A move from her birthplace of Kiev to Chicago, where she grew up, gave DJ and producer Alinka her first taste of house music. Getting her early education from radio shows like Sonic Boom and tracks from local heroes like Cajmere and DJ Funk, she soon became completely engrossed in the dance music scene, leading her to start DJing herself and begin taking on odd jobs at local parties in the city.
In 2001 she was invited by Justin Long to be a resident at his .Dotbleep party at the legendary Smartbar, where she went on to hold a residency for a decade. Her movements in production came after following a chance meeting with Hercules vs Love Affair vocalist Shaun J. Wright, now her best friend, which led to the pair launching their record label and party Twirl. This would become a home for a lengthy string of collaborative releases, as well as several records via the likes of Crosstown Rebels and Classic.
Earlier this year, from her now homebase of Berlin, Alinka launched a new label called Fantasy Life with an inaugural EP of infectious house cuts; a solid pre-cursor for what's to come next on the imprint.
We got her on board for this week's Wednesday Alternative mix, and trust us, you're in good hands...
Please introduce yourself… Who are you, where are you and what are you?
Hi I’m Alinka, I make and play music for people that like to dance. I have a cat called Acid the house cat, I’m a foodie, and am currently learning to bake.
I’m in Berlin where I’ve lived the past 5 years, but I was born in Kiev and grew up in Chicago. I run a label called Twirl with my best friend Shaun J. Wright, and I just launched a second label called Fantasy Life.
What does your music sound like? Can you draw what you think it sounds like for us (an image from the old internet is acceptable)?
Where was the mix recorded?
The mix was recorded at my flat in Berlin and mastered by my friend Tim at Manmade Mastering.
What would be the ideal setting to listen to the mix?
Dancing with your eyes closed like no one is watching, preferably in a field somewhere or anywhere you could see the stars.
What should we be wearing?
A helmet and comfortable sneakers.
What would be your dream setting to record a mix: Location/system/format?
In a spaceship flying through space would be fun. I’m not a format girl but for practical reasons 3 CDJ’s and 2 turntables usually do the trick.
Which track in the mix is your current favourite?
I really love Dissolution (Ultraflex Remix) by Jaakko Eino Kalevi.
What’s your favourite recorded mix of all time?
Chicago DJ’s are still my favorite. There’s a Mixcloud page with all these amazing recordings, I guess start with any Derrick Carter set and listen to them all ☺ https://www.mixcloud.com/LiveSetsChicago/derrick-carter-live-at-shelter-night-club-chicago-05-09-1997/
If you could go back to back with any DJ from throughout history, who would it be and why?
Justin Long from Chicago, he’s still one of the greatest to me to ever do it and he was my mentor growing up so I know it would be a hell of a B2B and inspiring.
What was your first DJ set up at home and what is it now?
2 Technics and a Pioneer DJM 300 was my first ever set up in 2000. Now I have 2 CDJ 2000’s and 1 Technics turntable and an Allen & Heath xone 43 at home though I’m probably going to go back to pioneer mixer soon.
What’s more important, the track you start on or the track you end on?
Start for me. I usually know my first 3 then I know where I’m going from there. It sets the tone for your journey.
What were the first and last records you bought?
The first records I remember buying to mix were like Armand Van Helden “Flowerz” and Daft Punk Homework as we had one little shop at my University so they had the popular stuff and a few things from Chicago. When I got back to the city and started going to Gramaphone I started getting the good underground stuff so anything from Chicago DJ Sneak, Derrick Carter and Classic Music Co. also all the Music For Freaks stuff, Inland Knights and lots of House records.
The last records I got were Oall Hates Tranceporter on Of Paradise Records, Cyrk Balloonatix on Dred and Orlando Voorn Diligence on Above Board Projects.
If this mix was an edible thing, what would it taste like?
Five Elephant Cheesecake.
If it was an animal what would it be?
One record in your collection that is impossible to mix into anything?
I’m from Chicago nothing is impossible if you practice enough ☺
Upcoming in the world of …
I’ve got a few more EP’s scheduled on some pretty cool labels I can’t announce yet, and finishing up my second release for my new label Fantasy Life this week. In the meantime we have a killer release from Lupe called Love Tools on Twirl coming out October 2nd.
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