Despite the geographic dislocation triggered by the internet, the places where we live still have a profound influence on our lives. More than just a static backdrop, a city is an environment seeps into us and shapes the manner in which individuals grow and develop. Among the many layers of culture that exist simultaneously in our streets and spaces is the music scene. The local creative energies pulsating through existing local festivals, parties and clubs are the incubators that produce the next generation of personalities and sounds that keep bodies moving and styles evolving. In Krakow, recounting the genesis of DJ and promoter Virtual Geisha reveals many of most dynamic elements of the city, it’s electronic music scene and what is coming next.
In The Beginning
For Virtual Geisha, real name Aśka Grochulska, the journey to turntables begins in the theater department of The Ludwik Solski State Theatre School. While writing and directing plays, she was exposed to a wide diversity of music and nuances through the art of sound design and creating audioscapes for live productions. The next events of life’s set list were played out in the Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow at the intermedia department. The connection with art was always there.
Meanwhile, the city provides a program of its own. A life changing experience happened in 2013 with the attendance of Unsound Festival, a “‘annual music festival that takes place in Kraków, Poland, dealing with evolving and mutating forms of music, as well as related visual arts.’ On a more regular basis was going to several events in the underground party circuit including nights like We Are Radar and Brutaz which distinguishes itself for not revealing who is playing. “They were presenting a lot of cool artists, so I’m really influenced by their taste. That’s how I got into this kind of music. Later on, Szpitalna 1 started to be crucial for my music taste,” said Virtual Geisha.
A DJ And Promoter Is Born
At a course in The Academy of Fine Arts, Grochulska was given the task of creating a performance on Artistic Failure. Here she decided to learn how to DJ is a single month and a musician emerged. The basement of Bomba Na Placu on Plac Szczepanski was where hours were spent on the decks moving back and forth between records. Virtual Geisha now plays at Bomba once a month. Having absorbed much of what Krakow had to offer it was time for some traveling and the summer of 2015 took Virtual Geisha to the record stores, people, and parties of Hamburg, Germany.
Behind The Decks
There comes a time when musicians are done just being influenced and are ready to be influencers themselves. In the autumn of 2016, Virtual Geisha launched her own event cycle “Trips For The Lonely Hearted” which changes locations among Poland’s clubs. The same ones where not so long along she was just part of the public. Even more, Grochulska is now in charge of bookings at Święta Krowa, a small club hidden off Floriańska Street that has a house party vibe and showcases a variety of electronic dance music from techno to acid to DnB and more. The love of electronic music goes far beyond the dancefloor to an intimate personal relationship with vinyl of obscure and experimental electronica sounds.
Virtual Geisha is still keeping it low key with no label representation and taking her time to release her own music but you can catch her spinning on June, 17th at Bomba Na Placu and June 14th at Brutaz in Szpitalna 1.