IDA: 'I wanted to come up with something Finnish, to make it special and to build onto my narrative'
- David Pollock
- 24 October 2019
Glasgow-based Finnish DJ chats to us about her upcoming set at Edinburgh's Terminal V and the debut of her new label Sävy
Ida Koskunen is a rarity among DJs to have ultimately emerged from Glasgow, because it wasn't the scene there which first caused her to fall in love with music in Scotland. Born and raised in Finland, she was studying to be a physical education teacher in the city of Uppsala in Sweden, when she visited Aberdeen to complete an ERASMUS course. Not long after, she dropped out of university in Sweden and moved to Aberdeen to study economics.
'It was definitely the people, I get on very well with Scottish people,' says Koskunen, who capitalises her first name as a DJ, of why this country drew her to it. 'We're on the same level when it comes to partying, quite open and fun. And at the time the scene was really good in Aberdeen, SNAFU was going and there were loads of mad parties there.' Aberdeen was the city where she started DJing, although she had been playing piano for a decade before and written music blogs in Finland; her first musical love was commercial hip-hop and R&B.
'Then when I moved over here, I started listening to more underground stuff and collecting vinyl,' she says. 'A friend who knew I was into music lent me their Mixtrack Pro before I came to Aberdeen the first time, and I would play with it in student halls instead of going to lectures – it was my new job!' She became a resident at Aberdeen's Let It Bleed, before deciding to start her own party at the Tunnels. 'I thought, why not play exactly the music I want to play and try booking my own acts? There were no acid techno-themed parties in Aberdeen, so I thought maybe Acid Flash was something there would be a market for.'
Koskunen moved to Aberdeen five years ago, then after completing her degree, she moved to Glasgow to do a Masters in marketing. Acid Flash – by this point a successful night – came with her. 'Luckily I had contacts at [much-loved Glasgow basement] La Cheetah, so I started running the night there. It's been the highlight of my time in the city, along with being asked to play the Maximum Pressure parties [Slam's regular night at SWG3]; that definitely helped kickstart things, because nobody knew me in Glasgow before that. The more I played out, though, the more I became a regular face.'
IDA's mixes are gorgeous; a blend of lithe, soulful techno beats, grimily old-school acid fuzz, and beautiful contemporary touches, such as an icy sustained synthesiser note over the top. With big festival gigs including the Riverside Festival and TRNSMT behind her, and representation from Field Artists, she has major plans for the immediate future, including her own productions and the debut of her label Sävy. 'It means 'tone' or 'shade' in Finnish,' she says. 'I'm really into different genres, and I think every track has its own texture or feeling – plus it's just a really good name. I wanted to come up with something Finnish, to make it special and to build onto my narrative.'
The label is IDA's main focus at the moment, although she also has big gigs in Paris and Berlin coming. Her appearance at Edinburgh's Terminal V festival, however – on a Sneaky Pete's stage whose focus is on female DJs and artists – is one of the largest yet. 'It's good to be on that stage, definitely,' she says. 'I've played Sneaky Pete's a few times, and the ties are getting closer because I keep going back.'
IDA plays Terminal V, the Royal Highland Centre at Ingliston, Edinburgh, Sat 26 Oct. Others appearing include Ame, Amelie Lens, Annie Mac, Ben Klock, Free Love, Krystal Klear, Laurent Garnier, Maceo Plex, Skream, Theo Kottis and more. Acid Flash's third birthday is at Room 2, Glasgow, Sat 16 Nov, with Courtesy, and IDA plays alongside Daniel Avery at Sub Club, Glasgow, Fri 6 Dec, and Boiler Room Glasgow, SWG3, Sat 14 Dec.
Dance and electronic music festival featuring Laurent Garnier's first appearance in Edinburgh for 20 years. The line-up also includes the likes of Annie Mac, Free Love, IDA and more.