Born in Milan and raised in London, Cristina started playing the piano when was six, grew up composing music and is now leading two successful parallel careers, working for Google and also having achieved widespread and international success as a DJ and producer.
If you could describe Cristina with three words, then these would be passion, determination and vision.
Her passion is the result of an innate musical connection mixed with talent, which was made evident from a young age, when was able to replicate any songs by ear on the piano, or transpose songs from one key to another. Cristina grew up composing a full musical album during her teen years, ended up working in the tech industry for major companies like Apple and Google, but her true love for music never abandoned her, bringing her to a true calling in 2016, when during her maternity she had the opportunity to start DJing and begin a new journey, which has enabled to turn a passion into a profession.
Juggling between the fast paced tech industry, motherhood and gigs, Cristina is working twice as hard to prove her worth, but results pay off. Thanks to her motivation, in only four years she was able to perform at iconic clubs like The Egg in London, Opium Dublin, Plastic and Armani Privé in Milan and catch the attention of Pioneer DJ Italy, who has chosen Cristina as an ambassador and example for aspiring Italian female DJs. Her scintillating sets and incredible selection of music have also brought Cristina to be featured on renowned international radios such as Ibiza Global, Pure Ibiza and Data Transmission and to be selected by some of the world’s most prestigious brands, including Armani, Audi, Estée Lauder and St Regis to perform at their fashion week and design week parties.
Being aware of the issues that female professionals can face in male dominated industries like the tech and music ones, Cristina has the vision that she can make a difference in the industry for women and mothers. She is part of shesaid.so, the world’s community of women in the music industry, where she leads the parenthood committee’s efforts to safeguard the interest of artists with kids. She is an #Iamremarkable facilitator, leading workshops that help women and underrepresented groups celebrate their achievements, in the industry and beyond. Furthermore, she is the host of Roots!, a bimonthly series of episodes on the origins of music for Magma, a web music TV channel featuring some of Italy’s best talent in the electronic music scene.
Influenced by the minimal and micro house sounds of producers such as NTFO, Raresh and Priku, and the English strands of Fuse London and Solid Grooves, Cristina has recently thrown herself in the field of production, collecting a series of successes with upcoming releases happening on labels like Crosstown Rebels’ Rebellion, Bondage and Creature Records.
Ultimately, Cristina’s objective is that of making people dance and creating a special connection with the audience, where she takes them on a journey based on long-mixed transitions and emotional sets.
Hi Cristina, great to have you with us today! How are you doing and whereabouts are you based right now?
Hi, nice to meet you! I am doing very well thanks, I am based in Milan, my hometown where I moved back after almost 10 years abroad between London, Spain and the US.
We’re pleased to be chatting with you today around the release of your track ‘Leap Year’ on the brilliant Rebellion Presents: SOULS Vol.2 VA EP. Congrats to you on this release. Can you tell us a little bit about ‘Leap Year’ and the story behind it being part of SOULS Vol.2?
Thanks! Of course, “Leap Year” is a track that I started writing on a snowy weekend in the Alps, in fall 2020. The title comes from the fact that, while producing it, I was reflecting on a weird leap year like 2020, which despite all odds, brought me some positivity by finally giving me the time to focus on electronic music production. In fact, with the strict lockdowns we were imposed in Italy, I had to “reinvent” myself as an artist and I took advantage of a period of idleness and no traveling, by starting producing. I took my Ableton software and Push, which my husband gave me as a present on our wedding anniversary last year, and I finally decided to focus on production. In fact, I didn’t consider myself a rounded artist until when I started producing, so this was a new experiment for me but I have to say I have enjoyed it so much, and being classically trained it was not too hard of a task to learn – even if I still need to improve, of course! In matters of how Leap Year was included in the SOULS 2 EP – I was actually pretty fortunate, as I sent the track to the Crosstown Rebels family just before summer 2021, and Damian Lazarus liked it – he then reached out to me and informed me that Leap Year would get included in this EP.
What was the inspiration behind ‘Leap Year’ and what was the creation process like?
My objective was to get a minimal housy sound, with a bassline that could be catchy and a couple of spoken vocals with both male and female voices. I also included a nice pad that repeats throughout the track to give it some atmosphere and groove, as well as a mix of hats and claps that gives it a nice rhythm. My inspirations are normally the minimal sounds from eastern Europe, with very few elements in the tracks, yet a strong groove. I think that Leap Year nicely expresses these inspirations and objectives in what has finally turned out to be the final result.
Aside from your DJing and producing, you are also a member of the groundbreaking movement, ‘shesaid.so’, that aims to “connect and empower underrepresented communities towards a more equitable music industry for all, one woman or gender minority at a time.” What can you tell us about shesaid.so and how did you first get involved with it?
The first time I attended an event from shesaid.so was back in 2017 when I was still living in London; it attended a workshop at Fabric London, where the promoters of Fabric were explaining the booking process of DJs and it was discussed how important it was to create a more gender balanced and inclusive industry. I was immediately hooked by the initiative and in 2019 I met Andreea, the founder of SSS, who asked me to join the community by building a global committee that would safeguard the interests of parents in music and help, since I am a mother and I dj on top of having a full time job. And now I am the global lead of the SSS parents committee, and with a bunch of ambassadors globally we try to provide a supportive and open platform to empower parents in music, by sharing experiences and ideas, and to act as a voice for parents of all genders who are SSS members or allies.
Through your work with ‘shesaid.so’, you recently gave a talk at a ‘Future Female Sounds’ event. Can you tell us a bit about that?
Of course I can! Future Female Sounds invited me to attend the European Female DJ Summit in Copenhagen in June. This was an event supported by the European Union that gathered 35 DJs and music industry professionals and had a central focus of boosting talent, leveraging skills within the disciplines of business, economics, management, digital skills, and visibility. I took part by holding a lecture on how to establish a strong presence online and on social media, and I also led a breakout session on parenthood. In addition, Future Female Sounds asked me to contribute to the creation of the first digital guide for womxn DJs: a guide with industry advice, tips, lists of collectives and organisations pushing for inclusivity across Europe.
We’d love to hear the story of how you first got into DJing and producing, what first inspired you to do so?
I have started DJing pretty recently, in fact it was not even 5 years ago. I was actually enjoying my maternity, but I was without child care support and at some point I decided to get some “me time” by starting a hobby, to take my mind away from exhausting new mother responsibilities. That’s how I started taking DJ lessons: I found a course close to my house as I didn’t have much free time, since I was breastfeeding. My teacher Mantas immediately taught me how to never use my “eyes” and watch the BPM to mix, but how to focus on beatmatching solely using my ears. Because I have always played the piano by ear, I managed to get it right quite quickly, but have to admit it was not an easy task. In any case, I immediately fell in love with DJing and I realized that this was just my thing, and despite having to go back to work, I would never give up music and I would always continue.. up to the point that, when I had to go back to work full time after maternity, instead of buying back a Vespa (which I had sold while pregnant), I invested the money into buying a whole DJ gear – and this is how it all started. It’s a bit tiring to lead two parallel careers and juggle between everything, but it also gives me a lot of satisfaction.
Who are some of your biggest musical inspirations?
Generally I am a big passionate of rock bands like R.E.M and U2, but I also love Ludovico Einaudi as I play the piano and I get particularly inspired by artists who can perform using multiple instruments, like Damon Albarn from Blur / Gorillaz or Giorgia Angiuli, a DJ that I am sure everyone reading this interview reading is familiar with. My biggest inspiration is an Italian singer songwriter who sadly passed away this year: Franco Battiato, a true inspiration as he started off his career experimenting with electronic music, then moving into a variety of experiments but establishing himself as a poet in music and one of the biggest names in the history of Italian music. He was also deeply appreciative of Gurdgeff, a Russian philosopher and mystic / spiritual teacher whose thoughts I esteem a lot. When it comes to electronic music, aside from the previously mentioned Giorgia Angiuli I am also a big fan of long time artists like Richie Hawtin, Lauren Garnier and of more “underground” ones like Sonja Moonear and the “rominimal” trend with artists like Raresh, Praslea, NTFO etc, and when it comes to labels and parties I am definitely into the vibes by Enzo Siragusa and the Fuse London crew.
A pleasure to chat with you today Cristina! Congrats again on the latest release and all the best to you going forwards. To round off, is there anything else lined up from you in the near future that you’d like to share with us?
Yes, there are actually a few more releases coming up! After managing to get to the top 5 in minimal / deep tech with Leap Year, I hope that also my upcoming releases will be appreciated. I am also excited to start being back in clubs in Italy! Italy just opened up and softened restrictions last week, allowing clubs to occupy up to 75% of their capacity. Next week I am playing for Globe in Verona, and a few other dates are about to be announced, which gives me hope that we are coming back to almost pre-covid times, also in Italy, soon.