«I came over to her and asked "Are you a designer?", and she said, "Nope, I go to school"». And so began the acquaintance of Dasha Utochka and Nastya Pilepchuk – girls whose art-duo Maiden Obey creates remarkable DJ-sets today as well as nude photoshoots in their online magazine Areola. The beginning of a creative way always stays pleasant in memories, especially when it relates to school and student years. Aloha Gaia team was amazed by their energy. Not surprisingly as it turned out during the interview that they have a "special power"...
Tell us how did you meet?
Nastya: It happened a long time ago at a punk concert. I went to say hey to one guy I used to study with at university, and he introduced me to Dasha. She was so sweet: she had a haircut "under the pot" and bright red pants. At those times there were few fashionable shops in Moscow, and not many standing out people. I walked over and asked, "Are you a designer?", and she said, "No, I go to school"
That means that you have known each other since school years?
Nastya: Then I was a freshman, and Dasha was in the 11th grade
Dasha: We were not one group of friends, but often met each other. Although we were right next to each other, we cannot say that we were the best friends. But then, both of us had one episode that really made us good friends. Since then we have not separated from each other
And which professional fields did you adore before?
Nastya: I studied at Moscow State University of Design and Technology and got a degree in fashion design. My studies hardly helped me anyhow and only discouraged from what I used to love
Dasha: I studied journalism, but then gave up and two years studied to be an animator. But never worked in this field
When you make DJ-sets by Maiden Obey, you dress up in awesome costumes! Did you initially have an idea of making performances in costumes?
Nastya: Facebook has recently reminded us that five years ago we held our first party where we played together. There were even two on the same day: looked as if we just started playing and already became famous DJs (laughing). From the very first sets we came up with something, and there was no question about appearance: if we perform, we must look cool!
Moreover, we both have always loved extravagant outfits and finally got an opportunity to express ourselves. For the first few performances we bought some parts of our looks – it could be a wig or rhinestones on the face. But we quickly realized that it was not enough and I started to make even more weird outfits
Dasha: When Nastya started making costumes, she initially argued with me, and I could say my opinion on this matter. But in general, I trust her taste and most often I see the costume right before a set
And how was the music style of Maiden Obey formed? Now your music is quite different from what it was a couple of years ago
Nastya: In the beginning, we started with the 90-s rave, and we loved the "happy hardcore". Now our music style varies a lot: sometimes we play energetic music with good bass so that the whole dance floor is buzzing, and sometimes we are happy to play something very simple and melodic. We are music lovers and can adapt to any mood. Fortunately, the majority of our musical preferences are alike
There are some stereotypes about DJs and musicians: non-stop party, alcohol and many bad habits. How about you?
Nastya: At some point, I got tired of nightlife and it was not yesterday. When you work every weekend and do not sleep at nights, you prefer more quiet weekends with calm, chill and cozy evenings when there is no work. It's hard to be cheerful every weekend. Sometimes you feel like sitting in silence but you need to go and play a set. Now I almost never go to parties if I do not play there. But I'm sure that when we stop playing, I will go to some parties...occasionally
Dasha: Yes, we play every weekend, so no time to go anywhere. Sometimes, of course, we can go to some cool events if we do not have a set. But usually, after the gig, we always go home
And what's your secret – how do you manage to look so good with so many parties?
Dasha: Oh, Nastya will tell all about it, she is an expert!
Nastya: I have recently started to actively recover my regime of life. We refuse to take some sets because of the long flights – it really affects the health, it’s proved. Also, for quite long, I have not drunk neither had I eaten any fried or semi-finished food and rarely I have some meat as I do not know where it comes from and can only imagine how much of damaging ingredients it contains. So I try to carefully choose food that comes into my body.
Dasha: I agree with Nastya. Now I can drink some alcohol but very rarely. How much time can we party indeed? Although, in the past, we let ourselves a lot!
Nastya: Well, yeah... With such lifestyle and Moscow environment, one needs to look after themselves more carefully. I respect non-traditional medicine such as Ayurveda, osteopathy. I am lucky that my man supports my views on a healthy lifestyle: he does not drink or smoke, he's very conscious of what he eats. So, I can surely state that he influenced me, too
Dasha, and you also don't eat meat?
Nope, I do not. I love animals. So I eat a lot of vegetables, cereals, and never fry anything. One time Natya and I were fond of various supplements and have tried a lot. Our favorite online store is IHERB. I have always loved this topic. Earlier I did a lot of yoga, but then I got bored
And tell us about your latest trips and adventures. Which were the most memorable?
Nastya: I have recently been to Iceland – it was just unreal! Going there was a dream of my life. My boyfriend found out about it and made a present not timed to anything. And all my expectations were fully justified. Can't say that in my next life I would like to be born there, but to go back I definitely want. These lava fields, glaciers, mountains, waterfalls... Never seen anything similar or at least as beautiful. I advise everyone to go there
Dasha: This summer I traveled to Italy – the place I have dreamed of visiting. I love southern nature. My boyfriend and I took the car and we were riding for three weeks across the country somewhere near the Alps. I feel very connected to this country, and maybe someday I'll come there to live
Nastya: And would you like to be born there?
Dasha: Of course, given that we were both born in Yakutia!
So you both come from Yakutia, don’t you?
Nastya: Yes, it's a funny story. After two years of friendship, I asked Dasha where she was born, and she said: "in Yakutia". I thought she was joking! But it was serious. Our special Yakut power attracts each other. Though originally we are not from this region – we were just born there. I have been living in Moscow since she was eight years old and Dasha since she was five. So she is more from Moscow than me
To be friends and to work with the best friend sounds like a dream! It’s great when all of this is combined. But there are big risks. How do you manage to not fight and to be best friends for so long?
Dasha: Of course, it is very difficult to keep all this balanced. When we started to play, we had a lot of arguments. But then we suddenly realized that it is not necessary to sort things out this way if we want to go on doing our stuff. Teamwork helps you grow, and you learn to find a compromise and to be more tolerant
Nastya: We also share responsibilities. We have not fully done it in Areola, but in Maiden Obey, it is pretty clear. I make costumes, and Dasha is the manager. In Areola, we do tasks one by one, but all the major projects are done together
Dasha: All in all, we are both very responsible, so there are no troubles with performance
By the way, tell us more about your project “Areola”
Dasha: I was the one who got this idea. When I was much younger, I took a lot of pictures, and some of the first shots in the magazine are mine. Now Nastya and I only supervise this project, and I have not shot for a long time. Areola Mag is a project made for people who love the aesthetics of the female nudity and photography as much as we do. All photoshoots published in the magazine are quite diverse but people still notice that all of them have the same style. I hope that it is true even though it is hard for me to judge when I am in the center of the whole action. Moreover, we love various styles, and we are not only about fashion. We do everything not paying attention to public opinion but only on our flair and taste
Nastya: Also, we have recently launched a model Agency Areola Models. Now, our favorite models already work with our contracts, and soon there will be more male models as well. During our work on Areola, we have collected a huge database of faces, so we can select a model under any criteria. As the project is very new at the moment, we pay most of the attention to it
What is the selection criterion for characters for a photo shoot?
Nastya: In the magazine, there are a lot of different girls: some fit in the criteria for conventional beauty while some don't. There are very thin people, and there are models of plus size. Our value is that beauty is different and no one can say that something is definitely beautiful or something is not. It is important that the photo shoot is aesthetically pleasing, we don't tolerate pretentiousness and vulgarity. In the past we often produced shootings, but for now, we just receive it and check if they are going to be published or not
What's the most important project that gives you pleasure?
Dasha: We are constantly in process, and we find many things to be interesting. Now, we have already started to partially abandon DJ-sets for health reasons. Today, I can say, that we really want to work on Areola developments, and this is exactly what we are doing