Interview: Suze Ijó
Does a physical place like the Container/Studio add value in a musical/social sense or will ‘stay-home’ live-streams become the ‘new normal’?
So how would you introduce yourself when it comes to the music you create?
I’ve been playing records for about seven years now, mostly vinyl. For two years I play in clubs as well. I would describe my music as mainly electronic but I don’t really exclude any genres. So, when a track hits my feelings or I think it’s interesting or cool I play it. Like, jazz, soul, or any other genre. To me, music is about ‘warmth’ and a certain ‘feeling’ that you want to capture. When I hear a track that makes me feel something and I think ‘I want to dance’ or ‘move’ to this sound that’s when it hits me. Often there are a lot of percussions and a ‘dreamy’ element involved. Actually, when I think about it this depends on my mood:) Anyway, when I have to play a set I always start with a certain idea in mind. Like, what kind of ‘mood’ or feeling do I want to bring across, and then I start collecting tracks that capture that idea.
And then the container was closed on March 16 where you played quite often, right?
Yes, I have my show at Operator but due to the lockdown, everything came to a hold. Luckily, I’ve been invited to play at other shows and I did some live-streams or created new music at home. Nonetheless, I miss the inspiration you get from others when you play at the studio or have a specific place to go to. Because, when I work at home I noticed that this influences the music I listen to. So, this obviously also affects the music I create at that moment.
So, would you say that the container is a place that influences your music?
Yes! As I said, I have my show in the container with its own theme. So, when I play at the container I can use all the available equipment. Like, the microphone and the opportunity to use digital devices and not only vinyl. This definitely influences my musical output. Because at home I have two turning tables with the possibility to play vinyl only. On the other hand, what I like about playing at home is that there are no cameras around. But that’s more a personal thing since you actually forget quite fast that you’re filmed in the studio.
After the container was closed for a while did it cross your mind that this could become the ‘new normal’? Like, the use of pre-recorded sets and live-streams from home instead of from a physical place like the container?
Of course, there was or still is a possibility that this could become the case since all the clubs are still closed. But I actually didn’t really give it any thought. Imagine that this situation really takes much longer then I think pre-recorded sets and live-streams could become the ‘new normal’. However, I’m not sure yet if this is a good alternative for how music used to be produced and shared. On the other hand, we still manage to produce new content even though the workflow has changed.
So, do you miss the feeling when you play at Operator that there is more space for meeting and connecting with new people?
Yes for sure! Operator is very much about ‘community’ and they invest a lot in creating opportunities for artists to connect with new people. For example, there is always a moment in between sets that you can chat with the DJ that’s next or there is someone present in the studio to talk with. This definitely adds value to the station. In contrast, to streaming music from your living room where you’re in the end alone. Also, when you play at home there is so much time to think about what you want to play. This also influences your music it becomes less impulsive and more structured since you have the time to start doubting your choices. I would describe the container as a place that functions as a bridge between playing in a club and playing at home. Because, when you play at a radio-station you have the opportunity to show what you can do live, which has led in my experience to new gigs.
So, if a radio station is like a bridge between playing at home and in a club. Do, you feel more connected to the listeners when you’re playing in the studio?
Normally I would say yes. But now with like a thousand live-streams at the same time, I don’t know if that’s still the case. So, yeah I’m not sure about that anymore.
And has the pre-recording of sets influenced your workflow?
I did create some mixes for Operator but my workflow wasn’t affected. The only thing that changed is that I have more time to prepare for my mix. Because, when I have to record a mix I really want to tell a story. So, this takes a bit more thought. For example, when I play on the radio it is more like ‘okay I like this track let’s play it’. But when you make a podcast or you record a mix I really think about a message that I want to bring across and then I choose for example a track with certain vocals.
So, if I understand correctly there is a difference between the music you play in the container and the music you use at home. And of course, during a set at Operator you’re filmed. But do you think it is important for the scene to have a place like Operator where you meet and connect with new people?
Yes! Although, when I play it is usually not that busy however it’s always good to meet new people that you probably already heard the name of or saw on Instagram. So, yeah it is nice to have a place where there is the opportunity to talk to and meet these people. I think this is also a very important aspect of Operator. It is a place where you can actually meet people.
Do you think that Operator has the same value if the studio wouldn’t be there anymore? So, they would have to broadcast pre-recorded sets only?
I think it is possible. For example, NTS (London, UK) works this way. They upload a set with a nice picture only and it doesn’t really matter in this case whether it was pre-recorded or live-streamed. But of course, then you go from a live stream platform to a ‘normal’ streaming platform. Obviously, this would mean that people need to have the right equipment at home but I don’t know if this would also affect the music.
So, it is mainly the social aspect and the equipment available at the studio that creates value for a radio-station like Operator?