When Nazira Kassenova started DJing and throwing parties in her native Kazakhstan, the lack of a club culture or community was as much an opportunity to embrace as an obstacle to overcome. Without the burden of assumptions and hardened expectations, she seized the chance to push sounds and create spaces that reflected an idealized vision of electronic music and its social possibilities. In doing so, Nazira became a beacon for the growth of a local scene in her hometown Almaty, and achieved international renown as an in-demand DJ for her omnivorous yet resolute musical approach. She ignites dance floors with acidic, dynamic, and psychedelic sets, rooted in techno but stretching effortlessly beyond the genre's confines.
Nazira began DJing in Almaty in 2014, and threw the first parties of the ZVUK collective she founded in 2016. After a transformative, fiery performance at Unsound in Krakow that same year, she curated and performed at their satellite event Dislocation Almaty in 2017, and has since served in a similar curatorial role for the first-ever Boiler Room in Kazakhstan in 2021, alongside other members of ZVUK. In-between, she honed her skills as a resident DJ atBerlin's Room 4 Resistance club night and via shows on Radio Coméme and Rinse FM, while becoming a reliable presence on scene-defining mix series from Dekmantel and Resident Advisor. Her reputation as a thrilling purveyor of polyrhythmic pleasure continues to rise, with multiple DJ sets on the main floor at Berghain in Berlin, as well as appearances at other best-in-class festivals and clubs like Draaimolen and Dekmantel in the Netherlands and Blitz in Munich.
Nazira's efforts building an open-minded scene in a conservative country like Kazakhstan have been covered by outlets ranging from Resident Advisor and Pitchfork to WePresent and the New York Times. But even with all this outside acclaim and attention, she continues to live in Almaty and operate ZVUK, committed to the city's development through that collective as well as her 4x4 DJ School, which informs and inspires locals to unlock their own creativity through DJing. Such steadfast focus makes her an admirable outlier in a transient international scene, and that purity of intent is likewise audible in her DJ sets. They continue to reflect sounds both contemporary and classic, mesmerizing and melodic, with a musical concentration and flexibility that will make her an emotive mainstay of dancefloors for many more years to come.