Ewa Justka

Oramics / 10 Feb 2019

Ewa Justka is a Polish electronic acid-technoise artist (oh, how edgy), self taught instruments builder and electronics teacher based in London. She is also interested in the notion of materiality of objects, vibrant, ontological systems (human bodies, electronic circuits, integrated circuits: varied range of micro and macro environments and relations between them) and an investigation of modes of quasi-direct perception through extreme light and sound actions, electronics, hardware hacking, breaking, deconstructing, wiring – or, to put it bluntly – designing synths and playing hard techno. Ewa has performed and led workshops at festivals and venues like: Loop Festival, Sonic Acts, Supernormal Festival, Club Transmediale, STEIM, Colour out of Space, Unsound Festival, Norberg Festival, Insomnia Festial, Cafe Oto, and more.

1. Do you remember the moment when you became interested in technology/gear that you work with now? How did you follow that path? Please tell us a little bit about what you do. 

Building instruments is some kind of therapy for me. I own a bunch of commercial synths and building helps me understand the synthesis of sound, I like understanding what is happening with the knobs that I’m twisting.

2. Have you ever had to tackle stereotypes in your head? Women very often say that in the beginning they had to fight with the inner conviction that gear is not for women. How can you deal with such a blockade?

No, I believe that because there aren’t many women in this field it helps me promote my instruments. We don’t need to focus on the fact that we don’t have penises, if we want to do something, then we can do it. You need to be persistent and consistent. There are also discussion forums, so the whole knowledge is available, if someone wants to spend hours with a soldering iron pastedGraphic.png You also need to be ready for situations when something won’t work at the first attempt, I spent hours frustrated not understanding why something didn’t work. But in the end it all works out pastedGraphic.png

3. What’s your current obsession, what are focused on during your work?

I’ve always been interested in the ‘90’s, acid techno, hardcore, gabber. At the moment I’m working on quite aggressive resonance filters and the distortion effect. I’ve also been working on more conceptual synths and effects, recently I’ve also been into production of less conventional shapes of PCB boards, more info soon pastedGraphic.png

4. What was the biggest inspiration for your work in 2018?

Essentially hardcore music, as I’ve mentioned before. I’ve been looking at roland circuits (especially TB303), how everything works inside of it and I’m trying to deconstruct it and pick some elements that I could transform into something new. I recently went through a nervous breakdown, which turned out to be a great inspiration for new projects.

5. What was the biggest obstacle or lesson in 2018 and how did you handle it?

As I mentioned before, my nervous breakdown that I’m still trying to handle. It seems like the only solution is music production and coming up with new electronic circuits.

6. What advice would you give to women who would like to follow a similar professional/artistic path as you? How to get started? Who to talk to? Where to get familiar with the gear?

Talk to me, I’ll be happy to help! I’m Warsaw now (until mid-February) I’ll be happy to run some workshops. As I mentioned before, everything is online, internet forums such as muff wiggler, Logic Noise on Hackday website and books such as “Handmade Electronic Music” by Nicolas Collins and Forest Mims. 

There are quite a few tutorials on Youtube. I’ll happily share the links. There are also places in London such as Music Hackspace, London Hackspace where you can attend DIY electronic workshops or learn to program music.

Interview led by Justyna Banaszczyk in December 2018