Skinned #9: Nightwave (Heka Trax)

After a break in our mix series, we’re delighted to return with a certified stormer from Glasgow-based artist Nightwave

Feature by Ronan Martin | 24 Sep 2015

Our latest contribution to the Skinned series comes from an artist who perfectly exemplifies the way in which electronic music can bring together global ingredients and be international in its reach, yet simultaneously seem hyper-localised in its manner of expression. On the one hand, DJ and producer Maya Medvesek, better known as Nightwave, would appear to personify the borderless, multinational character of modern music, having honed her craft as a young DJ in her native Slovenia, taking in sounds from Detroit, Chicago and across Europe, before moving to the UK to pursue her career in production. On the other hand, few would dispute that there is something distinctly Glaswegian about the way these global influences have continued to collide, and also in the energy and no-nonsense approach she adopts behind the decks and on tracks.

Having settled north of the border after a spell living in London, Medvesek has come to feel at home in Glasgow, forming solid links with the likes of Numbers and Lucky Me along the way, and establishing a base of operations amid the city's ever-revered and infamously raucous scene. Maya keeps herself busy hosting her back-to-basics style Nightrave parties, as well as providing a platform for the likes of French ghetto producer Big Dope P, Canadian footwork act Lee Carvallo and her own multifarious offerings on her Heka Trax label. As if that wasn't enough to keep her occupied, she is also passionately involved in engaging others in music, through her association with the Red Bull Music Academy and through her work in projects aimed at encouraging more young women to pick up the headphones. Nightwave's genre-melding approach is perhaps her most exciting quality and presumably makes her an ideal tutor, equally enthused by disco, house and techno as she is by juke, grime and anything else with that crucial element of unbridled energy.

For us, she’s put together a more sharply focused journey through her collection, with Glasgow suitably represented through labels, producers and locally-championed anthems from further afield. It can be tricky to bottle the vibe of a club night and reflect that energy in a studio mix, but we reckon this offering does just that – from the joyous opening keys of Prince’s I Wanna Be Your Lover, through rugged dancefloor workouts and frantic acid, to Weegie party favourites by Alden Tyrell and the recent Numbers killer from Kornél Kovács. Nicely rounded off with some proper dark electro and a soaring Drexcyian techno hymn, this is one you’ll want to add to your favourites.   

Since we last spoke, you’ve been pretty busy and Heka Trax seems to be in full swing. How would you sum up the label’s mission statement and what’s going on with it right now?

This year has been amazing so far. Big Dope P’s Hit Da Blokk EP and the stellar remixes did extremely well and we also followed up with the limited white vinyl edition and extra bonus tracks. We released a cracking Blastto debut and a beautiful Glacci record. I’m also planning to release my own EP before 2015 is over. I’ve been working hard! The label’s mission is simple – to put out fun, progressive electronic music.

Nightrave returns to Glasgow next month. What can you tell us about the party?

I’m very excited to be back at La Cheetah on 24 October and have two of my all time favourites behind the decks, Ikonika and Inkke, with me on warm-up duties. Can’t wait!

I understand you have an interest in sharing your expertise with others and try to encourage more women to consider careers in electronic music. Can you tell us a bit more about this aspect of your work?

I worked with Girls Rock Summer School this year and provided a DJ workshop for girls aged 8-16. It was an amazing experience and extremely rewarding. The girls responded really well and they all had a great time! I hope this empowers them and sparks an interest while they are young and untouched by the sexism of this industry – so that when they start going to clubs, they are badass enough to get into it and never feel like they don’t belong behind decks.

With the amount of touring you do, and with the other commitments we’ve mentioned, it must be hard to free up time to make new music. How do you approach production and what’s on the horizon in that regard?

This year has been very challenging – on a professional and a personal level. At times I lost my focus, but music always finds its way back to me. I work on the go; I have a very basic setup and, to be honest, my biggest challenge is finishing tracks – the final touches. I’m very close to finishing my next EP and I plan to release my debut album next year.

We couldn’t help noticing all the Egyptian iconography you use and wondered what the story was there! Is this a particular interest of yours?

I’ve been obsessed with Ancient Egypt since I was a little girl and I dedicate most of my time to studying ancient civilisations. I’m also studying the language at Glasgow University and I’m pretty good at reading hieroglyphs at this stage!

Finally, what can you tell us about the mix?

I wanted to share a feel good club mix with some proper classics thrown in. I needed one myself and I hope it brings a bit of fun to those that listen to it!

Prince - I Wanna Be Your Lover (Dimitri From Paris Re-Edit)
Gingy & Bordello - Body Acid (KiNK's On Acid Remix)
Djedjotronic – Stables
Louisahhh!!! & Maelstrom - Body Music (Acid Dub)
Kornél Kovács - Pantalón
Armand Van Helden - I Want Your Soul
Alden Tyrell - Rendezvous at Rimini
Gigi Galaxy – Phantom
Boys Noize - Brain Frequent
Dreams - Black Fact
Sparky - 94Archive6/12
Cardopusher – Timestamp
Anthony Rother - Red Light District
The Deacon - Multi-Dimensional Drama
Drexciya - C To the Power of X + C To the Power of X = MM = Unknown

Nightwave takes to La Cheetah for Nightrave in Glasgow on 24 October alongside Ikonika and Inkke