“Out with the old, in with the new”, asserts VTSS in her track “Body Mind Hell” over pounding EBM drums and waspy synths. It’s a line that captures the 28-year-old’s reinventive approach to making music, from earning her DJ stripes in Berlin’s techno scene to eschewing its rules and releasing a vocal-led, mutant pop record like Circulus Vitiosus.
The Warsaw-raised DJ and producer, whose real name is Martyna Maja, emerged in Poland’s underground dance scene with residencies at Warsaw party Brutaż and club Jasna 1. In 2018, she relocated to Berlin, releasing her debut EP Self Will on SPFDJ’s Intrepid Skin imprint in the same year. Alongside SPFDJ, Maja secured a weekly slot in Berghain’s Säule room, in addition to playing solo at international festivals like Possession and Unsound. Her sets grew infamous for their maximalist, occasionally tongue-in-cheek, take on techno (she once dropped a mashup of her track “Atlantyda” with Cardi B’s “WAP” during a set at Hör Berlin).
It was a move to London in 2020, however, that allowed Maja to flourish. Fuelled by the city’s fast pace and open attitude, she released her Projections EP in January 2022, marking a shift away from austere, 4/4 club stompers towards something more experimental. Her Dazed mix is further proof of an artist confidently honing their new sound. With countless collaborations and festival appearances – and even a clothing capsule with Italian fashion label A Better Mistake under Maja’s belt – it still feels like this is just the beginning of a long and dynamic journey for VTSS.
Text Morna Fraser