Valya Kan, a Russian who has spent much of her adult life in Berlin, began her interest in electronic music around 2007 when she connected with the deep atmospheric grooves and minimal beats that soundtrack the German capital. Through online communities, where members would exchange and post about music, she developed an affinity for house and techno, helped by going to concerts and parties as part of her work as a music journalist. “I was really inspired by the idea that people there knew exactly what record a DJ would play,” she says. “I now feel that I was so privileged to be a part of it.” She began making music seriously in 2013, and by the following year she’d compiled a collection of demos. After a period of reflection, she found herself sharing her work with label contractions she could find on RA, and it didn’t take long for her to find some traction.
One of the first people to bite, in 2017, was British artist Spencer Parker, who rolled some of Kan’s sketches into Dust And Haze, her debut album on Work Them Records. With Remember, released in October 2020, she delivered four more tracks of deep and sophisticated house and techno—minimal but also powerful. The release was significant because it launched Twist, her own label, formed because she values the convenience of putting out music whenever and however she chooses. This stems from a desire to never limit herself to what label heads are wanting themselves; to break the mould. “We live in a world of grey copy robots, and I would rather like to see diversity of unique individuals,” she said an an interview.
2021 has been a quiet year for most artists and the same goes for Kan. After releasing “Ice Birds,” a mellow cut with soothing melodies available now on a compilation compiled by Seb Wildblood, and her first live set, she’s shared Heartbeats, which features two tracks recorded in isolation and one recorded in 2018. Now she’s marking it with an EDMjunkies podcast.
Recorded last week in Berlin, Kan’s mix casts the net wide and switches freely between rhythms and genre. On a basic level, it’s just a collection of her favorite records old and new, but it’s also a vague attempt at mixing pop music with techno and house—Drake with Aphex Twin; Jan Jelinek with Whitney Houston—for the first time. Tracks, several of which are her own, don’t go on for long and transitions are swift, but this, she says, is just how her imagination works.
01. What have you been up to recently?
The past month I’ve been working on my new record, looking for a new apartment in Berlin, and doing lots of sports and running. Now I want to run like 15 or 20 kilometres, whereas usually I run around 10.
02. What have you been listening to during lockdown?
Lots of different stuff. I was actually listening to lots of interviews with different musicians because I was going to the gym everyday. I think I listened to all RA Exchange podcasts, plus some interviews on YouTube with pop musicians. Musically, I’ve been listening to all kinds of stuff, from electronic to pop, and lots of Nicolas Jaar.
03. What have you been listening to recently?
Recently, ’90s, new disco, and new electronic music.
04. What drives you to make electronic music?
I feel like I kind of have to because if I don’t do it I feel bad. Also, listening for example to Giorgio Moroder’s music makes me feel like life is worth living when you make music.
05. When and where did you record this mix?
I recorded it at my home in Berlin with my phone constantly ringing and between running to look for an apartment and some other stuff. I kinda like the intensity of things, when you have to do a lot of things at the same time.
06. How did you go about choosing the tracks you’ve included?
Just music that’s been on repeat lately, my music, plus a couple of old tracks I really love.
07. What’s next on your horizon?
I don’t like to reveal my plans that much, but I am now becoming more open on social media. There’s definitely a new record coming soon. I also hope I will have enough time for a new album. Now I am becoming more happy with my music.
EDMjunkies has now joined Mixcloud Select, meaning that to hear the podcast offline you will need to subscribe to our Select channel to listen offline, or subscribe to EDMjunkies+ to download the file. The move to Mixcloud Select will ensure that all the producers with music featured in our mixes get paid. You can read more about it here.
Full EDMjunkies+ Members can download the podcast below. If you’re not an EDMjunkies+ member, you can read more about it and subscribe here.
01. Dream Cycle “Jump Blue” (Idle Hands)
02. Seb Wildblood with Theophillius London “MDS” (All My Thoughts)
03. Jan Jelinek “Tendency” (~scape)
04. Whitney Huston “Heartbreak Hotel” (Arista)
05. Everything But The Girl “Missing” (Seb Wildblood Edit) (Unreleased)
06. Soulclap ft Navid Izadi “Unprotected Ex (Valya Kan Edit)” (Unreleased)
07. Aphex Twin “Bbydhyonchord” (Warp)
08. Valya Kan “Lake” (Unreleased)
09. Valya Kan “Burning Girl” (Unreleased)
10. Unknown “Club Tool 1” (Unknown)
11. Jacques Greene “Quicksand” (Lucky Me)
12. Valya Kan “Purple Dust” (Unreleased)
13. Pleasure State “Ghost In the System” (Hot Creations)
14. Larry Heard “Virtual Emotion” (Alleviated Records)
15. Valya Kan “Choices” (Wild Nation)
16. Drake feat. The Weeknd “Crew Love” (Sony Music)