Anfisa Letyago / Feelin

A talk with Anfisa Letyago.

Listen to Soundscapes vol.155, curated by Anfisa Letyago.

If we go back to your teenage years and explore your background, what was your approach to the clubbing scene? What did you enjoy about it and what do you think influenced you?

I was fortunate enough to grow up in Naples, a city where club culture is deeply ingrained. I started immersing myself in this scene as a clubber many years ago when Naples was at the peak of its most important era in terms of underground music and represented the epitome of clubbing in Italy. I had the opportunity to hear many international DJs and electronic music artists who came here to perform in the past years. It was really exciting during that time and many Neapolitan DJs and producers emerged in the scene, carving out their own space and making significant contributions to the world of techno on an international level. The fusion of house music and techno particularly characterised those years and the journey of these artists, shedding light on a groove that has always distinguished Neapolitan artists in the industry. This movement inevitably had a great influence on me; from being a clubber, I became a disc selector (it was 2009), and my immense curiosity to explore the world of electronic music has always driven me further, eventually leading me to become a DJ and producer myself.

Producing music is a deeply intimate artistic expression, capable of evoking sensations in the listener and subconsciously drawing them into your personal sphere. What elements do you want to be identifiable and recognisable in your music? What are the distinctive traits you always want to be associated with?

I believe that your voice is the most important instrument you can have. Through it, you can express the deepest concepts and ideas and create hypnotic sounds. Knowing how to sing is not essential; it’s enough to know how to use it. In my case, my voice is a prominent element in my productions. Our vocal timbre is the most identifiable and powerful thing overall.

Speak freely about your feelings while producing, your state of perfect comfort where you feel 100% yourself, what you feel and what you aim to evoke in those who experience your sets.

My studio is the place where I feel 100% myself, where I can reach my highest level of tranquillity and freedom. There are moments when I feel like experimenting, so I isolate myself in my studio, without a phone, with subdued lighting… It’s in these moments that my world unfolds completely. I start with a deep and closed pad, play some chords, and create very ‘dreamy’ harmonies that evoke very intimate sounds for me. When I feel I’ve found the right balance between all the sounds, I start recording some vocal takes, playing with words. Then I move on to the rhythmic part, immersing myself in the search for the perfect grooves for the sensations I feel in that specific moment. I don’t worry about what the result will be; I don’t let myself be influenced by any external contamination in these moments; it’s just me and my creativity.

Talk about Anfisa in the early moments, the first time you produced a track, the moment you realised it would be your path, and how you think you have changed stylistically and in musical choices.

It was in 2016 when I took my first steps as a producer. Several years had passed since I started playing in clubs, and as time went on, I felt more and more the need to produce my own music. I spent hours and hours in the studio, completely losing track of time, fascinated by synthesisers, drum machines, sound design, and all the tricks. My early productions were more geared towards the dance floor, where I wanted to play, and the labels I hoped they would be released on; I used a more instinctive approach. I also taught myself how to produce, so it took me a bit longer to find my true musical identity and to start taking musical risks.
The turning point came in 2020 when I founded my label NSDA. I wanted the opportunity to feel even more free, to have no psychological influence and to create something that didn’t necessarily have to be “approved” or “supported.” I released my first EP on my label, “Listen,” where I talked about my evolution and tried to create a more conceptual and intimate journey. It was also the first work where I started experimenting with using my own voice in my productions. What better instrument could I use to express my emotions than my own voice, which until then I hadn’t appreciated as I should have? At that moment, I understood the potential of telling my story not only through music but also and above all through my own voice. I began experimenting with the various ways I could use it: applying effects, making the right cuts to create the perfect harmony between the various takes, changing the intensity of the words during recordings. Once I gained this awareness, my approach to productions changed radically.

As a listener, what do you expect to perceive when you listen to a track? What do you think are the basics and fundamental elements that turn everything into a high level performance?

As a producer, when I listen to another artist’s track, my attention focuses on the technical aspects of the song, giving me a completely different perspective than an average listener. Personally, I pay close attention to the intricacy of the sounds and how they are treated. Through listening to a track, I can identify the level of creativity of a producer and understand whether they are constrained by conventional patterns or unafraid to break free from them. Harmony and balance between the artist and their music are the key elements that transform everything into an identifiable performance.

Is there a step in your career that holds special value for you, both in terms of ambitions and achievements you are proud of, and in terms of sensations and emotions?

There are several key moments in my career that hold immense value for me. The first was undoubtedly meeting my sweet half, who gave me great strength to believe in myself and my ideas. The second was my encounter with Carl Cox, who provided significant support for my music by playing it on stages worldwide and releasing it on his label. This moment left a significant mark on my journey. My collaboration with an icon like Moby was another important milestone in my career because it gave me the opportunity to rediscover myself artistically once I overcame the fear of not being up to the project. Once I entered the studio and unleashed my creativity, I felt like I was on the right path.

What do you think (without any filters) about the current DJ scene? Are there stimulating viewpoints that you support, but also criticisms or things you wish were different?

I recognise that the pervasive presence of social media has made everything much faster and more confusing, which is exactly how I see the current scene. These dynamics are destroying creativity and putting artists in a position of deep tension. Being an artist today is not an easy path; it requires a lot of strength, temperament, and a great ability to
discern. That’s why creating our own world where we can do what we love without external influences and believing in what we do is more crucial than ever.

Regarding the Italian scene, do you think it is still slightly behind or limited in terms of clubbing and DJs compared to abroad? What do you think needs to be improved, and if you had to give advice to young emerging talents, what would it be?

When I started producing and releasing my music, I received a lot of support from various parts of the world, but the support from Italy came a bit later. It’s common practice here in Italy not to receive much attention until you start to become well-known abroad; this doesn’t happen in countries like Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Spain, where artists support each other, collaborate for the pure pleasure of making art together, and discover new young talents, just as it happened to me when I released my first releases on Intec Digital, Rekids, Kompakt, etc.
I don’t have real advice to give to emerging talents; what I can say is to remain true to your authenticity without being scared by rapidly changing trends. If you have talent, sticking to your vision with great conviction will turn out to be the winning ticket.

Talk about your latest track. What do we find in it? What is the root, the inspirations, or what emerges from your background?

“Feelin'” is the first song from a new project I’ve been working on for a year and a half, which will be released on noted./Sony Music this year. It’s a very special project that embodies my strong desire for evolution and seeking new stimuli. I’ve dedicated myself to music very intensely, and this track represents the first single of this project. It’s a club song sung by me, characterised by a very groovy rhythm fused with a somewhat dark beat. With the lyrics of this song, I wanted to reach the listener in a very direct way, and I think I succeeded.

You have confirmed yourself as a versatile artist, your expression is all encompassing. What do you think of the idea of sensory performance and collaborations with the artistic and visual world? Are there projects you have realised or would like to do in the future that you think could represent a further step forward?

I’m a lover of art in general and draw deep inspiration for my entire creative world. Visuals are certainly a type of artistic expression that perfectly complements the world of music; the pairing of images with sounds allows us to amplify the performance experience to the fullest and evoke deep sensations in the viewer. Moreover, this combination gives us artists the opportunity to convey our vision more completely.
I’m working on a project that is very important and unique to me, which will be called “Partenope,” developed in collaboration with an Italian digital artist, Giusy Amoroso, with whom I’ve had a strong artistic connection from the start. Giusy has been able to translate

my love for visual art and the marine world into images, shaping an ambitious project that I will officially present this summer, so I can’t reveal more at the moment :)

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