Stevie: “I’m not good with words, so music is a way of expressing myself.”

Stevie: “I’m not good with words, so music is a way of expressing myself.”

posted on: march 25, 2021

You have probably heard our guest spin records many times, but here we will give you the chance to get to know them better. Operator will be publishing a monthly interview with some of our fellow residents. So stay tuned to our website and we hope you enjoy this first article with Stevie.

Natasha Stevie is a 33-year-old DJ, Visual Artist and Tattooer, born and bred in the south of the Netherlands, currently based in Rotterdam. By the time she was twenty, Natasha was working as storyboard artist for commercials and short films, but her focus soon shifted towards music and deejaying. Since lockdown, Stevie has been busy establishing her sound by playing a monthly resident show at Operator.

Last week we sat down with her to find out more about her journey as an artist, the music scene in KABK, her work as a Visual and Tattoo artist, and where she wants to go from this point onwards.

When did you get involved with music?

I was always interested in music. I am not particularly good with words and emotions, so music is a way of expressing myself. I always play songs when I paint, draw, or tattoo. I use it to inspire me, it really sets a mood.

My father is a drummer and my mother is always playing records, so that got me into music from a young age. Spinning, however, started in the end of 2019 when I started dating a guy who deejayed. It was a big step!

I had some extra money from the tattooing, and I saw this DJ set. It was a big financial commitment, so for three months I decided to play every day for an hour at least. And you know what, I have never stopped since!

Can you tell us a bit more about your journey as a DJ?

I think it is an ongoing journey because I have always been a collector. I just listen to a lot of music, I think around 20 hours a day. When I started buying records, I tried to not think about what other people like. But just keep it close to myself, to my own taste, and then see what happens. And then you notice that other people are also interested in your sound, which is really motivating.

I like vinyl especially, because you must be very selective, as they are quite expensive. It is mostly always Electro and Techno records that I get, although these genres are extremely broad and there is so much stuff to dig

You studied Fine Arts at KABK in The Hague. Are there many students at KABK who also DJ? Did music play an important role during your years as a student?

Yeah! Woody92. He was one year above me at the fashion department. That is it though, I think. Everybody at school was interested in music, of course. It is like big part of art, I guess. But not necessarily deejaying.

For me music was a private thing back then. I wanted to deejay for a really long time. But it felt the same as tattooing before I started. It felt a little bit like that is something that organized people do haha.

But music for sure has always been with me during my studies. Many times I presented a project accompanied with music for example.

Last year you teamed up with Acidic Male for a show at Operator called ‘DJ’s can’t dance’. Can you tell us more about this project? Are there plans to continue with it?

It started when Acidic Male was invited to play at Operator. She knew I was deejaying, so she suggested to do something together. And we were joking about how sometimes DJs are so invested in playing that they do not dance. And I am like, yeah, DJs really can't dance. And that is how the name came to be. We thought it would be funny to have a play on words.

That was actually my first show at Operator. And it was so bad haha. But I believe that I have improved a lot since then.

We definitely want to continue this project. But she is also busy with her own stuff. So, we will see where it goes next!

You are also a Visual Artist and Tattoo Artist. Can you tell us more about your work in these fields?

In my early 20s, I worked as a storyboard artist for short films and commercials, as well as an illustrator. It was going really well, but it was definitely too much pressure and too much organization, so I kind of slowed my pace on those fields.

Now I am focused more on deejaying and music and hopefully the Visual Arts and Tattooing work will come later. That is how I like to approach it.

How do you combine your interest in music with your career in Visual Arts?

Yeah, I think for now I am trying to keep it a bit separate. I was always sort of fantasizing with; for example, if I ever release an EP, to be able to design my own sleeve. But I do not think I am going to do that now. Because it is too much pressure, and as an artist you want to sort of control everything. But I have noticed that it is better to just let it go and maybe another person's vision of my work could add an extra layer to the project.

Which is your favorite show on Operator?

It is a set by Costanza and Iona. I like how experimental it is and how they play their own music.

Can you name some artists/creators from Rotterdam that we should keep an eye on?

For sure Kessler. He is an incredibly talented and genuine guy who just makes super nice music. And he is so hard working.

Also Charlton, he is always very focused, and that is something I really admire. He spends so much time at the studio producing music.

And then definitely Acidic Male. We went to the same class in KABK in The Hague and I always admire how dedicated she is to her projects. Seeing her work really helps and pushes me with finding my own direction.

What can we expect from you in the future?

I hope to find some more direction with deejaying. When I started, my attitude was to just see where it goes and to be relaxed about it. But I am starting to notice that I really really like it. It is similar to when I started tattooing for the first time. Something clicked and it touched my soul. And the same happened with deejaying.

I read a lot of interviews from other DJs to see how they work and surprisingly a lot of artists, such as Stranger and Ki/Ki, are very open about their own work process. This is extremely helpful to me with continuing to set my path.

Overall, I think I just want to prove to other people that I am worth it and hopefully after the Covid situation I will have the chance to play more gigs again.