This mix by its rhythm and energy is very close to other your sets — except the one — for the gig at Anglican church in Riga. How was it to perform in such a place? What was that for?
In 2016 I was selected to be one of the Shape Platform artists of the year. Shape Platform is an organization which supports innovative musicians and audiovisual artists from Europe. Each year they pick a number of artists and support them throughout this year. The artists of the year have special profiles —16 festivals could go through them and pick the artists who they consider would fit their festival best.
The gig named Nuit Blanche at the Anglican church in Riga was part of Skaņu mežs festival. I was selected to be its participant. All the artists there were really diverse — for example, there was Kablam from Sweden who played a mélange of 90’s sounds: Techno, Hip Hop and Trap; and there was also Spatial from London, who used more deconstructive abstract sounds.
Nuit Blanche is a night in Riga where all the venues are open and concerts are happened everywhere. Almost all events are for free, so you could walk around the city and go to all these different places where all kinds of music sound. I was really excited about playing in the Anglican Church. It was without a doubt a very appealing venue. At the beginning I was a bit worried how a DJ set would fit there — at the beginning of the evening some people were sitting in church benches. I was responsible for the closing part, so I prepared a lot of special sounds for this gig, brought a lot of field recordings and did some texture tracks. Little by little I have moved from very organic and slow sound to Techno — then we closed down the church with a massive rave, where everyone was jumping. It was truly special.
You have also played at Red Light Radio in Amsterdam, while staying in window. How was that?
The gig at the Red Light Radio was also very cool. This radio is located in Amsterdam’s Red Light District so it uses entourage of the place. Red Light Radio is the online radio station which DJs or live acts on air all the time have. You can always go online and watch and listen the live stream of this radio.
It has become an important meeting point for artists from all over the world — both upcoming and already known ones; here you can find all kinds of music: from Microhouse to Techno. The station booth is facing the street so everyone who walks around the Red Light District could see the musicians — it creates a good feedback possibility. Of course, it’s very cozy and fun.
Are these two places the weirdest ones where you had to perform?
I wouldn’t say any of these locations was weird — it was rather exciting and interesting. I appreciate to play in places like these two — it’s fun to take the DJ outside of the club.
What is inside the mix? How and when it was recorded?
The mix was recorded in my home studio. You can find here tracks from 90’s and beginning of 2000’s — this is my favorite period in Techno history. There is a lot of percussion-based music which I truly love! And these kinda filthy/scratchy sounds, wuh!
To mention some names, in this mix you can find music from Female, Uganda Speed Trial, UVB, Fumiya Tanaka. There is the new music from Sugar — artist from Copenhagen who runs the Fast Forward parties where I had the pleasure to play last November — this was a massive rave, I was having lots of fun (by the way, Sugar will release his 1st EP soon). Also there is Schacke — another Danish upcoming artist, the member of the Fast Forward crew. He is super nice producer, making refreshing Techno with a lot of percussion — just like I love it!
You are from Venezuela — this is definitely not the first country to think about in context of electronic music. What was your story?
I’m not sure if electronic music found me or I found it — I guess we found each other. It’s true that Venezuela has a very small electronic music scene, which was starting to grow strongly until the government of Hugo Chavez started to make everything really complicated in the country. I don’t know if you’re aware but Venezuela has been going through a “socialist” process since 1999 — then we had started to lose our democratic values. Now we are still under the same regime so many people have to escape the country. I wouldn’t dare to compare the situation with what happened in Ukraine a few years ago but the manifestations on the streets definitely look and felt quite similar.
There is no possibility of creating any kind of alternative culture to be honest. I remember being around 16: I didn’t like the music my culture was offering me, felt a little bit like an outcast, wondering if there was something wrong with me cause all my friends seemed to be so happy with dancing merengue and salsa every weekend. I remember hearing Chemical Brothers, Prodigy etc for the first time on MTV and thinking — wow, what is this? — it was what I had really liked and then I slowly started to find my way into other electronic music.
Happily, my mom had an amazing House records collection and I was playing music in every party — it always was me who had to brought the music to all my family`s and friends’ events so, if I look retrospectively, I’ve been playing music in parties since I was 10. I also remember when I for the first time was seeing a DJ plays and everyone dance around him — I was blown away; I knew this was it.
How has your music hyperaсtivity started? And what is going on in Venezuela after you left the country? Is it still hard to live there because of political situation?
In my early twenties I had the opportunity to open a club with 3 of my best friends. One of them had an empty amazing house so we invested some money on equipments and had opened the first electronic music club in my city Maracaibo, in Venezuela. The place was called Solo and we had it for 4 years — it was an amazing project and opportunity for us to bring there all the electronic musicians from our country and other Latin America countries like Colombia, Brazil, Argentina and even from Spain and England.
Unfortunately, these possibilities started to disappear as the political situation worsened. Now we got currency control so people in Venezuela couldn’t easily access foreign money — you have to go to a special office managed by the government to introduce your case and ask for permission to be able to get some euro or dollars. Of course, it hurts the scene like a lot!
In Venezuela I was starting my DJ career, producing events both in the club and on streets — for free, to make electronic music available for everyone. There is where the name Hyperaktivist comes from: I was studying Journalism and Mass Media, running all the booking at Solo, playing and organizing parties — so people always made jokes of how “hyper” I was; when I started to throw the free parties on the streets, people in my Uni started to say: «Now you’re also an activist!», — I would say «yes, a music activist» — it has come from there.
There are at least 3 470 000 answers to this question, but let’s hear another one: how do you like Berlin? Why did you choose this city?
After I finish my education on Journalism and Mass Media in Venezuela, the country already was in a really bad shape — media was being targeted by the government, you could not freely speak without the fear of getting repercussions. I knew there was no future for me as a journalist, I also had the music in me and I wanted to pursue that.
I was supposed to go to Barcelona to get a master degree on Journalism. One summer I came to Europe, where I had a friend living in Berlin for 10 years who was telling me that I certainly have to come here — because of the music, the people, the real culture, the way of living — so I came here and that was it. I had knew Berlin was my place, so I came back to Venezuela and arranged everything to move to Berlin. It was a long and stressful process but I got my student visa and moved to Berlin — it’s already 5 years I live here.
Berlin is filled with DJs and promoters — there is a big competition for sure. I criticize the lack of community feeling that you couldn’t have in Berlin — a lot of people are working alone or in small groups, so you don’t see many collaborations, everyone seems to be fighting for themselves. I’ve had the opportunity to see how it is going on in other cities — people work together, help each other and I feel these scenes are starting to be stronger and deliver more good stuff. For example, in Copenhagen or I would even say in Kyiv, people are working together, pushing each other — this is what you don’t see in Berlin. But the competition is also good because it also makes you keep a high level all the time. It is a strong motivation to work better and better.
You are a founder of MESS parties. What is the main criteria for line-up selections now?
I started MESS (Mindful Electronic Sonic Selections), after 5 years of living in Berlin and realizing that the women in the scene are a minority. I’ve met some of the most amazing women in Berlin and I thought, it is such a shame that women here are only accessories in some events ruled by the gay or straight males. I want to give a special space to women, transgenders and people from diverse cultural backgrounds to do their thing.
I don’t want to do it under a «Women only» sign because I think it shouldn’t be used as a promotional weapon. I put together artists based out of chemistry and style and let the people see and feel them by themselves. MESS is not closed to work with male musicians — there are plenty of them, who we have been working with together, who support us since the beginning.
I don't want to exclude anyone, so events are open to total variety. Of course, the focus of MESS is definitely on women, transgenders and people from diverse cultural backgrounds — just because we don't want to see same types of faces behind the decks, it’s just a matter of diversity and making a point, making people aware about something. Like, hey, this is happening way too much and you’re losing all these other amazing artists that bring so much to the table, you know?
Your podcast is full with extraordinary energy. In your interview for Groove you told that the love for drums and “sexy elements” is all because of your origin. Is Berlin making this love stronger or trying to suppress it?
Percussion — is my favorite part in music. It is the rhythm, the energy, it always brings the sexy element in music. I came from the west coast of Venezuela, where the colonization brought a lot of Africans to work on the land. So, I have a very rich and varied cultural background — from our natives, from Africans and Europeans.
Percussion — is a very important part not only in music but in the whole culture. This is something that pulses in my veins, something I have in my blood. When I had come to Europe, I wanted to copy the sound made by the European artists, because I felt that was the right way. Now I understand more and more how important is to bring my roots and to find a way to mix all these influences and inspirations — to make my own sound, where percussion is something that is always with me.
You are also a producer but it hard to find your tracks online — except for the one on your Soundcloud page. Do people search not good enough or are your tracks just not uploaded anywhere yet?
I’ve deleted all the music I had online, because I’m looking for a new sound now — the sound that feels more like me. I'm working on it and I hope to release my first EP this year. I had been very busy while I was DJing and organizing events — making music is something you need to dedicate loads of time; it is not something you can do a little bit once in a while. I work a lot and I hope very soon you could hear something interesting.