Photo: Press (Bloody Mary)
If you stay in the game long enough, you eventually take some detours. Bloody Mary has ventured into many different fields within the dance music scene and yet her impressive body of work seems nothing but coherent. Since relocating to Berlin in the mid noughties, the French producer and DJ has released a slew of EPs and two LPs, most of which she put out herself on her own Dame-Music label and collaborated extensively with Attan under their respective monikers or together as The Jaydes. And while she refuses to be easily pigeonholed, her musical vision is still clearly informed and inspired by the dance music community she fell in love with as a teenager in France. Before Bloody Mary enters the seventh year of Dame-Music with a new solo EP, she puts down a tightly-packed mix for our Groove podcast which is spiked with the occasional exclusive edit or previously unreleased tune.
You started out as a fan of New Wave and got into electronic dance music after attending your first rave. When and where exactly was that and what about that experience turned you into a Techno head?
My love for music started as a child, because my mum was working at one of the national radio stations. I would often go there with her, and I remember loving the music she selected. During my teenage years (in the mid 90s) I started going to rave parties every weekend all around the south of France. Most of the raves were open air but I also remember dancing indoors in Cannes at the Limelight Party. What interested me so much about these parties was the way everything mixed together so freely: the music, gay and straight people, their styles, both young and old. It was an escape from the system and I had never experienced a freedom like that. Everyone at the parties had positive energy. I’m really happy I got to experience this period of time, and I guess that’s what’s kept me doing what I do to this day.
In 2005, you moved to Berlin during the city’s (in)famous Minimal period. What drew you to the city in the first place and how would you characterise the vibe within the scene in those days?
My first time in Berlin was in December 2004, when I came here for the opening of the former Ostgut’s new club, Berghain/Panorama Bar. Following my time here, I fell in love with the city, and I moved here a few months later. Initially it was the city itself, and it’s special vibe, which drew me here. The quality of life was perfect; the city was almost empty, there was no traffic on the streets, beautiful snow was falling everywhere, and it was absolutely calm. This calmness is something I had always dreamed of, and once again I had the feeling of being outside a “system” as I felt in France. It was a bigger city than were I was from, the architecture was completely different, and all these things really appealed to me. It was completely different to what I knew, and the opposite of where I come from. To this day, the most important thing for me is to live in a city where I feel comfortable and happy – it has never had a relation with “the scene”.
You started your own label Dame-Music in 2010 and have since released music ranging from House to Techno and beyond. What was your original motivation and the masterplan behind Dame?
I was originally motivated to start my own label as it gave me the freedom as a producer (and label owner) to do things my own way. I’m really versatile in the studio and I don’t like the idea of being pigeonholed. I’m producing electronic music, which is a broad genre and can be interpreted in many ways. I’m not in a band where I have to follow a specific style. That’s the freedom of using all these machines: you can really express yourself and all your emotions at different BPMs and styles. Back in 2010, vinyl sales were really bad, but that never deterred me from starting my own vinyl label. Vinyl has always been a passion for me, and still is to this day.
Apart from your solo releases, you have also released a slew of releases together with Attan under your respective monikers or under the guise of The Jaydes. How would you characterise your working relationship and what is the concept behind the analogue project The Jaydes?
We started our project a few years ago because we were sharing our studio space at the time. We had so much fun jamming together – that’s how we recorded our first album and that’s the way we built our live act. We had a great time on stage playing live, and it was all a great new experience for us. Attan left Berlin one year ago, so I’ve since been focusing on my own productions as Bloody Mary. It’s difficult for us to work by distance because we’ve never worked like that. It’s not our style. We need to get back into the studio in the coming months to work on our new live act, which we’ll play at a festival in Croatia later in the year. Let’s see what comes from that!
Aside from using analogue gear, you’re also known as a vinyl DJ. What excites you about that format after all those years of DJing (and carrying records with you everywhere you go)?
What excites me is going digging for new records at the store, and then the best part is listening to those new pearls at home, turned up loud. I buy many different styles of music, I just really love the act of physically going digging. I have records with me when I travel the world, but we are in 2017 – and as much as it saddens me to admit it – digital is omnipresent present and people really don’t care about supporting you to play with vinyl.
Your mix for our Groove podcast comprises two edits of your own material as well as unreleased material by you and your friends. What was your idea behind it?
I wanted to submit a special mix for Groove with a personal touch. As I’m currently working on different projects in the studio at the moment, I was able to edit a few of my tracks and also included an exclusive track for the mix. I had a couple of unreleased tracks from friends and wanted to mix all of this together with tracks I’ve been enjoying recently. I selected many tracks between Techno, Acid, Electro and House because I have a broad range of influences, and although it was hard to get it down to just one hour, I somehow managed to do it and this is what I came up with.
Last but not least: Where can we see you behind the decks in the forthcoming weeks and what are your future plans as a producer and label owner?
I have a couple of dates in Europe before heading away on a 5 week tour of Asia and Australia. I’m really excited about this tour because I’ll play in South Korea and Thailand for the first time. I’m so grateful that I get the opportunity to travel the world with my work, as it gives me so much inspiration to keep doing what I do. My forthcoming vinyl EP is scheduled for March, and includes a remix by one of my favorite producers. 2017 also marks the 7 year anniversary of Dame-Music, so I have a few things in the pipeline at the moment to help celebrate, which I’m looking forward to share soon!
Stream: Bloody Mary – Groove Podcast 89
01. Bloody Mary – Make Space In Your Life (BM Groove Edit) (Dame-Music)
02. Versalife – Transgenics (Shipwrec)
03. Ecotone – Unreleased
04. SFV Acid – Wenegelam (BAKK)
05. Pascal Hetzel – Unreleased
06. Frank De Wulf – Reforced (Music Man Records)
07. Mono Junk – Deep In My Electro Mind (Dum Records)
08. Haron – Rotate (BAKK)
09. Ryogo Yamamori – Sanya (Bloody Mary Remix) (Dame-Music)
10. Benjamin Milz – Dc2 (Live At Robert Johnson)
11. Charles Fenckler – Stellar Acid (Soma Records)
12. Bloody Mary – Unreleased
13. Lewis Fautzi – Elocution (Figure)
14. Robag Wruhme – X-Mop 198 (Hart & Tief)
15. Chevel – Iptos (Non Series)
16. Skudge – Air Walk (Skudge Records)
17. Djedjotronic – Touch The Ground (Boysnoize Records)
18. Koova – Links (Brokntoys)
19. Q3A – Untitled 4 (Delsin)
20. Bloody Mary – Black Pearl (BM Groove Edit) (Contexterrior)