Nadia Struiwigh has been releasing her emotive, patient electronic music for nearly a decade, including albums for IDM institutions such as CPU, split-twelves with synth legends such as Legowelt and most recently, Pax Aurora, her latest and sublime release on the brilliantly curated Nous K’lear Audio.
Pax Aurora is also the name of Struiwigh’s recently announced new community-focused support platform, the natural culmination of an inspiring and open-minded online presence. Far from mystifying the process of electronic music, Struiwigh consistently lifts up the digital velvet rope for new producers, and having moved to Australia before the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, her live streams and production sessions online have rendered a more positive and popular force than before.
A long-time favourite at Phantasy, we’re delighted to welcome Struiwigh for the latest edition of #PHANTASYMIX, which guides listeners down a deep, even meditative wormhole of rich techno and waves of diverse electronic textures. Nadia took the time to speak to John Loveless via email about her upcoming projects, the changing scene and the risks and rewards of social media.
Hi Nadia, thanks for delivering this edition of #PHANTASYMIX. Tell us about the mix and where it was recorded?
You are most welcome! So this mix is recorded in my flat in Sydney, which has a wonderful open space. I just invested in a DJ setup as we are in a massive lockdown, and me and my partner really can't live without a party or spinning some music. It's just the best way to get out of your head and enjoy the present. My last few mixes are very hypnotic and I really love this sound at the moment. It's mysterious, but still firm Techno. I have to admit, I really miss the dancefloor and the nightlife. I feel we all are more openminded in these hours and we can get lost in different dimensions. This is definitely a mix dedicated to those who love to get lost!
You are very active in discussing your production methods and approach on social media, and have created what appears to be quite a welcoming community around your own music. On a personal level, why is it so important for you to demystify the process of music making?
That's so nice to read, thank you! I am actually very very happy you ask me this question. I feel the music scene is changing, and some of us are still not aware that we need to change our perspective towards this scene. I believe we all are equal, and those who have a bigger voice are able to create change and possibilities for others. I travelled a lot in the past, and I have seen places and cultures who are in desperate need for help, and I realised that I am in a very fortunate position. So for me sharing my knowledge with others, and creating value for others is my number one priority. I want to be and create that safe space people need to develop their biggest dreams, no matter what kind of background or interests you have. With this comes, that I should be more active online as well, to show people that it is able to create the life you want... yes.. even in this crazy period of time, there are doors with some magic behind it ;-)
You also discuss physical and mental wellbeing quite regularly, but of course, social media also comes with it’s own risks in terms of the pressure on an artist to remain ‘visible’. What tools do you use away from the stream to ensure that somebody even as enthusiastic as yourself isn't susceptible to this kind of burnout?
Yes you are right. Social Media has it's downside as well, and I am pretty aware of that. I must admit, I sometimes also fall into the scroll hole and I am tired of being in that space. I am pretty open about that, because let's just be honest, there is a lot of crap on Socials and people sketch a picture of themselves which are not always based on the truth. Being the creator instead of being the consumer is the way to go. Use it as a tool, and put intentions towards your actions, always.
Also.. I have been very ill in the past, so I learnt a lot from that time. Always put yourself on nr1, because without you, you can't help others. Planning time for yourself, have good night of sleep, healthy food, say no when you don't feel like and... if you have that many projects as me, do the things that are in tune with your character, and ask for other peoples help.
Sharing the name of your new album, you have just registered your ‘Pax Aurora’ platform as a business in Australia. Congratulations! Can you tell us a little more about the idea?
Thank YOU! Isn't this exciting? I am very stoked about it ha ha. Pax Aurora will be a big connection platform, but then for Electronic Musicians and hopefully we can expand it towards more scenes and world wide. The reason why I am very stoked about this, because we got so many support letters from the scene, big labels, gear companies, music school, and from the community – so there is definitely a need to connect brands/ sponsors, upcoming artists, music professionals, students in one place to help them in their musical career, especially now there are no shows. It will come with memberships, a big music network, and a tutorial bank of artists who are keen to learn how to stream and create their own tutorials for brands - just like me. With this we are able to connect them with the right brands via Artificial Intelligence. Here is a little copy:
Pax Aurora is a music platform founded in Sydney 2021 by Nadia Struiwigh. The goal is to help artists in need of guidance in their musical careers. Offering tutorials and business opportunities to people from all backgrounds, ensuring equality throughout ranging from sex, race, sexual orientation, disability, financial background and age by providing a safe space available to all.
The music scene is changing, there is a need for place where people can connect, learn, and grow in a personalised way. Moving from The Netherlands to Australia, it became apparent that the electronic music industry was under-represented in Sydney. We’d like to introduce and share the passion that we have for this creative environment. The aim is to encourage artists to explore by creating a network of like-minded individuals that collaborate and grow together.
You have been living in Australia for the past few years. I’d usually ask you to differentiate between the scene there and in your previous home in the Netherlands, but of course, world events have led to somewhat unprecedented times for music and cultural communities. You have always been very productive, but how has the combination of a move across the planet and the pandemic affected your work?
Yes! 1,5 years now and it has been a big rollercoaster. Let's be transparent... when I moved here before Covid, I never thought I would stick around. I would have gone back to Europe and tour around. 2020 was the year, that I could live fully from my music...I thought: "I made it!!". Then Covid came, and I was lost, depressive, and I seriously had to find myself again. Big shout out to my partner, because he had to go through it with me, it was very hard. I live this music lifestyle already for 12 years, so this was a big shocker. After some time I found myself again by exploring my needs. The need of helping others and music was still my number one. I created a path for myself that clearly works, and I can say right now, that I am the happiest I ever been. I moved agencies, and I work now with Marcus from LittleBig – what a cool guy! I gained a lot of sponsors, and my career is booming. I work also full-time as Creative Lead/Graphic Designer for Jaxsta, an official music database (credits) for all music professionals and it's amazing.