A LOOK ON UKRAINE’S RAVE SCENE
Ukraine has always had a rather progressive electronic music scene, but after the 2014 revolution things have changed substantially. The new era of techno parties and raves has begun in Kyiv with the increased interest in the club culture. In the times of crisis and constant political and economic tension, people tried to stick together and were looking for places where to drown their sorrows. As a result, a number of new bars and small, kind of DIY-clubs have opened and a number of new names with lots of potential have appeared on the Ukrainian music list.
Slava Lepsheev, a DJ himself, felt that the night club in Kyiv has practically died out during the months of crisis. In April 2014, he started CXEMA - the new generation of techno parties in not the most fancy locations: garages, abandoned buildings, old factories and even a skate park under the bridge where people were dancing on the ramp. CXEMA is financed solely by Slava’s personal savings, thus, there is no budget for bringing DJs from abroad. However, in 3 years CXEMA has considerably grown and now attracts thousands of people not only in Kyiv, but other cities of the country.
Located in a former factory Closer has started as an art space with exhibitions, workshops and concerts. Later, a bigger club room was added and now it has grown to fitting over 1000 people. There is something always going on during the week: lectures about music or art, jazz jams on Thursdays and parties on Fridays and Saturdays. Closer has already hosted a number of international musicians, all of whom agree that this might be one of the best clubs in Europe thanks to an amazing atmosphere and grateful audience. With three dance floors (including the summer terrace), a showroom, a record store, a co-working with a cafe and an exhibition place, Closer is more than a club, it's an art-center. By the way, Closer is now hosting several festivals: Nextsound, Strichka and others. After the huge success of Strichka, the organizers are now working on a new festival with more than 50 names on the lineup.
Even though Rhythm Büro exists not longer than a year, people who started it have been engaged in music and events for a long time. Basically, Rhythm Büro can be seen as a mix between Cxema and Closer: they also host parties in different locations which remain unknown until the day before the event, but not only local artists play here: the space has attracted a number of international artists who have been rocking Kyiv’s warehouses.
The techno and underground club culture is not limited with these three. There are a number of small clubs and spaces that have opened relatively recently but are already attracting large crowds of people. For instance, Otel’ (located on the territory of the same factory as Closer, however with a “deeper” atmosphere: hypno music, lasers and smoke), 56 (located on the 5th floor of an abandoned building, good sound system and lots of local artists make it a younger brother of Berlin’s Tresor), Atlas (3 floors, 3 huge dance floors and tons of smaller rooms). A special mention deserve also Keller Bar, Zaal, Hashtag, Parasolka and ЭFIR.
Strichka Festival is probably one of the most interesting festivals Ukraine has to offer. The festival was created in collaboration with Closer art space, and now takes up the whole factory where Closer is located. Temporary bars and lounge zones are built at the factory and the festival goes on for at least 24 hours non-stop. 2017 line up includes at least 10 international names from Romania, Germany, USA and Argentina as well as a bunch of local young talents.