One of the most exciting DJs from the new wave of high-speed and industrial techno artists, Martyna Maja, AKA VTSS, has been carving a niche of her own. Marrying demonic industrial techno with EBM, sped-up trance and hardcore, the Polish DJ, producer and live act has been wowing audiences across the globe with her high-energy, heavy-hitting sets. Her unpredictable selections and tight mixing have recently landed her a number of gigs at revered venues like Berghain, De School in Amsterdam, and London’s The Pickle Factory. Simultaneously, Martyna has released a series of stellar EPs on imprints like Repitch Recordings, Haven, SPFDJ’s Intrepid Skin and Bjarki’s bbbbbb records, solidifying her reputation as a producer, too.Growing up, Martyna listened to everything from Depeche Mode to Placebo and ‘90s Eurodance.
The Warsaw native first discovered electronic music around the age of 13, when she heard Aphex Twin’s ‘To Cure A Weakling Child’ at a dance competition. “It was kinda life-changing,” VTSS says, adding that it wasn’t long until she started sneaking in to raves in Warsaw and regularly exploring different sounds.DJing didn’t materialize as a career path until 2012, when Maja went to Unsound Festival and realised she wanted “to contribute to this whole club music culture”. After dropping out of university, she enrolled in a sound engineering school in Warsaw and started both DJing and producing. “I was never able to just focus my energy on one thing, ever,” she says. “After a year of that I started playing live too.”
Listening to Maja’s high-octane DJ and live sets, it’s clear that the radical DIY ethos of the Polish underground scene has played a key role in honing her sound.
“The techno I like I indeed have learnt in Berlin, but everything around it — electro, ghetto house, EBM, hardcore, new wave, even deconstructed club in the last years — I have learnt in all the underfunded Warsaw underground and Kraków parties,” she explains. In addition to her strong ties with the Polish scene, where she’s is a resident at the famed Brutażparties, Maja is affiliated with all-female-identifying collective Discwoman, too. Having joined the roster of Discwoman at the beginning of this year, Martyna says that the work of such organisations has changed “the perspective of not only men, but women themselves, giving them confidence and teaching how to grow better together”.
“I feel that as little girls we’re kinda taught to compete instead of to support each other, and when I was younger I was probably like that as well,” she explains. "I needed to grow up to learn how to accept and appreciate other women, especially when you’re a hard bitch like myself."
With more releases, remixes and collaborative work with other artists on the horizon, it’s clear we’re yet to see what VTSS is fully capable of and she’s "happy to push herself and try new things”.
“I’ve always been a lone wolf, too stubborn to succeed in any collaborative projects,” she adds, “but I really want to work on myself.”