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  • A chat with Nicole

    When it comes to electronic music, Georgia has no shortage of emerging talent – and Patterns of Perception mix series contributor Nicole is no exception. A famed Boiler Room set following the Bassiani club raids in 2018, as well as a first solo EP on Marco Shuttle’s record label Eerie, have helped put her name on the map. We recently sat down with Nicole to get some insight into both her own path to electronic music and the thriving Georgian scene that supported her rise. How have the last two years been for you, both personally and in terms of your music career? Of course, the past two years have been hard for me, especially as an artist. As is the case for many artists, I chose this career for my love of music, and for sharing emotions and vibes with a crowd. When the pandemic hit, I was in complete shock because the clubs were the first to shut down before anything else. I spent a lot of time at home focused on making music, but after some time I realised the clubs were not going to open again soon, and I had to pay the bills. It’s safe to say I had a lot more music equipment before the pandemic started than now. Personally, the pandemic was good for me in a lot of ways though. I grew in understanding myself and had time to reflect on what I honestly wanted in life. Before I was in clubs every weekend gigging, and sometimes it felt like a loop with no time to stop and have time for myself. I understand you recently moved to Kyiv. What prompted the move? Honestly, I felt that I need to develop myself both as a DJ and person and, with all my love to Georgia, I think I took everything that Georgian people and atmosphere could give to me at this point in my life. For the last few years, I’ve been planning to move to Berlin because I’ve thought that this city would fit me. However, I have a lot of wonderful friends in Kyiv and, looking at the rapidly developing and powerful scene here, I said to myself: “Why not try living here?”. For me, it was weird since I’ve never been here before, but looking at people on the street and feeling the city’s vibe now I’m sure that this decision was more than right. The reason is very simple: I love people here since they’re incredibly open, warm and always ready to help, which is very similar to my own attitude to life. Tbilisi’s club scene faced a severe crackdown from police in 2018. You yourself played the Boiler Room celebration of the re-opening of Bassiani following the police raids in 2018. How did it feel to be a part of that pivotal moment? I will never forget this moment in my life, as I was inside Bassiani when the police raid happened. I was 19 years old and had a feeling I had finally found something in my life I understood I wanted to do, but at the same time, I witnessed something wanting to come and take this away. I realized in that moment something I loved might not ever become a reality, which made me extremely nervous. When the protests happened and we danced in front of the Parliament building, I had a sense of unity and the feeling that we were all together fighting for one common thing, which was an amazing realization. When I got the phone call from the promoter asking me if I wanted to play on the Bassiani Boiler Room, I was so shocked and said yes immediately, without actually thinking about what it meant. Then I soon realized how important this was; playing next to DJs I grew up listening to and whose sets I was studying when I was learning to play. I was only a DJ for 6 months at the time when I played this set, and I realise that I was really lucky to play on such an important moment with these people I looked up to. People often emphasise your age and the fact you released your first record aged 20, but Georgia’s electronic scene is equally young. What do you think it is about the Georgian underground scene that has allowed it to thrive and gain such international recognition in such a short span of time? I think the Georgian scene grew so quickly because the previous generation did not have such a culture with nightclubs and freedom of expression like this in the Soviet Union times. Of course, Georgian ravers are so emotional and the artists who come to play in these clubs experience an entirely different vibe and feeling from the dancefloor. The party never stops here, and I think this was a big attraction for so many artists coming from countries where clubs closed at 5am to clubs where you could play 20-hour sets. In the beginning, there was KHIDI, Bassiani, Cafe Gallery, and Mtkvarze. These four clubs worked so hard to create a standard, inviting really great artists to play here. What kind of music were you making and listening to back when you first got started? And how has your taste and sound developed since then? When I was younger, I was listening to all different sorts of music like Boards of Canada, Led Zeppelin, Nirvana, Sade, Zemfira, Depeche Mode, Radiohead and Massive Attack. I was also singing opera and listening to classical music too. When I was 17, my ex and I created an electronic music project together; singing and making music on Ableton. This was my first step into electronic music. I think I’m not on the end of my road yet, and every day something is changing with my music style. I always want to add something new into my music and I can’t tell you how my style Is now compared to before. I just love music without any limits on genre. I can play tech house or minimal or hard old school techno, even trance. And maybe even some songs which you remember from childhood for a closing track. I don’t want to make it definitive. I like freedom in music. How would you describe the sound coming out of Georgia at the moment? What styles of music or sounds are exciting you the most right now? Definitely techno. This has a lot to do with the fact we have KHIDI and Bassiani here, which is a big influence. Many people here in this society want to be a DJ, so they produce and play only techno. From one perspective you could say it's problematic because you have only a few DJs who can play a really good opening set or closing set. Everyone wants to play on peak time straight into techno. However, there is a very small artist community here who is more into the house sounds. What inspired you to start producing music yourself? I wanted to start producing music myself because I want to share only my emotions, not someone else’s. When I started to make my music alone, I feel more like myself. Your debut EP came out on Marco Shuttle’s label Eerie Records in 2020. How did this record, and the association with Marco, come about? And is there a follow-up on the horizon? I was working as a promoter in the club Cafe Gallery some time ago, and I booked him for a set there. We had great communication. I played the opening set before him, and after he asked me if I make music. I sent him some of my music and he released it. At this moment, I’m really working to enhance my sound and quality and I don’t want to release anything because I’m a work in progress. Tell us a bit about your mix for Patterns of Perception earlier this year: how and where was it recorded? Is there a concept behind it? I recorded this set in my hometown of Batumi at my friend’s studio. I was thinking about what to record a lot, because I haven't recorded a podcast for more than one year. I really did not know what I wanted to share now with people and my listeners. But when I started, I felt really calm and I was thinking I needed to record something that I would listen to and feel calm with no pressure. I tried to include tracks in the mix that reminded me of the soundtrack for a movie. Some ambient and classic music. I really wanted to make it feel like a fantasy. Was there a particular movie you were thinking of when making the mix? Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. This is one of my favorite films and at that time of recording I had recently watched it again and had this inspiration from it. Before we wrap up, do you have any suggestions for other artists from the Georgian scene we should keep an eye out for? For me, I can name a few. One important figure from the Georgian electronic music scene is Bassiani resident and Georgian pioneer, Kancheli. Kancheli is one of my favorite artists, whose sets I grew up on and whose productions I love. Another Bassiani resident I really enjoy is HVL, who is producing just amazing music. HVL’s tracks have been played by Aphex Twin. He also has incredible live sets. From the tech house and house music sounds, I love Bekuchi. His sets are for intelligent listening and they are always interesting to me. He is also starting his own label, Satz records, with an upcoming VA release to look out for. There is also a KHIDI resident named Yanamaste, who is a very young and talented artist with a bright future ahead of him. His sets are so energetic. He produces only with modular synths, and he did a live set video recording from KHIDI club which you can check out, it’s so good. As for non-Georgians based in Tbilisi, I really like McKenzie. She is a talented DJ, with a really different side. She feels the dance floor like me and has very close contact with the crowd, like she is trying to be there with the dance floor. She has big energy and she’s also a very interesting artist for me from the music scene in Georgia.

  • 89 - GiGi FM

    As an artist, GiGi-fm ’s energy and vision is unmistakeable. Known for truly wide-ranging and eclectic selections, and her electric presence in the booth - her sets feel unpredictable, warm and inviting all at once. Underpinned by psychedelic, transcendent atmospheres and rhythms, her sounds expand organically in all directions, with shades of techno, electro, breaks, house, IDM, ambient and more used in vivid, kaleidoscopic and unexpected combinations. Recorded live at our party from this past summer, GiGi’s Patterns of Perception 89 perfectly embodies her indelible energy. As a closing set, this was a blistering performance that left the audience totally transfixed over the course of two and half blissful hours. Capturing spontaneity, improvisation, diversity and vibrancy, this set had a profound, lasting impact on all those present, and we’re pleased to be able to share this recording. GiGi's Links: SoundCloud Instagram Facebook

  • A chat with Nali

    The Patterns of Perception record label most likely wouldn’t have come into being if it weren’t for our friendship with Nali. Based in Melbourne/Naarm, Nali is an extremely talented producer who has previously released on Australian labels including Steeplejack and Pure Space. Although the distance has meant it’s often been a long time between drinks, Nali has become a close friend of our collective over the years, making our collaboration on the first Patterns of Perception release a natural one. Touching on the friendship that brought this release to life, his motivations for making music and how he’s honed his craft, this special edition of our interview series is a conversation between Nali and two of the Patterns of Perception crew members behind the record label project, Steve Duncan and Kim Bergstrand. Nali’s Chance Encounters EP is out now on vinyl and digitally. Grab your copy here. Zilka: How did you all meet? Take me back. Nali: You guys can tell me if I’ve romanticised any of this story, it was actually quite a long time ago now (in 2014). The gist of it is, I was 20 years old and I had spent most of that year saving up money to go to Europe for a holiday with a few friends of mine from Melbourne who I had met through music. The story starts in Melbourne, because the week before we were going to fly to Berlin I was DJing at a venue called New Guernica with those same friends, and I was the last to play. I was doing the closing set and I was pretty tired. As I stepped up, my intention was to keep the energy of the night going in a nice positive way. As my first track, I went to play a song off Tin Man’s LP Ode called Vertigo. The reason the story is funny is that Vertigo is quite a bright, upbeat, deep acid tune. However, due to lack of concentration I actually played the title track which is a really dark, brooding, ominous song. I remember it just not being right for the moment at all, at least in my mind. I was a bit embarrassed. Still this moment is a strong memory for me. A week or so later we had arrived in Berlin. It was a Friday night and I was eager to go out. My friend who had been working in town for a while had heard about your party Thai and Techno. It sounded a bit unusual and everybody’s mood was a bit low, but I was desperate to go out, so we headed down. I remember going up the elevator to the gig, and the elevator opening, and someone was DJing and playing the song I had accidentally played … but at 8.30pm on a Friday night. I thought, who the hell would play such a dark track while people are seated and eating Thai food? And it was Kim! Later I saw Kim picking up bottles so I went to say hi and to chat about his set. Once we start speaking we quickly realised there was this very personal Melbourne connection, even going so far as having lived in the same suburb. It was very surreal. And the rest is history. Kim: Very quickly after that we caught up, we had dinner with everyone and then we had quite a few good nights out during that time. I think from the beginning you told me you were releasing music and the first vinyl that you did with Steeplejack was about to come out. Already at that point, you started to share some of your music with us and we were playing some of your very early and unreleased music. Already then there was an idea that we should do something together at some point. It just maybe took a bit longer than anticipated. Nali: I think it took the perfect amount of time. Good things take time. Zilka: What is it about all of your approaches to music that aligns so well? Is it purely taste or is it something more? Steve: I think there are two things that draw me to both Kim and to Nic’s musical approaches. One is curiosity. Every time I mix or share music with either of you, it’s always a surprise. I always feel like I’m going to hear music that I have never heard before or music presented in a surprising new context which always impresses me. When I have these really fulfilling sessions with both of you, it gives me energy and motivation to go and keep digging myself. And in terms of the feeling of the music that you both play and connect with, I feel like there is a warm quality to it. Even though there was that dark Tin Man track that you both played - and there’s elements of darkness to what we all play sometimes - when I think about your sounds I think of positivity and warmth. Nic: 100 percent. It’s also very communal. I don’t listen to as much club music on my own these days but in the context of being with friends it makes perfect sense. One reason I am spurred to make this music is because it’s so profound when you experience it with other people – it creates such a strong memory. We’ve had so many good times together and that’s part of the inspiration to do it. Kim: That’s also what I love about your music Nic, that it is kind of curious and there’s always a little cheeky vibe to it. There’s always a surprising element. And the sound is influenced a lot by first getting exposed to it in Australia, where the setting is often festivals and stuff like that. Still when I listen to your tracks, I can really imagine them being played at these outdoor events. It has this Aussie festival vibe to it and I think that’s maybe one reason for us connecting so much. Zilka: How did this particular release come about? Steve: From my side, the thing that got me really excited about this idea was the live set you did for us at OHM back in December 2018 Nic, and enjoying your music on that kind of sound system. I still remember clearly the contrasting delicacy and punch of Nic’s set. It felt very detailed and emotional, yet with proper groove and rhythm. I think that Nic has managed to bring these qualities over to the release perfectly, and it was fun to go back together to relive and dissect that live set to try to understand and extract those special elements. Nali: Yeah that live set was sort of the culmination of a lot of practice over three or so years of doing live sets and trying to really do something that I thought was good, to just play well and provide a show for people that was of quality. The reason I’m happy it took so long is because at least two of the songs were probably started before we met, one of them just after. If we had decided to do the record maybe two years after meeting, I don’t think I would have been ready. I think I needed to work on my craft a bit longer. Kim: I think that is one of the best sets I have heard at one of our parties. When we heard this set and found out that it was pretty much all unreleased music, it was almost hard to decide what we wanted to release from there because there was just so much good material. It was also a process of us being able to narrow it down. There were enough tracks to make multiple releases. Nali: There is sort of a theme to the relationship, and it is definitely time, waiting, being patient and distance. Distance being the reason why we had to be patient because a friendship at the end of the day relies on interaction and being able to see each other. For example, the live set might have happened three years earlier if I had lived in Berlin. And then conversely, the performance itself was the culmination of 20 different live sets that I had done over these years. It was almost like the optimum time for me to play that show. Steve: And it made such an impact. It gave us the energy to start thinking about the label. Kim: You gave us the confidence that we were sitting on something pretty cool and special, and someone needs to release this. I’m already excited about planning another one. Zilka: Nic, do you agree with the characterisation of the music as Australian in sound? Nali: Probably when I met you guys I was going to a lot of outdoor events in Australia and was very much inspired by the landscape. Those formative years leave a pretty strong influence on your musical character so even if it’s maybe not something I am conscious of, it is probably there. And it makes me happy to think that it evokes that feeling for people. That can only be a good thing. Steve: You said you haven’t been going to so many outdoor events at the moment because of COVID and you also said that you’re sort of sitting on some new music now, do you feel like your sound has changed now because of that? Nali: Yeah I think my sound has changed or what I am making has changed. My biggest source of inspiration is actually a friend’s basement, a communal space we have in Melbourne where people hang out and play records. A big part of the sound there is probably housier styles but still quite deep. That’s been the biggest influence for me recently. So the next stuff I send to you might have that influence, but still in a Patterns of Perception way. It still comes back to the people fundamentally. Zilka: It sounds like this communal element is a big part of what motivates you to make music. Nali: What’s so amazing about the music that we do is that you make these 5 minute, 8 minute tracks and for almost everyone who hears it played out, they most likely haven’t heard it before. They hear it once. They might hear it again, if they go out another time and it is played. But realistically they will only hear it once in their lives. And if they’re having a good time, the specialness of that moment, you can’t really compare it to much else in life. That brings me a lot of joy: to play a small part in that one little moment in a set. All the work and all the time that goes into it, all the relationships, the effort, and then it’s just this one moment. That’s why you do it, I think. Steve: It is so unquantifiable, the effect music has on people and the way it triggers these emotions. When I think about playing a DJ set and setting the kind of environment, hopefully, to bring people joy, it’s great, and it can be profound, but as an artist it can only take you so far. But if you’re playing your own music that you have developed over time and have crafted yourself and put your own blood, sweat and tears into, it must be such a satisfying feeling. To imagine it being played at festivals or parties and seeing everyone getting so much enjoyment from something you created must be kind of mind-melting. Kim: You also can’t deny that somewhere like Labyrinth has had an inspiration both for Nic and for us. I can hear it in this release. And if I could listen to it someplace, it would be somewhere in the mountains on a sick soundsystem. That’s where it is best played. Nali: Yeah even the way it has been made, certain stylistic choices have been made to make it sound like you’re in front of a giant set of speakers. That’s not necessarily consciously done but because that is my happy place. If I was ever going to be in a situation where that music was put on me, that’s the way I would want it to sound. Steve: I can’t wait til we get a chance to play it in the garden at ://about blank or play it at an outdoor festival. That’s the perfect place for it. Zilka: Your approach for working together on the record has been very collaborative – can you tell me a bit more about that? Kim: Actually it wasn’t like we had a super-strong vision that this is exactly the type of label we want to create. I think it’s been quite organic, and it’s a reflection of the friendships and the connections we’ve made over the years through parties and the mix series. We already have a very well-defined sound through the mix series and the bookings so of course that gives the label a specific direction, but otherwise it has been quite an organic process. We also had in mind that we want to find talent that isn’t necessarily fully exposed yet, and Nic is perfect for that. Nali: In my mind, even though this is my second release, I still feel like I’m a newcomer. Kim: And I think that was the level of collaboration and the kind of process we want. And it’s a similar process that we follow now with the upcoming releases. I don’t know if this is always going to be the case but it is kind of nice to have this type of exchange where you have an artist who is really excited about releasing with us and who is willing to do these exchanges with us to make sure that we are both 100 percent happy with the product in the end. And with Nic, it was easy because we knew each other for a long time so it was very natural for us. Steve, do you agree that this is a little bit the ethos of the label, that we want to make it very collaborative? Steve: It’s actually the way that we work as a collective, and why we use the word ‘collective’ to describe us as a group of friends working together. We share everything, we make decisions together and we have some heated discussions but in the end it is very important that we all stay aligned and are all happy with the direction that our different projects take. The label is the natural continuation of that. It flowed on very naturally from how we have done the events, the mix series and the zine. Everyone’s input is valued. That’s why it’s been so special to work with Nic for the first release, he’s been so open and so up for collaborating and sharing thoughts and hearing our thoughts. This collaborative approach has really worked well for us. Zilka: How was this on your side Nic? Nali: Definitely, I have my job and with what’s happened in the world with the pandemic and isolation, my focus has been elsewhere. So with the creation of the music, I don’t make a song on the weekend and go and share it with 10 people and say, what do you think? This is why the structure of deadlines and others to hold you accountable is a positive for me. It means not only do I get it done but I also share it, and there’s feedback on it, and the ball keeps moving. The way I like working is to think about the people who run or are behind the label. That’s not just Kim and Steve, it’s you and everybody else in Patterns of Perception. And then I workshopped the music towards the sound of what I perceive Patterns of Perception to be from a long way away but also quite intimately too. Physically I’m a long way away but emotionally quite close. Kim: Do you have any ideas what you want to do with music going forward? Do you have a specific direction in mind already for stuff you want to do or will you just let it come naturally? Nali: I think if someone asks me to do something I will try. When I do have time for music these days, it makes it special. It is really nice to have a Saturday morning to just sit down with my gear and make music. Zilka: For the Patterns of Perception label, what are the next steps? Steve: Our goal is to find artists like Nic to work with, who are open, who we have a good connection with and who have a very unique and personal sound. We already have the next two or three releases in different stages of development, and we are learning more all the time working with each artist and challenging our sound. The label puts a totally different challenge in front of us in terms of defining and redefining our sound. Zilka: How do you feel listening back to the release now? Nali: There were times when it seemed like the tracks would never get finished or there were creative roadblocks. When it came to finalising the music for the record, I had finally arrived at a nice place of contentment about the songs. The title track ‘Chance Encounters’ is maybe the 50th version of the first electronic song I ever made on my laptop as an 18-year-old. I’m glad that I took my time with them and that they found their way onto Patterns of Perception. It was a true collaboration and I feel grateful to have been able to have worked on this with all of you. Head over to Bandcamp to grab your copy of Nali's Chance Encounters EP.

  • 88 - Nali

    Back in December, 2018, we had the pleasure of hosting a special live set from Australian producer Nali at a party at OHM, Berlin. Nic is not only a supremely talented producer, but also a close friend of our collective, and someone who has been a part of our journey from the very start. His performance was a true highlight of the night and its careful pacing, delicate melodies and understated power have stayed clear in our memories ever since. Indeed, over time this live set has grown to become an important reference point for us, as it naturally formed the basis of our first EP release with Nic. Together, we have dived into these memorable 90 minutes time and time again, drawing direct inspiration for the tracks on the release from the music and ideas presented within. As we prepare to release our first record - Nali's Chance Encounters EP - we’re happy to share a recording of the live set that brought this release into being. We hope you can feel (or relive) the energy and electricity that inspired us to embark on this journey together. Links: Nali - Soundcloud Nali - Chance Encounters EP (PTN01) - Previews Patterns of Perception - Introducing our Record Label

  • Label Launch // Mor Elian, Pessimist, Tobias, Mattikk, Solid Traveller, AWC & Kynant Rec

    20.11.21 @ ://about blank Berlin Featuring Tobias. (live), Mor Elian, Pessimist, Mattikk, Solid Traveller, A Walking Contradiction & Kynant Records Patterns of Perception returns to ://about.blank’s indoor dancefloors to celebrate a milestone: the launch of the collective's record label and first release. Selected listening Tobias. - SoundCloud Mor Elian - SoundCloud Pessimist - SoundCloud Mattikk - SoundCloud Solid Traveller - SoundCloud A Walking Contradiction - SoundCloud Kynant Records - SoundCloud Facebook / Resident Advisor

  • Introducing the Patterns of Perception record label

    Like so many in our community, the past two years have given us pause for reflection and a chance to think about our collective’s future. We formed Patterns of Perception with the mission to cultivate compelling, visionary electronic music. This week, we take the next step in fulfilling that vision – with the launch of our record label. What began as a series of club nights has gradually evolved into a wide-reaching platform encompassing events, a mix series and an online magazine so, to us, a record label feels like a natural progression. With our label, we want to capture the sound honed at our parties and to provide our community of artists with the space and freedom to expand on that musical vision, while also creating a permanent record of it. Much like a Patterns of Perception event, mix or interview, each release on the label provides a platform for artists with a close personal connection to our collective to tell their story. It is a showcase of the playful, psychedelic and vibrant musical direction that you would hear at our parties, and gives voice to the community of artists and friends with whom we have shared booths and dance floors alike over the past half decade. We could not think of a more fitting artist for the first Patterns of Perception release than Nali. A talented Australian producer, we met Nali at one of our first events many years ago and have been good friends ever since. Our collaboration with him is longstanding: he was one of the first contributors to our mix series and played a very special live set for us at OHM in Berlin back in December 2018. His Chance Encounters EP features four tracks of spacious, intricate grooves that dance and parry with luxuriant synths and infectious, acid-tinged basslines. It’s sunny, warm and, to this largely Australian collective, sounds a bit like home. As with every Patterns of Perception project, the label has been a true collaboration. The record was mastered in Berlin by Patterns of Perception crew member Andreas Maan, with artwork by fellow crew member Ray Pham. A huge thank you is also due to those who have supported us in getting the label off the ground: Thijs van de Wijngaert at nomorewords for the constant support and guidance, Intakt for their diligence and attention to detail with the pressing and production of the vinyl release, Clone for the distribution and, above all, Nali for the music. Lastly, we could not be more grateful for the support of our community of dancers, listeners and friends. Without your unflagging enthusiasm for our musical vision, this project would never have come into existence or blossomed into its current form. We hope you enjoy the music. PTN01 will be available in record stores and digitally via Bandcamp and other platforms on November 15. Stay tuned on Instagram and Facebook for more details and pre-orders.

  • 87 - Ultra Low Velocity

    Ultra Low Velocity is a new project formed by French DJs and producers Antoine and A Strange Wedding. Revelling in slow-burning and intensely psychedelic rhythms and atmospheres, the duo’s distinctive, shamanistic sound evokes the sensation of time being warped, whilst embracing sudden changes of sounds and feelings, from dynamic to vapourous. As individual artists, the two have made their impact on both the French and European stage thanks to creative output on labels such as Worst Recordings and Krakzh, as well as their involvement in Saint Etienne’s Positive Education Festival. Kicking off their Ultra Low Velocity project in early 2021 with an EP release on Krakzh, the duo have since had a busy post-lockdown period, taking the stage at festivals and parties across France, including at the Visions and Atom Festivals, a Krakzh label night in Rennes, and soon, the upcoming fifth edition of the Positive Education Festival. For Patterns of Perception 87, Ultra Low Velocity have shared a snapshot of their arresting current hybrid set. Although each of their performances is unique, this recording is a perfect summation of the carefully sculpted, uniquely energetic and kaleidoscopic nature of their sound. Building from a trippy, experimental-leaning start, this set moves confidently through genres, moods and time signatures, reaching its crescendo with free-wheeling, euphoric abandon. Ultra Low Velocity's Links: SoundCloud Facebook Antoine - SoundCloud Antoine - Instagram A Strange Wedding - SoundCloud A Strange Wedding - Instagram Worst Recordings - SoundCloud Worst Recordings - Instagram

  • A chat with Spekki Webu

    It might come as a surprise that Spekki Webu has his roots in the worlds of both jungle and gabber. But once you know, you start to hear these twin inspirations in much of what the influential Mirror Zone label founder produces. The fast rhythms, repetitive beats and rawness of gabber is there, as is the pure percussiveness of jungle. And underpinning it all, there’s a clear and deep appreciation for the psychedelic, often venturing into the spiritual. For this follow-up interview to his recent Patterns of Perception mix, Spekki Webu was determined to go deep: our chat was conducted electronically but is the result of several rounds of back-and-forth over a few weeks. Spanning his early discovery of electronic music via a jungle mixtape, through to the philosophy that underpins Mirror Zone and all of his musical output today, it is an insight into the boundary-pushing mindset of one of the Netherlands’ rising stars. Hey Chris! How have things been going for you lately? Have you been able to return to playing gigs? Hi! I have been doing very well lately. Just like most of us, we have been dealing with the pandemic here in The Netherlands which obviously resulted in being forced not to play anymore due to the clubs that closed and the festivals that got banned. On the bright side, that gave me much more time with family and friends, while trying to get as much studio time as possible and work on the label. Now things are very slowly starting to open up again here. That means that I also will start playing again, something that I’ve missed a lot! I had some gigs here and there, some here in The Netherlands (when we opened for 2 weeks) and some outside of the country. We had a short period when everything opened up here and I was lucky that I got the chance to play. The energy I received during those gigs was insane. You could just feel, breathe and smell the eagerness of everybody willing to dance and be together. Unfortunately, the opening of the clubs didn’t last long and after two weeks the government decided to close down again. Anyway, being behind the decks those two weekends were more than worth it. Going back to your origins, how did you first discover electronic music? I must have been around 14 years when I got exposed to jungle music and that was the moment that my ear and mind wanted more. From then on I slowly started to develop an ear for electronic music and the so-called “journey” has begun. When I was a kid I used to frequently visit my two older cousins who live in Germany, near Hamburg, during summer. My cousins were like sisters to me so I was always hanging around with them. As a teenager, I used to skateboard and one of my cousin's boyfriends was a skateboarder as well. We used to skateboard together and the convenient thing was that he owned a car. Hamburg was around the corner so we often drove downtown to skate on the streets. As we drove to Hamburg, he put a cassette on that had a jungle mix recorded on it. I was immediately blown away by this percussive and fast music and I was interested in what this was. From that moment I wanted to know everything about this genre and he explained to me that this form of music was called jungle or drum & bass. So my mission was to see if I could find any form of this music back home. My father used to go digging downtown in Delft and sometimes used to take me to a record shop called Plexus ‘t Platenmanneke. Normally I just went with my father because he was going to buy records or CDs but being back after my trip to Germany and experiencing my first encounter with jungle, the first question I asked the guy working in the shop obviously was: Do you guys have any jungle or dnb music? During that period Plexus had a big electronic music section and one of them was categorised for jungle and drum & bass. This is where I found my very first artifact and this was the starting point where the addiction to digging for music began. I bought a CD called Jungle Vibes Volume 2 which is a compilation that I still play today! From here on it was a totally new world opening up for me also because of all the things that were happening around me musically that I got exposed to. Plexus still is open nowadays, so if you get the chance to be in Delft one day then go and have a dig. How did you get deeper into the scene from here? Now, after being introduced into the world of electronic music, I only wanted more and more. I was lucky to be living in Delft. Geographically we are located in between two big cities, Rotterdam and The Hague. The gabber scene was big there (and still is) and especially in those two cities there were parties every weekend, including in my own town. So I also got exposed during that same period to gabber. Somehow you just couldn’t ignore it because it was everywhere. My neighbour was buying Thunderdome cassettes and this struck my ear as well, this was the moment I started buying all sorts of cassettes. Now I even had more music to explore and the funny thing was that there were a lot of comparisons with gabber mixed with jungle rhythms. I really had an interest for fast rhythms, hypnotic repetitive beats and the rawness that it had, mainly because the jungle did this too in it’s own way. It didn’t take long and by the age of 15 I went to my first gig and that's when the next phase opened up to me and got me infected, namely the dance floor. That's when me and my mates started to go to raves all over the place. And at what point did you start DJing and making music? I have always been a passionate raver and collector and DJing never was my interest in the beginning. So I actually started at a much later age. That must have been somewhere around six to eight years ago. One of my best mates kept pushing me to play because he knew I had a passion for collecting music and I could get quite nerdy with digging for records. And that's when the next chapter started. He was doing gigs in Delft together with Woody (good friend Woody92, with whom Chris often collaborates) and that’s when I got invited to come and play. From there on it basically never stopped and a new addiction was born: playing records. Producing music is kind of the same story but even shorter in time. I had some short moments way back doing some drum & bass but that never really became serious. A few years ago I started making edits together with my brother Gino (AKA Jeans) that we edited to play in our DJ sets. Editing quickly turned into producing music and from that moment the production side became serious. I started to produce with Gino and eventually went my own path in experimenting and producing music. I slowly started to buy some gear and now I share my studio with Gino and another close friend. Next to our studio, we have three other close friends who also share a studio. So we have a little productive basement going on with lots of inspiration. What can you tell us about the gabber and jungle scenes in the Netherlands in those early days? And how do you think this experience has led you to where you are now? Before I even really was going to techno or house parties I think I have been roaming in the gabber scene for at least 6 years (I still do by the way). Of course, I was collecting different genres than just gabber music. But at that time the only dancefloor that had my interest was gabber. It was addictive, the gigs were super interesting and the vibe was so good with a big group of friends from my hometown going to raves. And besides that it was a full dedication, we really lived for the parties and were going to gigs every weekend straight for quite a long time. Like most genres gabber also has lots of different styles within its genre. In early 2000 there was a new wave of interesting artists releasing music in a darker form, sometimes even slower, having a more industrial and experimental sound and this was something that really got my interest. It was a sub-genre within the gabber that had a smaller following and a really specific sound compared to the “mainstream” gabber sound. Sometimes it was even psychedelic and hypnotic in its way and had a different raw experimental vibe to it. Quite a lot of this music was leaning towards more experimental harder forms of techno as well. Besides that, there were some interesting producers that also were mixing breaky stuff with hardcore that really got my attention. For me as a jungle head that was a perfect combination. There were a few interesting clubs in and around Rotterdam during that period that were programming club nights featuring so-called industrial hardcore, darkcore or crossbreed. Looking back, what do you think it was about gabber in particular that drew you in? Experiencing how artists tried to push themselves time and time again to break boundaries, be unique and have an identity - to do what they really wanted to do and show such dedication - has been very inspiring and important for my mindset as an artist and label owner. So it’s not only in terms of music that this period has inspired me so much but also in terms of the mentality. It’s something I really strive for. Also being exposed to raw and fast rhythms is something I still have a passion for and which can be heard in my sets from time to time. The experimental and psychedelic part that comes from there is definitely something that has stuck with me as well within my style. In and around the country there were sound systems doing illegal raves often playing harder styles and having a very psychedelic touch. If you listen to my sets you can always hear a certain grooviness and I have a big love for percussive music. That's definitely the jungle and drum and bass side that’s been important. The more drums and percussion the better! Your music is diverse in terms of genre but the psychedelic is one common thread. What draws you in this direction? I have always been collecting all sorts of genres. So the psychedelic side is something I got inspired by all kinds of music. Especially the more experimental gabber scene and the free party scene is where I really experienced some sort of hypnosis on the dancefloor. Fast, repetitive rhythms that at some point just suck you in. It’s almost comparable with ethnic tribal music that also can be minimalistic and hypnotic. I am also a big fan of tribalistic world music. Deep and trippy. Jon Hassell was a very important figure for me that really set the tone. Music needs to tell me something, get my mind going. I just love it when atmospheres are constantly shifting. Something that never gets boring. You’ve said that you always try to tell a story with your mixes and DJ sets. What story are you telling with your recent mix for Patterns of Perception? As there has been a lot of experimentation coming out of the studio and also within my inner circle of friends, this mix contains quite a few unreleased tracks made by friends, myself or some projects I have been working on together with my mates. I wanted to slowly unfold this mix and focus on atmospheres, sound design and take a more futuristic approach. Having a more hypnotic feel focusing on atmospheres floating around. Mixing the abstract with the psychedelic. Imagine yourself leaving this planet and moving to the next dimension or phase. This time our journey will go to the next phase. We have learned enough in this realm and are ready to enter a new chapter. Back to the source. The only form of communication is energy and sound. Words are no longer needed and time is no more. In an ideal world, in what environment would you recommend listening to this mix? Somewhere in nature on the border between the forest and mountains. That would be a starting point to where you would float away into the next realm. Even better would be somewhere up in the sky, but that could only be possible if you would be able to float in the air without falling down to earth. Often when you talk about your music, there is an element of transcendence, something otherworldly, in your approach. Would you agree? Could you tell us a bit more about your philosophy of music? I totally agree, music is so much more than the sound itself. It’s a story, a feeling, an intergalactic language that connects people and energies together. I am quite sensitive to emotions and that's something that reflects often in my mixes. I have been on a journey myself and there have been a lot of changes the last few years in a personal way, all positive though! There is always some spiritual link connected to my descriptions in mixes. For you as a reader and listener, it’s your own choice how you would interpret it. But I think for the deep-minded like me, you probably would get an idea. Some of them are linked to a spiritual subject. It’s a part of the journey that hopefully gives you more understanding of where you would go. Sometimes you can even see it as a guide through a certain moment that will help you through the journey. How would you describe the musical direction of your label Mirror Zone? Does it follow a similar philosophy? Mirror Zone is you and me, it’s life. How you evolve as a person and how you reflect within society. Everybody has a journey with his or her inner self throughout life. I have seen a few very good friends of mine within my inner circle change so beautifully as human beings. That's what really gets me inspired, that is the Mirror Zone for me. At the end of the day music is not the most important thing. I am blessed to eventually get the chance to meet all these nice human beings that became good friends. Everybody from the label I have personally met and got to know well. It really feels like family. We try to visit each other from time to time. It's really interesting to see how certain releases unfold themselves and grow towards a complete story. I think one of the most important things is that all the guys have the same mindset as I do and I try to make the artist push himself and go out of the box. Selecting for a release is a process that takes a while. Not because of the music that has to be made. But in a far earlier stage by getting to know the person better and first establishing a relationship. This is something that's very important for me. Before the Malasod album even dropped I have been seeing him for over almost 1.5 years. Eventually, that evolved into a beautiful friendship. But it was mandatory for me to really get to know the person better, get to understand his mindset and aesthetics. That's what really made that release very important to me emotionally. All of the guys came in my path in a very interesting way and I don't believe in coincidence. Much of your work, both as an artist yourself and as a label boss, is about pushing boundaries and being ‘out of the box’. Why is this important to you? I think it’s important for an artist, at least for myself, to try and push up the pace every time. Speaking for myself, it keeps me sharp and eager to do certain things I maybe would not do. Try to explore and go somewhere that might not be logical for someone but in the end, all fits into the puzzle. Connecting dots that would not make sense but in the end, the red line could easily fit through. So I am always trying to see what's next and new for me. Also regarding some of the artists on the label: Giving them a vision or story makes them get in a certain emotion or vibe and motivation to go and let their mind go, but always letting the artist be who they want to be in their own feelings. It’s a mutual motivation that inspires each other not only to always look straight ahead but also dare to sometimes go a bit more to the left or right. And for me the key is that, regardless of whether you go left or right, you make it one complete puzzle that fits together. It’s about the context you present it in. What sounds do you find most inspiring at the moment? I haven’t really been digging as much as I used to do due to the fact that I am spending more time in the studio and producing music. I have been going through my catalogue lately and have been digging up older music that I really dove into again. Resulting in getting back into listening to a lot of the older IDM music I have and lots of tribal techno. I also have been very interested in drone, sound design and soundscapes lately. This gives me so much inspiration that there has been a lot of experimentation going on in the studio and trying to mix up all these forms. A few weeks ago I had the honor to play the Seed stage at Modem festival in Croatia. I was blown away by all the super talented and interesting artists that were playing there as well. The main focus on that festival is the more psychedelic side of trance but the stage I was playing was focussing on progressive styles, techno, ambient and even dub-infused sounds, to connect a bridge between the psytrance side of the festival. It gave me so much inspiration hearing all these artists that basically also were doing techno but from a totally different angle leaning towards trance. It was very refreshing to see this all in a different setting. Some music that has been on repeat for a while now is older stuff from Lusine icl. I’m a big fan of his earlier releases ranging from ambient to IDM. Artists or labels that interest me at the moment are guys like Alberto Novello, DiN Records, Latome2, Aural Electronics to name a few. Where does your recent interest in sound design and soundscapes come from? I have always been into it but I must say I have been really going deep into it the last few years due to the fact that it really became an important factor in my DJ sets (as in podcasts but also on the dancefloor). It’s a transition to a new part of the story or journey that gets its grip in the brain. It has a healing effect for the mind and it guides you into the next moment. I always have the feeling that when I would leave this planet, the music during my journey would be something like a beautiful ambient or soundscape piece. So for me it definitely has this spiritual connection to it, almost like it would be a certain language that would be used in a different realm. In addition to your work as a solo artist, we love your b2bs with Woody92. It seems like you two have a great creative partnership and friendship - how did that come about? Woody and I have known each other for a long time. We both live in the same city and he literally lives 10 mins from my house. We have spent lots of hours on and outside of the dance floor. Delft is a small city and most people know each other via some mutual friend or so. I’m a bit older than him so back in the day I didn't know him due to the age difference. Obviously, I was also roaming in a totally different scene. But Woody and I really connect with each other behind the decks. We know how to team up super well because of all of the hours spent together, having mutual interests musically and maybe most importantly, having a super good friendship and the same humour and mindset. This really reflects in our creativity. What’s next for Mirror Zone and for Spekki Webu? Vector Trancer just dropped his new release on the label. There are releases lined up with new artists who have not released on the label yet. Super happy to have them on board! So stay tuned for some interesting music coming out in the following months. Somewhere towards fall/winter there will be a new project emerging out of the Zone in the form of a sub-label. This will have a more futuristic and experimental approach musically, released in different formats like CDs, vinyl and tapes. So you can expect lots of IDM/downtempo, ambient and drone. The nice thing about this project is that most of the people who will be releasing are good friends from my inner circle. As for the production side, there will be loads of new music coming out of the studio. I have been working on some projects on my own but also together with friends like JEANS that are on the cards. End of this year our long-awaited tape release that I have been working on with JEANS will be released on Dance Floor Therapy. We have been working on that project for a few months last year and now it's approaching its final phase. That started out with a series of field recording sessions in and around Delft and The Hague. What eventually evolves in a 2x 40 mins tape ranging from ambient to downtempo and experimental rhythmic music. Besides that, I will be focusing on some other projects that will consist of a combination of live sets and light installations. Luckily everything is slowly opening up so that means I will get back behind the decks more often again as well. Image credits: Press photos by Verena Blok

  • 86 - Spekki Webu

    Shaped at the intersection of genres, feelings, spaces and even eras, Spekki Webu’s distinctive vision is an entrancing and truly innovative presence within the contemporary electronic music landscape. Years in the gabber scene and as a junglist in and around his hometown of Delft have pushed his sound in mind-bending, raw, and infinitely inventive directions, deftly dancing between mesmerising slow motion and breakneck 90s rave velocity. In recent years, his shamanistic sound has expanded the minds of partygoers across Europe, with appearances at festivals and clubs including Dekmantel, Zeezout, Solstice and Crave to De School, The Pickle Factory, Het Magazijn, Elysia and Corsica Studios. Meanwhile, his own imprint Mirror Zone was founded in 2017, providing a platform for his deep musical introspections and inspirations to come to fruition. Spekki’s indelible Patterns of Perception 86 is a deep, intricately crafted and truly mental trip, moving with fleet-footed assuredness between textures and emotions both lucid and obscure. Throughout its 100+ minutes, this set takes us on an odyssey into another dimension where introspective, experimental textures unfold, giving way to urgent, yet profoundly psychedelic rhythms. Stemming from a period of intense experimentation, collaboration and inspiration in the studio, this mix strikes a deeply personal note, embodying a spiritual journey of passion and emotion. Spekki Webu's Links: SoundCloud Instagram Facebook Resident Advisor Mirror Zone's Links: Bandcamp SoundCloud Instagram Facebook

  • 85 - Nicole

    Nicole is one of the most exciting artists to have emerged from Tbilisi’s legendary electronic music scene in recent years. Having been active as a DJ since the age of 17, she has carved out a niche in Georgia and throughout Europe with her energetic, emotive sets that range from old-school acid techno through intelligent minimal and beyond. Her Boiler Room set at local institution Bassiani in 2018, which celebrated that venue’s reopening following a wave of protests against raids and shutdowns of Tbilisi’s club scene, cemented Nicole as one of Georgia’s foremost DJs and producers. She has gone on to release her first solo EP through Marco Shuttle’s label, Eerie Records, and her track “Luna” featured earlier this year on Nina Kraviz’s трип (Trip Recordings) compilation, Hot Steel. This mix for Patterns of Perception explores a range of musical dimensions, taking an expedition into kaleidoscopic, experimental sonic spaces. Nicole's Links: SoundCloud Facebook Resident Advisor

  • 84 - Jazz

    A seasoned selector in her homebase of Naarm/Melbourne, Jazz is a rising presence in the electronic music scene at large. A regular fixture on the radio (as PBS 106.7FM ‘Spaces Within Space’ host and resident on both Skylab and Hope Street) as well as in the booth at countless parties and events, her creative mixing style and quirky, always on-point selections have seen her become a much-loved contributor to the bustling Naarm/Melbourne scene. Expertly blending bleepy synthesisers, broken percussion and playful psychedelia, Jazz’s Patterns of Perception 84 is a perfect snapshot of her idiosyncratic style and taste. Recorded on a dark and rainy morning during Melbourne’s fifth (and current) lockdown, this set steers Jazz's musical narrative into a dark, dystopian direction, offering an energetic interpretation of the unpredictable reality that we find ourselves in. Jazz's Links: SoundCloud Instagram Facebook Resident Advisor PBS106.7FM - Spaces Within Space

  • Sektgarten // Vlada, GiGi FM & Konduku

    31.07.21 @ ://about blank Berlin Featuring Vlada, Gigi FM (stepping in for Maayan Nidam due to illness), Konduku b2b Kim Bergstrand & residents Patterns of Perception emerges from hibernation with a lineup of friends and favourites curated with our favourite summer hideout in about blank's lush garden in mind. Expect a euphoric return to the dancefloor – also marking the collective's five-year anniversary. With guests Maayan Nidam, Vlada, and Konduku, plus the full crew of Patterns of Perception residents. Selected listening Vlada Gigi FM Konduku Facebook / Resident Advisor

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