There are some people who radiate positivity, energy and happiness – what we in the US call ‘good vibes’ – Juicy M is one of those people.
And she has reason to be. The young Ukrainian DJ Marta Snitkina has just been signed to Armada’s artist management arm, Chased Management. Juicy M is the first female artist to join the ranks of household trance/prog names such as Andrew Rayel, ANOTR, Dave Winnel, Mark Sixma, Sandro Silva, and Years.
It’s an impressive move for someone relatively new to the scene, by any standard – male or female. During ADE, I sat down with Juicy M in the comfort of the posh Armada office, the very office where she was signed only days prior. Sporting black leggings, her signature J-embellished snapback, and the kind of attitude that makes you want to be her friend, Marta opened up about the exciting news, what’s in store, and the real realities of being a female in electronic music today.
A sincere congratulations are in order. How are you feeling about the news?
Marta: I still feel like the luckiest girl in the world. I’m feeling super excited about all the tracks, collaborations and videos that are about to happen. And the shows are getting bigger and bigger – it’s amazing! Just two days ago I was in South Africa playing at H2O [Festival], and I have a tour coming up in Asia.
How did the collaboration with Armada come to be?
Marta: We had sent a few tracks to Armada, and they were interested in my label, Top Flite Records. At first, we started talking about signing my label to Armada, and then we discussed management – how to best deal with the music, collaboration, videos…working with a label as big as Armada is a great opportunity to bring my music, and the music of Jump Records, to a larger audience.
Speaking of your label, tell us about how you started Top Flite Records?
Marta: The idea really came from my fans who sent me tracks! When I started my radio show, Juicyland, it was all about sharing new music from new artists. I encouraged people to send me their demos, and I received so many cool tunes that aren’t out anywhere. People would say like, “Hey Juicy – do you like my track? Maybe you can do something with it,” and I’d be like, “Yes it’s amazing, this track is really banging! I just love it.” So I wanted to create an outlet for their music, but I couldn’t do it all on my own. That’s why I started the label.
What are you most excited for this year?
Marta: Tracks. Definitely tracks. Right now we’re concentrating on music and sound. So far we have nine tracks ready, and one video waiting for release. We shot it in LA with my friends- we spent two days just riding around LA with the girls and a go-pro. It was so much fun, so the video is fun. I’m very excited to show this to my fans.
And that’s how your music is. Your radio show and sets are feel good music, it makes you want to get up and dance and smile.
Marta: This is why I’m doing this, to make people smile!
If we’re to look on Armada’s website, it says you began your DJ career in 2007 as a resident in nightclubs in Ukraine, and made a name for yourself through DJ contests. You also rose to fame from YouTube videos in which you mixed four CDJs without using headphones. But what’s your story in your own words?
Marta: I started as a hip hop DJ on real vinyl in small clubs – it was cool because I was really young and we all loved this crazy dancing. Then I had a chance to go to South Africa to play on a hip hop dance floor, and I saw Afrojack performing on the mainstage – it was first time I saw how a DJ can be a rock star on a big stage. In that moment, I thought, “THIS is what I want to do. This is the music I want to play. I wanna be on the mainstage and feel this energy.” So that was the moment that changed my mind. After that, I recorded a video on the four CDJs because I had actually spent a lot of time on the turntables and CDJs and hours of training.
I uploaded so much EDM music on my laptop after that festival – I loved the energy. I loved how people sing all together as one, dance together as one. Then I uploaded the video and boom, it became popular – this was two years ago. But I never thought it would get this huge!
Ok tougher question: do you think female DJs feel pressure to either conform to be more tom-boyish or hyper-sexualized? What brand and image do you want to convey?
Marta: I wear comfortable clothing like jeans and sneakers on the decks because I’m jumping around and that’s what I’m comfortable in. But I’m just as comfortable wearing a swimsuit when it’s appropriate. The most important thing is to be professional. If you’re professional, play amazing music, write amazing music and have good taste, then why do you need to be like a guy? If you’re sexy, show it! But you should be professional first and foremost.
I like that answer. Besides Afrojack, who have been some of your other biggest influences?
Marta: So many people inspire for. From the girls – Nervo. They’re the first, the biggest and still the best. They do a hard job, they perform so much and still look good and have fun…
It’s not a very glamorous life, you know? You travel so much and sometimes you have leftover mascara on your eyes, you don’t sleep. You need to be strong. Being in this industry is a really hard job. We have like 25-27 gigs a month, and in the summertime it’s madness. There’s so much travel. So maybe that’s why not so many girls – it’s a much harder job than it seems.
With Instagram and Twitter, people mostly just see the glamourous side – people are only posting the best moments.
Marta: That’s the thing! My parents always tell me, you’re so lucky – and I am! – but I also send them pictures of what it’s really like backstage. Like how many hours I spend on the plane, how I get ready on the plane – I change in the lavatory. One time, I had like four gigs in a day and I said to my manager, “Please don’t do that again to me” because it’s so hard. We didn’t eat, we didn’t sleep – I didn’t even have time to go to the restroom. It’s just insane. We should start posting pictures – maybe photos of how we’re sleeping on the floor of the airport – because everybody thinks it’s so easy and glamorous.
I actually performed on my tour last year when I was pregnant.
You performed pregnant?? You should be a Nap Girl.
Marta: Yes, I was five months pregnant. Fans didn’t know it – I didn’t post it like, “Look at me I’m pregnant and jumping!” He’s 7 months right now and I’m about to go on tour again. But right now as a mother I can say that it’s helped me to do everything quicker, because when you have a baby and a tour and are doing so many things at the same time, it makes you stronger. And a lot of artists are doing this now – we have families and kids. Life has to go on!
Anything else that you want to give a shout-out for?
Marta: New tunes. The goal for next year is to post my new music and tracks I’m super excited about – so stay tuned!