Name: Eva Be
Occupation: DJ, producer
Current Event: An EP of remixes of Eva Be's "Delight" is out on Poker Flat.
Recommendations: Please watch out for the artists Christian Albert Hoosen & Ted Berglund. Read the Book Viv Albertine "A typical girl” & Listen to Beatles "A day in the life ".
If you enjoyed this interview with Eva Be, find out more about Eva, her work and current tour dates on Soundcloud and Facebook.
When did you start DJing - and what or who were your early passions and influences? What what is about music and/or sound that drew you to it?
I first started DJ’ing in 1996 in Berlin. Music had been a big theme in my life since I was a little girl. My father is a passionate album collector, so of course I started going through his shelves at an early age. I was incredibly fascinated by and immediately stuck on The Beatles. My father is a sound engineer and took me on concert tours from the very start and I was always fascinated by sound itself and what it can influence. I never ever would have thought that being a DJ would become my career!
That said, certain situations and relationships changed and pushed me in that direction. The time when I started going out in Berlin was of course a very special period for the city. Everyone who experienced it knows how thrilling, defining, and breathtaking Berlin was in the nineties. I’m so happy I could be there!
Delicious Doughnuts was the club that influenced me the most. That club became my second home. It wasn’t a techno club, but rather a club that played music the likes of which I had never heard. The DJs there played styles woven from threads of Triphop, Breakbeat, Drum nBass, Jazz, Boogie, House, Dub, and Freestyle Sound all at once. For me these musicians were true artists and magicians. Many DJs who started their careers there became stars, such as Dixon, Ben Klock, and Jazzanova. Jazzanova and DJ Phantom 309 were, for me, among the most thrilling DJs there - I became friends with them. They formed the label and artist pool Sonarkollektiv, of which I was a member and where my first releases came out.
For most artists, originality is first preceded by a phase of learning and, often, emulating others. What was this like for you? How would you describe your own development as an artist and the transition towards your own voice? What is the the relationship between copying, learning and your own creativity?
As I said Jazzanova and DJ Phantom 309 were heavy influences in the beginning. Then I started going to record stores, listening for hours, and making my selections.
In the beginning it was about a mixture of obtaining records that I’d heard with others and liked, and also discovering things on my own. Back then it was much more exciting and exhilarating - you had to fight for every track as opposed to having everything at your fingertips! Each album cost at least ten marks which meant the joy and appreciation were that much more. I learned to deejay by being thrown into the ice cold water. It simply wasn’t possible for me to buy two Technics turntables and start spinning at home. The "learn to DJ" Workshops of today were also not an option. Straight into the club and right up onstage for me!
I learned which type of sound felt comfortable for me, brought joy to my audience, and also brought surprises. A good feeling!
What were some of the main challenges and goals when starting out as a DJ and how have they changed over time? What is it about DJing, compared to, say, producing your own music, that makes it interesting for?
My challenge and my goal was always to transport myself and my audience into a state of musical ecstasy. Moments filled with goosebumps and chills. To bring the music to those dancing and listening in such a way that it showed them another world. That’s what I’m still trying to do, only it’s much harder today, as the audience has become, in my opinion, satiated and impatient. The audience also has unlimited access - they don’t go to clubs to hear interesting tracks or immerse themselves in new sounds ... going out has changed. To that end I’m satisfied when the experience approaches 60% of the energy and experience of those early days. There are places and clubs where that is still possible, thank God.
Producing my own music presents the same challenges as deejaying. Giving the listener goosebumps, giving and evoking an emotion.
How would you define the job and describe the influence of the DJ? How are the experience and the music transformed through your work?
In my opinion the job is theoretically and practically very demanding, when one truly executes and lives in the role. DJs can be of great influence, bringing very special and rarely heard music to light. I don’t like how the modern DJ is depicted and how 80% of them present themselves. Today’s optics do not do the original idea justice.
That said, I don’t think DJs should be put on a pedestal. I find it to some degree quite excessive to aggressively celebrate those who, when looked at closely, "only" play someone else’s music from an album or off an usb stick. I see bands and live music differently.
What was your first set-up as DJ like? How and for what reasons has your set-up evolved over the years and what are currently some of the most important pieces of gear for you?
My first set-up: Records, record brush, headphones. Later came a couple of CDs to play my own music and tracks that unfortunately weren’t available on vinyl. The CDs have been replaced by a USB stick.
Current set-up: Records, record brush, USB stick, headphones.
How do you make use of technology? In terms of the feedback mechanism between technology and creativity, what do humans excel at, what do machines excel at?
When it comes to creating a track / song I believe that the idea should come first, manifesting itself in a somewhat proper layout. Like every other musician I like to try out new ways of creating sounds or beats etc ... but I think there are too many lazy "musicians" out there who rely too much on what the matrix is offering them ... I do like a proper accidental glitch here and there, though – these things can really push a track a little further. ; )