“I’m into mental, groovy, tribal techno than rave and fast Parisian techno,’’ Léa Occhi explains. “But Paris is my city forever, and there are great Parisian crews like MYST, ANGST, Sous Tes Reins, and Spectrum of course.”
The French DJ and founder of the Spectrum collective has soaked up the offerings of Berlin since moving to the city in 2018, but stayed true to her beliefs along the way. “I didn’t recognise my values in Parisian parties anymore,” she says. “I was looking for freedom, respect and tolerance. With my partner and friend David, we created our own collective, Spectrum, in 2017 to share our vision of a party; groovy techno in a safe place without any judgements.”
Having curated a series of intimate events in La Station - Gare des Mines, Cabaret Sauvage and NF-34, Léa’s profile began to take shape as she brought the vision of Spectrum to life on the French techno circuit.
After a year of developing Spectrum and finessing her sound, Léa made the bold move to Germany. For her, the contrast between the techno scenes of Paris and Berlin was palpable. “It was so different! Honestly, I really recognised myself in the Berlin scene for the reasons I said before — there’s more respect, tolerance, and maturity here.”
Starting from scratch, Léa began to navigate the wealth of parties on hand and instantly became inspired by the like- minded artists who soundtracked and frequented the nights she attended. “I came without any contacts from the techno scene, but with meetings, good communication and a touch of luck, I played in many clubs here. I especially remember my gig at Tresor in 2019, which meant a lot for me, as you can imagine.”
The tones of industrial techno do not resonate with Léa. Her sets weave cosmic textures with sparkling percussion, creating otherworldly atmospheres with a hint of melancholy. Gliding from mesmerising melodies to heavier, dancefloor-orientated cuts, ethereal techno is the blueprint of Léa’s collection.
Her evolving trajectory could have come to a swift halt once the pandemic hit. However, several platforms in Berlin adapted quickly to the situation, resulting in a plethora of online outlets ready to stream local talent from the German capital. The presence of HÖR Radio and United We Stream grew significantly overnight, and soon enough, Léa migrated to these channels while clubs shut down.
“My HÖR livestreams gave me good visibility in Berlin,” she says. “I started an official Spectrum residency with them, I’m really happy about that! I also did nice livestreams for Clubbing TV, RAW, Suicide Circus and Glazart Paris.”
Of course, no stream can replace the thrill of captivating a thronged dancefloor. Early last year, Léa supported I Hate Models and SNTS in Lille, and during the Summer of COVID, she played a handful of outdoor gigs in Berlin, as well as a one-off event supporting Tommy Four Seven in a sky loft atop a mountain in Bulgaria — a highlight in every sense of the word.
As 2021 marks the start of a new chapter, music production is something that Léa is curious about but not prioritising. “I definitely want to experiment and create my own music. Now is a good period; winter always inspires me.” But her focus for the near future remains solely on DJing. “I’m working on my next showcase for HÖR. News on podcasts and livestreams are in the discussion too. Concerning parties, let’s see how this year goes.”
After the turbulence of 2020, Léa remains grounded. “I believe in music more than everything so I’m confident and waiting patiently.” We’re with her on that one. Niamh O’Connor