TSC Behind The Decks | Anfisa Letyago
Hailing from Naples by way of Siberia, Russia, Anfisa Letyago has quickly become one of techno’s most sought after talents. Her musical journey began over 10 years ago in what she calls home now – Naples, Italy where she first began to experiment with Djing and productions, driven by pure passion for music.
Her current sound moves between that of hard hitting techno, groovy deep house and the other realms of underground music. Taking everything she has learned throughout her years both on the road and in the studio, she combines these influences to form her signature sound. The result has seen her productions gain momentum on the electronic music scene, with the Tech House heavy ‘I Feel’ EP on Natura Viva in 2017 boasting huge attention, while her ‘Bright Lights’ EP on Nervous records making a splash in 2019. She used the break from touring during the Covid-19 pandemic, to focus on productions and live-streams – and she did that well! Anfisa Letyago released in 2020 on Rekids, Hotflush Recordings, Drumcode, and Treasure Records, amongst others. To top it all up, in 2021 she launched her own label “N:S:DA”, but more on that during the interview.
Her productions have won the support of many prolific fellow DJ’s such as Adam Beyer, Charlotte De Witte and the aforementioned Carl Cox who has gone on to be an ardent backer of her music by signing her 2 EP’s, ‘So Good’ and ‘Catch the Spirit’ to his higher regarded Intec label.
Breakthrough DJ/producer of 2019: “Anfisa Letyago. I’m gonna put her on at Ultra next year, she’s a really talented live performer” – Carl Cox, DJ Mag.
It’s clear that her recognition amongst some of the biggest players in the industry, Anfisa Letyago is on her way to becoming one of the most in-demand DJ’s of the next generation of electronic music. In the next lines, enjoy our interview with Anfisa Letyago as we talk about how Napoli inspires her and her tips on what to do while in the city, the story behind her label N:S:DA, and how she has taken Social Media by storm.
Hi Anfisa, thank you for having me for this interview. Where am I catching you and what have you been up to lately?
Hey guys, thank you for having me on the series. Right now I’m at home in the studio finishing the recording of my vocals for my next track. It’s a very creative period for me and I’m taking advantage of it by writing a lot of lyrics and producing music without setting myself any limits.
You have on numerous occasions mentioned how much the city you now call home – Napoli, has inspired you. Can you describe in what way the city has inspired you? And also, what do you love and hate about Napoli?
Naples is a city of art and a perfect place for any artist thanks to the energy and the unique beauty of this place, I was lucky to arrive here many years ago (when I was still a teenager) and be able to absorb all the energy of this place and grow as a woman and as an artist. This city immediately welcomed me and gave me so many friends, love, affection, opportunities and so much more. It made me feel like I was at home from day one and I never left! Here I had the opportunity to listen to many DJs and electronic music artists from all over the world like: Kerri Chandler, Jeff Mills, Louie Vega, Dave Clarke, David Morales, Ben Sims, Marco Carola, Gaetano Parisio and many others thanks to the great club culture that this place has! Here the music is like bread-Naples has its own musical style and its own language ‘Il napoletano’ famous in the world thanks to musicians like Renato Carosone, Pino Daniele, Enzo Avitabile and many others, I like to speak and sing in Napoletano. In Naples I was born a second time! The only flaw is that there is too much chaos and I haven’t got used to it yet.
If we are visiting Napoli for the first time, what restaurant would you recommend we visit first, and which club to go after?
In Naples you can eat well everywhere because in addition to art there is a great culture of food, to eat traditional dishes and pizza I prefer to go to the Sanita district (in this place you can eat well in any restaurant). I usually go to ‘Concettina ai Tre Santi’ for a good pizza with meat sauce and ricotta di fuscella (it’s my favourite) and for dessert I go to take a nice traditional cake from Poppella pastry shop, guys you can lose your head! There are so many clubs in Naples, from the small ones in the historic centre such as Lanificio, Galleria 19, or the larger clubs such as Duel Beat, HB2, etc., to the discos where you can dance outdoors, such as Arenile, etc.
In many of your interviews you are being asked about Napoli and its influence on you. But what about your home – Siberia. You left as a teenager, but regardless did Siberia have any influence on you musically and as an artist?
I was born in a small village in the Tundra in the far north of Siberia, just think when it was winter (almost 9 months of the year) the days were almost all dark, the sunlight came out for a couple of hours (sometimes not even) a day and temperatures reached -60 degrees below zero! A very difficult life and social relations were few, I spent my afternoons listening to the radio listening to some radio station that passed a few ‘songs of some group / international singer like Prodigy, Massive Attack, Linkin Park, The Cranberries etc.. it passed a lot of trance music of the 90s Tiesto, Paul van Dyk, Da hool, Robert Miles and many others, I like to listen to it even now:) I also listened to a lot of vinyls that my grandmother had, we spent our afternoons listening to music on vinyl of some foreign artist even my grandmother had some records of Italian singers like ‘Rich and Poor’ or ‘Albano’ and so I fell in love with the Italian language that strangeness I could never imagine that life would have brought me in that country.
Earlier this year marked the birth of your label N:S:DA. It’s more or less every dj’s dream to start their own label and release the music they want on it. What are your plans for N:S:DA, and what releases can we expect on it this year?
On January 8th of this year N:S:DA was born with the release of my ep ‘Listen’. N:S:DA is not a simple label but it’s a concept dedicated to Nisida – the Neapolitan island inaccessible to man, a beautiful place with a breath-taking sunset! N:S:DA is the voice of those who have something to say through their music … In this case I decided to tell my story through my productions. I have many musical projects and not only that I will reveal shortly.
What can you tell us about your latest release, the “Nisida” EP on your label N:S:DA? How was the production process, what equipment did you use, and this time around did you do anything different while producing it?
The ep ‘NISIDA’ is a conceptual creation where I worked a lot on the ‘MESSAGE’ that I wanted to give through the simple lyrics but at the same time very meaningful to me! In the first song ‘Nisida’ I recorded a phrase where I said, ‘WE ALL NEED A PLACE TO BELONG’ – we all need references in life that can be: a place, family, friends, a city or anything else to which you feel ‘belonging’, and I declared myself through my project Nisida. The way it was created was completely different than the productions I’ve done for other labels, here I started as I said before from a ‘concept’ where before I went into the studio, I wrote the lyrics as it happened with ‘Listen’ as well as with ‘Nisida’ giving a message … after this I recorded my voice where around I built the sounds that created the right atmosphere to my songs.
From Spinning Records, to Nervous Records, Intec Digital, and Hotflush Recordings, there is a big evolution in your sound since you started releasing music. Your sound now includes stripped-down, minimal productions in ode to techno and groove. Do you think you have found your signature sound or is that a never-ending process for you?
Yes, there has been a great artistic evolution and great changes in me, which are also perceived in my productions. My path as a producer has been natural and long, a constant growth combined with my growth as a woman and artist! Today I feel more satisfied, and I am certainly more recognizable in my sound, but I still want to push myself to experiment.
In a few years you have exploded in the global electronic music scene. In your view, what was the biggest factor for your success and popularity?
I don’t know what success is, I just want to continue to tell my story through music, without having to hide and without having to like it! I believe that many people reflect themselves in this and perhaps the reason for so much affection lies in the normalcy of the things I do.
Moreover, do you feel like you’ve “made it” in the music industry? If yes, how do you plan on staying fresh and relevant in terms of music production and your live gigs? If you don’t think you’ve “made it”, when will you consider that you have?
If I think that I started my journey from a small village of 50 families in the Siberian tundra, then I can definitely say that I have achieved unimaginable goals! I’ve travelled the world, I met music stars, I’ve produced appreciated songs and collaborated with great artists, but I still do not feel complete. The road is long but marked, so I’m confident to face this wonderful adventure.
What do you think makes you so popular and likeable on Social Media?
Being as I am: I like to share my simple moments with the people who follow me….
What do you want to be remembered as?
As a person who has never stopped dreaming!
Thank you for the interview Anfisa Letyago! Stay safe and productive.
Thank you for having me guys!