Tuesday, May 22, 2018 9:20am
Nelya Valamanesh is an Adelaide-based DJ, filmmaker, ASO Advocate alumnus and proud owner of “Cat of Adelaide” Peanut. She enjoys cooking with vegetables and is currently studying English and Creative Writing. Nelya took some time out ahead of her DJ set at the upcoming ReMastered to chat to us.
When did your love for the orchestra begin?
Two years ago when I was a Live Pass member. I only went along a couple of times and at the end of that year I regretted that I didn’t go more. I really love all types of music from funk to metal, hip hop to traditional Persian music. I realised that I hadn’t sussed out orchestral music and the Live Pass was a good way to experience that.
What should we expect from your DJ set at ReMastered?
I normally play gritty and raw hip hop when I DJ at female queer nights. But for ReMastered I am planning on something different to cater for a crowd who have just been to an orchestral concert. You can expect neo-funk and soul and it will all be upbeat. Perfect for dancing!
You were a 2017 ASO Advocate. Can you tell us about what the Advocacy role involved?
Mostly a lot of fun times. We would hang out and grab a drink before a concert and then pick each other’s brains afterwards. ReMastered was a highlight because my friends would be there and we could enjoy a few cheeky drinks together. At our meetings we would have international guests who were playing with the orchestra join us and this was a great opportunity to ask them what the orchestra means to them. I also asked lots of technical questions too, such as, what does the maestro actually do? It turns out that they are there to keep everyone in sync. Through their eye contact and hand gestures they tell particular sections to get ready to play or to speed up or slow down, and influence the emotion of the performance.
If you were an instrument in the orchestra, which would you be and why?
I would be the large timpani. In a particular piece it might only be played for a single beat and the concentration, anticipation and stress to play it correctly captivates me. But the pure joy that Robert Hutcheson’s face expresses when he gets that beat correct is amazing. Despite being stress-inducing to bring that amount of joy to someone, it is definitely worth being the timpani.
What have been the highlights of your DJ career?
My career has been quite short as I only started DJing in November last year. I got started because my friends and I were planning the Zombie Queen Party at Chateau Apollo. I love music and I am always choosing the songs so I thought that I should be one of the DJs at the party. So for the month before I just started practising and getting all these songs that I love together. I was lucky that I could practice on some decks down at YEWTH Magazine. That first DJ set was a highlight and since then I have been getting hit ups to DJ at other events. Another highlight was supporting UV at Ancient World for their album launch. It was just a fun time DJing there. The real highlight though is seeing everyone get up and dancing even though I play obscure tracks. I have had a good response to my DJ sets.
Do you have any favourite songs at the moment?
This is America by Childish Gambino. I think this is everyone’s favourite song at the moment. I am also listening to Kali Uchis’ recently released album Isolation. One of the songs from the album, Miami, features Bia who is a rapper I play a lot in my DJ set. I might spin Miami during my ReMastered set.
Do you have any pre-set rituals?
Eat food. I don’t want to be hungry while DJing. The last few times I played I ate at Midnight Spaghetti so perhaps you could call that a ritual?
Your artistic talents also include film making. What inspires you as a film maker?
I want to help diversity and tell the unspoken stories. Stories from people from multi-cultural backgrounds are not showcased in the mainstream media often. I want to focus on the stories that the mainstream media does not tell. I want to empower women and empower people from diverse backgrounds. This is the same ethos that I have with my music.
We hear your cat Peanut is famous?
Yes, Peanut was featured as one of the Cats of Adelaide in the Messenger. I was interviewed about her in celebration of World Cat Day. They took a photo out the front of my place with Peanut wearing her walking harness and leash. She has also featured in some of my films. I always include a cat now in my films.
Nelya and Peanut in the City Messenger
Hear Nelya's set at the post-concert event for ReMastered on Fri 1 Jun. Tickets available here.
Interview by ASO Advocate, Amanda Norelli