Born and raised on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, Adrestia showed her first sign of interest in pursuing the arts at the age of 4, when she began her classical training at New York’s dance school, Ballet Hispanico. Her love for performing expanded to acting, theatre and music throughout her childhood, appearing in film, TV and later attending New York’s prestigious Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts.
After moving to Brooklyn in 2015, Adrestia began rediscovering her artistic passions through her exploration of Brooklyn’s rapidly expanding electronic music scene. Drawing inspiration from the sounds and parties she gravitated towards most, Adrestia found herself digging deeper into the underground techno community when she co-founded her collective, Alkhemy, in 2016. While focused on its mission to highlight diversity and promote people-of-color in techno, Alkhemy made a splash both locally and internationally with its staple party, The Black Hole. Showcasing nearly 20 highly respected artists from around the world, Adrestia has had the pleasure of sharing the decks with Charlton, Remco Beekwilder, Janice, Under Black Helmet, Kamikaze Space Programme, Ossian, Makaton and Keepsakes as The Black Hole’s newest resident DJ.
Generally speaking, what can someone expect from your sets?
You can expect to get a better feel for who I am. I’ve realized now that I fall about mid-way between an extrovert and an introvert, so dance and music have always been my favorite outlets to express all the things I don’t say. I’m still very much developing who I am as a DJ, but you’ll likely hear a mix of spirited, eerie sounds with obscurity woven through them.
What got you started as a DJ and why did you begin throwing parties?
I actually started throwing parties first, in 2016, when Alkhemy and The Black Hole were born. My partner, Felton, and I wanted to create a unique space that would not only be a successful party, but was a party we’d actually want to be at. Every element that goes into a party from the planning logistics to the quality of sound is extremely important. You think people don’t notice the little things, but they do. All of these little things make up the bigger picture, which is what people walk away with at the end of the night. We wanted them to walk away from The Black Hole with an afterglow that inspires them to think differently about the world around them.
As for DJing, I was enamored with the art of it, particularly once I discovered just how complex and calculated it could be. At the same time, I was fascinated by the unpredictability from one DJ to the next. It inspired me to take on a big new challenge and learn an entirely new skill set, especially as an adult. My decision to start DJing was also heavily rooted in the desire for representation. It’s not particularly common to find women of color playing underground techno parties. As a collective, we’re always looking to highlight more of them with The Black Hole. It felt odd to me that I have a party of my own, where we’re constantly looking to show that representation and that could easily be me.
What is the philosophy behind Alkhemy, and what inspired you to form it?
Alkhemy is a collective with a mission to preserve the true concept of the DIY rave, while outwardly promoting inclusivity of all people, with an emphasis on highlighting people of color in techno. The Black Hole is our staple party and our primary platform for highlighting both international and local artists, while maintaining this ethos. When we started Alkhemy, we were partly inspired by the dope parties we were discovering in Bushwick. On the other hand, we were fueled to start our own collective when we attended the not-so-great ones. We’d notice a void on so many bills. Techno was created by people of color, so why were so many bills white/male dominated? We honestly felt like we could do better and inspire others to think more critically when curating lineups.
You use your Alkhemy platform to shed light on diverse underground techno artists, is there anyone currently on your radar we should check out?
Rather than naming names, I’d rather challenge promoters to actually take-the-wheel on this effort, by keeping the need for diversity top of mind. We’ve worked with a lot of POC artists in Brooklyn over the last 2 years that are working extremely hard at their craft and doing great things for the Bushwick community and techno as a whole, so feel free to reference our past bills. These artists are proving to the world time and time again that POC can truly do it all.
What’s to come in 2019 for you?
A continuation in my evolution as an artist and promoter. Expect to see more of me 🙂