Diamond Edition by Sonya Tarasova

More than eight years Lambada-market has been taking place in Moscow. There, the atmosphere of the whole event is inspired by European vintage markets and unforgettable parties. Our team met with the DJ and the musical director of the market – Sonya Tarasova, who told us how she moved to the capital, when became a part of the Lambada-market team, and how difficult it is to be a female producer nowadays. Sonya has also created a mixtape for Aloha Gaia called "Diamond Edition".

Tell us, how did you first get into music?

It was like 100 years ago, back to times when my dad was collecting records. Then they have been released for “Melodiya” label. Till I turned fifteen, I had loved to sit on the carpet in the center of the room and to go crazy listening to The Doors, Rolling Stones, Zvuki Mu, and I also remember vinyl by Vladimir Tarasov, a Lithuanian musician (he has the same name as my dad). Recently, I heard that he was going to perform at the "Garage" festival dedicated to John Coltrane, but I don't know how that story ended.

At the age of 17, I moved to Moscow from Nizhny Novgorod, where I continued to study part-time. I remember that the first thing I did was to visit Gorbushka (a marketplace for dealing in music, electronics, and household equipment). There, I met with Ilya Voronin who worked at Dr. Vinyl and launched Mixmag Russia. Ilya helped me to find a job in the trending, at that time, Fixpunkt store where I eventually sold Japanese jazz, experimental techno, and progressive house for four years. There, I met a bunch of real music fans, with some of whom I am still in touch.

After you started working in Oldich Dress & Drink. What were your tasks there?

I graduated from the philological faculty of N. I. Lobachevsky State University of Nizhny Novgorod, and after some time started to work in Oldich. My position there was program director and I was involved in organizing events, parties, concerts, and lectures. We have had dozens of groups from all continents performing, and even a Fashion History professor from Saint Martins once gave a lecture about the influence of pre-Raphaelites on contemporary fashion. To Oldich I was invited by Elena Kamay. She was a buyer and the managing director of the store. And then our friendship started. We were constantly creating something and made each event as if it was the last one.

We know that you're managing all the music on Lambada-market. What is it like?

Initially, I was a DJ on Lambada-market. Now, for five years, I have been a music director of all programs. Currently, we have three scenes on the market: one big stage for concerts, a store called DiG with vinyl records, and the third one is the stage on the new site called “ТЭЦ”, which is located behind the Strelka. This time, on Lambada in August, we are organizing performances together with the SCHOOL community of Brusnikina as well as Harms’ poetry reading and letters of the futurists.

Is it hard to be a serious DJ and producer when you are a girl?

Actually, there are a lot of female DJ's with great preferences in music. This time there will be five female DJs playing on Lambada. In the center of Moscow, most of the times men treat me equally: I have done so much already which is my key proof of being a professional. I am sure that the times when the boys can sell jewelry while girls make great music have come.

Tell us, what is the workflow like in Lambada-market team? Looking at the work of your team one can see that you are very close-knit and friendly. And at the same time, you organize the largest market in Moscow. 

We respect the work of each other, which is very important. Everything on the market has to seem relaxed and easy. Visitors do not need to see your workload: there should always be a feeling that you're only trying on dresses, enjoying everything and just having a rest. Although, of course, it’s not like that at all. Every market is months of work, nerves, disagreements, and some other not very pleasant moments that may happen.

As a music director, are your choosing bands and musicians only relying on your taste and experience?

We do it together with Lena Kamay. She always wants to do more than we already have, and it's a super motivation. We try to give chances to young and cool groups. Email box of  Lambada is full of messages with demos, and I listen to absolutely everyone's. Sometimes I feel as if was the jury of “The Voice”. Our favorite format is so-called one-day groups. Basically, we invite great musicians to meet, make up the repertoire, the guys rehearse and create groups called “Хвойный сбор” or "Сосна и Дуся", whose performances you can hear only once and only on Lambada market.

What projects are you involved apart from Lambada-market?

Now my favorite project is "Aglaya & Sonya". This is our due-DJ idea with Aglaya Demidenko. It brings me the thrill and complete satisfaction. I think I'm ready to start my own band. But I believe that it will happen in the format of enlightenment. Though I don't know when it will be and what it will look like yet.

Where do you get inspiration from? What gives you strength?

My inspiration is people. I meet a person and can see something in a personality that surpasses themselves. Everything else such as books or travels, in my opinion, just gives me experience. For example, I have recently met keyboardist of singer Luna. In addition to it, he plays Baroque music on harpsichord in the House of Scientists. This is a fantastic combination of academic music and pop industry. I came back to this story when I was creating the music program for a vintage pop-up corner at Aizel.

You love to dress up. Tell us how your unique style was formed?

I have found my own style pretty late: I think it was three years ago. Perhaps, my style is a balance between simple clothing and rare vintage things with their own history. Of course, Oldich has influenced me. There, it was normal to dress up or try on costumes for theater plays. A couple of years after Oldich I was wearing simple clothes, but now I am again attracted to black tie, gold embroidery, stockings and shoes with buckles, and, most importantly, wearing all of these at the same time.

What kind of jewelry do you wear?

It happens very rarely, but I always wear jewelry associated with people. I think if a gold bracelet that someone gave me breaks, that’s the end of the friendship. Let this be my only romantic superstition. Among Aloha Gaia jewelry I choose Navoti ring and Tawa necklace. They are simple and classy.