Nedda Sou: "I am now focused on my interdisciplinary maker expertise’’
Today we publish our second interview with resident Nedda Sou.
Nedda Sou is an Amsterdam-based DJ, event organizer, and professional dancer. Although she was introduced to music at a very young age, her love for mixing is much more recent. Until then Nedda had been focused on her career in Urban Dance and on her series of events Pass the Torch and The Update. Storytelling (through her sets or her dance performances) is central to all her projects.
We talked to Nedda about her journey as a DJ, her events, and her career in the Urban Dance scene.
When did you get involved with music?
At home, my mother would always play music in the kitchen. We were always singing or like, you know, using spoons to make rhythms with. And within the Moroccan culture, I was used to going to weddings or to birthday parties, so I got introduced to music at a very young age.
The first time I ever did something with DJing was when I was 19. A friend of mine, Trish, was a DJ and she would play with vinyl. So one day she let me try it out. She gave me two Funk records and I was trying to make them sync, but I just could not get it. Then the day after she told me that Funk records are, of course, recorded in the studio. So the BPM keeps on changing. That was the first time I ever touched vinyl or did anything with a DJ set.
How has your DJ journey evolved?
I think around two years ago is when I started to take the DJing seriously. I got an injury, and I could not dance. I was already buying a lot of music because I needed it for my dance classes and choreographies and also for my own interest. During my injury period, I just started to play around with music. So that kind of kept me sane. So it started off as me just going into studio trying things as a hobby to me actually really, really liking it.
I think my music taste is a never ending process when it comes to change. Overall, I have always had a thing for the Detroit sound. But when I play, I like music that I would really like to dance to myself. So I am kind of egocentric in that sense. Has my taste changed? Yes, of course, with life experiences.
When did your interest in Urban Dance appear?
I actually could not put my finger on it when it really started. But I started being conscious of it when I was 18. Before that I was going out in clubs and stuff, but I think around the age of 18, was when I started dancing. I was just doing it because I really liked it. And I was in my teenage years, I was pretty much a person that was like: ‘’You know what, I'm gonna just do what I like. And I will see where I end.’’
And I ended up teaching, dancing professionally, choreographing and now, I have made the step to become an interdisciplinary maker, because storytelling is really my thing, whether it is DJing or making a theater piece.
You are a teacher at Amsterdam University of Arts and a Dance Coach. Can you tell us more about your work in these fields?
My work as a teacher consists of training people when it comes to dance vocabulary, but also making people aware of the culture, because it is club and street culture, you cannot separate the culture from the technique, because otherwise it will become this very flat thing. And the essence of the movement comes from the culture. So it is important to know the history, where the music comes from, knowing who the people are within the culture, etc, etc.
What is Fresh Culture Foundation?
Before Fresh Culture Foundation it was called The Arc. The Arc started off as me and a couple of friends. And there was this contest, and I asked them if they wanted to join. So I made the choreography for the pilot. Afterwards we started doing more gigs with it. The name The Arc comes literally from the boat and having all kinds of different authentic humans on it. And that is what makes the boat so strong.
And at a certain moment, life just got busy. And then The Arc changed into Fresh Culture Foundation. And that is because everybody went their own way. And my vision also got clearer as to where I want to go to with Fresh Culture Foundation. I am organizing but I am also making theater pieces based on club and street style.
You are the brain behind the event series Pass the Torch and the collective The Update. Can you tell us more about these projects? Are you working on any new editions/projects?
The Update is a project that I started with a friend of mine, Rabi. And it literally arose out of conversations that we were having.
We have noticed that a lot of times, it is hard as an artist to connect with spaces in a way that you can really feel free to experiment or to showcase your work. So we decided to start The Update. It is a group of individual creatives that curate events in different spaces.
It's interesting that you are asking about Pass The Torch because it is going to actually come back. I cannot give the details yet about the location though. Pass The Torch is an event where a person from the club or street culture is being invited and is being interviewed. It is not necessarily about their creative career but more about the background story. Because I am a firm believer that what makes a DJ great is primarily the story behind it. This is why we love a specific person, for their authenticity. The interviews are based on their backstory. And at the end, the guest chooses a movie that they want to show to the people that come to the event that has inspired them creatively.
You have a resident show at Operator. What is your approach when preparing monthly sets?
Yeah, that is very interesting.
I have this habit of buying too many tracks. Sometimes I look at my bank account, and I think: ''Oh my God''. But I just play whatever stays in my head. Of course, I already play a lot of music, because I dance and I create shows on music. And that, for me, helps me in a way as well into making my selection for a set. Now when it comes to my monthly show, I don't have a specific structure. I just intuitively make a list and I choose the tracks on the spot.
Which is your favorite show on Operator Radio?
Can you name one artist/creator that we should keep an eye on?
Marlou Fernanda. I like the fact that she is so vulnerable. But then again, because she is so vulnerable, she is so strong at expressing her vision on what art is. And I admire that so much.
What can we expect from you in the future?
A lot of creativity. I also just got signed to the IN UNISION agency. So I'll be playing a lot more hopefully, if COVID allows it. But if COVID doesn't allow it, I will be digitally playing a lot.
Text by Carlos Eperon Beltrán.
Photography by Kenneth Owens.