The DJ and producer talks acid crate-digging, performing on the Great Wall of China, and how she came to design the latest cat-eye frame
Nina Kraviz has lived many lives. Though best known as an internationally recognised DJ, producer, and record label boss, she’s previously worked as a dentist, music journalist, and party promoter. Now, with her new collaboration with Ray-Ban, the Russian artist has become a designer, too.
“I’ve customised a classic Ray-Ban cat-eye frame and made two versions of it: orange safari, and eye-green,” the Russian artist says of her collaboration with the brand. The cat-eye design was first seen in the 1960s, with Kraviz’s updated design drawing inspiration from the retro style of French and Italian women, brought up to date with a Havana tortoiseshell frame and flat lenses. “The cat-eye hasn’t been produced by Ray-Ban for a long time, but I was adamant about our collaboration (using it), as that’s my favourite frame style,” Kraviz adds. “Besides my limited capsule collection, from now on, all cat-eye frames Ray-Ban make will be named ‘Nina’ after me. I find this amazing!”
The collaboration was made for Ray-Ban Studios, which draws on the company’s musical lineage (Bob Dylan, Ray Charles) by working with new artists, for their Feel Your Beat series. The collaboration comes accompanied by a documentary about Kraviz, which you can watch below. “It was very exciting going to Milan and choosing frames in the studio with the design team,” Kraviz says. “I’ve never done something like that before. I also really enjoyed being a tour guide in my own city, showing the team around my favourite places and looking at architectural objects in Moscow, as if it was a first time for me too.”
Kraviz is currently working on her second album and curating a remix project for St. Vincent’s MASSEDUCTION, and she just finished a new remix for Marie Davidson’s upcoming album Working Class Woman. She’s also finalising the next couple of releases on her record labels Trip and Galaxiid. She also recently performed a sunrise set on the Great Wall of China. “That was pretty crazy,” she says, somewhat understatedly.
Besides her Ray-Ban collaboration, Kraviz also told us about drawing inspiration from her own DJ gigs, “playing the craziest shit to huge audiences” and “letting loose and getting outside my comfort zone”. She’s also become obsessed with John Gibson’s Two Solo Pieces, a recently-reissued American minimalist record and an “absolutely beautiful piece of music”. Still, she also has time for one of her main musical loves: acid music. “I just recently went casual record shopping and found a mental, 170 bpm acid track,” she says. “I thought I knew everything about (acid). Turns out, no. Not at all. It keeps coming. I play it every gig now.”
Nina Kraviz’s capsule collection is available on Ray-Ban.com and in select Ray-Ban stores.