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Taking stock of Lady Waks' rise to prominence

Russian bass DJ/producer Lady Waks is an enigma. A dynamite DJ and producer of kick-ass breakbeat tunes, she also runs the In Beat We Trust events in Russia and her own IBWT label.

On the eve of her new compilation 'Bass Shakers' and her new EP featuring the Ragga Twins, DJ Mag caught up with Lady Waks to find out what winning awards mean to her and what else is going on in Waks-land... 

Hi Alex, since last being featured in DJ Mag, you're now an international superstar! How does it feel to win awards, such as Best DJ at Breakspoll?

“My first award, which I got in 2009 and couldn't believe had happened to me, was like a motivator for my further development! I am grateful that it happened to me and I realize how much strength this nomination gave me. Later in the years I have been nominated a lot of times and even won some nominations like Best Track, Best Producer, Best Radio Show but never got the Best DJ award [at Breakspoll]. But the fact that I was nominated for best DJ gave me no rest. I wanted to get this award, wanted the award Best Club Events as well.

"Two years ago, when I was once again nominated for five positions, I flew from Shanghai to London and unfortunately missed my connecting flight and couldn't fly to the UK — as a result I missed the Breakspoll Awards. And to be honest, I thought again that I wouldn't get any awards, so I was not upset, accepted the twist of fate and flew to Russia. That was in 2014, and I found out that I had been voted the best DJ for the year 2013! My happiness knew no bounds!"

“The following year I was again chosen again as the best DJ. I think these are the biggest achievements for me on the music platform. I am proud of this fact, it gives me confidence and a desire to develop in this musical genre, but to be superstar, it has to go beyond the Breakspoll award nominations (with all due respect to the event). I don't really get the understanding of who a superstar is or should be. Perhaps those who are on TV? I don't have television in the house for over nine years now, so I'm not current on who and what's been shown out there, but I know for sure that it's not me!”

Are you still doing your IBWT parties in St Petersburg?

“Sure! In May we had our 15th birthday party, we hosted five events around Russia in the same weekend (19th -20th May). The headliner and our IBWT DJs from the IN BEAT WE TRUST party, which was on a Saturday in Saint.P, played around Russia the day before — for example, Deekline played in Arkhangeksk, Terry Hooligan and myself had a show in Kaliningrad, we had Marten Hørger in SaintP.

“Every month since 2000 we have been doing the IBWT parties in our hometown of Saint-Petersburg and beside of this, our booking agency hosts a lot of international artists and our events company has lots of clubs which we are working with.”

Tell us about this 'Bass Shakers' album...

“Despite the fact that for so many years I have been touring the world, and not minding the fact that I have my own music label IBWT Music, with a one-hour weekly broadcast on the main dance radio station in Russia (Radio Record), the 'Bass Shakers' album is actually my first licensed work (maybe because I'm Russian, and you know, here our rights and laws are not so simple).

“'Bass Shakers' is a mix in which I gathered together all the things that I love! Breaks & bass, jungle, 2-step and garage sounds, which turned into two 45-minute mixes! In the selection of tracks I tried to incorporate the sounds that are current, and also tried not to forget the compositions which in the last few years haven't left my playlists, those sounds which have been tearing up the dancefloor — whether it is in Russia, Asia or Australia. Also on the compilation, there are names of producers which I would like to present to the world, those young people who don't get enough attention, I believe, as an example of these young Spanish and Russian producers.”

You've been instrumental in spreading the breakbeat sound throughout Russia over the past few years. What do you still love about breaks?

“I have never had the aim to become the most influential person, I just tried to do what I love by doing it well and then tried to do it better as every event went by. When it became perfect, I set new goals and expanded my field of activity. I also looked for people of my kind who shared this passion, so now I'm not alone, together we are In Beat We Trust and we love and believe in what we are doing.

“At the moment, we are the most powerful promoters and booking agency in the territory of Russia in the direction of breaks & bass, and now our events are more thought-out and well-planned than they were, for example, 10 years ago. For instance, this year we have organized a series of free daytime activities to attract a young audience, without age limitation, we even do activities related to sport and strongly support breakdancing and graffiti culture. At the slightest possibility we integrate hip-hop culture in our concepts.

“We co-operate with the best breakdance dancers of Russia and two times world champions — the Top9 crew. Many drum & bass artists are releasing through us and in almost every event there is a d&b dancefloor. So we not only breaks, we represent the broken rhythms. Our music label IBWT Music produces a lot of Russian talents.

“We collaborate and give our support to young promo groups by pre-selecting them, analysing their activities. All these are quite a lot of work and the work is diverse, so there is never a dull moment. All this is a big part of my life, so I really love breaks, bass, music, I love all that I do. I like to observe and evaluate results.”

What else is happening in Waks-land?

“Ages ago I graduated from the University of Culture and Art in St.Petersburg, I studied design and with pleasure I engaged in design for our company — flyers, posters, etc. But with age I am more drawn to fashion design! I recently presented my new summer collection. This collaboration with the tattoo artist Idiotstile, she is a very talented girl and I enjoy our joint work.”

Anything else you wanna tell DJ Mag readers?

“My new EP is coming out on July 20th — the track was written with Spaniards Mutantbreakz and the legendary Ragga Twins! The track will be released on my label IBWTmusic with remixes from Deekline, Specimen A and Russian guys Breaking News. I hope you enjoy it!

“And I want to say to all DJ Mag readers, please visit us in Russia! Most especially Saint Petersburg. We have a lot of great music festivals, a lot of great clubs and good musicians. And that's not all! We have a great culture, epic architecture and a wonderful history — a lot of things to surprise tourists. And of course, before you fly to us, please check to arrive when we have the next IN BEAT WE TRUST party!”

Go grab your free download of Lady Waks, Marten Horger and Nu Jam's 'Shock Out'