Words: Colin Brownbill
Photo: Natalie Davidson

There’s an infectious energy about Maya Medvesek aka Nightwave. She’s passionate, genuine and believes in what she does. Having launched her flagship party Nightrave at La Cheetah in 2013, she’s consistently supported some of Glasgow’s most exciting and progressive talent, as well as inviting guests who reflect her policy of “tunes, fun and no bull shit”. Parties with the likes of DJ Deeon, Eclair Fifi, Ikonika and Artwork have had us beaming and dripping with sweat, but this Saturday (18th) the focus falls firmly on the host, as Nightwave prepares for her debut live performance.

Having released a series of intoxicating EPs on her own imprint, Heka Trax, not to mention labels likes Unknown To The Unknown and Fortified Audio, Nightwave’s productions reflect her DJ sets: a high-octane hit of ghetto, grime and bass (with elements of rave and techno thrown in for good measure). Taking a no-nonsense approach while maintaining a crucial element of accessibility, her primary concern is making people dance – which she does exceedingly well, from Boiler Room Paris to Barcelona’s Razmatazz and Glasgow’s Art School.

But while Nightwave’s DJ sets are strictly club-focused, performing live gives her the opportunity to experiment and expand on her sound, promising some more nuanced moments among the head-buzzing beats she’s recognised for. “It's quite different (to a DJ set) as I incorporate more abstract/ambient elements” she tells us. “It's definitely not a 'chin-stroking' thing” she confirms, however.

With a forthcoming EP on Fool’s Gold Records, you can also expect to hear plenty of new music during her live set, showcasing a talent who always surprises, but never compromises.

Check out Nightwave’s recent mix for The Fadar below as well as our full interview in which we talk more about her upcoming live performance:

SynthGlasgow: You’ve been promoting and DJ’ing at Nightrave for almost four years at La Cheetah, however this will be your debut live set at the club and in Scotland. Why do you feel the time is finally right to showcase your music live?

Nightwave: I think the sort of (live) thing I'm doing is all about prep, concept and confidence, and I maybe didn't have enough of all that before. DJ’ing comes very naturally to me, but I find showcasing my own productions a wee bit nerve-wracking, so that's probably the main reason why I waited. It's a basic set-up which I intend to add to as I learn and progress.

SG: Anyone who has danced to your DJ sets will know that you’re super-skilled when it comes to crossing genre and tempo. How will playing live compare to a DJ set in terms of how you present your music?

Nightwave: Well, it's quite different as I incorporate more abstract/ambient elements, and to be honest, if the show was earlier I would probably do more of that. I never really get the chance to play non-club music and it's something I'd love to do! There is a lot of high energy grime/house/juke stuff in my live set as well though; it's definitely not a 'chin-stroking' thing.

SG: Obviously you’ve got some heaters in the back catalogue including cuts on your own label, Heka Trax; what can we expect to hear in your live set? Will you be airing a lot of new music and surprises?

Nightwave: Thanks for all the compliments haha. Yes, it will be mostly new music; the only sad thing is I can’t fly over all the vocalists that I worked with to perform live…a lot of tracks have guest vocalists and those will just be acapellas.

SG: You’ve got a new EP coming on Fool’s Gold Records which is really exciting! How did you hook-up with the label and what can you tell us about the tracks which feature on the release?

Nightwave: Yes! I'm very chuffed as Fool’s Gold was my ideal choice for the music before I even approached them. I hooked-up with them the good old-fashioned way: sending demos.

The EP is quite varied and fun - 6 tracks with 3 features from Chippy Nonstop, Rye Rye and Rell Rock. It's got a grime/club/rap/rave feel to it - I wish I could describe it with one word! I wanted to make something fun and accessible and I think that's what it is.

Photo: Sean Bell

SG: You’ve invited some seriously on-point guests to join you at the party this Saturday, including new DABJ signing, Fear E, ‘Mother’ Mark Maxwell and Ribeka. For those who are unfamiliar with the crew, can you give us a brief introduction?

Nightwave: Fear-E, Mother and Ribeka are local treasures. I love Fear-E and Mark's approach as it reminds me of the late 90s raw and tripped-out techno that I listened to when I started going out. Mark also plays amazing grime and dancehall, and Ribeka has an encyclopaedic knowledge of music and I'm constantly learning something from her. They all encapsulate what I love about Glasgow - it's all about the tunes, fun and no bull shit.

SG: You always seem to secure some really distinctive and prolific guests at Nightrave who you don’t see anywhere else in Glasgow that often. What nights have really stood out over the past four years?

Nightwave: DJ Deeon for sure, as that was some next-level dreams come true. Artwork, Big Dope P, Ikonika and the first one ever with Éclair Fifi and me b2b was very special.

SG: There have been some belter releases from the likes of TryTryDieDown and Pixelord on Heka Trax over the last few months – have any producers from Glasgow caught your attention recently?

Nightwave: I'm a fan of DJ Double Nugget, LVLZ, Big Miz...gosh there's so many! I’ve also been checking a lot of bands like Sacred Paws and Golden Filter. The next release on Heka Trax is a band actually, something different! More info soon.

SG: Finally, with your debut live set imminent and a release incoming on Fool’s Gold, you’ve clearly been busy. How is the rest of 2017 looking for you? Are there more gigs and music planned?

Nightwave: There's an EP coming on Because music, a collab with Roman Rhodes from Django Django and I'm also working a lot with vocalists - Ronika for example. I've got Bangface coming up (pray for me haha) and we're doing the Producergirls DJ/Production Workshop at SWG3 for women on March 4th. I'm sure I'll give myself even more work soon!

Nightwave performs her debut Scottish live show at Nightrave at La Cheetah this Saturday (18th). Support comes from Fear-E, Mother and Ribeka. Advance tickets are available from Resident Advisor priced at £5 (excl fees).

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