Vashtie Kola, DJ, Producer, Creative Consultant, Party Promoter, and Designer
There’s more than a few reasons why Vashtie Kola — or Va$htie, if you will — can legitimately claim the title, “Downtown’s Sweetheart”. First, she’s an accomplished director with videos for Common, Solange, Justin Bieber, KiD CuDi, and many others in the can. Secondly, she’s a true NYC polymath having worked in creative direction for major brands and record labels, founded her own clothing line, VIOLETTE, and launched one of our favorite regular dance nights, ever, the 1992 Party. And finally — well, just look at her. If downtown were to have a sweetheart, she would look, dress, and dance exactly like Va$htie. It was our true pleasure to spend a few moments with one of our favorite people in the city and talk about how her early days in Albany influenced who she is now, the foundation of the 1992 Party, and her favorite tracks.
We've known you so long, it's like you're a part of the city. But what were you like as a kid?
"I grew up in the hood in downtown Albany. I was bullied for being 'weird' at a time when being different was not cool. The other kids told me I was 'acting white' because I liked to skateboard, wear vintage clothes, and listen to different kinds of music. Then, I received a scholarship to a prestigious all-girls high school and most of them found me, 'too black'!"
"Well, I ended up finding a crew of great friends that understood me. After high school, I spent most of my time hanging out in our downtown park (Washington Park) where misfit kids from all areas came to skate, escape their home life, or just socialize. I had an after-school job working at a Tattoo Shop (Lark Tattoo), so you can imagine I was surrounded by an eclectic mix of people. I preferred it that way; being around the same kind of people didn't appeal to me. I was interested in many different worlds..."
Is that what drew you to New York nightlife?
"I grew up drooling over it! I had an older gay brother who would trek down to the city from Albany and go to raves and hang out at the Limelight. When he'd come back he'd pour out all his stories about club kids and and play me house music, I was in awe. Naturally, I became involved in the scene after moving here although the transition was an unexpected one. What actually brought me to New York City was film school, I studied and soon after graduation started directing music videos for artists.”
So then, how did you get into DJing and all the other things you do?
“As all NYC residents know, we're constantly hustling and pursuing other interests. Sometimes, you end up juggling a few gigs.”
And the 1992 Party?
“Basically, in 2006, after years of attending the many parties New York City had to offer (album release parties, fashion week parties, etc.) my friend Oscar Sanchez and I became bored. We were tired of hearing top-40 hits and going to clubs and parties that made us feel…inferior. So, we had an idea; a party that played our favorite music from our favorite era (the late 80's/early 90's) with an open-door policy for anyone who wanted to attend. And so,1992 The Party was born!”
Some people might say that what you do is just a non-stop party? Do you think that's true?
"Well, it's not back-breaking work it, but has it's downsides. I'm naturally not a party girl."
Really? Then what's a good night off for you?
"Sweatpants, my couch, a couple of great friends, my Russian Blue cat Vladimir and DVR'ed episodes of Dateline, The Simpsons, Antiques Roadshow and 30 Rock."
We're right there with you.
Styled by Lauren Edelstein; Hair and Makeup by Bethany Brill.
Supreme sweatshirt; Supreme tank, Ebay skirt, Surface to Air boots, Vintage Chanel bag, Bing Bang necklaces, Vintage Givenchy ring.
Photographed at Apotheke, 9 Doyers Street; 212-406-0400.