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- A chat with Jane Fitz
On a video call from her new house in Florence, where she has recently relocated with her partner, Jane Fitz is having a fangirl moment. Even facing fresh lockdown restrictions just a couple of weeks after moving to Italy from the UK, she is almost giddy at the prospect of digging for records in a country that has inspired her so much. Italian music, of all kinds, has always been a passion of Jane’s – and now she’s living in the epicentre of it. “It’s like wow, I can actually meet these people whose music has meant so much to me and just be a total fangirl,” she says. “I never had the opportunity to be that in London.” After what has undoubtedly been one of the most difficult years in the career of any touring DJ – especially one with a gig roster as full as Jane’s – it’s refreshing to see that the UK-born and now Florence-based selector has not even remotely lost the spark for her craft. If anything, her relocation to Italy has reinvigorated her musically, while an enforced break from DJing has given her pause to reflect on where she'd like to focus her energy once the industry bounces back. Here, Jane fills us in on some new projects that have kept her busy the past year and shares how, even faced with the challenges of the pandemic, she’s never lost that deep-set curiosity for music that shines through every set and mix she creates. How have things been going for you this past year? When the first lockdown hit, I kind of took it as an opportunity to say ‘right, I’m going on a really deep dig’. I spent about three months really getting into digging for stuff that I have never really had the time to do, whole days of 12 hours of just searching for music. Then some family stuff happened that put me into a whole other headspace. I was literally hiding behind finding records and finding music, it was the only thing keeping me afloat. Last summer we were lucky enough to come to Italy, took a month off to do a bit of travelling, then the winter was really hard again. So it’s been weird but I’ve been trying to keep up as much as I can. But I did have this brilliant period of just searching and I’m kind of doing it again now. Now that I’m here in Italy, all these different things are available to me that had been really messed up with Brexit. I had parcels go missing and all kinds of stuff. I’m never going to stop buying records, I’m obsessed with it, but now I’m here and things are arriving in two days. So that’s the upside to moving. It must have been difficult for you to go from touring and playing as much as you were, to everything just coming to a standstill. I think when it first hit, I just thought it was a holiday, some time off. By the end of the year, I had no money left at all and I was really struggling. So I have been selling loads more records. I’ve always been selling records – I have been for 15, 16 years – but now I’ve really ramped it up. I’ve done it on the downlow and haven’t put my name to everything, but I’ve been selling loads. So I’m an online shop owner now! It’s just sharing your knowledge in a different way. And it’s another way of using your skills I guess? Yeah exactly. Another thing I have been doing is I’m setting up a publishing company. My background is in journalism and I’m setting up a publishing company with a friend of mine to launch a book/journal/magazine. I’m not going to say too much about it but it’s a nice project because it’s a historical project. It’s more of a research project than anything about new music. If you’ve got those skills, you might as well use them in times of need. So I definitely haven’t been sitting on my ass, I’ve been busy! What music have you been digging for, when you’ve been getting back into it lately? Everything really. I just don’t stop. I’ve always had a big thing about Italian music, whether it’s techno or old ‘90s Italian music or whatever. Now that I’m here, the music that has inspired me for years was all produced in Florence, or at least in Tuscany. Miki is here, I’m good friends with him and all his records are really important to me. It’s so nice to have just by chance ended up in a city which musically is really channeled into my sound. When I’m walking around and I’m looking at the hills or looking at the sunset, I’m getting a little bit of what’s channeled through those original records. Over time, I hope I can add to that myself in some way. How nice if you can rediscover the music you love in its original context. Exactly, and be around the people who made it. It’s like wow, I can actually meet these people whose music has meant so much to me and just be a total fangirl. I never had the opportunity to be that in London. What music are you most looking forward to discovering there? With the Italian stuff there is so much. Obviously there’s italo and deep house, but there’s also all this weird progressive stuff and all the old ‘70s and ‘80s minimalism and strange classical music and some crazy folk stuff. My wife is from Sardinia and there is all this weird folk music which comes out of Sardinia which I really want to go and explore. I’m in the right place I think. Tell me about your mix for Patterns of Perception then. I’m really curious to hear how you put this together and about the direction you took with this one. I must tell you, most mixes I do are not that banging but it just happened to be the records themselves I really liked. I think people expect me to do something a bit more trancey or whatever, because that’s obviously what I’ve been playing more out, but I realised that the records that were getting me more excited were a bit more techno and a bit weirder and a bit more tribal. And I thought: this is exactly how I feel right now. I don’t think I planned for it to be quite so uptempo but they were the records that appealed to me. I’m always pushing forward to try to surprise myself, as well as anybody listening. I haven’t really put a good podcast together for awhile, I think the last one I did was actually the Italian music one for Tropical Animals. So it was a little exploration for me, of having accumulated lots of new records that I haven’t been able to play out for the past year. That’s the thing, I realised I didn’t know any of my records because normally you buy them and you integrate them into your set immediately, so you know them back to front. But I’ve realised I’ve been accumulating probably the same amount of records and not had a chance to learn them because I haven’t really been listening a lot, just accumulating, and I hadn’t been hearing them out or hearing them loud. So when I got to play a couple of these records, I was just really excited. It felt like the first time I’ve played a set in ages, and I guess it was. It sounds like a lot of fun. Yeah, it was. I was thinking also about when I played for you guys, it was such a nice experience. It was such a warm experience which is not the feeling you think of when you think about Berlin clubs generally. The whole concept – seeing you guys, coming for dinner, hanging out, playing with Eric (Cloutier) and being in the booth at OHM which is really comfortable – the whole thing just felt like a much warmer experience than what you usually get, which is a little bit more wild and a bit more, I don’t know, dirty. I remembered that and I wanted to get into that mindset as well. I also really enjoyed this mix, I think because for me it felt a bit like being brought back to the club, or at least recreating a little bit of that magic again. Yeah for me it definitely felt like I was in a club space – or maybe more a festival space. A bit of me was kind of longing for playing on the side of a Japanese mountain again or all those festivals you do in the summer, they’re all just gone. I much prefer playing outdoors now, that’s one thing I’ve learned n from lockdown: that I don’t really want to be indoors much anymore, I really want to be outdoors if I’m going to play music. It just sounds better and you see people in a different way. I wanted to have people stomping on a forest floor. There was that element of something a little bit tribal to it which I’m not sure you would get so much in the club. There was that cathartic element for me. I was listening back to your interview for the AIR Podcast with Emma Robertson recently, where a lot of the discussion was about getting lost in music and the sort of meditative role that it plays for you. Have you been able to experience any of that lately? Yeah, I think so but in much, much shorter modules. I haven’t had that feeling of when you give yourself to something. Having this time not playing, it’s given me a lot of time to reflect on what I was doing as a DJ and I do think I was playing too often and I do think not necessarily in the best places all the time. And I was selling out a little bit, I really feel like that. At the minute I’m kind of desperate so I’d take any gig (laughs) but I do think that given the opportunity to plan ahead a bit more, I want to really commit to those kinds of gigs where you can do that. Meaning you can play these longer sets and fully immerse both yourself and the audience in the music? Yeah, and I do feel actually that the year before lockdown hit, I was getting more opportunities to do these really long sets. I felt that I was moving away from just being a guest in a club and getting a bit more control. On reflection, I need to keep on with that. I don’t want to just come in and just do two hours at a club. I want the promoter to go, ‘right that’s yours, do what you want’. If you’re young and you’re bouncing and you’re on drugs or whatever, go to a club or be that DJ. But I’m kind of an old lady now – I’m 50 next year – and I don’t want to do that. I want to be the person who gets to go there and sit down and chill out and do a long set and say my thing. It makes more sense to who I am to play in that way. I like doing warm-ups. I hate peak time. To be able to tell a story is so important to me. What are you looking for when you’re digging or does it really depend? I don’t have anything specific that I’m looking for. I’m always a big believer in the mysticism of records, that they will find you. There is a real element that I believe in which is: if you look too hard, you’re going to miss stuff. You need to be open to those opportunities for things to just turn up or somebody in a record shop to just hand you something or some weird unnamed thing in a bargain bin to be screaming for you. I’m not going to say the records talk to me because that will put me in the madhouse but I do think that your instinct and your connections and your experience definitely floods through when you’re hunting for stuff, whether that’s online or in person. I try to be as open as possible when it comes to looking. When was the last time you found something you thought was really fresh? Every day! Every day I find something new. Woody92, who also did something for you guys, he put up a Buy Music Club the other day and I thought, brilliant! There’s so much stuff in there I hadn’t heard of before. So every day I’m finding something new to go and explore, or there are people I know who inspire me to search in a new place. I feel grateful to be excited with wonder and curiosity every day. I was listening to your RA podcast from a few years back and it struck me how different it is to what you’re releasing now, and how much your sound has changed. That was kind of presenting the end of something. There were a few things on there which were telling you what I’m playing now, so if you get to the second half of the mix it goes a bit more ravey and acidy, whereas it starts off more deep. For years that had been my vibe and so there's an element of that which will never go away. It was my history. I played a lot of records in that set that I had been playing for 15, 20 years almost. I also knew that was something that was going to stick around for a long time so I knew if I only play one sound on that mix, that’s all I’m going to get booked to play. I also think it’s really important, as a person who loves music, to evolve. I would be so bored if I’d bought the same records for the last 30 odd years, almost 40 years. What do you think has driven this evolution from housier Jane Fitz to acid/ravey Jane Fitz? Is it just your changing taste or something more? Well, the music that I play now is probably much more representative of the music that I was playing when I first started mixing. In the mid-'90s I was really into Goa trance and before that, I was really into jazz and hip hop and soul. And then I was really into house, end of the' 90s I was probably into that whole French filter disco thing and that didn’t last, then I came back to the UK and got really into the tech house scene. So I’ve always evolved. I was thinking about this regarding new records recently and I think one of the things that drives it is that you get a sound that’s really pure and really original and over a period of a couple of years other producers start to recreate and make that sound. So it gets diluted. By the time it’s diluted, I’ve moved on. I’m always looking for something a little more interesting. How much of this has to do with your own commitment to your craft as well? Most people are not into it for life, but I’m a lifer. If you are fully invested in music, then over time you will evolve because music is also evolving all the time. So you can’t fail to evolve if you’re interested in new stuff and also interested in expanding your own knowledge. No one stays the same – and it’s completely anti-human to not evolve. I would be very skeptical of someone whose sound didn’t change. What keeps you going with music, especially nearing 50 as you said earlier? Just that you’re never an expert. I’ve heard it so many times before but the more you know, the more you realise that you don’t know. The past year I’ve realised there are so many more interesting new things coming out. I’ve always dug old stuff but there is plenty of new stuff to keep you interested. There’s a little online community I’m part of, a little secret music group with about 150 people in it, and we’re all kind of into the same thing. Even that, just being able to share music with people all around the world who are all really excited about things which you’re also into. Whether that’s ambient or psytrance, it doesn’t really matter. I always feel like I’m a beginner and there’s not many things in your life that can make you feel like that. For me that’s exciting, to always have a clean page to start with. You’re a librarian really. I’m not a producer, I do make a bit of music but that’s not my heart. My heart is finding as much crazy stuff as I can really and sharing it with people as much as I can. And telling a story with it? Yeah, using that music to do something else. I bought it but I never made it. For me to feel that I’m actually relevant, rather than just a machine that puts one record on after another, then I feel I have to do something with those. They’re tools to create an experience. I think we all need a way of connecting with another thing that’s bigger than ourselves, and my way of doing that is not religion, but music. That’s what I have faith in and curiosity for music is what drives me.
- 82 - Jane Fitz
To introduce Jane Fitz as a legend of the scene borders on understatement. The UK selector has earned an almost cult-like following born out of her annual sets at Freerotation festival, co-founding London’s Night Moves parties (with good friend Jade Seatle), a more recent residency at revered club the Pickle Factory, a monthly show on Rinse FM, and a pre-pandemic touring schedule that took in countless clubs and festivals the world over. She herself admits to being committed to the scene for life, driven by a deep appreciation of the music above all else – and a constant desire to surprise both herself and her audience equally. For her Patterns of Perception 82, Jane has recreated some of the warmth she felt during her visit to Berlin for a b2b with Eric Cloutier at our party in November 2019, an event which remains a vivid memory on both sides. The mix features many records collected over the past year of the pandemic and not yet played out, giving it a sense of urgency and an uplifting quality that, for her, recalls an outdoor festival set in better days. “A bit of me was kind of longing for playing on the side of a Japanese mountain again or for all those festivals you do in the summer,” she says. “I wanted to have people stomping on a forest floor.” Jane Fitz's Links: SoundCloud Facebook Resident Advisor Night Moves - Facebook Invisible Menders - Facebook invisiblemenders.bandcamp.com Jane Fitz b2b Eric Cloutier - Patterns of Perception, OHM - October 2019:
- A chat with Millú
For those of us watching from afar, Australia seems to be a litmus test for life without COVID. The electronic music scene – which has been able to reopen with live events at limited capacity – is no exception. So when Naarm/Melbourne-based DJ Millú contributed to our mix series recently, we jumped at the chance to hear more about developments in the local scene. Below, she fills us in on what’s been keeping her busy over the last few months, including the launch of her latest community radio show and a new record label, and shares insights into what it feels like to return to the dancefloor in a country where daily cases hover close to zero. We'd love to hear more about your mix for Patterns of Perception first of all. Was there a concept or inspiration behind this one? I really enjoyed putting this mix together. I finally found myself back in my studio after what was surprisingly a pretty frantic summer of gigs and parties here – the pace of everything coming back to a new ‘normal’ was a bit overwhelming – and this mix feels like a winding down in a sense. Dub-tinged ambience into more atmospheric dnb. My mixes generally tend to be quite introspective, music for home listening with a cup of coffee... How would you describe your sound to those who haven’t heard your music before? I find that my sound as a DJ performing out differs so drastically from my sound as a DJ on the radio or for mix series such as this. I get a lot out of recording mixes that invoke a sense of calm: lots of atmospherics, drawing on elements of psych and shoegaze, and combining them with more conventional electronic sounds. I guess certain elements of this still come through in my DJ sets – an affinity for the more psychedelic and tripped-out sides of dance music. People might know you as the host of the show Full Circle on Triple R 102.7FM, in your hometown of Naarm/Melbourne, which started in February 2020 – only a month or so before the pandemic began. How has the show taken shape over the past year? And has the pandemic forced you to make any changes to how you approach it? I’ll admit it was a bit challenging starting a weekly radio show at the beginning of a global pandemic. My creativity and motivation really suffered last year and I felt like I got off on the wrong foot in a way with the show, but at the same time, it was really important for me to have something to focus on musically each week in the absence of gigs. It encouraged me to still connect with the scene and to keep up with new releases. I presented lots of shows from home at the height of our lockdown here when we weren’t able to leave our homes, and I did a bunch of Zoom interviews. This was all fun for a while until the novelty wore off – in the end, it stripped away a bit of the magic of radio. That all said, I think that radio was a really important thing for people during our lockdown – there was a huge increase in listenership and it felt like people were really enjoying the personality of a radio show as opposed to just putting on a mix. It was like a sense of solidarity or something, it felt really special. What role has the show, and community radio in general, played for you during this time? Community radio is huge here in Australia. We have a really strong relationship with these old school FM radio stations, where one hour you’ve got northern soul, the next you’ve got a metal show, and then there’s a dance slot. There’s a really strong community around these stations, the people who present shows and those who listen and subscribe. It was amazing to feel a part of that during the pandemic; everyone was there for each other regardless of your chosen subculture or genre, trying to navigate this shared experience. I think that was really grounding. It’s also led to a greater sense of connection now that events are back up and running. There is a heightened appreciation for what’s going on in other scenes and I hope this perseveres as time goes on. Australia is in a very different state from the rest of the world when it comes to COVID-19 but Naarm/Melbourne has arguably been the hardest hit of any city from the pandemic. How did the prolonged lockdown there – and COVID in general – impact the local music scene? It feels strange now talking about Naarm as being one of the hardest hit when we look around and see others battling their toughest lockdowns yet. Our lockdown last year dragged on for what felt like forever: 112 days of really strictly enforced social isolation. It was really hard but it was really special to see the dance community stick together in more online spaces during this time, and to see how much support people were willing to show each other. I think this sort of mentality of supporting your friends and those in the scene around you has definitely persevered into the IRL realm now that venues are reopening and the parties are starting back. Guest lists feel like a thing of the past – this expectation that you can go to a gig for free because you know someone. Events have been selling out here, admittedly with lower capacity, but it really does feel like people want to show their support financially more than ever now. There’s this sort of sense of 'we almost lost this'. In terms of Melbourne’s more underground scene, I think it’s going to take a while for things to properly find their feet again. Some of the most prolific parties in this city were the DIY ones, the park parties along the Birrarung with a bunch of people chipping in to hire a Funktion-One rig for the night. They’re the ones that feel like they’ll take the longest to recover. We still have strict capacity limits for public outdoor gatherings and I think there’s a sense of responsibility that we all feel to not fuck this up again. 112 days was a really long time. It’s harder to track people’s attendance at these kinds of events and with that comes an ability to contact-trace if there is another outbreak – no one wants to be responsible for that just for the sake of a rave. I’m excited to see how these DIY spaces will return in new, safer ways. Together with your DJ partner Pjenne, you recently launched the new label Companion which you say “brings the language of ethereal '90s electronica, psychedelic IDM and ambient trance and techno to the present day”. Why did you choose to focus on this sound and this era? Penny and I both have an affinity for the downtempo trance and ambient dub and techno sounds of the early ‘90s. We both play a lot of this on our radio shows and just found that this was our main area of musical overlap as DJs. Melbourne’s electronic music scene at the moment is largely dominated by more dance-floor-oriented stuff – breaks, prog, really driving techy stuff. There are definitely some amazing labels doing music geared towards the after-hours or for home listening (Best Effort, .jpeg artefacts, Daisart to name a few) but it felt like there was still room for a label celebrating the kind of music we hope to curate with Companion. I saw you had an IRL event for the launch of Companion, which seems like such a foreign concept for those of us outside Australia at the moment. How did it feel to be on a dance floor again? It was so surreal! We had the launch party at the Fairfield Amphitheatre, a really beautiful outdoor venue on the banks of the Birrarung. It was a day thing so we started with more downtempo and atmospheric sets and there was a lot of sitting around, catching up with people you hadn’t been able to see for a year. Then, when the sun set, it got pretty wild. People had been fiending for a dance like that I think, even if it was socially distanced. We were so stoked with the vibe of it, it left us on such a high. Can you tell us a bit about the first release(s) you have coming up on Companion? The first release is scheduled for early May. It’s from a Balinese-born, Melbourne-based producer called KiTA. It’s five tracks of sort of hazy atmospheric electro and washed-out breaks – it has a real cinematic feel to it overall. We’ll be pressing 300 copies locally at a new pressing plant here, Program Records, which is really exciting, and we’ve collaborated with Jaime Brohier for the artwork. Lastly, since Australian music makes up such a big part of your DJ sets, which local artists should we make sure to keep an eye out for? There’s so much incredible talent coming out of Australia at the moment – the list could go on forever! It’s a really exciting time to be a part of the community here. Cale Sexton, YL Hooi, Gallery B, Acopia and Cousin are all putting out amazing downtempo stuff, LOIF and Different Shades are killing it with the slammers. And miscmeg and the Vortex collective are doing some really cool stuff on the DJing front too. Follow Companion on Facebook and Instagram for details about upcoming releases.
- Home | Patterns/Perception
A chat with Jane Fitz Read more Magazine A chat with Grant Aaron A chat with Sapphire Slows Selections: Music for a new year A chat with Ario A chat with Patrick Russell A chat with Vivian Koch More articles Mix series a day ago 82 - Jane Fitz Mar 17 81 - Millú Feb 23 80 - Grant Aaron More mixes Next party W e have no events announced at the moment. Please check back again soon! See previous events From the archives Oct 24, 2019 A chat with Eric Cloutier You only have to look at Eric Cloutier’s gig roster from the past month to get a sense of his versatility as a DJ. Whether he’s making...
- Magazine | Patterns/Perception
Magazine All Interviews Selections Videos Photos 4 hours ago 4 min Selections: Music for a new year If ever there was a new year that's required us to look forward, rather than back, this is the one. Now that the world has collectively t... Dec 17, 2020 5 min A chat with Ario Followers of ambient music will no doubt know Ario as the man behind Astral Industries, the revered label that fuses reissued work with n... Dec 6, 2020 6 min A chat with Patrick Russell In all the turmoil of the past months, Patrick Russell has found a fitting coping strategy. Whether spending almost every day in the stud... Oct 15, 2020 7 min A chat with Vivian Koch When Vivian Koch talks about producing music, she conjures up an almost spiritual, deeply personal process. For her, production is a way ... Aug 24, 2020 9 min A chat with Woody92 For Woody92, preparing a mix is like putting the pieces of a puzzle together. This approach was on full display in his recent contributio... Jul 21, 2020 10 min A chat with Suski As a university student in her native Finland, Susanna Nuutinen found the perfect setup to hone her skills. Susanna, also known by her ar... May 12, 2020 8 min A chat with Resom For a DJ with as busy a gig roster as Resom, you’d imagine the ongoing lockdown would lead to stillness and calm. Instead, having already... Apr 5, 2020 6 min Selections: Music for self-isolation Along with all the other changes happening around us, the way we listen to music has also shifted. Just a few weeks ago, many of us were ... Feb 28, 2020 2 min Selections: DJ SO From the nature to the music, Japan has been an inspiration for our collective since the very beginning. We’re excited to bring this Japa... Feb 26, 2020 4 min A chat with Timnah Sommerfeldt Deeply embedded in the Basel scene, surrounded by good friends with a shared passion for music, Timnah Sommerfeldt’s style as a selector ...
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