I wasn’t quite sure what to make of the work of Anna Vtorova, aka Machine Woman the first time I heard it. Her productions explore a wealth of genres, blending the clinical precision of Raster-Noton releases with the raw, anything goes improvisation of early noise and industrial scenes. Having released her ‘For Sweden’ EP on Peder Mannerfelt’s ‘Peder Mannerfelt Produktion’ label late last year, her work has begun to gather notable attention, highlighted in Fact Magazine’s ‘10 house & techno producers to watch in 2016’ feature for example. Having mused over the wide-array of different locations cited in her press materials previously, we decided to catch up with Vtorova to set the record straight. “Yes I’m 100% Russian” she begins when asked her origins. “Wait hold on, actually I have Ukrainian, Karelian and a bit of Polish heritage too… I guess I’m 100% Eastern Bloc. I lived in Leningrad until I was 14 - the ’90s were brutal in Russia. Still, I think many things are the same today…”
Subsequently Vtorova moved to Nottingham, UK, and just last Summer relocated to Berlin (if you want to know why, she suggests listening to ‘Be Quiet And Drive (Far Away)’ by the Deftones). The other week she was also able to visit Sweden, home of her most recent label boss Peder Mannerfelt. “A few weeks ago I played in Sweden - I went after work. I am very grateful my bosses let me follow my dream,” she begins when asked on the visit. “I was nervous as I hate flying and also it was my first show in a long time. After my last show I was not sure if I wanted to play live ever again…. But an offer to play Sweden changed my mind and I am glad.”
Comprising her first vinyl release, ‘For Sweden’ covers six skittish sonic experiments, broken metallic textures clattering against one another. As for the EP’s title, the origins are much simpler than you might imagine. “I named a folder on my computer because I knew the tracks would be sent to Sweden (to Peder) so it was just an easy way for me to find my tracks on my computer. I wish I could tell you a more magical story….”
Prior to this Vtorova also graced Tesla Tapes - the label fronted by fluctuating psychedelic outfit Gnod, with a five track cassette of decidedly more noisey explorations. “We played a show together in London when I was in Female Band (one of my other projects)” she begins when quizzed on her interactions with the collective. “A couple of years later I played this abandoned warehouse in Manchester or Salford… It was a pretty extreme place with part of the roof missing. Kenny Love, one of my mates asked me to play. Then I moved to Salford and my flatmate was Chris from Gnod. After that show I got an offer to play Islington Mill and the night ‘Gesamtkunstwerk’. Later, Paddy who runs Tesla Tapes label asked if I wanted to release a cassette and I said sure, why not…”
The focus hasn’t always been electronic music for Vtorova however. She has played in a number of different bands, collaborations and other assorted projects bringing varying degrees of satisfaction. “Sometimes it was fun and sometimes it was very frustrating experience” she begins when asked about her previous endeavours. “I started when I was 17. I got a Saturday job at a local bakery, saved money and got myself a drumkit. My mum was erm…. very happy about that…. That summer I spend a lot of time by myself in my garage listening to the Deftones and Slipknot and trying to play drums. Now many years later I spend a lot of time by myself on my computer and still try to play drums….(machines), and still listen to Slipknot and Deftones… Chino Moreno once sang one of The Cure songs to me but that’s another story….”
Vtorova’s mix for us covers 64 minutes of tracks which have influenced the project, assorted house and techno mutations ebbing and flowing between one another. As for future plans for Vtorova, it’s anyone’s guess. “Well, my life has been pretty interesting lately. I might start an Aphex Twin tribute act…”
No tracklist available.