Sha Ru living between Berlin and New York, but previous residents of Belarus and Ukraine, are pushing the boundaries of electronica. After reading their responses, you can tell how well Masha and Ru blend together, in “music and life”, as Masha puts it. Their positive attitudes, excitement for life, and acceptance of the uncertain future is truly inspiring. Trying something new and breaking out of comfort zones, this musical, electronic baby, is “a journey of self-discovery”, as Ru shares.
A mutual and exchangeable relationship between creator and listener, They Are Textural is a space of feeling where you are free to explore yourself. At the core of the EP is queerness and identity and Sha Ru’s experience with discovering who they are. From places where queerness and the LGBTQIA+ community were scrutinised, moving to New York allowed Sha Ru to expand their boundaries and use music as a mode of introspection. 
Mellow vocals paired with bass-heavy electronics create the perfect recipe for liberation and, combined with their on-stage presence, Sha Ru makes sure every one of their listeners and watchers is acknowledged and understood. Riding sound waves, Sha Ru are drifting on frequencies straight towards success and I’m sure, delving into this interview, you will be inclined to feel the same.
Hello, thank you for speaking with us! To break the ice, could you please introduce each other to our readers?
Masha: This is Ru - my partner in music and life. He knows almost everything about me because we've been together 24/7 for the past six years. It sounds wild, something I never would've seen coming, but honestly, it's brought me so much fun and joy. We jumped into making music together right from the start of our relationship, and it's been our lifestyle ever since.
Ru: So, we’ve recently got into surfing, and I think it mirrors very well the start of Sha Ru for me. For several years, I was just out there, just floating on my board, making a lot of tunes but never really releasing them, just waiting for the perfect wave. Then, out of nowhere, Masha comes crashing in like this giant wave. This wasn't just any push that I couldn't resist, she brought this unstoppable energy and passion that completely swept me up. It felt like all those years of waiting, of holding back, were just prep for this moment. Masha's vision and drive, it's like the current that now carries us forward, diving us deep into what Sha Ru really is about. It's more than making music together; it's like we're riding the most epic wave, embodying the defiance that defines us.
They Are Textural is your debut EP on Monkeytown – that came out yesterday - congratulations! What are the emotions you were feeling creating this record?
Ru: Thank you! Working on They Are Textural'was like being on an emotional ride. We were buzzing with excitement one minute and feeling super exposed the next. We turned our personal stories into music, which was scary but also exciting. Creating this EP also meant we got to play around with our sound more than ever. We tried to step away a bit from our usual sounds exploring new sonorities while going into a journey of discovery, not just for our music but for us as people.
Can you tell us a bit about the EP title? What was your intention with “They,” what exactly are you referring to?
Masha: The word "They" points to both people who inspire this release and the complex nature of being human. I quite often think about "what if" scenarios, realising we have multiple parallel realities inside our head and many versions of ourselves because of different choices. It’s beautiful how the relationships we experienced are part of this complexity — some grow into strong friendships, while others end in heartbreak. Life's full of these unexpected twists and that’s truly exciting.
The core of the record is about your journey surrounding queerness and identity. Why is this topic important to you both, and how do you feel your music and experiences can contribute to societal change?
Masha: Both Ru and I were born in places where queerness faced stigma and LGBTQIA+ rights were under threat. I left Russia at 18, and New York City became the place where I truly found myself and grew into who I am today. Growing up, any thoughts or questions about my identity were set aside; it simply wasn't represented in my environment, on TV, or in books. But when I arrived in the US, everything fell into place. I'm grateful I left early; it allowed me to discover answers I hadn't even formulated questions for yet. It was like all these thoughts I couldn't quite piece together suddenly made sense.
For me, the journey of identity and queerness is incredibly important. I can't help but think how different things would've been if I'd stayed in my birth country. Having a supportive environment to explore myself was transformative, and having a partner who's on the same wavelength is crucial. By sharing our story, we hope others find resonance. Sharing our story isn't always easy—we worry about being judged or criticised. We're sometimes misunderstood because we don't often share the details of our personal lives, but we're committed to understanding others without making assumptions. It's all about breaking down those barriers, sharing our journeys — learning, inspiring, and growing stronger together.
Ru: For me, my discovery of queerness only started after I met Masha. She definitely helped me to liberate myself from all the judgments and repression that society where I grew up, a small village in the Italian countryside, imposed on me. Expressing this through the EP helped me even more to understand myself and delve deeper into the understanding of my pansexuality and how I was blocking my emotions before. Putting this out into the world feels liberating, and hopefully, I can inspire more people to freely express their emotions without fear of being judged.
You like to play with heavy bass and voice modification to create dark, futuristic sounds that invoke technical and industrial vibrations. Is it through these sounds that you imitate feeling or touch? What specific techniques do you use to create texture in your album?
Ru: Sure, bass is crucial in our music. Sometimes our songs feel like chants, where Masha's repetitive and monotone lyrics guide the rhythm, and the deep bass creates a vibrating space for those words to resonate. We definitely try to craft a vibe you can almost feel, not just hear, feeling the vibrations through your body. We try to layer sounds and rhythms to make the music as immersive and hypnotic as possible. We usually avoid using very melodic patterns that would grab the listener's attention. Instead, we start our sound design from a bass sound or a single note and, through processing with delays, distortions, and reverbs, we create layers that sit on top of each other. Often, we apply a vibrato to the sound to create a rhythm that sits on top of other vibrating elements.
What was your thinking behind releasing Not Your Steps as the first single?
Ru: With this record, we tried to experiment more with different styles. Not Your Steps felt like the track that was more connected to what our sound has been. So, it felt like a perfect starting point for this musical journey.
Get Lost is about “letting go of familiarity” if I’m not mistaken. What pushed you both to step out of your comfort zones to explore yourselves through creating this album?
Masha: This release has been a long time in the making and has been produced all over the map. The first idea for Crawl hit us while we were living in Kyiv four years back. Then, we wrote Not Your Steps and Get Lost in our New York apartment, Tranqui Call was born during a trip to Brazil, and ONA came to life in Ru’s place, an egg farm all hidden away in the Italian countryside. Our relationship has been defined by constant movement. Navigating the complexities of living in different cities, managing different passports, and navigating all the travel restrictions has meant our life together is pretty much always on the move. This has ingrained in us a profound sense of letting go of the familiar, shaping not just us but our music too. Adapting to new environments and exploring our identities has become a daily practice for us. Our studio is as mobile as we are — monitors, an Ableton Push, an audio interface, and laptops, all crammed into our suitcases. This lifestyle has challenged us to step out of the conventional studio setting and adapt to creating music on the go. And it's not just about the places, it's about us too. Being together constantly has allowed us to be super open with each other and easily share our feelings, emotions, desires, worries. Discussing our pansexuality and exploring relationships with other people came naturally early in our relationship. Even with all the ups and downs, and stepping out of our comfort zones, the trust we've got in each other has made for this amazing safety net, letting us try to truly be ourselves.
A primary focus of the album is to help recognise and acknowledge who we really are. How do you help make your audiences feel included and seen for who they are when performing?
Masha: It’s a good question! One of the main reasons I got into DJing and music in general was that instant exchange of energy. I just got addicted to the emotions that were bouncing between the audience, myself, the music. When we perform, I love making eye contact with people trying to see what they feel or simply connect. It's wild how sometimes that eye contact can push both of us out of our comfort zones, sparking this intense connection. Then, there's the part where I dive into the crowd and start dancing together with the audience. It's like this shared experience between all of us - a special kind of vibe. With our performances, we aim to channel the vibe of the music and generate the energy that sometimes I don’t even know if I have at the moment. Pushing ourselves beyond our limits to fully embrace the moment and discover those hidden spots within ourselves. For me, it's all about staying genuine and connected instead of being an energy that feels distant or untouchable. I hope everyone in that space feels seen, heard, and included because, otherwise, the shared experience just wouldn't be the same without them.
Is there something special about being able to physically hold when releasing a vinyl record? Do you think it’s important to press music on vinyl?
Ru: Vinyl records are a bit of a paradox for us. With our lifestyle of constant movement, we've fully embraced minimalist lifestyle. We try to keep our stuff to a bare minimum, only holding onto what we really need. But then, there's something about a vinyl record that just grabs us. It's like having a tangible piece of time - a little timestamp of the emotions we were feeling at that exact moment. Plus, collaborating with talented artists for the visual representation adds a whole new layer of depth to the experience, and creates the entry point to the music.
Do you find creating music liberating for yourselves or just for others? What would you say to someone who is trying to find themselves right now?
Ru: Since I was a kid, I always found it hard to express myself with words. In my teenage years, when I started making music, I felt that I had finally found the right way to express my feelings. Music became almost like therapy for me, helping me navigate through my feelings, both good and bad. That's why I spent so many years making tunes without really caring about releasing them. With this specific record, we embarked on a journey of self-discovery, and it definitely helped us learn more about ourselves and our deeper feelings.
For someone trying to find themselves right now, I would say: Embrace the journey with all its uncertainties. Don't focus too much on the end product but rather enjoy the entire experience of creating it. Use whatever forms of expression feel right to you, whether it's music, art, writing, or something else entirely. These are just tools that can help you articulate and explore your feelings and thoughts.
Masha: I definitely agree with Ru’s answer here. Even though I've been in the US for a long time, expressing myself solely with words still feels challenging at times. Making music provides another way for channelling my emotions, which is both soothing and recharging. Additionally, collaborating on music together with Ru deepened our relationship and brought a new level of understanding which I value deeply. If you are trying to find yourself right now, my advice is to dive all in and keep pushing those boundaries until you feel like you're really stretching. After all, you won't truly know if you're into something until you've chewed it over at least 30 times.