Skip to main content
Credit: Annie Forrest

Recognise: DJ Voices

In the fabric of New York's club scene, Kristin Malossi is a crucial thread. As DJ Voices, her sets favour "energy and drama over genre". As one of the bookers at underground institution Nowadays, she champions artists who imbue their selections with authenticity and adventure. Alongside her 90-minute Recognise mix, she tells Eoin Murray how a devotion to community and integrity informs everything she does

Long before she was known as DJ Voices, Kristin Malossi was a gymnast. As a kid in West Palm Beach, Florida, her life was consumed by competitions; her team was her community. Those years instilled in her an acrobat’s precision, and an ability to push her body to its limits. Years later, in a Ridgewood, Queens DJ booth, these skills remain intact – conjured by instinct, and channelled through a speaker stack. 

It’s 5AM in Nowadays, and Malossi’s eyes haven’t left the CDJs in six hours. Flanked by a variety of hanging plants, she’s entering the final portion of her first all-night set at the intimate underground institution, where she holds a residency and works full-time on the booking team. Her selections leap through peaks and valleys of propulsive techno, leftfield bass and percussive club mutations. Peppered with blissed-out breaks, old-skool trance, deep house and snapping speed garage, each switch-up in tempo and timbre is executed with a psychedelic sleight of hand, emblematic of her “drama over genre” ethos.

After ending on Olive’s ‘You’re Not Alone’ and Yves Tumor’s ‘Gospel For a New Century’, one dancer approaches Malossi with tears in their eyes; the feeling is mutual. She’d started to feel unwell before playing. Compounded by a rare bout of nerves and even rarer USB issues, conditions were less than ideal for a set this special. She powered through, emotions coursing through her like a rollercoaster. Impending illness aside, she needn’t have worried. After all, this is a dancefloor she understands, in a club whose story is inseparably woven into her own. 

“There's nowhere I feel more comfortable playing,” she tells us on a bright, cool Friday morning in early November, a week before the all-nighter. She first played there in 2017, shortly after its indoor space opened, as part of the Working Women DJ collective. She’d co-founded the group with some friends a year before, and they held a residency in the venue until their dissolution in 2020. Malossi stayed put, and has remained there ever since. “Sometimes [when there], I feel like I'm hanging out in my living room,” she says. 

As well as playing and programming, Malossi hosts regular Open Decks events, where beginners can learn the ropes on the venue’s high-quality equipment. She also runs a monthly book club, where discussions range from fiction to the philosophy of electronic music and club culture. It speaks to the sense of community that’s been nurtured around Nowadays – something Malossi has consistently sought out since her gymnastics era. At the end of a year that’s seen her travel more than ever as a DJ, it’s a feeling of home she’s more grateful for than ever. 

DJ Voices DJing in a club surrounded by dancers on all sides
Credit: @auudrey.a

“I'm always trying to find and share what, to me, are new sounds. If it sounds like something I've never heard before, if I don't know how to classify it, if it's confusing or silly or weird, then it’s going in the bag for sure.”

When we first speak to Malossi, over a video call from the apartment she shares with her cats Dairy and Purdie, she's still catching her breath after her first Australian tour, where she played a string of memorable club sets as well as Mode Festival’s Sydney and Melbourne editions. She landed back in New York just in time for Halloween, easing into the busy weekend with a slow-burning set in Nowadays’ backyard, rolling through low tempo house tracks, guitar jams and lots of “weird non-dance music”. The next night, she played alongside dBridge, Lee Gamble and others at Brooklyn’s Club Night Club, where she mined the bassiest extremities of her USBs, with an “over the top” jazzy curveball chucked in for good measure. 

Malossi’s sets are full of these moments: unpredictable gear shifts pulled off with alchemical finesse. Her Nothing In Moderation shows for The Lot Radio are full of genre-hopping oddities; her ‘Avoiding Bad Thoughts’ mixtape swerves from hip-swinging house into radiant techno and dreamstate jungle, invoking the ever-shifting energy and escapism she felt during long drives throughout her youth in Florida, which she left for New York after finishing college. “I'm always trying to find and share what, to me, are new sounds,” she says. “If it sounds like something I've never heard before, if I don't know how to classify it, if it's confusing or silly or weird, then it’s going in the bag for sure.” 

She spent the summer showcasing this dynamic style at home and abroad, touching down in clubs including Amsterdam’s De School, Berlin’s Tresor and London’s Venue MOT, as well as at festivals like Lente Kabinet, Flow Festival in Helsinki, and Dimensions in Croatia. Across the Atlantic, she curated the vibey Hemlock Nights programme at Honcho Campout, and played a short-notice set at the picturesque Bass Coast in British Columbia, which she describes as a “perfect” festival. “They do things differently on the West Coast,” she beams. “The music was incredible; the site is incredible. It kind of changed my life a bit, honestly.”

As fun and inspiring as these experiences were, Malossi’s increasingly international gig calendar would also prove illuminating in other ways. While touring in Europe, shorter set times and dancefloor appetites for fast, fist-pumping anthems left her occasionally faced with a self-imposed pressure to play it safe to keep the crowd on side; to lean on reliably “straightforward house and techno” rather than follow her weirder, more adventurous instincts. It triggered internal questions about authenticity, and the compromises DJs can feel forced to make in order to hit the next stepping stone in their career. It’s played on her mind a bit since, but ultimately left her more assured than ever in the artist she wants to be, and the scene she wants to cultivate around her. 

“I would rather introduce them to the real me, the true version of myself,” she says. “Playing it safe may get them to stay, or enjoy a nice, easy moment, but they won’t have any idea what I really like to do, or what represents my sound... Maybe that means that I won't be main stage at whatever festival ever, but I feel like the people who do hear what I do, and who hear that sincere part of me, they'll stick around longer... I’ve realised that I’m happiest when you’ve got 250 people, some good sound, and an open mind. That’s what works best for me.”

“Maybe it's gonna be the tougher path,” she adds. “But I don't want to be famous, I don't want to be a mainstage festival person. I want really good parties, and to be able to hear the music that I love, and to have a crowd who's down to go there with me. I guess this summer was just about discovering that answer for myself, because I didn’t even know it was a question, really.” 

Photo of DJ Voices in front of an off-white wall. She's wearing a black top with her arms folded
Photo of DJ Voices standing in front of an off-white wall. There is a small, cute black dog beside her
Credit: Annie Forrest

It’s the DJs who embody this dogged individuality that Malossi is most inspired by: risk-taking selectors like Lee Gamble, DJ Marcelle, and her friend and frequent b2b sparring partner Akanbi – who recently left Berghain’s techno purists in a twist after playing Akon’s ‘Locked Up’ during a genre-hopping warm-up set. “Those people aren't going to forget who Akanbi is,” she smiles. “His energy resonates with people. He gets people to go to places that not many other DJs can, just because of the way he delivers it. I really do think that he's quite radical and subversive in a lot of ways.”

Another of Malossi’s idols is the late, great Andrew Weatherall, whose influence is felt keenly in her ‘Sidestep Lifestyle’ cassette mix, released via Mister Saturday Night earlier this year. On each side, she mixes tracks he produced, played often, or which simply resonate with his sonic signatures – from slow, chuggy guitar cuts to house and electro scorchers. In times of creative uncertainty, when dilemmas around what to play emerge in her mind, she asks herself a simple question: “What would Weatherall do?”

“He could have been way more famous than he was, but he decided to do things his way and not be put in a box, and that's extremely inspiring to me,” she says. “There's no one wiser in my book. He just had so much integrity in everything he did.”

All this feeds neatly into Malossi’s work as a booker, a role she holds alongside JADALAREIGN and Nowadays’ manager Gareth Solan, aka DJ G. As the club’s profile has risen, and pressure to prioritise big name line-ups pervades certain parts of the scene, their policy remains rooted in showcasing DJs they truly believe in. Programming is configured with care, particularly during the club’s monthly Nonstop events, which run for 24 hours, and are set to go weekly next year. “It's all about contextualising people’s sound within the line-up,” Malossi says. 

Photo taken from the side of DJ Voices DJing at the Groovy Groovy club night in New York
Credit: Luis Nieto Dickens

On any given weekend, you could dance to local residents like Ayesha, Aurora Halal, Physical Therapy and livwutang, catch underground stars like Call Super, Soichi Terada and Lena Willikens, or spend an afternoon at the fabled Mr Sunday soirée, helmed by the club’s founders Justin Carter and Eamon Harkin, who Malossi credits as having taught her invaluable lessons in how to throw a good party. “They're both so detail oriented and thoughtful,” she says. “They think of things that I definitely never would have thought about.”

Phones are banned on the Nowadays dancefloor, and visitors are filled in on the club’s Safer Space Policy upon arrival each night – bullshit has no place here. There’s ample seating and space to chill out; there’s even a new in-venue Mexican restaurant. Who wouldn’t be a regular? “It's not our sound, it's not our bookings, it's actually how comfortable it is to be in that space that really makes us stand out,” Malossi says. “That's how we get people to stay for so long and keep them coming back... [Clubs] are scary sometimes. They can feel so stark and unwelcoming. Nowadays is definitely a soft club. We go hard, but there's a softness to it.”

Two hours before her all-nighter, Malossi hosted her final book club of the year, where conversation centred around Luis Manuel Garcia-Mispireta’s Together, Somehow: Music, Affect, and Intimacy on the Dancefloor, which she says “everyone who's involved in dance music should read”. The book explores ideas of belonging, and the experiences of closeness and community we can share with strangers in a club setting. It’s a complex topic, not without its share of challenges, but it’s one that resonates with Malossi on a number of levels – from her expressive DJ sets, to her work at Nowadays, all the way back to her days as a gymnast. 

“As a gymnast, you're an individual athlete, but you are also part of a team,” she says. “In the same way, being a DJ is such a solo endeavour, but everybody does kind of have their own little crew; the people they’re close to... Being a gymnast taught me how useless competitiveness and jealousy can be, and how much better things can be when you're supporting the people around you.”


Peter Westheimer ‘Personality Change’ 
Undrwght ‘Nevus’
Jean Reiki - Capteh On and On
River Yarra ‘Gloomz :)’
O.PAL ‘Boopa’
Outselect & Plokhish ‘Da Fonkee’ 
Geode ‘Chomp’
The Psychedelic Monkey Disco ‘Social Animal’
Roy Batty Jr. ‘Machine Strap’   
My Friend Dario -’Acid Mosquito in A Summer Night (DJ Spun It's Rong Remix)’
Keita Sano ‘ThrPho’ 
Lxury ‘LF1 ft. Vondelpark & Lucky I'm Luke’
Ye Gods ‘Called’
Clotur ‘Agatha’
riko ‘Undercover in Cuba’
Patrick Prins ‘Silence is a Rhythm Too’ 
Hammer & YSANNE ‘Synco’
Eversines ‘Affection Towards The Urban Environment’
Yamabikaya ‘Salamandrina’ 
AKSHAN ‘World of Trouble’
Aki ‘Black Roses’
GARRI’G & O’LAARA ‘Hypnotherapie’
Nicholas G. Padilla ‘Shadow Work’
Spekulant ‘Dambo’
Nova ‘On The Loose w/ 3WA’
Key Ratio ‘Morphingly’
Taso & Joe Nice ‘P.E. Class’
Art.Indust. ‘World’   
nautiluss ‘Read’   
Mauro Tannino & Stefano Di Carlo ‘Antares (Remix)’ 
Hizuo ‘Vitória Régia’   
Sider ‘Motanka’     
Robert Leiner ‘Passage in Time’   
Nídia ‘Deep’
Isn’t Ours ‘Concentric (Buttechno & Triš remix)’
Etch ‘How Dare He’
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard ‘O.N.E.’