20.07.2019 | Words by: Angelina Nikolayeva
“It’s funny because I think my music is much more popular here in the Netherlands than in Australia,” Kia tells me before her first Dutch gig at Wildeburg. The Melbourne-based DJ is a rather new face to the electronic music scene; it’s been only 4 months since I came across her Nous’klaer mix
, which made her so well-received in Europe. It didn’t take long until she was invited to make a podcast for German Patterns of Perception
series, followed by a small tour through some of our favorite clubs: Berlin’s OHM, The Hague’s Het Magazijn and topping things off in the steamy classroom of De School upcoming Sunday. Remembering Konduku play his midday sets in Het Muzieklokaal, illuminated by the sun rays piercing through the windows, I felt like there couldn’t be a better time slot for the gentle grooves of the just as sunny Australian DJ.
Her sound is deep and emotive, yet what makes her stand out is the bassline-heavy rhythms that are so present throughout her sets. “I am really into bass music and dubstep, and I love to combine it with the deeper stuff,” Kia tells me over dinner on a terrace in Rotterdam. She was staying there for a couple of days before heading to Berlin. “re:ni, Forest Drive West and Konduku are some of those DJs who manage to play deep, yet not boring. That’s the vibe I’m aiming for, especially when I start producing.”
“Look at this,” says Kia while reaching for something in her bag. She hands me a tiny gnome made out of clay, which reads “Aardman” on it. “We were staying in the guest house of an old artist couple in Rotterdam’s suburbs. The man has made it himself and gave it to me when I was leaving,” she continues with a warm smile. “It’s made out of clay from the canal that lays next to their house. He said he wanted me to have a little piece of the Netherlands. Me and my boyfriend were almost in tears!”
Kia has always been surrounded by creativity; she grew up in the family of an architect and an art curator. Learning piano and clarinet at a young age and playing glockenspiel in a school band until she was 14 formed the roots for her affinity for music. After spending her youth in Sydney, the lack of nightlife and opportunities brought her to Melbourne where she now resides. “When I turned 18, they put a new law in place, trying to reduce alcohol-fueled violence. It killed the whole scene,” says Kia. Introduced in February of 2014, the Sydney lockout laws restrict all the bottle shops selling liquor after 10 pm and forbid entering the bars and clubs after 1:30 am while also enforcing the 3:00 am "last drinks" regime. “I was just old enough to go clubbing but there was nowhere to go anymore,” she explains. “Most of the DJs had to move to Melbourne which contributed to the growth of its nightlife a lot. There is still a tight-knit community of people in Sydney doing great things for the scene but there are much less opportunities than in Melbourne.”
She picked up DJing after moving to Melbourne about 4 years ago. “I’ve never had my own mixer or turntables,” she tells. “Luckily, I could use the setup of my boyfriend and now my younger brother has one too.”
Soon enough she had her first gig at a local rave and her schedule slowly started to fill up. However, it took a while until her music started to be taken seriously. “When I just started getting gigs, I was booked for a warm-up at a party in Melbourne,” tells Kia. “After I finished my set, the promoter came to me and said, ‘Wow! That was so sick! I’ve never heard you play before!’ Obviously, I was booked just because of my gender…Unfortunately, this happens to a lot of girls there nowadays.”
“It used to be a very male-dominated scene in Melbourne,” explains Kia. “But in the past two years, there has been a huge push for gender diversity. I guess I’m lucky that I came into the scene at a good time. Right now, all of the biggest DJs in Melbourne are women. That’s so cool!” Grateful for the chance given to her, Kia admits that there is the other side of the coin too. “I am grateful for the opportunities I’ve gotten, even though I have male friends who’ve been djing for much longer than I have,” she explains.
Still being in her early 20s, the young DJ is now in the last year of her international relations studies. “This is actually how this whole tour happened. I am doing an exchange in London this September, so I planned a year trip around it,” she explains. Despite her interest in politics, Kia doesn’t rush to start her career in this field. “After I finish my degree, I am definitely taking some time off to focus on my music.”Kia plays Sunday afternoon from 12 until 3 during Het Weekend. Tickets are still available here.