Featured Image: Daniil Trublaevich
Karina Istomina is a very popular DJ and the only female musical influencer in Russia who has collaborated with Apple Music. Her success lies in her ability to combine various music genres, like new wave, disco, funk, and hip-hop old school. She uses recognisable tracks of well-known musicians such as Oasis, Nirvana, Kanye West, and so on. Her other strong trait is charisma – Karina is a party animal. In an interview with Red Bull, Istomina commented: “the best part of my profession is that during performances I feel the highest dopamine level. In terms of emotionality, awesome performances are even better than sex. Moreover, when you really go nuts, it spreads to the public and people get this energy from you.” This inexpressible shared connection between her and the audience is described by Istomina as being “fantabulous”.
Before becoming a DJ, Istomina was a model for 7 years. She signed a contract with a Russian model agency Avant Models Management-thanks to which she was shot in a video clip for a famous Russian pop singer, Sergey Lazarev. She also took part in the casting for Kanye West’s Yeezy Season 3 fashion show. In her interviews, she has confessed that a modelling career is not her cup of tea, and she has always been into music. Her favourite DJ’s are Jazzy Jeff, DJ Woody, Skratch Bastid, DJ Reborn, and Peggy Gou- who is her role model. Although she likes her job, as there’s a large portion of freedom in terms of travelling especially, she admits that it’s a tiring job. In the interview with Red Bull, she further noted that: “lack of sleep, flights, parties – all this seriously affects my health. Damaged daily routine influences the attitude and shatters mental health, and that’s why I strictly attend psychotherapy sessions once a week.” Istomina is clearly conscious of the effects which this lifestyle can have, as she reminds us to “recall DJ AM who died from a drug overdose and Avicii who committed suicide. They were young, but they burned out”. Istomina is certainly inspiring in her awareness of the pitfalls other members of her industry have faced. Her willingness to promote ways to maintain good mental health will hopefully remind others to do the same.
Istomina wants to open her own music label in the future, as she strongly believes in the importance of helping Russian musicians develop. For now, the next step in her career is to create her music. In 2019, she and her friend Ksenia Dukalis, a popular Russian electronic DJ, created a musical project ASC through which they introduced their EP Подкомодные змеи, which translates as “snakes under the dresser”. This album contains 5 tracks in the genre of alternative female rap. The women have also presented a video clip for one of the songs from the album ‘Bite’. Another project they take part in, along with a Russian journalist Tatyana Mingalimova, is a YouTube program Friends where they discuss actual topics on feminism, sex, and relationships.