Photo: Ben Tauber (Sandilé)
You needn’t even know Sandilé’s side projects to understand what a versatile producer she is. When she’s not making techno at break-neck speed as DJ G€LD or exploring acoustic instruments under the [ z ], the Cologne-based producer and DJ works mostly at the intersection of house and techno, but also has an ear for what’s happening within the hardcore continuum. The latest EP of the I’m In Love member is entitled Best of Both World for a reason – the four tracks released on Black Catalogue 2020 seamlessly bring together elements from both US and UK dance music. With her mix for our Groove podcast however, Sandilé takes it slow and sticks to sweet and soulful house music – warm vibes for cold days.
You’re part of Cologne’s I’m In Love crew, which has recently called the city’s Gewölbe club their home. How did you get to know each other and what’s the philosophy behind your event series?
Even though we live in the same city, and go to the same parties, we first got in touch through the internet. Back in the day I was posting a lot of stuff on my soundcloud page, and that’s how the boys took notice of me, and asked me if I could imagine to release some of those tracks on their label. Of course I was absolutely flattered, since that happened in my early days of producing house and techno music, and also because the label itself was the coolest label in Cologne for me. So then, eventually, after we got to known each other and hung out a lot of times, I started to play on their parties as well, which I was incredibly happy about, because that was the entrance ticket for playing at Gewölbe – and every DJ in Cologne wants to play at Gewölbe… Like, really! (laughs) The whole philosophy behind this is basically the story that I’ve just told. The love for music itself is what got us connected. And that’s what we’re all trying to do. To stay thirsty for new stuff, new artist, new styles, and to keep that open mind, and explore what the world has to offer. That’s what the boys did when they got in touch with me for the first time, and I really love them for that. Creating a party with content you really love, instead of booking overpriced sure shot sell-outs has gotten rare these days, so I’m really grateful I’m In Love is around.
I’m In Love is not only a party series but also a label and you, too, have released your own productions on the imprint. How do you go about programming the label? What’s important to you, musically speaking?
If you listen to the label discography, you’ll notice how every release kind of stands for itself. Very different styles and no obvious common thread. What connects them all is the feeling when listening to them. There is no better feeling of really loving stuff… Wow, that got cheesy quick! (laughs)
Your latest EP for Black Catalogue 2020 is called Best of Both Worlds and the title can be taken at face value since it draws on both US styles as well as UK genres. What was your approach when writing these tracks?
I want to answer this question honestly, so I have to say that I didn’t have any deeper meaning on my mind while producing the tracks… I just combined elements from music styles I like, and that’s it. When the selection for the release was all set and confirmed, the only thing left to do was to find a name for the EP, and Best Of Both Worlds was the first thing to come on my mind… For the obvious reasons.
On your Bandcamp page, you offer some remixes of tracks by Missy Elliott, Justin Timberlake or Janet Jackson and Q-tip, making it seem as if you’re paying homage to some early musical influences. What’s your motivation to make those remixes?
Yes, that question already kind of answered itself. These are some essentials that I grew up with and that bring so many good memories along, and I never get tired of listening to them over and over again. Remixing them is just my way of appreciating them for being around, and making me smile.
Another two pseudonyms of yours would be DJ G€LD and [ z ]. What sets these projects apart from what you are doing under the Sandilé name?
I started to produce house music under the name of Sandilé, which is my actual first name, written in a way so that it gets pronounced wrong less often than how when it’s spelled correctly, Zandile. DJ G€LD was born through a joke, and I stayed in it for the money because fast stuff sells. (laughs) I actually realised that I enjoy to produce harder and faster sounds than usual, from time to time. It’s a mood thing. And [ z ] is my latest, very personal project that kind of came to life through Corona. I was feeling super uninspired to produce house or techno music, because of not being able to go to clubs anymore, and hear shit I like… So I basically went back to the basics – I used to play the piano and drums – and tried to get back into real instruments and to make music that I like to listen to when I’m not necessarily partying.
On tracks like “Do Your Job” or “In Memory Of,” you are working with vocal samples by Black Lives Matter activist Tamika Mallory and a eulogy on Martin Luther King, respectively. What potential do you see in blending music with political content – can this serve as an educational device and facilitate discussions within the scene and beyond, or would you rather consider them primarily personal statements?
They’re primarily personal statements. I mean if they happen to serve as an educational device, and it gets people to think, then that’s even better… I mean, yes… By combining political statements with music, it automatically becomes educational by getting into people’s heads who maybe never have spent a thought about it before. How we perceive the world only has to do with what we have experienced so far… So if music helps maybe make people listen to each other, and to understand each other, that’s a wonderful thing to me. But I don’t see myself as a teacher. I’m just sharing my views. That’s just my way of processing stuff that’s happening in the world, you know… Sometimes I have the feeling that I’m not too well with words, or that there aren’t really words to use, to get out what’s inside my soul.
What was the idea behind your mix for our Groove podcast?
I usually play a lot faster, and less „melodic“… But I was in this „smooth house music“ mood, that I might even could put on in the car together with my mom, without her turning off the radio directly, because of that stupid „boom boom music.“ (laughs)
Last but not least: What are your plans for the future?
What a dark question to ask in these times… But my future plans come down to one thing: to actually find a plan.
Stream: Sandilé – Groove Podcast 287
01. Sam Irl – Changes
02. Javonntte – These Words
03. Lazare Hoche & Malin Genie – Retrospect
04. Shirley Jones, Booker T – Nights Over Egypt (Booker T Instrumental Mix)
05. Brawther – Do It Yourself (Alternative Mix)
06. Kalk – Akasha (DJ Oyster Re-Edit)
07. Lo Shea – Always
08. True Spirit – 90’s
09. Leigh D Oliver – Pleasure Pain Failure Gain
10. Subjoi – Love Shy (Subjoi’s Tuff Jam Rework)
11. Jordan O’Regan – Nevermind (Scott Diaz Grand Plans Rub)
12. Bougie Soliterre – Got The Bug
13. Karizma, DJ Spen, Karizma,DJ Spen – 4 Da Love