meet 'tight', the female-run platform showcasing kyiv's underground music scene
From drinking with Nastya Muravyova to lecturing on the state of music criticism, this trio are creating content beyond the dancefloor.
Photography Lesha Berezovskiy
Writing about music isn’t as easy as it sounds. Not only do you have to know your shit, you also need to keep inventing new formats to attract increasingly limited attention spans. Interestingly, this is something that Kyiv-based music platform TIGHT actively avoids. By banning any 'fast' content – no disposable festival or record reviews – they publish stories that dig a little deeper; focussing on personalities and the context in which the music was created. This is the essence of TIGHT. Then, of course, there’s their “drinking with” series, in which underground artists get real about life's important issues over a pint or two.
“TIGHT was born out of the feeling that we can do something different,” explains Tanya Voytko, one of the founders. She met Maya Baklanova, who deals with communication and coordination, at a protest against the unfair drug policy as a consequence of a violent police raid in one of Kyiv’s clubs. “We just found ourselves dancing to drum and bass in front of the government building and immediately felt a connection,” Tanya continues. Later, after meeting at a music festival, their third member Vita Zhyriakova joined before moving to Stockholm where she’s currently based. “Our friendship started on distance, but still got tighter and tighter,” laughs Vita, who’s in charge of the website and art direction together with Jugoceania, a small design studio from Kyiv.
“We wanted to challenge ourselves to create a platform with a unifying experience for the reader,” Vita continues. “We want people to feel the articles, so that they get the complete image, not just words.” There was no proper platform through which they could express themselves, no Russian or Ukrainian media that would cover the music they like. And so they created one on their own. Born out of friendship, TIGHT is more than just another online platform, it exists in real life too, in the form of workshops, lectures, parties and exhibitions organised by the crew and their friends.
For anyone not familiar with Kyiv’s underground music scene, it’s definitely something worth exploring. Their infamous Cxema rave became a worldwide cultural phenomenon within just a few years, while Closer – one of the city’s biggest clubs – regularly hosts international DJs like Helena Hauff, Seth Troxler and Magda. “Kyiv’s music scene is definitely on the rise now, although there’s definitely a lack of female artists,” explains Maya. “New promo groups and names like ШЩЦ, Worn Pop and the gay party series Veselka bring diversity and create a positive vibe full of freedom. And we do have a lot of freedom since no one, in fact, controls this cultural area.”
Not wanting to limit themselves, TIGHT reflects this freedom. They celebrate local scenes, sure, but not exclusively, instead considering themselves global “because of the unlimited possibilities the internet has to offer,” Maya says. Talking of limitless possibilities, who’s on their wish list to grab a beer with next? “I’d go for Lorenzo Senni as I believe he has a lot of fun stories to tell,” Maya continues. “Sometimes I imagine drinking with Cosey Fanni Tutti and talking about life,” suggests Tanya. “Linn da Quebrada, for sure,” bagsies Vita. “Her music is brutal, honest, political and her performances are total fire.” Things that could also be said about TIGHT, too.