When you enter the world of Iryna Shvydka, you’ll be met with melodic, groovy and emotional music. Venture into her dimension, and you won’t be disappointed.
The Ukrainian producer, deejay and live act, mononymously known as 8Kays, founded her melodic house and techno project in 2014. Her “Morning After The Rave” track, released on Afterlife, lit up dancefloors around the globe, putting her on the melodic techno map. She is one of the go-to bookings for Afterlife, a notable mention as the Tale Of Us-founded imprint boasts an impressive artist roster and hosts sought-after events around the world.
The sound designer has since released records and remixes on renowned labels, such as Bedrock Records, Renaissance Records, Blaufield Music, Radikon, Anjunabeats and Oddity Records. She has also performed at critically acclaimed clubs and festivals around the world, including Tomorrowland, OffWeek, Electric Daisy Carnival, Printworks, Watergate, De Marktkantine and SOHO. The artist is known to curate performances and music that reflect her artistic mind—one that is full of depth and authenticity.
Today, November 17th, Shvydka impresses listeners once again with the release of “Waves,” out via Bedrock Records.
The single takes audiophiles on a trip through driving bass, old-school acid sounds, intense grooves, funky synths, dramatic buildups and blossoming drops. Indeed, “Waves” proves to be a masterfully created track, one that exemplifies Shvydka’s production prowess and continuous evolution as an artist.
The deejay says the release of “Waves” on John Digweed’s esteemed Bedrock Records label is a massive accomplishment for her, “because it was my childhood dream.” She also previously released a remix of Quivver’s “Hold” on the imprint, which dropped shortly before the Russia-Ukraine War.
“Bedrock is really a legendary label, and when I studied in university, I listened to a lot of music by John Digweed and John Digweed’s label,” she says. “So, for me, it’s a big part of my history…and it’s a big honor to be a part of this release.”
The tastemaker says she initially found dance music through The Prodigy, Chemical Brothers, Klubbheads and Fatboy Slim, talents many people, including artists, credit for helping them discover the scene. Shvydka’s initial love was trance music, a genre she celebrated through her first music project, IRA. Then, she turned to the sounds of the underground, sparking her to end IRA and become 8Kays. She says her taste for melodic techno is inspired by the beats she hears combined in the music, including melodies, uplifting tunes, trance, progressive music, minimal sounds, hard-hitting grooves and techno arrangements.
The Kyiv, Ukraine-born and bred producer has been directly affected by the war with Russia. In March 2022, the Russian invasion of her homeland forced her to relocate to Berlin. During this time, she released a track dubbed “Subway To Berlin.” The single begins with pulsing bass and hissing synths before progressing into organic instrument sounds, intense beats and haunting tones. Then, smooth vocals enter, followed by tinkering and swizzling synths, reverbing bass and melancholy tunes. The lyrics are emotional, showing the power and sadness of the move that Shvydka had to make from her home city.
The sound selector says that the Russia-Ukraine War is one of the biggest hurdles she has faced in life.
“I think [a challenge] for a lot of Ukrainians now is to survive the stupid war,” she says. “All [of] Ukraine is trying to support each other and survive in any way. I think it’s a big challenge, not only for me but for all my country.”
In addition, Shvydka calls for people around the world to help Ukraine through this challenging time.
“I think that all Ukrainians are begging all of the world to not lose attention [and] focus on what is happening in Ukraine,” she says. “I think [we’re] asking for help [and] support because we need it. We’re a small country and we need the help of all the world to finally survive and win in this cruel war. So the main things [are] that we need support and we still need people sharing information about the situation in Ukraine.”
The live act adds that there are many foundations people can donate to in order to help Ukraine. She says that if people “find the time to dig,” they can come across foundations that help civilians, the military, children, animals, people still living in Ukraine and refugees. Forbes-recommended foundations include The Ukrainian Red Cross, World Central Kitchen, GlobalGiving Ukraine Crisis Relief Fund, Voices of Children, Humanity & Inclusion, USA for UNHCR and The Polish Red Cross.
Just six months after moving to Kharkiv, Shvydka was asked by the local Basanta Music team to record a new live video at the Kharkiv Philharmonic. She filmed the set without a crowd on January 24th, 2022. Little did she know that exactly one month later, Russia would invade Ukraine. The performance is sonically stunning and visually impressive. Her time behind the decks is a reminder of what life was like before the war started.
Prior to switching to a full-time career in music, Shvydka was a lawyer practicing civil law. She says society and her parents expected her to have a proper and normal job. She studied law in college and developed her career after she graduated. Although, she says “music was always with me.” The producer divided her time between being in the office during the day, being in the club at night and being in the studio in her free time. “I made the risk, but I think I made the right decision,” she says about pursuing music full-time. However, she says making the switch from being a lawyer to a professional deejay was one of the biggest challenges she has faced, calling it a “complicated transition.”
Looking back to the start of her career, the advice she would tell her younger self is to never give up. Certainly, Shvydka has never given up when it comes to her illustrious career to date. From starting her music profession as a trance producer to becoming the melodic house and techno sonic creator that she is now, she has grown as an artist and made her dreams come true by releasing music on Bedrock Records. She has certainly earned her noteworthy resume, and she is sure to continue to impress.