Newbie. Up and comer. Rising star. SoCal skater-chick-turned-trance-addict Kristina Sky has been called them all. And this is after she had already worked her way up the ranks from handing out fliers at the Electric Daisy Carnival to being selected by Armin van Buuren more than a decade later to play the festival’s A State of Trance stage. It’s safe to say, Sky has arrived. She attended UCLA for music business and helped the trance scene grow on the West Coast. “I actually started the first 100 percent pure trance club in America in 2003 called Heaven,” she says. “I was bringing in 80 percent of the trance DJs that were relevant, or up-and-coming in Europe at that time.” Sky honed her skills as a resident DJ, cultivated her musical taste while working in a record shop and built a loyal fan base from there. Catch K.Sky in action when she spins at Marquee with Markus Schulz on February 15. Then road-trip to Hollywood for her gig at Avalon with Cosmic Gate on February 23 and at Exchange LA on March 8.
Lately, you’ve been delving more into production. The track “Signals” you debuted last summer at the Electronic Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas is finally out, right?
It’s a collaboration I did with Menno de Jong. We actually wrote that track when I was in Amsterdam for ASOT [A State of Trance] 550 before the summer. It finally got released on Armada last month. It’s a progressive-trance track, something a little off our beaten path—it’s totally trance, but it is more mellow. We’re excited about it. He’s been a longtime friend of mine and I brought him to the U.S. for his first gig ever in 2004. He wasn’t even old enough to play in the clubs! We’re probably going to do more stuff this year, but that’s our first official thing together.
Although yours may not be the most familiar name to Las Vegas clubbers, you’ve got some really dedicated fans around the world. How do they show support?
I’m really, really lucky. I’ve been getting a lot of homemade banners and stuff like that. I get a lot of “kandi” [bracelets], because I also derive from the rave scene. I’ve got quite a big rave-kid following and I love that. I have a little treasure chest that I bought just to store all of that stuff because I was getting so much of it.
Any Kristina Sky tattoos walking around yet?
Not yet, but I have heard talks about it. I’m not sure how I feel [about that]. I do have quite a dedicated group of fans that are coming around the country with me now. Of course not everyone can afford to do that, but I do seem to have fans with jobs that allow them to bounce around and follow DJs. I have this one fan, for example, who was in Chicago, was going to be in Houston, he came to L.A., he was on Groove Cruise, and now he’s coming to Vegas. There are people that are making a lot of effort to come to the shows and that means a lot to me. For the Vegas gig, I’m getting droves of SoCal people that are coming, which is probably one of the reasons why they want me to be in Vegas, because they know that the L.A. kids really make the effort.
Being that you’re a female, does that ever get creepy?
It could get stalker-ish and yes, I have had a couple of those. Luckily, out of 10 years, I’ve only had a couple that genuinely freak me out. Since I’m not the “Sexy DJ,” when I see people come to the shows over and over it’s kind of obvious that they’re following me for the music and not for some sexy image or something. I think I don’t attract those types of people because I’m not putting that out there.
Speaking of fans, a couple of yours named Tony and Danna were wondering what made you pursue your particular style of trance as opposed to the many other styles of electronic dance music that are out there?
Nothing specifically. It’s just been an organic, natural progression. I started out in the early 2000s playing that Paul van Dyk-style trance with my own twist. Before the club scene opened up in the United States, it was all about raves and every DJ for himself, so there wasn’t really a formula for opening for a bigger DJ. You could just play whatever you wanted, so that’s the type of trance I played: Really banging melodic trance.
As the club scene opened up it became more of you supporting this DJ and you wanted to set the mood, that’s when I had to figure out, “OK, I love Paul van Dyk/Armin van Buuren-style trance, but I can’t in good conscience play that before them because that’s not how the formula is now.” I had to figure out a way to find other tunes that satisfy the melodic side of me, the uplifting side of me, without hitting those really high tempos and the really banging side of trance.
To me, trance music is not a tempo, per se. To me, trance is melodic dance music, so when you open it up like that you have a whole world of options. There’s melodic, trance-y type stuff from 120 BPM [beats per minute] to all the way to 140. That’s what I did, I said, “OK, I can’t play like I used to play, but I don’t want to totally change my sound. I’m just going to find some slower, groovier stuff that still has that melodic, trance-y element to it.” That’s kind of how I got to where I am now with my sound. I never said, “Oh, I’m going to play house,” or “I’m going to play progressive.” I listen to a lot of music every week as I’ve been doing for 10 plus years, and as I’m going through that music I and digesting it, I throw out the stuff that’s too hard for my set and I keep the stuff that’s within reason. It usually complements the trance guys really well, because it’s not totally minimal. Progressive trance is really a good genre to play with a trance guy where you’re not stepping on their toes but you’re kind of leading into them in a natural way.
Fans can also rock some Kristina Sky gear thanks to a new partnership?
I teamed up with Remix [watches]. They’re doing stuff with a couple of other DJs, and it’s a very club-oriented design where you can pop out the watch faces and put it in different bands. It’s like “How do you remix?” You make your own watch. They approached me right before the summer and said that they wanted to do a Kristina Sky watch. I really like their whole brand. We came up with this design based off of this semi-famous photo of me from Coachella, and they put that on the face. It was released to the public right before Christmas and it’s on XWatchCo.com/KristinaSky, that’s where you can go to actually see the watch and order it. We’re going to be coming out with an alternate color scheme and design in the spring. They’re really cool guys and I like what they’re doing, so I’m going to work with them as long as possible.