"A person without a soul could not make music." ___ DJ / Name: Akvilina Ubartaitė / Vilnius / Lithuania.
First of all, I remember myself on the dance floor. I did not want to stand behind the decks. But there was one crucial evening in London. It was my brother's birthday in the country house, and I remember renting turntables and wanting to play my songs. I came to the DJ and asked how to do it. He asked if I had a USB, which I did. I started collecting tracks. He said, "put the USB in here and play the songs." As soon as I inserted the USB, I was hooked. I returned to Lithuania and rented equipment from RTA. Misha helped me a lot - thanks, Misha. He let me play all week. Then the CDJs became my best friends. In a month I had my first event at the One Two bar.
What encouraged you to continue playing?
I love music since childhood. I played the violin for only three years because I was scared of solfeggio. Solfeggio turned out to be like mathematics - a dark forest. I started running away from classes, but I regret that my parents didn't stop me and make me finish music school. Then I was heavily influenced by the sound of the Middle East. When I went to Turkey, I visited mystical bars and liked that local artists play both alternative and traditional music. Since then, I have developed a strong interest in Middle Eastern traditional music. Then I was greatly influenced by B-Boy culture because my brother danced it for a long time, and I liked this music. I often play it.
How much does your understanding of musical instruments help you when you DJ? Does the fact that you used to play the violin help you?
Of course, I like to hear music with live instruments. I love electronic music, but now the further I go, the more I like music that has a soul. It is precisely the live instruments that create it.
What else does music need to have a soul? Is it live instruments, or are there additional elements?
Good question. I don't even know how to answer it. How would you answer it yourself?
I think that music that has a soul is indescribable. It is more of a feeling.
Exactly. A person without a soul could not make music. If you are genuine, have a music library, and are a selector, you show a piece of your soul during every performance.
Do you identify yourself with the music you play? Is it a part of you even though you didn't make it?
Be yourself and reveal your sound. That's the difference between a manager and a musician. A musician has a soul, and you can hear it through their selection. If you are a manager, you are obsessed with beatmatching. It saddens me that young people these days are so focused on beatmatching. For me, this is irrelevant. You can feel the sincerity when playing. The audience knows if you are honest, you can't fool them.
Did you want to be a selector from the beginning?
I was involved with music since childhood, and the selection seemed more important to me, but I thought it was important to beat matches. I was very focused on the technique itself. And now it is insignificant to me. I don't beat match out of principle. Instead, I try to create a story. You can surprise yourself by creating new methods.
Maybe it becomes your personal style? For example, DJ Marcelle plays in her own way.
She is incredible. I really like her attitude, women like her are very inspiring.
Do the selections, which have a spiritual message, make the audience feel a little more intimate, compared to the technically performed selections?
It is difficult to answer this question. DJs such as OBCDN create a great atmosphere playing well technically and with a good techno selection. There are different communities and different views. You can find a soul everywhere if you do it from the heart.
Do you often feel a spiritual connection while playing for people?
Of course, always. Especially now, when I played in Yaga, the feedback was unreal. It brings me to euphoria. I prepare very intensively before a DJ set. I give it all, and there is an energetic exchange with people. This gig in Yaga was one of the most memorable. I even filmed the audience having fun. You always get feedback if you are honest and do your homework. I don't like it when a performer comes unprepared.
How are you preparing for a DJ set? What elements do you think about first, what do you save for last?
First of all, it depends on where you are going to play and which time slot you have. If you're playing a chill stage during the day, maybe you're playing ambient. It depends on the situation.
You have repeatedly said that it is important to tell a story through selection. How does the starting point for this story come, and how do you put it together? Does it happen during the DJ set, or do you put it together before playing?
Most of the time, that story appears spontaneously and impulsively. I don't put myself in a box, and I don't do that when I invite artists to my shows. Creative consciousness reveals itself when you create impulsively. If the day is creative, that story takes off, and it just happens.
The further you go, the more you break out of the box. What prompted the establishment of the Bar Jerusalem project? What are its main messages?
Everything happened naturally. I remember playing at Saules Jegaine. Afterward, I met Edvinas Onis, and I jokingly told him that we could have a party there. In a week we were already discussing the conception of the event. We wanted it to be a Thursday series so that action in Vilnius would start on Thursday. Since we wanted to create the atmosphere of a mystical bar, we decided to call it Bar Jerusalem. The first event took place in October. The DJs were Onis, Patricia Kokett and me. The event was a success, many dancers gathered, but it was the last party because the quarantine started soon. The Mutant Radio team wrote to me about that party and offered to do a show. I asked Edvinasfor advice. He suggested calling it Bar Jerusalem because it would be fun to tie the party to the radio show. In the radio show, the music is a little different, focused on deep listening. It's more of an ambient project than a dancefloor project. Although I don't want to define genres strictly. The artist I invite to the show can also play dance music if they want to. It's important to me that the artist tells the story. This concept developed in such a way that it also became a photo project. Before every show, we take photos in crazy locations. The last location was the Teide National Park in Tenerife.
How do you choose the people who should participate in your show? Are they only Lithuanians, or are you looking for artists abroad?
I follow this scene, and good selectors who can tell a story are very important to me. They are collecting music for more than just the dance floor. Based on this, I choose what is acceptable to my heart. I receive every guest as a great gift.
How do you feel when you can do something that is an integral part of yourself?
I can set myself and my soul free. I can't imagine life without music. It would be so sad.