Femdex and PW-Magazine are collaborating on a series of podcasts and interviews to highlight female talent from Vienna and around the globe.
Artist Name: Veronika USA
Current Residence: London / Berlin
Label / Crew / Projects: Be Nice Club Records / AG Pappenheim / Disco Nostra
Can you tell us about the ideas and inspirations behind this mix?
When I prepare mixes I usually start with one or two pieces which influence me the most in that current period of time. They don’t necessarily find a place in the beginning of the mix. I like the idea of collaging pieces and trying out things you might not do whilst djing live.
The centrepiece is from Bourbonese Qualk called The Last Thing We Have Is Choice. There are a couple of interesting articles about them out there so I won’t go too much into details, but it’s definitely worth to read about their background.
As far as you remember, what was your first song or band that you fell in love with when you were a kid or a teenager?
My first encounter with music was through examining CD covers. My parents used to have a massive surround sound system and a shelf with tons of CDs at home. There were four or five CDs I used to listen all the time, but I can’t remember what the titles were. All I can remember is that I used to go by the covers of the CDs. I also remember smuggling one over to a friend’s house some years later. It was a collection of four CDs with 60s and 70s best-ofs, with Country Joe and the Fish, CCR and all that stuff. Back then, I used to spend a lot of time in the cellar of a friend, where they used to jam all the time and play kraut and psychedelic rock. But in reality, it’s really difficult to remember and carve out a linearity of the music you’ve listened to. Same goes for how and why you ended up listening to it and enjoying it.
A thing I actually think about a lot recently is how much your listening habits are shaped by external variables and why; starting from the YouTube autoplay, mixes you listen to or the music played in the clubs you go to. I wonder if digging vinyls in the shop could break that predictability. But on the other hand even shop owners follow specific rules in selecting and displaying their vinyls. I reckon we should engage more in conversation about it and understand the rules governing our habits and adapt to more playful and random ways of listening and sharing music.
Do you remember your first encounter with electronic music and can you elaborate on that?
Also difficult to say! Of course you get influenced and absorb tons of things from an early age on, starting with television (and being a child in the 90s you most definitely spend a lot of time in front of it) and culture in all of its facets. But actually, if I would have name the one encounter I find the most interesting, it would be a special one: When I was still in school, there was this club which opened in my hometown Munich where the architecture was built around the sound system, and not, as you usually would do it, the other way around. That was an eye-opener for me to an additional layer of engagement in a way. Of course someone could say that there were already some architectural tailor-made solutions for the listeners enjoyment since ancient times, or classical music venues, and nowadays you have a lot of projects and clubs focussing on really sophisticated sound systems and architectures. But back then the concept of it got me hooked. I went to this club every single weekend.
Tell us about one of your best, worst, funniest or strangest DJ experiences.
One time I was playing with a colleague at a beautiful festival in a castle in the middle of eastern Germany called Hotel Glasnost. That had been the plan at least. We arrived there and the atmosphere was unreal and amazing. But somehow, a couple of hours before our gig, I suddenly got a really bad stomach. I thought I would be fine until it was our time to play. After 2 tracks I almost puked on the mixer. I had to lay down behind the decks to keep the remaining parts of myself together. Thankfully my colleague finished the set.
As for the best experiences of playing music; I really enjoy playing back-to-back in spaces you can experiment in. In the best case, when you’re able to free yourself from external constraints and of following specific genres, you put things next to each other and they start to talk to each other in multi-layered ways. It’s a way of having a conversation and trying out new narratives. You then realise how fluid and intertwined genres are, and, more generally, get a glimpse of the recurrence of patterns in ways of how people make music. That, in a way, is magical to me.
Our last featured artist Chlorys would like to know if you could describe your morning ritual?
I usually get up early, make myself a nice Yorkshire tee, skim through the endless lists of bookmarked records, select some to listen to and start to work right away …
Get in touch with our next artist Blackmoon77. What would you like to know?
Hi, Blackmoon77! I would like to know how much you think we are confined in predictive ways to external influences when listening, playing or producing music (without consciously noticing it)? And/or how your approach is to making music; how are your first drafts looking like, how do you name your tracks?