Interview with Machine Woman [Special Mutek Festival]

mutek festival - machine woman interview
There’s something about the name Machine Woman that’s deceptively simple. Perhaps it speaks to the way Anastasia Vtorova’s work feels like marriages between bruce force and intimacy—elements that feel as though they are coming together to create a stronger bond in the face of the unknown. Starting with a joint cassette release with Famous Moon King in 2014, Vtorova’s journey of exploration has led her down frayed and fruitful pathways, with her biggest release “Camile From OHM Makes Me Feel Loved,” knocking heads and hearts alike since late last year. With only one released remix to her name in 2018, and an upcoming performance at the celebrated MUTEK Montreal this week, we took some time to learn more about her elegant and cacophonous efforts as Machine Woman:

Thank you so much for taking the time to connect with the Bolting Bits crew! Let’s start things off with an easy one—how is your summer treating you?
:) yes its been pretty good summer for me I got to travel to places where it is actually winter right now Tasmania and OZ and visited China too. So I say busy and positive.

For some of our less familiar readers, your music really strikes a chord between the familiar and the unknown, often pushing the line in either direction. Can you tell us anything about the conception and evolution of the Machine Woman project?
I guess it comes from not limiting yourself to one specific kind of music. I plaid in different bands from the age of 15. Pop, punk, noise and experimental stuff and later I came to electronic music. I never wanted to feel like I have to only do one thing I alou myself to be flexible and free and i guess this is what you see. I often dont know which way ,y creativity takes me but I never stop it. When you not trying to please anyone but yourself you have more fun and less stress.

What has the effect of living in countries and places as disparate as Russia, London, and now Berlin had on your music?
I feel like I can hear threads from each place being woven together in a really deft way.
You know I used to think that a new place can change me but unfortunately you can’t escape yourself. All these places have positive and negative associations. Music gives me the true escape. I can be in all these places and if I feel happy then perhaps it will reflect in my music and the same if Im sad.

I’m sure you’ve talked at length about this, but please bare with us as we discuss some of your track titles and your attitudes towards self-seriousness in the dance world. Are you able to shed any further light on how to keep a cool composure in an industry that can often be sterile and devoid of humor?
Yes, realising you can’t please everyone and why would you want to? I don’t want to please anyone. Like any place of work you have people with different personalities, different wants and needs behind the closed doors could be a person who so afraid what others will think that they act in a specific way. As long as you doing you, whatever it is with humour or not you are on the right path.

machine woman - mutek

You seem to be exploring a performative lilt to your shows as Machine Woman inspired by the on-stage displays of energy from the punk/noise scene; can you tell us a bit more about developing a persona in that image, and what you find it brings to your work and presentation?
im not sure i understand this question, I dont throw cakes into the audience or crowd surf even sometimes I really would like to haha Im very vanilla if you must, in my performance… machine woman is more existential persona haha

Are you able to share anything you’re working on at the moment with us? Know you’re constantly juggling new projects and creating daily, so hoping you can let us in on what you are finding most exciting these days while creating!
I just downloaded the best of deep tech vocal ibiza special 2009 loop pack and Im very excited, lol

Are there any contemporaries of yours that you’d like to shout out? We’re very interested in learning about what’s currently inspiring the chaos and beauty tumbling around your hard drives?
yes love this question!!!! ok ready here we go DEBBY FRIDAY, object blue, Georgie McVicar, Johanna Knutsson, Jass, Giant Swan, pharaoh_blvck, Korea Town Acid, HAAi, Bassiani residents, GABBER ELEGANZA, piksel, madison moore, Tristan Arp, Franklin De Costa but there are sooooo many moreeeeee super talented people !!!!!!!!!!!!! i can be here all day!!

With MUTEK right around the corner, what are you most excited about heading into your performance? Are there any peers you look forward to hearing or meeting?
YESSS CANT WAIT TO SEE KOREA TOWN ACID… Im in love with her productions. I am so excited to come to Canada it was my dream since I was young!! I never ever expected I will be invited to come!!!! Im looking forward meeting people who sharing passion for music and making new friends!!

Thank you again for your time Anastasia— we cannot wait to see what you have in store later this month. To wrap things up, I imagine as all humans, you like food. What are some Machine Woman staples for staying energized throughout sets? Anything delicious behind the booth?
ahh I try not to eat too close to the performance as after I eat i want to take a nap haha but I generally trying to stay healthy and eat balanced diet with an occasional naughty treat. Its important to treat yourself but at the same time looking after your health too.

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👀  Machine Woman is playing on Nocturne 3 during Mutek Festival this Friday. Grab your ticket here.

Interview by Dan