This woman has made quite a strike on the music scene in the last few years and has no concept of slowing down any time soon. We caught up with her to chat about music, residencies, inspiration and what nots.
You’ve said that, “I really love to dance and when I discovered dance music, there was a real connection.” Can you remember that moment when it all clicked into place? What was that like?
There was not one special moment, but it was definitely when I started going out clubbing. I always liked to spend the whole night on the dance floor. First, I went to clubs that played rock and pop, the things I listened to at home. But when I ended up going to parties who played dance music. I remember I was like, ‘Wow!’ Somehow, I felt I could move and dance more free, without rules.
How did you get into DJing?
Growing up I had a secret dream of being a DJ. I was a music nerd trying to convince my friends to listen to the mix tapes I recorded for them, enjoying finding new music and playing it for other people. When I was first aware of a DJ, I was like, wow, I would like to do that, play the music I love for other people and make them dance to it. It took a few years though before I got to the point where I started. I didn’t have a connection to anyone who could teach me, even my boyfriend who I had at that time, who was a hobby DJ, was not keen to show me.
Then it was at the end of my pharmacy studies, I went for a semester to my hometown to make my exam project at the hospital there. Then I started to take singing lessons again, dance classes, things that I stopped that I didn’t think I had time for during my hard studies, but that realised I missed a lot. Then, walking home from a dance class, I saw a poster, ‘Do you want to learn how to DJ?’ I called the guy who had the course, a hip-hop DJ under the name DJ STQ, who introduced me to a couple of turntables. The rest is history.
What type of music did you used to mix with back then? Does any of it still creep into your sets these days?
I have always played electronic music. I know that that was what I wanted to play and as I got more into DJing I also got deeper into dance music, starting out with more soulful house and US garage. I think you can hear some of it in my sets still, and I do have a weak point for vocals.
My move to Berlin was the move to get somehow more serious and, first of all, make the time for it. Since I started DJing I always wanted to produce too, first getting into it, like I want to change this or that in this track. Trying to make the perfect track that will fit in your set. But of course, that takes some time, and I’m not sure I’m there yet.
How did you feel after you’d made your first track?
Relieved. The feeling of accomplishment was so good. But also stressed out, because I didn’t think it was good enough and that it took so long to finish it! Hahaha!
What type of stuff were you making during your first forays into music production?
A bit more minimal stuff; just trying to hang in there, learning on the way. I also did some productions together with a friend of mine for another alias we were DJing under at that time.
How has your production style evolved over the years?
More detailed and dare to try out new things.
What technology out there has had the greatest influence / helped with this evolution in style?
The Maschinedrum from Elektron helped me a lot getting started. It was what I needed in the beginning, something to touch and feel and mostly use my ears with, not so much my eyes.
What bit of technology would you like to be invented that would help you to get the ideas out of your head and into people’s ears?
A machine where I could sing or hum and it made a full track out of it; that would be awesome!
You said that, “I have a real attention to details. I’m never really satisfied with things – so I work and work until it feels right.” How hard is it for you to let go of a project and say it’s finished?
Very hard! Sometimes it feels like I can’t. That is why I am also slow in the studio.
You’ve said that, “Artists need to make me feel something. Music-wise, I like tracks that tell a story.” Who are the major influences on both you as a DJ and a producer?
Artists that follow their dream, with pace, who stay true to themselves, but also challenge themselves and their sound from time to time.
It’s a tough world and it’s easy to maybe try to copy or do something somebody else is already doing to make it happen. Don’t get me wrong; it’s good to try to recall a sound or idea, to learn that way. But it is important for every artist to stay true to your self, your beliefs and ideas. For example, when I had finished my Flowerhead track, I really liked it; it was the first track I was actually really happy with. But I got no response sending it to labels. Nobody wanted to release it. So I thought, ok, maybe it is not so good; maybe it’s too poppy, too weird. Maybe it’s bad for my name to release it. But then I went with my gut and thought, wtf, now it’s the time to start this label, my own label, where I can do whatever I want on it.
In 2010 it was also a recession, you could tell. There were a lot of labels doing white labels only, with a stamp as the only mark on it. But even then I was like, no I want to make a record like the ones I sometimes buy just because the cover is so beautiful. It is also a piece of art. It was of course super nerve wracking starting my own label, releasing my own tracks on it. I told my mum and dad that maybe you have to buy a couple of hundred vinyl from me, but it sold out in two weeks! Hahaha! Dare to be different and do it your way!
You’re now a resident at Watergate. How’s that going?
It is going well I think, I hope! I’m a loner and I like to have control and do things my way, but it was good for me to be part of a crew, a family.
Indeed, you’ve just compiled the latest mix CD for Watergate Records. How was it putting that together?
It was exciting, frustrating and very satisfying, all at the same time. It has been with me since November last year and was part of my daily routine for so long, and it was at some point a roller coaster of emotions, but in the end it was worth it and I am proud of it.
What’s upcoming on your horizons?
Well, now the Watergate mix CD will be out 26th of May. Then my Arms Around EP, including a Carl Craig remix, on 23rd of June, followed by my remix for Jesper Ryom’s Aviator EP on my Power Plant label. Then I’ve started working on part two on the fashion project I have in the green house, Power Plant Elements. Today I also got an email with a possible remix request I am so thrilled to hear more about. Finally, finishing new tracks and looking for the perfect home for them.
OK, a few fantasy questions now. If you could remix any artist out there, who would you go for?
Oh tough question! I’m gonna focus on something other than dance music and go for the only music star I was really intrigued by and had as an idol growing up; Madonna.
If you could team up with any other producer to make a track, who would that be? Or they be, for that matter?
Well, off the top of my head I would like to work with any of my three musketeers, Dixon, Kerri Chandler or Carl Craig. But if we are again talking not dance music, hello Pharell?
Who makes it onto your fantasy line-up for a club night?
Any of the names mentioned above.
The new La Fleur Watergate mix is out now.