18.01.2019 | Words by: Bram Barentsen
While regularly playing nights alongside DJs that characterise themself through intense EBM and speedy techno, it’s REKA’s industrial yet welcoming and warm sound which makes her stand out within this dark sound spectrum.
Even though she always had a strong interest in music, both her turbulent youth and broad variety of interests caused for her not to seriously start playing music until later in life. Changing her path from studying genetics and graphic design, for DJing. This made REKA moved from Madrid for Berlin, where she hosted Tresor’s New Faces and organized her own W.A.V.E.S. nights. Later on, this led to her first production Driving the Innermost
, her recently released EP which exposes REKA’s overwhelming, but also soft and teasing sound.
I took a moment to talk to REKA about her first EP, her thriving interest in bikes, and what impact studying different things had on her approach to music.Q: You’ve released your first EP called Diving the Innermost via Phase Fatale’s BITE last October. Can you talk a little bit about the EP?
A: There was actually no particular intention. We just made sure that the selection would showcase somehow different versions of me, which I thought it was crucial for my first EP, because I don't like to be boxed in one style. Afterward, while looking for a title, I realized how it all actually made sense together. Diving the Innermost is the soundtrack of my encounters with the esoteric and shamanic worlds which have been crucial for my development, helping me navigate through life and releasing neglected past trauma and pain that were just buried deep inside. My upbringing was no fairy tale, I had to go through some heavy stuff.
Q: Since November last year BITE started with label nights. You played one of them in Tbilisi on the 14th of December. What is it about BITE that you identified with?
A: Yeah, the party was amazing. I heard it was the best party at Khidi so far, full house and very good vibes, I loved it. About the label, I am good friends with Hayden (Phase Fatale) and Florian (Engerling) and they proposed me a release when they started with it. Although I had other bigger labels interested, I did not think twice about going with BITE. They feel like family to me, they have very good taste and I really like Hayden both as a DJ and producer. I play his music all the time, so it's perfect.
Q: Same for your sets; they’re dark and hard, yet there’s a warm and welcoming feel to it. Do you consciously keep this balance in your sound? Is it important to you?
A: I would not say my sets are hard. I don't like to sound hard. Strong and dark yes, but not hard (although this is obviously very subjective), maybe that's why this warmer and welcoming feeling that you are talking about. I definitely like to make people feel good. For sure, I like to keep a balance, so whatever it is that I am delivering never gets repetitive. I need variety, otherwise it gets boring to me.
Q: How did you start playing and producing music? Was this something you were always into?
A: Yes, totally, I have been collecting music since I can remember. I would devour magazines (I grew up in the pre-internet era) to learn about new bands/musicians and keep up with new releases and would spend all my savings on music since I was very little. However, I had many passions like science to which I gave priority when I had to choose what to study in University. So, actually, becoming a professional DJ is something that I didn’t really intend, rather happened to me almost miraculously when I learned mixing vinyl as a hobby. Producing music, on the other hand, is something that I felt pushed to do and that I hated for some time. I didn't really want to produce, I just wanted to discover cool stuff and play it. The truth now is, I just want the opposite, I got hooked and just want to keep creating my own story!
Q: You’re originally from Spain. Why did you decide to trade in Madrid for Berlin?
A: It was just a matter of time that I would leave Spain. I’ve always wanted to live abroad, to explore the world. After living at the extremely crowded downtown Madrid for so many years, I instantly fell in love with Berlin´s relaxed vibes. Traffic was a joke compared to Madrid, the whole city felt very spacious and calm and there were trees and green areas everywhere. The possibility of living in one of those magnificent Alt-Bau apartments (typical 30´s Berliner style, high ceilings, old wooden doors, etc..) for a very low price was also a plus; the place that I call home and its surroundings are very important to me. It just feels like a good place to live for any kind of artistic endeavors.
Q: For a photoshoot with Sven Marquardt I saw you posed with a bike customized by designer Richard Söderberg. I read you’ve had a passion for bikes since the age of sixteen. What is it what you love about them?
A: Actually, I got my first 80 c.c. motorcycle when I was 16, because that was the legal age to get the license, but I was already driving scooters at 12 and my uncle´s 125 c.c at 14. It's not only bikes, I love driving anything. My father used to take me racing with other kids in the Go-carts since I was 6 or 7, I got my own little cart when I was 10 and drove a real car for the first time when I was probably 13. When I was 18, I wanted to become a pilot, but my parents could not afford to pay for the training. So, yes, I’ve always loved driving and speed though I don´t know why; the adrenaline rush? That would be the easy answer but for me there is also something about the technical skills and coordination to drive, especially when there is a challenge, so for example, I found more fun in Camel Trophy kind of races than Formula 1.
Q: In an interview with The Brvtalist you mentioned you’re really fascinated by ‘the complexity of living organisms and especially humans’, which obviously shows in your past as a genetics student. Now that you’re moving within a totally different environment is this fascination still present in your work within music? For example, in the way you analyse and interact with the crowd during your DJ sets?
A: To be honest, I don't really stop to analyse the crowd that much, I am mostly concentrated in finding the right tracks and the mixing. I am very intrigued though about how sound and dancing have an influence on us at a biological/medical and energetic level. It is obvious humans benefit from both music and dance as they’ve been a pivotal cultural asset since ancestral times, but I haven’t really got much into the details, it is something I will like to learn more about. Q: In the same interview you mentioned you studied graphic design. In which way is your interest for the visual part of your work? Do you think your visual aesthetics also influences your music/sound aesthetics or the other way around?
A: Absolutely, I think they will tend to feed each other in a natural way unless you want to dissociate them, which you could if you wanted to. In fact, I have more of a visual brain/memory, so most of the time music translates to me in images and the other way around; when I am working on music, I see it like I am painting with sound.
Q: You’re playing the basement alongside Phase Fatale - someone you work with through BITE and regularly share a spot with on line ups. How would you describe the synergy between you two?
A: We’re into much of the same music and that goes far beyond techno, and as I mentioned before, we are also good friends so maybe that also adds. REKA will be playing in our basement tonight alongside Phase Fatale. Tickets are still available here and at the door.Photo by: Sven Marquardt