Wandering around clubs as a teenager, she met people who would later grow to be genre-defining artists when they were still goofing around on the decks. She's a true freestyle soldier, and that is exactly what makes her debut album 'Moving Without Traveling' so great. DJmag met her to talk music, Berlin clubbing and the nature of DJing…
How does a model make the transition to DJing and producing?
"It was not really a transition because I worked a little bit as a model, only for the money. It was not really a passion for me. I prefer to work with music. But it was good for my self-confidence. And if you want to work as a DJ you need a lot of that!"
How did you get into music in the first place?
"Well, there were two main things. My first contact was my father's collection of vinyl. The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan… I loved all of this stuff when I was a little girl (I still do actually!). The second was the mysticism of club music. I started to go out in Berlin when I was 16 and the most important club was Delicious Doughnuts: that changed my life. The club was also an inspiration for most of the Sonar Kollektiv people. It was where I met my first big love Stefan Rogall while he was DJing there! He played me music I had never heard before. That was such a beautiful time of new musical influences. it was the time that Portishead, Massive Attack and drum and bass were big. DJs in this club started to mix different styles. Freestyle was born as well as my big love for music."
So is that how you met the Jazzanova crew?
I've known Alex from Jazzanova for 12 years now. We shared the same friends in East Berlin. It was around 1994 when they were playing at Delicious Doughnuts every Thursday and I just had to go. So in the end we became friends.
The album is inflated with massive dub/afro influences, where did they come from?
"It is more the feeling of this kind of music then an actual influence. I love the style of Rhythm and Sound and Burial. I love the melancholic feeling of reggae and dub and the bass giving your body a massage."
You have a long list of collaborators on this album; what was the set up in the studio?
"I produce with Boris Meinhold, who is also the producer and guitarist of Micatone. He is fantastic. We have the same language relating to music. Our work always begins with an idea or inspiration I have, which I explain to him and he starts to produce a beat. Then we sit together and collect sounds, record dubs and other ideas. We have different ways to choose our artists. In 2003 I heard the track 'Midnight Marauders' from Fat Freddy's Drop and I told Boris that I'd like to get them on one of my tracks! Nobody knew Joe Dukie at that time, so I wrote him a letter saying "I love your voice, would you sing for me?" and he liked the playback which I sent him. I was lucky because the band had a German tour a little later and stayed in Berlin for five days so we could record 'No Memory of Time'. On the album there is a new version of this song.
For 'Speakeasy' I decided to take RQM because I love his kind of rapping and the lyrics he writes. David Ben-Porat, who usually plays trombone, is a good friend of Boris. Boris told me that he is also a good singer and entertainer and that he might be able to sing on the track 'Trippin'. Well, we recorded with him and it was just perfect! We have a lot of musicians in our hood and it is not difficult to find good people. They don't have 'big' names but they are original and that is what I want!"
How do you find Berlin at the moment? Are things/people open minded?
"No, I think the people and the nightlife are getting more and more streamlined... I've been part of the Berlin club scene for almost 15 years now and I saw a lot of development. In the beginning I had a great time with lots of open mindedness, but nowadays it's more or less 'four to the floor'. Music must be kept simple; people want to listen to what sounds familiar to them, you know what I mean?"
What's your position in the vinyl versus MP3s debate? Both as a DJ and a producer.
"I use iTunes and I have an iPod. But that's only for storage. For me it's really important to use vinyl for DJing. To start with, I don't like the MP3 sound but more importantly for me, DJing is totally connected to vinyl! MP3 is like fast food. Music gets fast-moving and the artist's work becomes less valuable. As a producer it is also very important for me to have my music on vinyl because the process of producing is only really finished when I hold my own record!"
What are your plans for the future?
"To produce more music and to travel around the world as a DJ or with my band
Eva Be Orchestra. And to give birth to a healthy child!"