Cxemcast 077 – Sentimental Rave
Interviewed by Maria Ustimenko.

Cxemcast 077 – Sentimental Rave
Interviewed by Maria Ustimenko.

Where are you chatting from right now?

I live in the suburbs, 10 km from Paris. 

You’ve told Vice that your music is your voice. Could you clue us in a bit on what was on your mind when you were making this mix?

I choose music and samples in order not to talk about what is on my mind. That's the way for me, to let the people imagine what they want. If there's a track, that can be there because I'm angry. If there's some melody, then maybe I was a bit sad, but I can put more melody and voice on top of it just because it's the music I want to listen to at the moment. You know, If something happens to you, you want to listen to a certain kind of music — you can be attracted to one track even. So, I just listen to a lot of stuff and when I feel “I like this music right now,” I pick it.

Would you say it's open to interpretation?

Yeah, of course. It's still super personal, but people can listen to all my mixes and see that there's a different vibe to every single one. That’s because I was different. I'm not the same person day after day, and nobody is. 

Your bio says you’re inspired by “the glory days of the first raves.” What about them?

I don't really have this typical fantasy about the ’90s, I think we also have a very interesting moment right now. It’s just because I found my inspiration in so many artists from the French hardcore scene. For example, when I found Liza 'N' Eliaz, I discovered that she was a trans DJ, super famous in hardcore and rave scene in France. I became fascinated by this open-mindedness, and freedom, and all the mentality that you can find in those old parties. 

That description reminded me of how significant raves were in developing the notion of “safe space.” How do you feel about it?

I will not put on an event that is “safe space” because you can never know what's going to happen. Today a lot of people use these words to attract young and queer audience, but so many parties like that where I was playing were not actually safe, I heard about girls being raped. Every weekend when I play in France, I can see something. Last time, a guy made a racist joke to me. How can there be a safe space? We can't check everyone, it's just not possible when you make a party. In the very queer and political community, I do feel safe because it's just my people, there are no strangers. I would be happy if I could make the people mix together when they aren't political, that would be amazing, but it just doesn't work. For now, I think you can't make it work with 5000 or even 2000 people and say that it's a safe space — if you don't check.

It can be possible if you do a lot of prevention. You have to have good security staff. You have to talk to them, you have to talk to the owner of the club. You have to put the message to the people who are going to buy tickets for your party. It's not just a marketing thing, like, “this is queer, this is gonna be cool,” you really have to put a lot of energy in this. That means a lot of stuff has to happen behind the scenes.

You are part of a collective that organizes a feminist and queer festival Comme Nous Brulons in Paris. What's it like from the point of view you’ve just described?

Yeah, even us, we try very hard every year, and every year we learn from our mistakes. Anyone can come to our festival, you just have to know our rules and respect the people around you. Sometimes, we can get just one guy who gets drunk and tries to kiss a girl or stuff like that. That can happen even at a queer festival, with people who're really open about it, and with people who are really working to make the place safe. 

What steps can you take to prevent those situations?

We try to stay around when the night's coming. We walk around and see if there's something that we think is weird. Also, if something happens to you, you can come to us directly and explain before you talk to any security guard. Therefore, we're trying to be very visible when we're walking around. We also put someone at the entrance who takes seriously the fact that we'll have queer and trans people — this person has to know what to say. There's a lot of stuff. We also make this festival in a place that is quite political, where people are used to this kind of events, so that's a bit easier for us.

The club is called La Station, right? What’s the vibe there like? 

They've been making stuff in Paris for years, but I didn't know about them until two years ago. They have this place which is almost outside of Paris, in the north. They organize a lot of events — performing arts, visual stuff, live music, talks — and take so much risk with people who aren't headliners to create a vibe that is different from what we usually have at the moment. On the same night, there can be lots of live acts and some proper punk, experimental, and noise music. Sometimes, rap also. They really try to change the vibe and create the most interesting and hybrid place in the city. 

I also started to DJ there. Some of my friends were working at La Station, I was hanging out there often, a guy was teaching me how to DJ, and then he started to book me for some nights there. You can find all kinds of inspiration at La Station because you never know what you're coming for but you can always be sure that you'll be surprised.

You were also involved in Les Amours Alternatives collective. Is it still active?

No, it isn’t. We used to be more like a website talking about women in the arts; I was doing this before I joined the collective where I now work on the festival. In Les Amours Alternatives, we're all from different backgrounds and small associations, and we just decided to make one huge association. It was very interesting to see 15–30 girls, women, trans women, talking about what can be done to make things better. We all have different points of view, living different lives, and that was very powerful: if you don't agree with someone, you're going to learn from that. 

Is there something similar going on in Paris right now?

I think so. In the last two years, I haven’t really been going out so often at the weekends, as I don't really have time, but we have some cool feminist places in Marseille. In Paris, we also have Loud & Proud, a gay festival which is active for more than five years. Also, we have a lot of stuff that’s more institutional and less accessible because of the price, where it’s just headliners and famous queer artists. Whereas we try to make something smaller and also more accessible, and take more risks with the music. 

How would you describe France in terms of equality and queer rights today?

If you look at what people say, it’s okay for most of the country. I think we are quite lucky, but there are still some problems. As a lesbian, I don't really feel safe to say that I'm gay everywhere in France yet. If you go to a small village, like where I'm from, it's still complicated to be trans without being harassed. Even in Paris, trans people are being harassed walking at night and are afraid to go outside. We have problems, but we're still super lucky overall. I think now it's more about queer people becoming united and feeling solidarity in this family. People get really upset about the politics going on in France right now, so maybe the minorities will get together and become stronger. For example, this year there was the first Pride parade in my suburb, which is a very mixed place with a lot of migrants from Africa and other countries. It was cool to see it in this suburb, as all the people there are fighting the same issues. They were talking about racism and gay rights at the same time, and I think it makes more sense to see it like that. I notice so many organizations that share this point of view rise recently. It's interesting, but still rather small-scale. A city in the suburbs of Paris is not the whole France.

As you tour, how do you think France compares to elsewhere in the world?

Whatever I can see happens mostly at night and in the clubs, so I observe a lot of similarities all over Europe. All the cities aren't that different if you look at them at night. It's still young people who want to go to the club. In every city, I can find queer people or someone who is going to understand me. In other countries, I sometimes feel like men and people, in general, are more respectful and less aggressive than in France. Maybe that's because I speak French, but nevertheless, in Berlin I don't really see men being quite as pushy with women. 

What is your favorite place to play?

It depends. That would be boring to say that I don't have a dream club. Of course, it's so cool to play Berghain or De School in Amsterdam, and there are so many nice clubs that I experienced this year. But sometimes, I'm surprised to play a super tiny club in a super tiny city, and everything is perfect there. Well, every time is different because of the people, programming, place, and because of what's going on in the world at that time. I can’t guess how it's going to be, so it's surprising every time, and I really like it that way. 

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