Photo by Marine Tordjmann

Global Comprehension of the World Through Music: OKO DJ

June 9, 2017
Text by Elisabeth Falkensteiner
Photo by Marine Tordjmann

Misonica in conversation with Marine Tordjmann who restlessly involves her skills under the name of OKO DJ in the French electronic underground music scene.

Marine Tordjmann aka OKO DJ is the head of web based LYL radio Paris - where she manages all the programming - and a member of of the label Brothers From Different Mothers. Behind the decks she breaks barriers with her elusive taste that defies genre definition and embodies great musical ethic. Her sets descriptively delivers sensual, blacker than black body music, electro as well as Italo or industrial music.

Hi Marine, you must be very busy these days with curating and organizing the Festival Zone Disco Autonome together with your collective Bruits de la Passion. Artists like Eva Geist, Mark Knekelhuis and Alexis Le Tan are playing among a lot of french Musicians and DJs. Looking through the line-up and music genres - from industrial to balearic sound – I see a definitive statement for underground, yet open minded music that subsequently links to the music that you play in your sets. Can you tell us more about your approach to playing music?

I‘m glad that you got the essence of our line up right. It’s definitely a very diverse programming. We want to show that music can be experienced without boundaries and show that an industrial infused set had all its place after a balearic set; as long as it’s good and so on. Personally, I don’t consider music through genres. I just listen and play what sounds nice to me; depending on my mood and the energy around. I must say that I listen to pretty much all kinds of music - from metal sub genres such as sludge/doom/death to Rihanna - any Rihanna track (yes I’m a huge fan) to power electronics, anything punky, dancehall, trap and so on. It’s absolutely possible for me to play a metal track in the middle of an electronic music set on a club night. Actually, when we played in Bordeaux with the BFDM crew a few months ago, it turned out that this weird acid metal track that I was a bit reluctant to play in the first place was probably one of the only things that got the crowd really shaking… [laughs]

Yes, I totally agree that labeling music in genres and sub genres just to name a certain style or culture can narrow the way of the perception of sound. In my understanding to exhaust the boundaries of music makes it more versatile and curious. There is essentially an eclectic selection rather than a strict genre that you present in your sets. I have the feeling that in the last years there are a lot of initiatives evolving, which are offering a more broad approach to electronic music. LYL radio with its diverse sound profile is definitely one of these projects. which aims to suggest a global comprehension of the world and its cultures, through the promotion and exploration of sound. You are the Paris head of the independent internet radio LYL; where you are running two monthly shows. Since the end of last year, Neubau co-founder Heap is having his monthly radio show Wiener Brut. How did you get involved in radio and how and when did your devotion to music grow and start?

I always wanted to dig into the radiophonic area, but didn’t really have the time nor opportunity until I met Lucas; the founder of LYL radio in Lyon. I also met Simon who’s been managing the project along with Lucas since the beginning. A half of a year ago I lunched with them as I wanted to know more about LYL radio. During my following visit to play on LYL - Simon and Lucas proposed me to open a Paris department. I thank them for this, because they have both been extremely open to all my ideas and really allowed me to create this Parisian antenna in the best way possible. I love working with them and they have created such a unique musical platform through LYL. I believe that all the people involved in LYL radio feel that what has united people there is - a true musical & humane vision - of things. It’s like a big family.

As for music; I have always listened to music at home and outside of home, since as far as I can remember. It has accompanied every moment of my life. For instance; when I was a kid my dad used to listen to this very cheesy French-Algerian singer Enrico Macias all the time. I would dance to this on the table of my living room… later, I got very crazy about R&B, Hip Hop and Rap. I would ride my horses listening to Lauryn Hill during the summer. I guess I just discovered the rest of the music that I listen to now. I‘ve never stopped discovering new things or trading stupid/funny/interesting musical stuff with friends and others in my surroundings since then.

Your radio show Pussy Nightmare is strictly featuring women. What is your perception of women in electronic music in your country and why do you think it is important to make women more visible or lets say to favor in a certain context to reach visibility and equality?

Actually, the show is only featuring women for now, but I want to welcome all the non-binary artist, self-identified, non-male and cisgender individuals, etc. – basically anyone who considers that we are much more than what society has set for us in terms of genre definition. Of course, women are an essential voice to speak up about gender issues in electronic music and beyond, but so are men, and anyone else. This is why I want to invite not only female artists but also anyone feeling concerned about this topic. Sexism is not a women’s issue, it’s a humanity scale question.

Yes indeed, sexism and racism is not only a women‘s issue. We all should reflect what we are reproducing through our action or (privileged) position in which we are in. Due the Viennese project femdex the debate of gender inequality in the music scene is coming more alive in Vienna and is discussed controversially. What is your way to deal with such questions?

I believe that there are many ways of taking action against sexism, gender problems and discrimination. It all has to be recognized as interesting as it’s always better to act than to do nothing. My way of acting and what I choose to do is not to talk about the problems so much, but rather just to propose a privileged space for more visibility to creative and talented women alongside conscious artists in music. Sometimes people just need a very little help in the beginning for them to make the big jump and do a lot on their own.

I am very optimistic regarding the situation in todays music. Almost all the people that surround me are conscious individuals. I know and meet so many inspiring female artists all the time. It‘s necessary to see that we are going the right way, even though there is still a long way to go for women to feel comfortable and respected in the music scene and in society in general.

What is coming up next? You released with Italian producer MADTEO (via Black Orpheus) and with Portuguese duo GAM (via Eye For An Eye Recordings). Are you planning to release any music of your own and do you see yourself more as a DJ than as a producer or vise versa?

For now I‘m definitely more a DJ than a Producer and I feel perfectly fine with that, even though I do enjoy making music. I hope that I will have more time to make music by September, because the radio studio will move out of my living room to a real studio space. This will make things much more organized for me, but as you mentioned it; producing alone is something quite new for me as I have almost always been producing with other people. I find it pretty scary to be 100% responsible for every decision to make in the creative process… of course that’s also the nice side of producing solo. It’s still the beginning for me and I am taking things easy and going at my own rhythm. I‘m enjoying playing with the few machines that I do have in my room at the moment. I don’t have any objective aside from enjoying what I do. Let’s see what happens!

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