IN CONVERSATION WITH GLIA
GLIA is a Slovenian native DJ and producer, who has been pushing her way into the international electronic music scene for the past nine years. With her hypnotic yet highly energetic sets conquering European clubs, festivals and raves. Her music is a fusion of intimate, dark, tribal, yet highly energetic elements. She is a regular guest of international European clubs and festivals, with her best examples at the Sonus festival (Croatia), Amsterdam Dance Event (LoFi), Nada Temple (Lisbon), Suicide Circus (Berlin), Griessmuehle (Berlin). Numéro had the honour to talk with her about her passion for music and about her new mix she recorded for us.
How did you first come in contact with techno – and what or who were your early passions and influences to start DJing?
My first memory of electronic music is listening to Cher at some carnival with my grandparents. I must have been around 4 or 5. However, the intense feeling this music gave me made the memory so vivid even today. My cousin used to be a DJ in the UK, sometimes during the summer, they would visit us from London and bring with them all these cool CDs.
When my family first got a proper computer (and an internet connection), I’d spend hours watching Sensation White videos and live sets from different house, industrial, and trance DJs that were popular in the early 2000s. I was always humming mashups and making up songs.
I became interested in music production when I was around 14. I downloaded Fruity Loops and did not know what to do with it. I only knew how to create a sine wave and let it play (sorry for the noise, mom and dad). In teenage-hood we would play around with virtual DJ with friends and make different sets at house parties – just for fun, however the first time I played in a proper club on a legit CDJ set was when I was 18, and after that, the demand for proper gigs sky rocket-ed.
I was not playing techno at first, I was more interested in progressive house (the one from the early 2000s), and influenced by the UK dub and dubstep scene later on. When I was 20, I took a trip with my best friend to Germany. We stumbled upon a random underground club in the heart of Munich. There was an amazing female DJ playing, and she was playing this beautiful techno that gave me the drive to keep going and going. I felt the low frequencies charging up my body. After that, I was sold. I loved the feeling techno music gave me. It was something that felt internal, intimate and eternal. I knew exactly where to go.
What do you personally consider to be significant moments in your artistic career?
The first time I felt super proud was when I released two tracks on Suara (Barcelona) label. I was proud because the track 2x Gola was created with two of my close friends who helped me with the vocals and lyrics. We made the lyrics in Slovene, and that felt empowering.
The second time that felt significant was when I first played in front of 2000 people. I could only see small yellow circles and hands In the air. It was overwhelming. I felt so much happiness I could cry. The energy circled between us like we were one – this is one of the best feelings I’ve ever experienced.
A significant moment was releasing my first album in 2022, The Art of Losing Yourself. It is a seven-tracked piece with various electronic genres. The artwork was created by a Slovenian artist and released on Diffuse Reality Records (Barcelona/Berlin). The first track is entirely out of my usual style of production. However, it feels like my whole heart is in it. I organized a release party a few months later and invited my mom and dad to it – it was their first time at a rave party. The night was a big success!
Influenced by multicultural environments how would you say your music has changed over the years?
I feel as I give myself a loooooot of space to explore my preferences, especially when talking about production. I love discovering various genres that I listen to 24/7 – I’m a music addict 100%. Everything I listen to and like has a sizeable subconscious influence on me later in the production process. Moving around Europe, living in Ljubljana, Berlin, and Lisbon also influenced me to accept different perspectives and the consequences of the multicultural environment. I love discovering new ways of life, ideologies, art, etc. You can learn so much from almost anyone. In a way, you cannot run away from yourself. The genres I like, the music I produce, and the music I play is all a consequence of my internal processes.
What are currently your main challenges as a DJ and producer?
My biggest challenge at the moment is delivering my unreleased music to the most suitable labels. My music has improved drastically and is ready for bigger labels. However, it takes work to get to the right people.
Getting a booking agency would help me be more scalable, helping me grow, get better gigs, and focus on the artistic parts. Having a team of people working on GLIA would be a game-changer.
What do you usually start with when preparing for a set?
It’s all about creating the best night of our lives. I need to understand what kind of gig I am preparing for. For example, is it a warehouse party, is it in a club, how many people will be there, what time am I playing, am I the headliner, etc.
After answering all these questions, I can visualize what kind of vibe I want to pursue in that specific scenario. I would start by exploring various sets and label releases. Then, I would give myself a few days to dig out for the best tracks that make me feel something or complement the vibe I want to achieve.
I’d recycle the music I have from my previous sets and mix it with the new ones.
When D-day arrives, I go to the venue an hour or so before my set to get an idea of the vibe we’re going towards, see the people, see how full the space is and look at the venue characteristics.
What music/genres do you listen to when you’re at home just chilling?
I listen to all sorts of music when I’m home, of which 95% is electronic music. I’m a heavy consumer of electronica, float house, disco house, hypnotic techno, and hard techno. You will also find me circle my way around indie soul, bossa nova and hip hop. For the past year, I’ve been obsessed with Bent and their productions from the mid-2000s. I also never get tired of Crazy P. If I ever get married, that would be the DJ I’d book.
Do you see a big change in the techno scene in 10 years? And how do you see yourself in 10 years within the scene?
The techno scene has changed drastically in the past ten years and even more from 2019 to today. We can see the scene becoming more inclusive as well as being influenced by social changes. However, we can also notice the scene adapted drastically to capitalism and its demand to serve the masses – which is something we should be critical about. In a way, I wouldn’t say I like this part of the scene from the perspective of creativity. Techno became a gigantic template – either you follow the trend or get dumped, as you are not seen as a profitable investment for festivals, labels, agencies, and clubs. I understand money has to roll. However, we have removed the creative part from techno music with Tik Tok templates for kids dressed up in bondage to look cool for their online friends.
I would want to stay true to myself within the scene, even if this means creating something new. Music is a beautiful and powerful medium. It can have the most impact if it evokes emotion in people and it has to come from the heart to do so.
How different was it for you to go from DJing in Slovenia to DJing in another country for the first time? Do you see a big difference in the scene in different countries?
Every place has its different vibe. It’s more about the cultural background of each place – how people dance, what their ancestors listened to, how people communicate, and more. Different clubs attract different types of people, and different events and cliques attract different people. The strong hard techno influence in the mainstream unified what people listen to at techno parties and how they act. However, this scene is for the more electronically uneducated crowds as well.
In general, you get a lot of energy back from the crowd when playing in Slovenia, which is amazing. It was similar to that in Porto. If I compare the audience in Lisbon and Porto, Lisbon was much more impatient – they wanted quick bangers and fast. Similar to that was Warsaw. On the other hand, playing at the biggest festivals in Croatia, the audience gave me all the space to develop my own story and guide them through the set. Which is what I seek, and it’s beautiful.