Navigating emotions in a post-pandemic world calls for a deeper sense of self-reflection, something Anastasia Kristensen has experienced over the last few years leading up to the release of newest EP Cordyceps Disco. The Copenhagen-based DJ and producer believes in finding a way to confront difficult emotions through the art of music making and discovering, noting the importance of making people feel something through her productions.
Making waves in Copenhagen through her kaleidoscopic and corporeal sets, Anastasia prioritises community building and inclusion in her career, leading the scene with residencies in top underground venues and inviting a plethora of guests. In many ways, her approach to music creation is similar to her vision as a DJ, with human connections and reflections being at the heart of everything she does.
This EP is no different, showcasing avant-garde electronic music in its greatest form, with elements of spooky techno, electro, and IDM laced throughout. Anastasia speaks to us about a newer production style in this EP, lovingly sharing her intentions behind it and the excitement of a new phase in her musical and personal trajectories.
First of all, congratulations on the release of the EP! After listening, I felt the need to listen to it live through a club soundsystem. The name of your EP Cordyceps Disco comes from the parasitical fungus featured in the TV series The Last of Us. Did the series inspire in some way the eerie sentiment of the EP?
Hello METAL, and thanks for the kind words! The series has absolutely inspired it because after finishing watching it, I actually imagined further what kind of world we would live in if that happened. It got me thinking that we recently went through quite a unique phenomenon for our century with a pandemic. Nowadays, times are quite gloomy and ridiculous as never before, so it was unavoidable to reflect that in my EP for the newly founded absorb emit. It has also a strong connection to anomalous nature and the experience of the dance floor.
Also, as a curiosity, what show are you binge-watching at the moment? Or which one in the past has had you up until late at night, or waiting each week for a new chapter?
To be honest, I have always something going on on my series list, as it’s a conventional relaxing amidst busy days and there are quite some quality productions to be digged. Currently, I am at Paperhouse, a Spanish thriller drama that is really good at capturing its mind-bending scenarios and plot twists. Other than that, I try to watch my discipline – unfortunately, it’s very easy for me to slide into lazy couch potato mode. So I’d say making new music, building the label and playing shows have had me up late at night.
How is your music reflective of your observations of the world? Through what lens do you see the world we currently live in?
The intention of the release is to let the listener imagine a futuristic dystopia, which also suggests it may not even seem that far off. I want the listener to actually listen and let their own internal debates go off. Or even if it’s a visual pattern that pops up in mind – I am here for it. While as a dance music producer it’d be nice to release a track that becomes very popular, however music that has an extended function than just being a ‘hit’ is a non-negotiable for me. If I am to name a lens – it’d be ‘artsy with an intention’ I guess?
I see music as having a purpose, that can differ from person to person. Is creating music an escape for you, or can it be a way to confront the doom and gloom of the world head on?
Agreed on the purpose part. I’d say creating music is both of those for me, but also the joy of the process itself. It has to be joyful, and if it’s not and the only goal is ‘big results’, it will not be an art that’s contributing with a meaningful purpose or reflecting someone’s confrontation on the current doom and gloom. It may end up bulking up with all the other formulaic digital excess that I think our brains and minds are tired of dealing with daily at this point. Music making, playing for different audiences, advocating for safer spaces and digging out the unheard and new, while minding the legacy of music – it’s all a process of joy for me.
I read the creation of the EP brought a sense of release to you after a period of reflection throughout pandemic times – tell me a little more about this.
Pandemic times were pretty horrible, at least for my part. Luckily it’s over for a long time now, and the long reflection led me to truly start caring about my mental health, rethink my habits and start new routines. This has almost instantly resulted in me making a bunch of music but with completely new techniques and ideas implemented. I’ve never been an artist who makes genius art while depressed or heartbroken, somehow I just have to be in a good place and sometimes make that good place myself before the inspiration is flowing. This whole thing feels like a phoenix bird tale.
In the four tracks, I felt more rhythms akin to electro and a more bodily, all-encompassing sound compared to your previous releases. In what kind of space do you imagine these songs to be played in?
Yes, these sound more encompassing because I approached the production differently with many new tools and techniques. After spending a lot of time in different spaces and events, I had an idea of what I like myself. This music is made for listening, imagining and spaces like now-closed club in Tokyo Club Yellow. (pictures here). Hazy space with minimalistic yet edgy lighting and mindful crowd who truly value the granularity of music and their community.
Can we expect any remix EPs of Cordyceps Disco?
We can – I have just been speaking to a few artists. It’ll be such a great blend and variety, however, I can’t reveal more for now!
I read a little about your ventures in Copenhagen as a DJ, operating in underground venue Den Anden Side, holding a residency and occasionally inviting artists from abroad. What is the scene like in your hometown, and where do you see yourself in it?
The scene is brilliant, there are quite many venues at this point and really successful promoters as well. The local community is very tight and united, something that wasn’t around when I was just starting up in Copenhagen. It is very nice to see so much activity, so keep an eye on this city.
And finally, are there any gigs you’re particularly excited to play in the following months?
Yes! To name a few, next year I will be back in the Netherlands for a full weekend, NYE in Berlin and also a debut in Gewölbe Cub, which I really dreamt of playing for a long time. I am equally excited for all the other music works I have in the pipeline for 2024.