DJ Gigola is not the archetypal DJ and producer based in Berlin. While the city is celebrated for its storied techno scene, DJ Gigola doesn’t quite fit into it. A native Berliner who has observed the fluctuation of sonic trends in the German capital, Gigola’s sound has ebbed and flowed of its own accord.
Paulina, aka Gigola, first started to explore Berlin’s club circuit around 2007: “It was the peak time of minimal techno and tech-house. I loved the reduction of sounds, percussive simplicity and trance-like repetition.” Immersing herself in a plethora of DIY raves, Paulina continued to dance beyond the confines of a club. She joined a studio where she danced weekly to a soundtrack supplied by the crew there and, occasionally, a live DJ, who provided “everything from funk to early MF DOOM, Krautrock and lots of broken beats.”
Spurred on to try DJing herself, Paulina’s genre-hopping skills stem from learning how to mix during her teenage years. Weaving the tones of trance, gabber, acid, breaks and even some pop, today DJ Gigola glides between styles to build potent energy in her sets. “I love dynamic changes of rhythm and percussion and I take big pleasure in hybridising genres and seeing what energy develops by mixing them,” she says.
Living in Berlin has fuelled Paulina’s prowess in selecting music. “Berlin is a city with a certain ‘I don’t care what you do’ vibe,” she explains. “It is a mentality Berliners share: to be unimpressed, unbothered and ‘Frei Schnauze’ — to speak freely about what’s on your mind. I love the potential this mentality offers. You are open to exploring who you are without being afraid of authentic display. This has been a major force behind my work and what we do at Live From Earth. We strive to develop and realise our ideas independently — the Berlin zero-fucks-given attitude.”
Live From Earth is a multidisciplinary agency and label that has been Paulina’s second family since 2016, compelling her to collaborate with friends and fellow Live From Earth artists: “I love the synergism that develops in collaboration between two creative minds because it opens up new perspectives from which I can get to music from different angles,” she tells DJ Mag.
Listening to DJ Gigola’s vocals on ‘Papi’ with Kev Koko or the hardcore remix of ‘My Love Is For Real’ with RIP Swirl, a tongue-in-cheek aesthetic is noticeable across both releases. “Kevin and Luka (RIP Swirl) are good friends and excellent artists I respect,” says Paulina. “Our joint projects developed out of a fun idea that we should get together in the studio, which somehow turned into a couple of proper releases. I will continue working with different artists and, most of all, friends. I am always curious about what fusion this might bring.”
Having witnessed the commercialisation of certain spaces in Berlin, Paulina sheds light on why originality is pertinent to her output as a DJ and producer: “Nowadays, an entire touristic sector revolves around Berlin nightlife, but I am happy to see that there is still a vibrant subculture with people working hard to conserve, further develop and contribute to Berlin’s music culture: reclaiming the city’s landscape, keeping club fees affordable, the spaces safe and the rebellious spirit alive.”
No wonder Paulina is on the Live From Earth roster; a vibrant subculture in itself. With a solo release lined up on Live From Earth Klub later this year, 2021 looks promising. “We’re continuing to host our Live From Earth show via HÖR Berlin’s YouTube, our podcast series and the Live From Earth Klub vinyl imprint as well as new clothing projects,” she says. “I actually can’t wait!”
Listen to DJ Gigola's Fresh Kicks mix below.
DJ Quicksilver ‘African Rain’
Skee Mask ‘Inti’
Ténèbre ‘Jungle Frontier’
Ido Plumes ‘Which Way Is Up’
JV & Palf ‘Gully (Letabruthatknow Remix)’
Mella Dee ‘Trellick (Original Mix)’
Datura ‘Yerba Del Diablo (The Zoom U.K.)’
Test Dept. ‘Pax Americana (Oil Mix)’
Albert Cabrera ‘Sexy Bass’
Tom Jones ‘Sexbomb (Mousse T.’s Big Beats)’
Fear E ‘Where Ye Fae? Wit Ye Oan?’
Pangaea ‘Like This (Volt Mix)’
ItaloJohnson ‘07A1 (Floorplan Remix)’
DJ Misjah ‘Megaspoon’
MCR-T & DJ Gigola ‘Fantasía Final’
LSDXOXO ‘Mutant Exotic’
Baby J ‘I Wanna Tell U Something’
Denham Audio & Mani Festo ‘So Good’
Stony Hill ‘Just a Dream (Reality MB Album Mix)’
Overmono ‘If U Ever'
Photo credit: Lara Ohl