IN CONVERSATION WITH DJ GIGOLA
Deeply rooted in Berlin’s club culture DJ Gigola inspires us with her latest album ‘Fluid Meditations’. The Berliner who recently celebrated her first label night at Panorama Bar with the Live From Earth family, is known for her references to pop culture, rhythm, grooves, and energetic sound. Not only with her music she recontextualizes different elements, but also with her playful fashion attitude she expresses herself and works around stereotypes. Her newest, very personal album focuses on her origins of meditation and yoga. Inspired by 90s Goa and Psy Trance as well as downtempo elements this album is a guided meditation. ’Fluid Meditations’ is more a message than a club album. Meditation in an electronic way will take you on a soft, deep, and emotional journey. When you arrive in the present you will feel an embodiment and connection with your surroundings in a meditative state. Affirmation practices and mantras will help you trust in yourself and the process. Stay aware, stay present, and take care of yourself. On that note, you should listen to the album in the order from the start to the beginning to dive into the full experience. Enjoy!
Words by Magdalena Roe
What was the last track you listened to?
I’ve just been through the masters of the album, and the last track I listened to was ’Affirmation Practice’ right before it was released because I had to double-check if I’m happy with the final sound, check it on the sound system and my headphones. So actually, my own track was the last music I listened to.
Do you have an all-time favorite track or album or something you could always listen to?
It’s really hard for me to say because there’s so much beautiful music out there that is like a biography of yourself. For every period in your life whether you’re going through a good or a bad time there will be a certain kind of music. An album I could always listen to is probably ‘Jay Love Japan’ by J Dilla. It’s one of my favorite albums but I wouldn’t say it’s my number one, there’s way too much music that I love and I could not live without.
You’re describing yourself as genre-fluid. What genres you’ve been lately most involved with, and what is especially appealing to you?
Lately, especially during the preparations for my album ’Fluid Meditations’ I’ve been listening to a lot of Psy Trance and Goa from the 90s, I love the Tabla drums in this music, I love Psy elements, and I love how the baselines are written. I think it’s excellent music, it has a cool groove and cool drums to it. It is something that excites me to incorporate into my own sets because it’s something fresh, and also has lots of references to meditation or transcendence in the vocals they use and the vocal samples that I love a lot. I think this is the music I’ve been listening to a lot throughout the past five to six months.
What’s the thread of your upcoming album ‘Fluid Meditations’? How do you feel it differs from your other releases?
I usually like to make music that hasn’t been there before. When I make an EP or track I try to rethink a certain genre and remix it in a way that it hasn’t been done yet. This also comes from my dance floor experience, I feel a lot of genres work well together that haven’t been put in a track, and I like to explore that. ’Fluid Meditations’ is more a message album than a club album. ’Gratitude Practice’ is quite a dance story track, but there are a lot more downtempo tracks in it. I tried to recontextualize meditation in an electronic music way. I’ve been using lots of ASMR techniques with my voice. It’s like a track journey with a guided meditation by myself of lyrics I wrote. I wanted to take the idea of meditation with an intro and an outro, guiding you through different topics. Arriving in the presence and in your body from where you can connect with everything around you, you suddenly become part of something bigger and open up to a meditative state. And then you go back to drawing strength from it with a marriage with affirmation and closing with gratitude. That’s my concept of a meditation journey. This album is very personal for me because I’ve been always trusting myself and the process. It’s all about the understanding of something bigger, and that everything comes in the right place and will work out eventually. It gave me a lot of strength throughout the past weeks, where I allowed myself to slow down and enjoy life. In there are a lot of mantras I’ve been practicing throughout the year that were also helpful in my healing process from my injury.
What was the impulse for your single ’Gratitude practice’?
I felt like we were speeding up with everything, and we were losing track of our environment and our bodies in the presence. I feel lucky in my profession because it’s about escapism and enabling people to escape from their daily lives and stress. Dancing is very much about embodiment, you share the room with other bodies, and you use music, or substances, to unfold yourself and to let go of the idea of your ego, just like to learn something and escape from your daily life. Throughout my practice, as a DJ, and throughout my practice in yoga and meditation, I realized that this is actually the same. This is exactly what happens when I’m a dancer, or when I DJ. There’s so much similarity in the idea of group escapades, body movement, and being present. My album revolves around the point of being present, being aware of your body, and then just letting go. This is something I would wish for the clubs to continue having. I’m also a huge fan of not bringing phones and not taping. I hope this speaks to people to get into the consciousness of what’s happening. I’ve been part of rave culture for more than half of my life. And I understand that there’s a generation shift and that we have a generation consuming dance culture and electronic music culture over the phone. For them, it’s quite natural to have a recording of dancing and to have certain moves, a certain look that’s associated with club culture. I feel like we as a community have to kind of guide on how club and escapade can really work. Club and electronic music culture are not about putting on an outfit and filming yourself in a certain dance style. But rather leaving all of this behind, letting go, and becoming your true self.
Where did you perform it the first time?
It was at Elektroakustischer Salon at Berghain which is a more ambient floor that is only open a few times per year, usually around New Year’s or the birthday. In fact, it felt very special because it was the first time I ever performed my songs live. To see the direct effect of what a guided meditation can do with the audience was a very, very special and emotional moment for me, also because it was the first time I was out again after the injury and the surgery. I had to cry afterward because it was so overwhelming perceiving the responses of the audience was really beautiful. Now, I still feel very grateful for the chance of playing in that very special location which for me is the representation of hyper escapism.Growing up in Berlin, this place was always a crucial element in my own escapade. On this day a lot of things came together in a special cosmic constellation, what I call a full circle moment.
And what led you to practice meditation and yoga?
I’ve always tried to listen to my body, and I have a huge respect for the human body. And I always need movement. That’s why I became a DJ, to express myself, but also to let go of emotions, anger, and stress and that’s the same when I go running. I only do running because it’s kind of an adaption of dancing. It’s like moving to music to a steady rhythm. When I increased my touring schedule and became more and more international, I needed something to slow me down, something that grounds me. That’s when I started doing more yoga and realized that there are similarities. I did a lot of gong baths and sound meditation. Lots of DJs address the topic of mental health and mental well-being, being alone on tour with a distorted sleep schedule can be hard when you do a creative job, which is already pushing you to certain limits of self-value and well-being. I feel very happy now that my life is teaching me the lesson of getting a better understanding of this and having the courage to address it and that I’ve learned how to take time for myself and care for myself.
Your favorite mantra?
There are two: One is, I trust the timing of my life which means that I trust the process. I think everything will fall into place eventually. The other one is to flow in your natural rhythm and listen to your own rhythm instead of trying to make everything work no matter what you’re capable of. These are the things I’m taking with me into the year where I want to try to slow down and listen to myself, my own rhythm, and flow.
What advice would you give to people just starting out? Do you remember your time starting out in Berlin?
I just slipped into being a DJ. In the beginning, I just did what I wanted to do without understanding the dynamics of the scene. That first brought a lot of criticism and at the same time, this is what actually would make me an artist. I just did what I loved and played what I loved. I’m aware that I could only do this because I had the support of my collective. People that believed in myself and my vision. Finding people that love and support you or finding a community where you can “be yourself” is one of the key essentials.
Is there a person you’d like to collaborate with sometime?
Obviously, there are some top figures I admire. I love Rosalía’s work. I think this has been one of the greatest outlets from the last year. I’m a huge fan of Nick León. He’s such a talented producer, and I would like to work with him. Then I have a good friend whose name is X-COAST. We’ve been working on a project that we want to put out this year. I’m also planning on doing a remix edition of my album so I’m already in talks with friends of mine to reinterpret the album in their own way because I would love to see it through a different vision. This is something I’m very excited about. Besides that, I just go with the flow, stay open to new music and see what’s popping up.
Written and produced by DJ Gigola
Cover by Neven Allgeier
Cat. No. LFE014 – All rights reserved ℗ & © Live From Earth 2023