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17.11.2018 | Words by: Alise Akimova

Tonight, Job Jobse invited BEA1991 to do a DJ set at De School. I had a chat with the multi-talented Dutch 26-year old performer about her approach to DJing, paradoxical sounds sounding harmonious, actually connecting with a listening public and feeling over-inspired by everything.

Q: Hi Bea, most of the people that would visit De School would know you as an artist and a live performer. Why the DJ sets? 

A: I never really called myself a DJ until I got booked. There's no beat mixing, and I like to combine stuff that is more conceptually triggering. I look for anything that I can identify as audio. Dialogues, DIY uploads, movie excerpts, odd remixes. I have trouble calling this a DJ set in the conventional sense because I've literally never gone to a club with a USB stick loaded with danceable tracks. I'm used to playing radio shows, they've been more ambient and atmospheric. I guess Djing is my tool to draw up a backdrop of inspiration, a language 
in-process I want to communicate. 

Q: You appreciate audio in the broadest sense of the word and using it as a medium to communicate?

A: I like to think so. Before I was using vinyl, a sampler, a laptop, my phone, I was combining all these different channels. It was really fun and I learnt a lot, but for now I've switched to USB and try to prepare things so that I can still experiment. In a practical sense, I started with all the elements available to me and then at a certain point, narrowed it down to get more focus. In terms of what I play, I like to look for a paradoxical balance. A couple that is talking about jealousy matched with sounds from a fridge factory. 

Q: Do you think that would sound harmonious?

A: Yes, it would sound harmonious in a strange way. It triggers you to ask questions about what you are listening to - but also you can just enjoy it – in a way you trick someone, offering them to hear more meaning in the audio, if thats what they're unconsciously looking for. And I guess you can go back and forth. Pleasing sounds, or nothing too intellectual, and back to intellectual. 

Q: Here’s a quote of yours from an interview with Glamcult  with regards to your identity as BEA1991, the performer: “Making music in the first sense, especially when you’re doing it alone, it’s a very egotistical thing. I’m doing it for me.” What is your approach as a DJ?

A: It is egotistical in a very oblique way. It is about you and having a need to do something specific. Some people want to buy a really nice loaf of bread. Or need to do yoga every day. Right now, I have a need to make music. It’s there. I cannot negotiate or ignore it. Djing or soundscaping gives me good energy, it's a way of communicating through this medium, to translate where you're at emotionally, to bring across ideas in a subtle way. It feels less personal because I am not singing or being vulnerable on stage, and that gives me a type of freedom. And for sets in clubs, I will definitely be focusing more on the fact people want to dance, which is something I couldn't cater to with the current BEA1991 releases.

Q: I wanted to ask you whether there are other DJs that inspire you. But I feel you get inspired by everything.

A: Yes, everything inspires me – it’s a hard life to live *chuckles*. It can be really crazy sometimes, feeling over-inspired.

There’s a DJ I saw not long ago – DJ Marcelle. She plays whatever she wants. And when she plays she decorates the DJ table with flowers and LP’s and everything. She’s very DIY and in her late 50's I believe. She looks like your aunt but plays amazing tracks, rusty but also Goa trance stuff. She’s never mixing stuff, just hard cuts all the time. And then she looks up and smiles and checks in – she's so real.

DJs are funny types, aren’t they? Usually quite introvert, they know a lot about music, they have this weird position in nightlife society where they just come and go. 

Q: Does DJing and being an artist (BEA1991) mutually influence each other?

A: BEA1991 that releases music, is the “pop” thing I do. The other things I do are closer to me, and about the process related aspect of the work. Conveying that process rather than presenting a finished product is super interesting to me. But I want to play a good set, I want to make it enjoyable and intelligent. It's like a challenging art project to me.

Q: To round off our talk, would you like to share what else is coming up for the future?

A: There's a clothing piece I designed for Christmas with Schueller de Waal. A project I did for Camiel Fortgens AW2018. More DJ sets in Berlin and Amsterdam. My first headline show in London, on december 5th. And I just released a new single, “v4”,it came out last weekend. 

BEA1991 will be playing in Het Muzieklokaal tonight, there are still tickets available at the door.

Photography: Violette Esmeralda for Glamcult

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