DJ ID: Meet Kali

«We have to stop analyzing everything 24/7 because we all have too much in our minds. Music can help us escape from that.»

In Chorareii’s ‘DJ ID’ series, both established and emerging DJs from the Japanese clubbing & raving universe share some information about themselves, for us to know the vision behind the bangers.

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Kali (@kali_masha) DJ ID Card. Design: sudden star (@5udden5).

Chorareii: First of all, introduce yourself!

Kali: I’m Kali (@kali_masha). My real name is Mariya Myronenko, I’m 26, and I’m originally from Ukraine. At the moment I live in Tokyo.

What kind of music do you play when you DJ?

I listen to all kinds of music, but when I’m DJing I prefer minimal techno or trance.

Listen to Kali’s mixes while you are reading this interview to get the full vibe!

In what venues do you often DJ?

I have played at Ageha, Contact, Mitsuki, Bonobo, Forestlimit, Traffic, and Spread. I recently had my debut gig in Vent, too. 

What made you start DJing?

Actually, it came from me. I have always been into music as far as remember, not just electronic but any genre, although I have always been selective. 

Why did you choose your DJ name, what do you want to express with it?

It came to me after I visited Kolkata in India and I got inspired by the goddesses of the city, Kali. I thought it’s wonderful to be so powerful and protect people you love. Also, trance vibes come with it!

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Apart from being a DJ, Kali works as a model in Japan. Photo: @kristinaau for Jennyfax.

Tell me about your party FLUX.

FLUX was born with my very good friend Dj Yanny. We wanted to create this minimal techno atmosphere where we can combine all generations of DJ and audience, so we educate each other in some way. 

We want to have experienced DJs and young aspiring DJs collaborating together. I think it’s not common to mix those kinds of crowds together in Tokyo, but at the end of the day, we all can learn from one another.

Your new party is called SWITCH (@switch.party666), the first edition was held at Space (@space.tokyo). You have described it as a queer techno party. Tell me more about it!

This new party is a bit different from FLUX, it is a hard techno event. I’m organizing it with my good friend from Poland Martix3k (@matrix3k), who is a vinyl-only DJ. We are planning to hold SWITCH also in Poland in the future. 

The first edition was amazing, one of the best experiences I ever had.

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SWITCH (@switch.party666) is Kali’s new party. «Our music is for open-minded people who love good, hard, sexy techno,» says its statement. Flyer design: Karol Jaworski (@wld_axs).

What do you feel when you’re DJing? And what do you want the audience to feel?

The most important thing for me when I play is the crowd. People’s faces and their dance are what keeps me going, so I often look at everyone to see how they move and how they smile or even kiss. I want to give them the best experience they can have in a dark or neon room, with their friends or loved ones. 

How would you describe your personality and how is it reflected in your sessions?

I would say I’m quite chaotic and I have a hard time choosing or concentrating on one style only, so it does reflect in my music.

I sometimes might play a 128 bpm minimal set or a 150 trance set and honestly, I love both. At the moment my mood is minimal, but it might change one day! 

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«The most important thing for me when I play is the crowd. People’s faces and their dance are what keeps me going» says Kali. Photo from her party SWITCH: Rin Nagamoto (@nagar3n).

What do you think makes you different as a DJ or how do you try to make a difference?

That’s the most difficult question! I guess I try to be different by not listening to others and doing what I feel like.  

I often meet Japanese techno DJs who are too uptight and care more about technical parts, rather than just enjoying themselves although they may make some mistakes. Sometimes they care about their image too much.

I want to see people’s pure smiles and joy when they listen to the tracks I pick. I want people to go wild and let go of the problems or thoughts they find difficult in their life when I play.

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FLUX is the party that Kali organizes with Dj Yanny to mix DJs from different generations.

How is the clubbing scene in Tokyo or Japan different from the one in your city or your country?

It’s different! I sometimes feel like, even the crowd in Tokyo is enjoying the music so much, they rarely go crazy enough as Ukrainian people can. I guess it has do to more with a cultural thing rather with a different love for music.

What musicians, DJs, artists, places … inspire you as a DJ?

Honestly, there are too many, but I grew up with rock music and I’m such a huge fan of 90s bands like Primal Scream, and shoegaze bands like Slowdive, so it really depends. Sometimes I feel like I was born at the wrong time, I think I would be a rock star if I wasn’t here right now.

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«When I DJ, I can truly show my personality or my vision. When I’m modeling, it feels more like helping others show theirs,» explains Kali.

You often hang out with well-established DJ’s as DJ Nobu or Haruka from Future Terror. What things do you think you can learn being friends with other DJs, not only watching them perform?

The biggest lesson I learned from them so far is how to make everyone comfortable and happy on the dance floor. I love seeing how Nobu takes care of everyone and, in a way, protects the people.

I do want to be like that in the future, make everyone feel safe and accepted no matter where you are from, who you are, or how you identify as. 

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Kali with Elli Arakawa from Stress, DJ Nobu and Haruka from Future Terror, and the Tokyo-based English DJ Frankie $.

You usually work as a model. What feelings are similar and what is different when you’re modeling vs. when you’re DJing?

I think that modeling taught me how to communicate with people, which was very useful because I used to be very shy before. However, they are two different worlds for me and I want to keep it that way. 

When I DJ, I can truly show my personality or my vision. When I’m modeling, it feels more like helping others show theirs. 

What other things do you like apart from music, or what do you do when you’re not in the club?

I love spending time with my cat, reading a nice book, or going to see an exhibition or the ocean by myself. 

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«The DJ must teach people how to let go, close their eyes, and just enjoy the purity of music,» claims Kali. Photo from her party SWITCH: Rin Nagamoto (@nagar3n).

Is there any particular song or songs you would like to play in all of your sessions if you could?

Not really, it changes month to month. Recently, I realized I was playing many songs by Linear System and bought many tracks from Diffuse Reality Records. 

One party where you DJ that you’ll never forget.

I will never forget the Protest Rave. Even though I didn’t really play the music I usually play, and it wasn’t a music-only event, I felt like I was part of a bigger cause that matters so much in Tokyo at the moment.

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Kali DJing at Protest Rave (@protest_rave) in Shinjuku, Tokyo.

In what party, place, festival, rave, venue … would you love to play as a DJ?

In the future I want to play at festivals, my goal is to DJ at minimal techno festivals like Labyrinth or Future Terror, but I know I still have to practice and learn a lot more to join. 

What is the role of the DJ in our generation?

The DJ must teach people how to let go, close their eyes, and just enjoy the purity of music. We have to stop analyzing everything 24/7 because we all have too much in our minds. Music can help us to escape from that, to escape from reality in some way. I want to provide this escape with my music. 

Follow Kali on SoundCloud

Follow Kali (@kali_masha) on Instagram 

(=①ω①=)

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