Dmitriy Novakovskiy: I love to play at places where people wouldn’t expect a DJ

How do you usually introduce yourself?

Hi, my name is Dmitriy, I play dance music at night and work in Google while the sun is still up. My “usual venues” are house parties, music bars, sailboats (yes, out there on the sea), and vacation houses (with velvet sunsets and cocktails by the pool).

I am originally from Ukraine, living in Amsterdam.

When did you start DJing? Is it more of a hobby or a parallel career?

I started reading about DJing back in summer 2017, after spending many hours observing DJs at clubs while trying to figure out the magic behind the gear and the overall process. Later in that same year, my friends gave me my first piece of DJ gear for my birthday — Native Instruments Kontrol S2. First couple of weeks of practice felt like eternal struggle, just like a new language. Later things got better and I started really enjoying this, ramped up music collection, started buying new gear, etc.

Hobby or parallel career? More like the former as of today. Although I like to joke that someday I may take a break (sabbatical or whatever), head out to Thailand or India and just play at beach clubs.

What kind of music do you enjoy playing?

Most of my collection is Techno and various sorts of House (deep, tech, balearic etc). I also strive to bring in Breakbeat when it makes sense, along with ocassional slower atmoshperic cuts from artists like Moderat. Always fun to see people slowdancing with each other, just like if it’s a school disco all of the sudden.

Where do you look for inspiration?

I’ve started building out my collection by following DJs and producers that I liked — on YouTube, or after seeing their sets in Amsterdam clubs. Today, it still makes up for about 70% of music that I buy — I’m not much of a shop digger, and there’s nothing embarrassing Shazaming tracks that you like in other people’s sets.

What inspires me the most is being able to play at places where people would usually not expect a DJ to be present. A birthday party on sailboat in Hegg (NL), “from dusk till dawn” at a villa in Tenerife, Halloween house party in Utrecht — these are some of the best DJ memories of 2017 for me so far. Because of that, I’m always traveling with a portable mixer and headphones — you never know when the opportunity to play is going to present itself.

Which city has the best club scene in your opinion?

I have 2 main “gravitation centers” in Europe — it’s Amsterdam and Kiev. This works in many aspects of life — my friends, my work, and also clubbing. Amsterdam is one of a kind, the nightlife here is essential to what this city stands for, just like pubs in the U.K. or baseball in the U.S. Being there for ADE, Easter weekend or New Years Eve is all you need to most likely see the DJ that you like, discover new artists and have a variety of decent clubs always ready to offer something.

Kiev, on the other hand, is very special, this is where clubbing started for me. Every time I go there I crave for a chance to spend the night at Closer, especially if it’s a warm summer night. It doesn’t get any more “Eastern Europe” than seeing the sunrise there, while the crowd has no plans to stop partying whatsoever.

The funniest clubbing places I’ve been to are probably San Francisco and Singapore. In SF, at 2–3 AM bars stop serving alcohol, and an hour after that the bouncers would forcefully grab remaining beers from anyone who still has any left. The look in the eyes of European DJs at this moment says it all.

In Singapore, I’ve gotten to see an amazing set by Charlotte De Witte back in 2017. The party was on Thursday and it ran until the early morning, so it remains a mistery to me how all these people carried on with their Friday work (or study) afterwards.

What kind of projects do you work on as a Cloud Engineer at Google Amsterdam?

I do consulting and presales for Google Cloud. So most of the time, I fly around Europe, helping teams and companies with analytics, container hosting, machine learning, etc.

What are your roots in tech?

My tech career started from sysadmin and support jobs, eventually evolving into consulting (for example bridging the gaps between users and technology, business people and tech folks, etc). Today, I do hands-on stuff with Kubernetes Clusters and cloud networking mostly, also jumping into SQL analytics with BigQuery and machine learning models on Tensorflow from time to time.

Do you look forward to React Amsterdam? Have you visited the conf previously?

Very much looking forward to it! I heard good things about the conf and the party this year, let’s make even cooler in 2019! 🙂

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