The real international girl: How Devochka became one of the most recognisable women DJs in the world
Out of all the arguments that favour Mayra Cruz being called an international artiste, perhaps the most personal one would be Brazilian’s stage name itself — Devochka — which means ‘girl’ in Russian. This deliberate melding of cultures, starting with a feature as simple as a name itself, is what defines her music as well, one that she refuses to categorise under the banner of any particular genre. She is an EDM artiste, yes, but for her, personally, she admits she can never define her style. “People says that it’s psytrance or progressive trance but believe me, no... it is not! I prefer to say that I don’t like the concept of genres. I make music as my heart asks me to do,” she says. Expected to come to India for a three-day tour, Mayra says she is content with her journey so far. She shares, “I feel so proud of everything. I never thought that someday I could go so far. I’ve learned many things, but one of the most important ones is that you must to have your head in place and if it is possible, control your anxiety.”
The bigger picture
The DJ, who grew up in the colonial landscape of Minas Gerais, Brazil, has always been drawn towards the world of electronic music. “As a professional, it was in a small party,” she recalls her first performance. “I don’t remember it as well (as I can) but, in the beginning when you are inexperienced you do have fear. It happens with normal people (laughs).” But can her case be considered normal? At a time when male DJs still outnumber their female counterparts in almost all major global festivals, Devochka comes across as a disruptor, ready to bring some ounce of balance in the world of EDM. One who, as she always maintains, is happy to be a crusader for women DJs.
Known mostly for her original mixes and her magnetic stage personality, Mayra has performed in countries like Germany, Egypt, France, Austria, Finland, Hungary and Switzerland. Her rise in the international ranks was given a major boost when she was chosen to perform in the prestigious Lollapalooza festival in the US, last year in March. That was the first time that she performed in the festival, where her name featured in a line-up that also had the likes of global stars like The Weeknd, Bruno Mars, Arctic Monkeys, and others. She has also been featured in the list of Top 50 DJs of Brazil in 2016 and 2017.
So, how does she prepare for her live performances? The answer turned out to be a simple one by her standards, showing us that she doesn’t let the magnitude of the event get to her. “I like to drink a dose of tonic gin, and stay concentrated alone for 10-15 minutes before I start playing,” she coolly says, adding that she produces her music on an iMac i5. “The rest of my equipment comprises of Focusrite 2i2, Mackie MR8 speakers, Roland XPS-10 keyboard and Ableton Live software,” she shares.
Random is normal
When asked about the musicians who have influenced her, Mayra mentions the names of acts like The Prodigy (whose frontman Keith Flint passed away recently), British band Massive Attack, Armenian-American heavy metal group System of A Down and Israeli duo Infected Mushroom.
As for her own brand of music, Mayra once again stops short of giving it a definitive definition. “I like to search and listen to aleatory themes, from where I choose something that touches me a lot,” she says, adding that she is coming up with a couple of tracks in the near future. “Feel The Vibration is a collaboration with Gustavo Koch (who is also from Brazil). And then there’s Menina do Samba — I am most looking forward to that one,” she says.
Check her tour schedule online.
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