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Low, Kiev

The underrated Pavel Plastikk from Kiev has not only won a cult following in his hometown, he has also been hailed as one of the best selectors out there by people like Lexx. Known for his eclectic musical vista, this great podcat gives you an idea of Pavel’s qualities as a DJ – if for a change mostly composed of straight house tracks. It’s a an hour-long extract from a set Pavel recently played at Brave! Factory in Kiev. And in our interview, Pavel talks about the scene in crisis-ridden Ukrainia, Norwegian masters and that unreleased version of Isolées “Beau Mot Plage”.

Pavel, what are you up to these days?

I’m a father now, and happy to be with my fantastic wife Kamilla and my two amazing children: Leo and Sofi. So, I’m learning how to be a good father. As far as digging for music goes: I get to do that when I have free time on my hands.

You  played a fantastic back-to-back in Zürich with Lexx in 2015.

Lexx is one of my favorite DJs and he’s my Swiss brother. And so is Adrian Honey K. We’ve actually played twice together, and the gig you’re talking about happened last year at Richard Dorfmeister’s Kanonengasse Bar. It was so fresh and so easy and such a lovely session! I love to play with Alex, I think we have a very similar vision for dancefloor vibes.

What’s your setup, both vinyl and USB stick?

Yes, I’m playing vinyl plus USB. I used to play vinyl only, but as no longer I can afford to buy everything on vinyl, I’ve switched to USB sticks. But I still don’t understand when DJs play with laptops. It looks and feels awful, really.

Your house mix here sees you in full party mode, right?

I had been invited for the first time to play at Brave! Factory – it’s a new club night from Closer club in Kiev, they host a proper rave every month with three to four dancefloors – it mostly has a techno, electro and acid feeling. I played the first four hours in the Backyard Floor – if I get the chance I always prefer to build a party vibe myself. Amazing venue and very open-minded crowd! So this mix was recorded there.

What about your Balearic side for which you are known as a DJ?

I prefer to make ambient and balearic mixes at home, I love to be surrounded by beautiful and inspiring music. I don’t like making house mixes at home because I don’t find the right setting for it. The main thing in a housey mix is the vibe. I’d say you can get it only when facing a challenge and playing in front of a crowd.

Tell me about Low, your club night.

We’ve launched it in early 2009 together with Bard, the co-owner of Xlib club. Later we’ve started to make annual Low Boat Parties in Kiev on the Dnipro river. For almost eight years we had a bunch of fantastic DJs and selectors playing for us.

Because of the war and the economic crisis we’ve lost a bit of our DJ culture. I’m optimistic that things get better though.

What were your highlights?

The brilliant sets from Mo Morris, Tako and Ivan Smagghe, who played at our stage on Strichka Festival. Ivan will be back soon – in November.

Were there difficult times?

There was a time when only thirty persons came and we had to pay for all the costs. But we held through. Its all about spirit and music. We are caring about it with all our passion, love and tenderness. And I hope our project helps to educate people!

What role does Closer play, your current club base?

We are feeling very much at home at Closer. The club and its team helped us to elevate the Low party to another level. I hope its only the beginning! I’d like to thank all our friends, music lovers, ravers and clubbers for their support.

How does the club music scene fare in Kiev?

Because of the war and the economic crisis we’ve lost a bit of our bar culture, with that I mean “DJ bar”. Everyone is opening coffee places and usually bland cocktail bars without any clue about how to throw a party. On the other hand, we witness a big techno revival and many of the youngsters are into this stuff. But the overall state of the whole scene is quite saddening, given the big city and metropole Kyiv is. We only have three to four venues that qualify as a proper nightclub. I’m optimistic that things get better though!

And more importantly, how is life these days in the Ukraine?

It’s calmed down considerably compared to the last two years, but as our currency (the hryvnia) was in free fall for three times, we mostly can’t afford the import things which were a part of our lives before. And it seems that politically we are also in a big crisis and I don’t see any light at the end of this long tunnel. What makes my life here quite bearable, though, is he fact that the Ukrainians are a very nice people.

I read that you were awakened to club music in 1998 when you listened to Warp, Ninja Tune and Compost. Do you think gravitating later on the so-called Balearic school was the logical next step in your musical trajectory?

I think without Compost records I hadn’t become this eclectic DJ. But who knows, had I been into trance, the same thing could have happened? I guess the main thing is to just develop your sound, follow your vision. This world is full of amazing music you’ve never heard. It’s a sin not to be enriched by it!

 I don’t like the fact that you are making music to get more gigs. This is unacceptable to me. 

In 2010, you lived in Oslo. How came this to be?

Rune Lindbæk’s friend Terje Tosch was working as a booker at club Nomaden and about to leave his job. So Rune offered this place to me in order to make Nomaden more international. I had an amazing time in Oslo – completely loved the city, its people and the vibe there. Really, it’s my favorite city on the planet.

The Norwegians, they were an influence?

I’ve learned lots from the Norwegians and back in the days I was really into their Scandolearic disco stuff. Rune Lindbæk, Per Martinsen, Pål Nyhus from Mungolian Jet Set, Bjørn Torske, Todd Terje, Prins Thomas, Kohib and Øyvind Morken – they are all masters!

You have ties to Per Martinsen aka Mental Overdrive.

Per lives in Tromsø, north of the Polar Circle. One of the most beautiful places in the world! I was always a Mental Overdrive fan and seven years ago I sent him some demos from the Ableton experiments I was into. He replied back and gave me a track to remix, which later came out on his label Love OD Communications.

That was your only track that was ever released. Why don’t you produce more?

We’ve made that remix together with my supertalented friend Misha Shkurat, who now has his own band called Nisantashi Primary School. I’d love to produce some music but I don’t have enough possibilites do it in a proper way. I don’t like edits and all this computer music. And I don’t like the fact that you are making music to get more gigs. This is unacceptable to me. For Low Party we are trying mostly to book DJs, not good producers, as you never know how good DJ is a guy who made a track. So let’s see how this goes.

You’ve included Mental Overdrive’s unreleased remix of “Beau Mot Plage” in your mix.

Yeah, Per gave me CD with a bunch of his amazing stuff, including this remix and also unreleased remix for Sebastien Tellier. I’ve never had the chance before to put it into a mix – I’m very happy it worked out now!




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