[INTERVIEW] JULIA GOVOR

[INTERVIEW] JULIA GOVOR

It was inspiring to talk with Julia Govor ! I'd seen her at The BPM Festival and Awakenings NYC earlier this year, and wanted to learn more about not only her music and creative process, but her unquenchable vibe and energy. Here we cover her upbringing in Russia, her move to New York, working with Ricardo Villalobos and Kamran Sadeghi, production, inspiration and much in between..
Very proud to have her as my first interview for MJDLive !! 

Hi Julia! Thanks so much for taking the time to talk today! 

You have your latest EP, “Open Possibility” out on BodyParts records..

Yes, Ricardo [Villalobos] remixed it, as well as Kamran Sadeghi!

It’s such a cool name and idea - what does it mean to you when you think of it? Why “Open Possibility”?

It’s such a good question. I really feel that thinking too much is not a healthy thing to do. What’s helped me to be who I am today, and to stay positive and to bring light to my friends when they have darkness and to support them, it’s because of this idea that life is truly full of possibilities. Life is full of open possibility. This specific track, this release, which is remixed by two of my favorite producers, is a complete release in that every single person can hear something they are looking for. We made this music to share it with the world, with people who are looking for this. Through music or through the name of the song. Like, whatever is happening with you, today, tomorrow or after tomorrow, bad or good things, it’s just another possibility to live. Don't give up.

I love it

To live.. To live in the present and be who you are, you know? Because you can’t change in one night. You can’t change who you’ve been, what you’ve lived for 25, 35, 17 years, you know? You can’t. But you should use this possibility now to live. 

Amazing, love that. What did you learn from Ricardo?

The way how he treats his friends, how he treats his fans. He has the most amazing memory. I’ve never met anyone with such a good memory and knowledge. He remembers everything you told him 5 years ago. A fantastic memory. The most important part is how he connects with people. That’s what makes him special and we can hear it through his sound. Also, how he has all of these memories from people, all of this connection. He sucks it all into himself and then he goes through his music, and then they feel all of this weird, true, fantastic groove. It’s like Ricardo Villalobos for me, he is a groove. The Groove. He is a real groove for me! 

It’s like his remix for you, really deep.. 

Yes! It has so much to it, it has so many different directions. Rhythm on top of rhythm. All the time when I hear his music, old, new, unreleased, or when I go to his studio and I see how he works, I just watch him - the way he records sound, and the way he uses his modulars and his drum machines, is magic. Ricardo is the groove. He is the Magician. 

Do you have any mentors? How did you learn how to produce?

Kamran Sadeghi is my mentor in many ways. He is a music composer and engineer who has 17 years of experience. He’s worked for so many artists for the last 10 years. And the way how he cares about all of them and how they care about him, it says a lot. He taught me. I learned how to use Ableton Live before, in Moscow, but the real school of pure production, I learned from Sadeghi. I was visiting his studio where he was working, everyday for about 6 months, and just watched him, quiet. The feeling was, "It doesn't matter who you are, all that matters is who you would love to be.”  

When I moved to New York, I gave up many things; I left Moscow, I left my friends, I left my career there. I moved to another country where I didn’t know anyone. I spent all of my time to learn, to listen, to hear, to work on my tracks and sound. I’m still learning. Production doesn't have a limit, so I’m listening to my intuition and all my production is based on it.

Do you find what inspires you now is different than what inspired you before?

When I was younger, like maybe 20 years old, I liked to go to clubs and concerts to see different shows. Now, it’s still music, but my deep connecting with nature is the most powerful inspiration. When I start working on production it’s sort of like a meditation - you forget about everything. Really. You have a good mood, or you have a bad mood and when you start working on sound, when you’re in the zone, you don’t think about anything, you’re just listening to sound. It’s just coming through. Listening, listening and listening. Then, you like some sound, there’s something you wanna change, you wanna keep it, or you like this melody or maybe it doesn’t work, I wanna change the notes - you’re just listening. And after, when you hear it proper, when you’ve finished your track or some part of it, you’re kind of like, oh, this reminds me of melted iceberg.. or of stars falling from the sky when you’re looking out the window of the airplane. Dreams and nature is my biggest inspiration. I am very connected with Nature. 

That feeling!

Ya that feeling! 

Did you go through a significant shift in your life where things started to come together a lot more, or shifted your perspective at all? Because you are a really tapped in, tuned in kind of a person, I find. Were you always that way? Like, appreciating life and that whole thing? Pretty energetic and having this perspective that you have now?

I think so!

It’s been a part of who you are?

I think I’ve always been like this!

Like tapped in to energy and aware..

I wake up and I’m full on. My parents put me in music school, in vocal classes because I had so much energy when I was a child. I was burning fire in the kindergarten. I was going on the trees, I cut the hair of my childhood friends without asking permission from their parents. I have always so much energy. Too much. It was crazy and my parents didn’t know what to do with me. I didn’t listen to them. I didn’t listen to anyone. Then they put me into music school. They thought maybe I could use my energy for something more productive. It was kind of a psychological thing of why I was doing this. I was looking for attention, you know? My parents were military soldiers, they were never at home. I was raised by my oldest sister and I always wanted to have something that would get their attention, their love, but they were so busy because they always worked. And so they signed me up to the music school. There I felt quite right within myself.

The music teacher was tough. She had big glasses and if you did something wrong she’d come with a wooden pointer and she’d punch you. She was really rough. I was afraid of her. And I listened to her. We would prepare a full program for Saturday concerts at our military concert hall. I really liked it. My parents were so proud of me. I am very thankful to my parents that they made me take those classes. 

Today, when I perform on stage as a DJ, I’m always thinking about my childhood, I have the same feeling, I am always nervous first 20 minutes. Only difference is I ask for less lights. I like to mix and dance in the darkness. I prefer to get attention from my sound, not from who is on stage. Club shows is not a theatre, that’s a distraction. I don’t want this. I like to go through hearts of people from my sound. Because music has the biggest power. You know what I mean?!

Totally. So dope.

So basically, the answer is - yes, I was always like this! (Laughter) Little bit longer story but.. ! 

What do you think are the biggest factors that have contributed to your success? And how things are going for you right now, in music and in life.. What has created the success that you’ve had so far?

Do I have success?!

I think so!

Really!

You’re working with some cool people and you’ve created some really cool productions..

I don’t think it’s success. It’s just the way how I like to express myself. This is my work, this is normal when you doing it more then 10 years, right? But I feel like I am a beginner. Seriously. I want to feel like I’m a beginner and I do everything spontaneously, based on my intuition and full of enthusiasm. I don’t want to go to that zone where I feel like, ‘Oh, I’m successful’ or, 'What will they think of me if I do that' or, 'Oh they won’t understand me.' No! I don’t want to think like this. I want to feel like I’m a beginner and every day I do something new to support music and art. This is what keeps me young. Again, come back to the “Open Possibility” perspective, I don’t want to think too much about this. I want to have open possibility for whatever I am doing today. Does that make sense?!

Totally. Ya love it.

And I think everyone should feel the same. Endless beginner! I really don’t like it when people are, oh but he plays techno, oh she plays house, oh he works with this DJ or she works with this DJ, or today she’s there, tomorrow he is here, or "oh today she has horses in her hair"! You should just do whatever you want, that you feel is right for you today, tomorrow, right now. I know it's hard, but this is exactly what makes you a true artist.

So cool. It’s like success is just how other people perceive you rather than the work that you’re doing.

I’m going to use that line, you just said exactly what I mean!

Ya, I hear you. I understand. That’s super cool. What are you most looking forward to now for yourself? Music, life.. 

I want to play as many shows as I can because I love it. I am not afraid to experiment with my sets and my sound. I have energy I can share with people who need it. I know there is someone in the room who understands exactly why I am doing it. I would love to continue to collaborate with other artists, musicians and be inspired to make my own music. I don’t know where I’m going to be in 10 years. I don’t know this, nobody knows.  But I hope with the music, with my ideas and with my love, which I have at the moment from the people around me and the people at my gigs, I will find a way to stay focused and healthy.   

Amazing.

I also have a release coming out on Sven Vath's label, Cocoon, in May. It’s actually a collaboration with Kamran Sadeghi. We made it in 2011. The lyrics in that song are my favourite. I wanna just sing it again and again. Pete Tong recently played it in his BBC Radio One show: 

“We fight for excitement
we break our mirror for replacement 
we’re looking for something
we disappear, been selected”

Been selected?!

Ya, when somebody selects us, we’re going to disappear because.. [we lose ourselves in them..]! 

Yes! And this is Cocoon.. 

Coming out May 6th. 

Love it. (Laughter) Awesome. Thank you so much for taking the time to talk today!! 

Thank you! 


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