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2016 June 10


No 16 of our mixtape series come from Soviet Union born / Sydney based spinerella – Sveta, a legend on the Australian Queer scene, we’re super honoured to have her contribute to our mixtape series.

She’ll also be joining our chief editor Michelle Manetti in London tomorrow night, alongside another of Sydney’s finest Estee Louder  for Pitch Slap at Tipsy Dalston, check out the event on Facebook for more details:

Ahead of her set, we had a chat with Sveta about her infamous sets at Mardi Gras, her current tour, future projects and what we have in store for next Sat night.

Describe your sound in 5 words?
eclectic, bassy, sensual, spontaneous, intense

So this year you celebrated your 20th year as a club DJ, that’s pretty impressive, but where did it all start? Where was your first DJ set? How did it come about? And describe how it felt. I started on community radio 6 years before that while I was studying Communications at University. This was 1990 and the start of the House music scene in Oz. I was underage and going to the raves in the middle of my studies and decided that I needed to start playing those sounds on Breakfast radio – which had never been done at that time. Dance music was reserved for specialist music slots. The show got a lot of attention and I started getting asked to DJ. I didn’t say yes until 1996. I felt like it was a passion/ hobby that accidentally found me as a career. Apart from the mortifying moment of realising how hard beat mixing was, I felt totally alive as a person and artist. My first gig was playing at a Mardi Gras recovery party for the major girl’s night at the time. I literally got discovered that night.

You’re originally from the Soviet Union, but are known as one of Sydney’s finest and most solid DJ’s. How has the city helped shape your music career? I would say that there would never have been a music career without the city but the passion for music runs through my family. My brother is 10 years older and his collection of vinyl rivals mine. He almost got arrested at the black market in the Soviet Union before we fled while he was buying foreign records. The Sydney scene in the 90’s was up there and as diverse and eclectic and full of life as London’s and New York’s. From the techno sounds of the early Sex Subculture & Fiece parties, to early morning tribal house sets at The Phoenix Hotel (now lost to lockouts) to great House music events

Sydney Mardi Gras is renowned as being the biggest and most colourful pride event in the world and we hear you have the auspicious honour to be the DJ who has spun at the most Sydney Mardi Gras parties, which certainly makes you the Mardi Gras Queen! but tell us one of your most treasured moments from the Mardi Gras parties you’ve played? I have played at almost 20 Mardi Gras parties and about 15 Sleaze Ball’s (the costumed second Mardi Gras party in October which doesn’t exist anymore) around 15 times. There literally are too many treasured moments to single one out but I would say that the first time I opened for Boy George, my childhood idol was one of them. Also the opportunity to open/play alongside with artists that I respect & admire such as Frankie Knuckles, Derrick Carter, David Morales and Kim Ann Foxman etc. The scene in Sydney has become more segregated as the years have gone on so it’s getting harder to get support slots in the wider community with artists like these. It should be based on skill level, experience etc but it can sadly be about sexuality these days. Mardi Gras welcomes DJ’s of all sexualities.

There’s a lot of controversy at the moment surrounding the Australian lock-out laws, has this affected the nightlife and the scene a lot? and has this had a knock-on effect to your own work? There really is too much to say about this right now but it would be great if our US & European sisters & brothers supported us in protesting these laws. Our city is virtually deserted and the pool of work for not only DJ’s & other artists but also for hospitality staff, taxi drivers, food/restaurant business owners is narrowing by the minute. Over 60 clubs and bars have shut and apartments are being rapidly built and patrons are being forced into the casino,which is one of the only city venues that has no lockout. All I can definitely tell you is that there are other motives involved with these laws. Many DJ’s who have dedicated their lives to the craft have been forced to leave the industry as they cannot survive and people like myself have lost over 50% of their work and most opportunities to play the music that we are known for. Sydney is a ghost town right now and people are moving out in droves.

This year also marks your 10th consecutive annual visit to NYC, what is it about the big apple that keeps you taking the long trip from Sydney each year? NYC embraced me from the day I played my first gig there in 2006 – an absolute dream come true as I was obsessed with NYC underground House & ‘Bitch House’ – the precurser to ‘Vogue’ beats from the time I was in my teens in 1990. I was welcomed into the Houses as their Sister and Daughter after they heard me spin. I was hoping that they wouldn’t think that I was appropriating that sound but I have NEVER been met with any such attitude from any New Yorkers. They appreciate the way that I put my spin on it. I also produce music in that style. London DJ & producer Hannah Holland has been adopted there in a very similar way.

On your way from Sydney to NYC, you’ve stopped off to play some parties in Japan and have some lined up in Berlin and I’m super excited to also have you play with me here this Saturday at Pitch Slap in London too, but do you find you have to change your music style to suit the tastes of each city? Honestly, I love so many different styles – except for Trance – that I always play different styles wherever I play, in Australia or overseas, and I love that because I get to express myself in many ways. I’ma  music nut. I get really scared, sometimes nauseous before I play because I don’t prepare my sets beforehand. I try to read the energy of the crowd. That can be petrifying if you have no reference for the crowd that you are about to play to. The payoff can be huge because when you’re having a good night, the crowd and you go on a journey together. It’s a mutual high.

We hear you have a new musical project you’re working on with Estée Louder, who’s also joining you to play at Pitch Slap this Saturday, tell us a little about this project? I took a little break from producing my own music three years ago after a few big events in my personal life including illness in my family. I feel like I’m ready to get fully creative again. I was commissioned last year to produce some remixes for big shows at Mardi Gras and also for the Qantas float in the parade and I got super busy so I asked Estée Louder if she could work on some of them with me. She is a professional musician in bands – rock and otherwise and also produces Techno. We found that our skills greatly complemented each other. On top of that, I was opening for David Morales that year at the party and I asked Estée Louder if she could accompany some of my set on electronic drum pads and it worked a treat and looked much more exciting on stage than just me DJing solo. We decided to that we’ll be spending the next year producing tracks in a tech/techno style, with some camp disco thrown in for good measure. We’ll also be working on incorporating some live instruments too so stay tuned!

So as you know, here at Lipstick Disco, we like to help support other musical ladies, so tell us who’s your favourite and most inspiring fellow female DJs? I admire so many of my fellow female DJ’s from all the generations for different reasons because I know how hard it is out there for us as well as rewarding. Everyone from Alinka, who is killing it right now to Kim Ann Foxman, Feral AKA MC Kinky, Hannah Holland, Ting who used to play at Fist & Torture Garden, Maya Jane Coles, Christy Love from NYC, JD Samson, Amber Valentine and  Colby Bartburg also from NYC, Romy (LA via Sydney) Sydney’s Kat Du Jour and yourself (Michelle Manetti). The list is huge, I don’t have room to write everyone down & it’s mighty prestigious, unlike DJ Mag would have us believe.  I admire everyone who tries to support and encourage each other.

And one final question, what’s your drink of choice? Currently, I’m absolutely obsessed with a Taiwanese drink – Bubble Tea! I love the Taro one or the jasmine green tea, both with pearls (tapioca). Lots of young kids love it as a fad in Sydney too. I wish they’d serve it at discos – it would deliver the caffeine content I love and would quench my tapioca addiction.

So if you fancy seeing Sveta on her travels over the next few weeks you can check her out at these shows:

10.06.16 Gloria Viagras Partysane @ SchwuZ Berlin with Aerea Negro
11.06.16 Pitch Slap @ Tipsy Dalston, London w. Michelle Manetti
14.06.16 Deryk Todds, Strut, NYC
15.06.16 The Mercury Lounge (The Bowery) NYC w. Shirley House
17.06.16 The Cock, NYC
19.06.16 Scissor Sunday @ Henrietta Hudson, NYC w. JD Samson
21.06.16 On Top at Le Bain The Standard, NYC w. Susanne Bartsch
>25.06.16 Hot Rabbits, Gay Pride Party, NYC
28.06.16 On Top at Le Bain The Standard, NYC w. Susanne Bartsch
01.07.16 Ladyfag’s 11:11 NYC

And listen to Sveta’s mix on Soundcloud


and make sure you follow Sveta on her socials to keep up to date with new gigs, shows, music and projects


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