcast series in Colombia. I then was invited as a guest to play the Soviet selections at the Worldwide FM “On The Corner” radio show as well as the show run by Mishka on NTS this past summer.
It’s been really amazing to discover these tracks from my origins and to be able to use them in the work that I’m doing outside of Russia. To be able to share them to such a diverse audience has been a great opportunity to learn more about my own identity
What exactly is Hone.Social?
About a year ago I was having a conversation with Circe aka Lenora Jayne about the lack of access to DJ equipment in the community, so we launched “Hone.Social” which is a weekly DJ workshop that we now co-run at Newtown Radio in Brooklyn. There are four sessions every week, and each session is basically a one-on-one workshop that is personally prepared to suit what you want to learn or work on through our online form. So far we have more than 60 students and many of them are actively playing events and clubs!
What was the inspiration behind the EP?
My partner Ru and I have been in a long distant relationship for a while. He in Berlin, and me in New York. We exist in half physical/half digital realms as a couple and as an artist project. Regardless of the time zones, we are constantly communicating and spending a lot of nights sleeping on the phone together. In the summer of 2019, we were finally going to be on the same side of the ocean again – in Berlin – so it was the perfect time to venture into creating this EP. Rù is an Italian born DJ and producer with experience in the minimal/house scene. He is a very passionate and strong artist, and he will always listen to you and try out any new ideas. This is our first joint project, so we spent most of our time together this summer working on defining our sound. It was a very great experience to learn how to compromise, influence and inspire each other. Different dynamics were growing into our relationship as newfound music collaborators. The EP organically became a sonic trip from explosive kick drums, breaks and atmospheric dub to uplifting, warm, ambient tones of soundscapes; everything connected through hypnotic vocal samples juxtaposed with chunky breaks. As this is the beginning of our musical journey together we were very open to being easily influenced by each other with newly discovered sounds.
Ma Sha is also working in a digital pitching team at !K7 Records focusing on the emerging markets such as China, Russia, and India. Look out for her new EP which was just released!