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Fresh Kicks 193: Lolsnake

Fresh Kicks 193: Lolsnake

Lolsnake records a mix of tripped-out techno and trance for the Fresh Kicks series, and chats to Niamh O’Connor about her Iraqi-American heritage, being nurtured by the Berlin rave scene, and the evolution of her Weeeirdos club events

“It’s all about playfulness in the end, and mischievousness,” says Danielle Lumma Rahal, aka Lolsnake, when describing her event, Weeeirdos. “There are no restrictions, genre-wise. If you wanted to literally bust out on the mic, I’m here for it, and I encourage it.”

This open-minded attitude bleeds into her DJing too. “I love to describe my sets as hard but cute,” she says, citing classic rave, ’90s techno and trance, and “building energy while also focusing on sound aesthetics”. 

The Iraqi-American artist didn’t plan to be a DJ or promoter. When her parents left Iraq to seek refuge in the States, they relocated to Oakland, California. In the early ’90s, the city had the highest homicide rate in the country, and Lolsnake remembers hearing gunfire at night. As a child, Lolsnake was “torn between two cultures and extreme alienation”. But listening to Arabic tapes of Oum Kalthoum and Fairouz allowed her to mentally escape. In 2003, when the US invaded Iraq, Lolsnake was viewed as a terrorist in the locale. “I suffered from extreme racism, death threats and more alienation during this time,” she recalls. “Being Muslim and Iraqi in the early 2000s in the United States was not a walk in the park.”

Hip-hop, heavy metal and many more genres muted the outside world, allowing Lolsnake to slip into another realm. She refers to Depeche Mode and Underworld as some bands that “heavily influenced” her during her teens. In 2010, Lolsnake moved to Manchester to study neuroscience, but after graduating in 2014, she headed to Berlin. “I felt like it was the first time I could be myself and be able to really let go of the past alienation I felt in the United States, still some of it unresolved.”

The dancefloors of Berlin nurtured Lolsnake. Although she was “awkward”, she felt comfortable at illegal raves and Berghain, where she spent most of her twenties. She had a full-circle moment when she debuted at the cultural institution in September, saying it was like DJing in her “second living room”.

In 2017, a friend asked her if she was up for running an experimental, electronics-led concert at the live music venue Internet Explorer. Although she’d never promoted her own event before, Danielle agreed. “I asked different people around me to play, and it was just really natural; it just came together,” she says. “The venue cost, like, 100 bucks to rent, and I was concerned about risking that because, at the time, I just had no money. I was so nervous. But actually, it was full!”

Curious to curate more parties, Lolsnake came up with Weeeirdos. Having DJ’d at a couple of off-grid raves, Danielle gradually began to DJ at the party too. Fast-forward five years, and Weeeirdos now has a residency at OHM and on HÖR Radio, with a focus on queer artists, bolstering talents who may not have easy access to these platforms. Lolsnake intended to start a Weeeirdos label in 2022, but held off due to pandemic-induced uncertainty. Instead, she’ll launch the imprint this year. It will be a “time capsule” of artists she’d like to support, and a hub for her own material.

This year, Lolsnake will play across Europe and return to Berghain for CTM festival. She has the headspace for it now that she’s pursuing music full-time. “But it was definitely a challenge in the beginning, and my rent is also more expensive now,” she admits. “But somehow, the hustle is good. It’s a dream to be able to live and sustain myself off only the things I love doing. It’s sometimes hard and uncertain, and there are periods when I feel like I am financially in a funny place, but actually, I feel really blessed in that regard.”

Lolsnake describes her Fresh Kicks mix as “an energetic club mix of hypnotic and tripped out techno with some trance classics sprinkled in. I put together my mood and vibe from my last gigs over the last month.”

Listen, and check the tracklist, below. 


X-Dream ‘Live fast die young (original 19919 mix)’
Francois X ‘Lone Wolf Cabin’
D.A.V.E The Drummer ‘Hydraulic 08 A’
Jamie Bissmire ‘Number And Measure (Chris McCormack Remix)’ 
DJ Ogi ‘Galactica’ 
Ritzi Lee ‘Order’
Kyle Geiger ‘Pressure’ 
Linear System ‘Extensive Research’ 
DJ Dexter ‘Reverse DNA’ 
Peter Van Hosen ‘Kelly Criterion’ 
Bjarki ‘CATpitchd5’
Subway ‘Jacking Control’ 
DJ Boss ‘Cekuj Zmrde’
Exos ‘Do Not Sleep’
Klaudia Gawlas ‘Partenza’
Emmanuel Top ‘Stress Rework’ 
Ian Pool ‘Chord memory’
Loving Loop ‘I Say It Again’ 
Mac Declos 'Fck'
SHDW & Obscure Shape ‘Set it Off’
Trancemaster ‘Anthem’ 
DJ Europarking ‘20inch Chrome’

Want more? Listen to a high-velocity mix of techno, breaks and rave NRG by Poznań-based DJ and Oramics member, Monster

Niamh O'Connor is a freelance writer and founder of NYXXX, which you can follow on Instagram

Photo credit: Eric Winkler