[INTERVIEW] Julia Govor

07 January 2016 - Myra Brelvi - The DJ List


After her mind blowing set from Time Warp US, we sat down with JULIA GOVOR, a former Russian military band singer to a well known techno goddess, to bring to light her perspectives on women in the music scene. Julia wishes to overcome the pre-existing strain between men and women in the scene by the power of music. Julia Govor is full of talent and charisma, born to move people. With MS. MADA and Govor being the only females playing Time Warp US, it is enlightening to hear that in this male dominated scene, Julia has advanced her skills, rather than deterring her experiences.

How would you describe your music?

My music reminds me of the ocean, vast and deep. The waves carry you over in unknown directions, and give you thoughts of the ability to improvise.

Other than your military band, was music a very big part of your life growing up?

Not really. My parents were Navy guards, I was raised by my oldest sister mostly. There are no musicians in our big family at all.

Like most kids, I was not very disciplined. I was very active and precocious child, maybe too active, so the music school at the military camp was my parents last chance at finding me a suitable outlet. The vocal lessons worked 100%. It was a big surprise for the whole family that their daughter had gained these vocal abilities. The military marching songs and Russian folk songs about love, plus my tough teacher with big glasses, instilled my love for music.

How did you go from being in a band in Russia to becoming a DJ?

To be the daughter of parents in the Navy, you leave with your parents whenever they are relocated. We were always moving from one country to another, from one big city to an even smaller one. In the mid 90's we moved to Temruk, South of Russia close by Azov Sea.

One day, I met a guy who was wearing baggy trousers and his hair was dyed in a bright yellow color. He pointed at my "The Prodigy" T-shirt and suggested that I hear some real cool music that he knew about. He showed me a Russian electronic music magazine called "Ptuch" and there was a word on the cover, RAVE. I had no idea what was that meant but I still remember it like it was yesterday. I went with Sementcev to my first party where a DJ was playing records, it was drum & bass. I was shocked as nobody was dancing, I was the only one who was dancing and clapping. I think after that I wanted to became DJ. I don't remember why.

I was very active in my school and when there was an open call for a new DJ, I raised my hand. I started at my school disco using a mic to transition between songs, very basic concert mixer, it was just simple tape machine and cassettes. I was taking requests from my classmates, most of them were Russian hits or euro pop. Only after moving to Moscow 9 years later did my dream come true and I took this opportunity seriously.

How is the music scene in Russia comparatively to New York City?

Well Russia and Moscow are the same as NYC and America, so lets look at this as Moscow and NYC.

-In Moscow people dance, they don't talk on the dance floor. In NYC people are mostly talking on the dance-floor and if someone is dancing with passion others get scared and you can see those dancers by themselves waving with the music in a corner by themselves.

-Tickets to the techno parties are more affordable than in NYC.

-Techno events in Moscow are full of gorgeous girls, and in NYC it's more male dominated.

-A lot of American musicians play in Moscow, but not so many Russian artists play in NYC.

To get an artist visa for Russian DJ / performer is almost impossible in U.S. For an American musician performing in Russia with a tourist visa seems very easy.

What is the most empowering part about being a female DJ?

I don't think its empowering. I truly believe that music and creativity are empowering. Who or how you make it as a DJ or composer at the end doesn't make much of a difference. Only music and the message artists create are the most empowering aspect. You can convey so many different emotions, inspire people, change there moods in both positive and negative ways. I think the topic about female or male DJ is a favorite topic for people who don't want to learn more about the power of music. Music is connected with our brain and sound can heal every single soul in our galaxy.

Do you believe the scene is at an equal ratio of women and male DJs?

Of course it's male dominated scene, but I really hope it will change very soon.

Have you experienced any sexism in the DJ scene?

We аre living in the 21st century where a woman takes one of the most important places, even in the lives of men.

Strong, brave, kind and wise women would be appreciated and respected around men especially around musicians, gentlemen. If a woman achieves a lot in her life then, in itself, it shows strengths: If a woman would behave with dignity among men, there is little room for sexism. I haven't really experienced any sexism during my whole career. If for some reason it happens, I probably won't waste my energy to recognize it.

Were there any disadvantages for you when entering the DJ scene? Advantages?

Never. People are always supporting and caring about me, as I try to do for them. People have been very nice and give me a lot of advice. I am a lucky person to have those people around me. But the saying is true, treat people the way you would like to be treated.

How would you encourage someone to get into DJing and producing?

Always feel like you are a beginner. if your mind is empty, you will be always be ready for anything. Beginners have a lot of possibilities to explore. In an expert's mind, there are only known options. Try to really listen to music, the more and more you listen, the more and more you will hear, and the deeper you will understand what kind of music you would like to make. I recommend to collaborate with other people and share your own experience and ideas. It doesn't matter who you are, the only thing that matters, is who you would like to be.

What can we look forward to from you in 2016?

There are a few composers and producers who inspired me to make music. I got a chance to collaborate and learn from them.

My new single "Open Possibility" is coming out in February on a Vinyl only label "Mind Series" the sub label of "Body Parts".

Kamran Sadeghi and RICARDO VILLALOBOS are those guys, the remixes they made are priceless work. It took me 6 years to make it happen, but time is nothing, the actual process is everything.

Also, I just singed one of my early collaborative tracks to Cocoon and it will be on their compilation titled "Dots & Pearls" with 2 other artists in March 2016.

Follow Julia Govor online :
Facebook | Twitter | SoundCloud

ricardo villalobos ms. mada julia govor kamran sadeghi