Sordid Culture brings you a monthly exclusive podcast featuring worldwide talented artists that keep underground nightlife music alive through passion and dedication. Our sound is Deep, Driving, Flirtatious and never fails to deliver. If you love music as much as we do, you won't be let down.
Sordid Culture 35: KarinaTraveling back and forth with her heavy duty vinyl bags between Ibiza and Berlin, Karina is not the kind of DJ who’s afraid to chip a nail to get to her destination. Over the years she’s proven to be extremely dedicated to her passion and has used her creativity to push quality events around the world. Karina is the type of girl that will spend 10hrs + in a record store digging for the perfect gems for her next gig or just for her own listening pleasure. Her drive to keep the House and Techno scene a circle that values art expression over fashion and simple profit has led her to get involved with the Zoo Project parties in Ibiza and the UK.
As usual, we had a few questions for Karina and here’s what she had to say:
SC: Where do you call home?
K: Ha! Ive asked myself that question for a while now – its been quite some time I was living like a nomad in a suitcase and having records all over Europe. On the move, there seemed to be no point to stay in one place for longer than a couple of months so I was travelling between Ibiza and Berlin, Norway and Poland, coming to US for at least 2 months in a year. This changed as I started working on my own productions. A need for the constant space called studio has kept me in Europes dancing world capital – Berlin. And yes, I feel home here- as I look down at the city lights from the airplane I feel happy. Only one more city that Ive visited in the world gives me that sensation and that’s San Francisco.
SC: You’ve played in the Chicago and Detroit area a few times, can you tell us what that meant to you?
K: I have a lot of respect for history and tradition as well as progress and fresh ideas. DJing for an educated crowd in Chicago and Detroit, for an European, who plays house and techno is an honour. To go to the record stores like Submerge or Gramaphone, hang out with artists, who’s music I admire and feel the creative energy of the city is very inspiring. I’ve for sure seen more of Detroit than I have a of Chicago, but in January I am coming to play with John Tejada and Sassmouth at Smartbar and I’ll stay some days and explore the windy city. Looking forward to that!
SC: Do you prefer to play primetime or afterhour gigs?
K: Frankly, both. To make people listen and dance regardless of it being after-hours, primetime or art exhibition is what matters. After more than a decade of collecting vinyl its also fun to play different.
SC: When and how did you get into djing?
K: Ive always been closely involved with music, as my parents are both professional violinists coming out of David Oistrakh masterclass in Moscow. I did try to avoid the family ” music curse” and studied economics and political science, but already during university I knew that making records speak to each other rather than financial calculations is what rocks my world. The reason for all of this was that I had discovered the magical island of Ibiza. In the end of 90s it was a free place- the clubs had real terraces, so at night we were dancing under the stars! I got myself two technics and a little two channel mixer and started collecting vinyl and practicing mixing them. We used to get together, 4 dj’s in a car and drive to Berlin to buy records. Leave at 5 am to be there early, drink coffee and red bull all day and buy all we could of vinyl, then drive back to Poland. Internet was really limited so you could not pre listen or order. With Berlin next door and Ibiza every summer I could not complain for lack of input.
SC: Do you have any advice for the women starting out in this industry?
K: Rule number one- believe in yourself! You got to be confident to do this. Its good to have real friends in the industry who will tell you their opinion on your music, but important not to take all comments personally otherwise you will be very unhappy. I even read an article about people writing horrible comments on purpose. I did not know this as I started, end of the 90s so I guess I had to learn it the hard way. In Poland there hardly were any female dj’s so there was nobody to ask or get support from. People came and looked at me as if I was an UFO resident and told me I was the first girl they had ever seen on the decks! Or asked me where is the Dj. lol Then I played some really abstract Perlon releases and they were sure I came directly from cosmos.
SC: What is the Zoo Project?
K: The Zoo is more than a crew, its a family. A bunch of people from all over the world coming to Ibiza many years that joined forces to create a different daytime event every Saturday throughout the summer. Why different? Apart from the bookings being underground and cool, the prices not crazy, the place is not packed beyond capacity. The idea is to bring back some of the magical Ibiza energy and have people peacefully having a great time in the beautiful gardens of Gala Night Park. We are not a huge global club, we do not open 7 days a week, we stay true to what we like. Since two years we also organise The Zoo Project Festival, which takes place in the forest of Donington Park, not far from London, UK.
SC: Is the food better in Ibiza or Berlin?
K: I would not eat a fish in Berlin and I certainly would have a problem to find a good Spanish restaurant. Berlin has some really nice vietnamese food though Ibiza is an island so what swims in the sea around is really extraordinary, but everything else is shipped or flown in, unless its bought at a local market. I believe in eating organic and supporting small & local businesses rather than global brands producing for instance dairy products with a date of expiry 6 months ahead, so it all comes down to what you choose to eat where.
SC: You’ve mentioned that you are spending some time in the studio currently. How is it coming along?
K: The studio has become an addiction with a big A, as big as playing records for people. Who would otherwise explain voluntarily spending 8 hours a day in a dark room with no windows? ha! I’ll use any and all good sounding gear I can get hold of – whether its a real synth, samples, VST or any other instrument. As I was in Cape Town in August I bought little instruments, shakers. I’ve recorded those and have used them in the track Im working on right now. Sure it would be nice to have access to all the incredible gear that is used by the old school producers, but it takes time to learn how to use an instrument properly and second it can be hard to even get some of that, not to mention how expensive it is. Therefore I think there is no point to feel frustrated that I am not doing this for the last 20 years and don’t have all the 909 and 808, in the end whatever I use – quality is what matters; ergo if it sounds good, its good. My debut Karina- City Sounds EP is coming out on Channel Zoo Recordings late spring.
SC: Anything you’d like to share about this mix?
K: The mix is vinyl only recorded here at my studio in Berlin and includes some of my favourite tracks- old and new. I recorded it late evening and its got some really beautiful moody moments I hope that the Sordid Culture team and listeners will like. Enjoy!
Photo Credit: Kirill Fedorov photography
Links to Karina
Sordid Culture 34: HerodotFinding a DJ who strives to push bounderies while defining new parameters to this art form is kinda like looking for the needle in a haystack these days. That’s what makes us so excited to introduce this month’s exclusive minimal house podcast by Herodot.
It’s no shocker to find out that Herodot hails from Romania, a country that has been on the forefront of what can only be described as picturesque yet mind bending electronic music. He has succesfuly cultivated the nation’s famous signature sound pioneered by icons such as the Arpiar boys (Rhadoo, Raresh, Pedro), Dan Adnrei, Egal 3, Livio & Roby, Priku, and many more. Having already played Sunwaves and Sonar, Herodot has been gaining increased international recognition for his dynamic mixing style behind the decks which blends darker hypnotic tones with driving House drum patterns. On the production front, he plans to be much more active in the coming years. Needles to say, you’ll be hearing more and more from him. We had the opportunity to ask him some questions, here’s how it went down:
SC: Hey Herodot, thank you for agreeing to do this month’s Sordid Culture Podcast. You are actually the second Romanian that we have featured after Inner. It seems that more and more Romanian DJs/Producers are emerging on the international scene with a very unique sound. Can you talk a little about why you think that is?
H: Hi! First of all thanks for inviting me to your show. I think the world is discovering more and more Romanian artists because everybody is focused on this country right now. The scene is quite new here compared to other countries so more and more people here use theis art form to express themselves. Since there is little background there is almost no influence from the past and i guess that’s one of the reasons for the unique sounds you find around.
SC: Can you tell us a little about how you fell in the game?
H: Well…i guess this is a common story among DJs. For me it started in my living room and then at a beach terrace where me and my friends were allowed to play a few CDs. We were just playing around without even thinking what it could turn into. After some time I got a pair of turntabels, started buiyng records and things got serious year after year until I was signed at Sunrise Booking.
SC: You mentioned that you get some inspiration from artists like Rhadoo and Zip, what do you think makes their music so exceptional?
H: I get inspiration from a lot of places…. these are just two names from a big list. Maybe the music is not exceptional but the way they put it all together in an 6hr set is surely exceptional.
SC: What record store do you like to shop at the most?
H: We have a record shop here in Bucharest, but i also use online shops and Discogs.
SC: How do you feel after playing a really good set with a participating crowd?
H: In the past it was not like this but now…I feel good everytime because i learn a lot from a good or a bad experience. Naturally, a participating crowd is better but sometimes you need a challange
SC: You’ve been in the industry since 04′ and have performed at festivals like Sunwaves and alongside international talent like Marco Carola and Danielle Bell but you don’t have many productions under your belt. In fact, the only one we could find is “S’lupu” which was actually featured on Arpiar mix CD for Circoloco’s Ten Year anniversary. Do you have any future plans to get in the studio?
H: Recently, I started a record label with Piticu. The label name is Unanim Records and the first release is just about to hit the stores. The first release is signed by Piticu. Second release is due to next year and two of my productions will be on it.
SC: When you are not DJing what is your favorite pass time?
H: I like to spend my time around the house or in the studio, fixing things. I’m an engineer after all :)