Foto: Irma Fadhila (Golden Medusa)
You shouldn’t do it, really, but sometimes skipping through a mix tells you a lot about the DJ who’s recorded it. Golden Medusa’s set for our Groove podcast is the kind of mix that’ll leave you stunned if you only sample it briefly because at first it doesn’t sound as if all these different dots can be connected. If you however listen to it all the way through, which of course you should, it will make perfect sense since Golden Medusa is precisely the kind of person who could pull such a stunt. Part of the Leisure System crew along Sam Barker and Ned Beckett, the Berlin-based DJ unfolds a kaleidoscopic panorama of contemporary club sounds and music that you will likely not hear on a dancefloor near you anytime soon if she’s not behind the decks. It’s a wild ride, “bassy, groovy and energetic,” as she puts it – full of twists, turns and unexpected changes in style.
You were able to play a few gigs in the past months. How has the experience been for you?
I’m grateful to have been able to play again and hear my favourite tracks on big sound systems, see some friends I hadn’t seen in a while, just be at parties in general. There’s just nothing like it and I missed it during lockdown. Fortunately some promoters were able to pull together well-organised events that were in line with health and safety regulations, so attendees were able to party responsibly.
In 2017, you joined the label and event series Leisure System. How did that come about and what is your role there?
I met Sam Barker and Ned Beckett many years ago through mutual friends. We connected through our shared love of electronic music with an experimental twist and raving. I started going to Leisure System events, discovering all these different styles and genres. Sam played a big role in shaping my taste, showing me IDM, bass, electro and breakbeat tunes I hadn’t heard of before. At one point, Sam and Ned were looking for someone to support them with event promo and I was happy to help. The more we got to know each other, the more I got involved – with PR and communication, label management, booking and artist care. It was an organic process. At one point they asked me to play for the parties too, which were special moments for me. It felt great to have their trust and be given an opportunity to contribute to the Leisure System platform. They listened to my input and together we were able to showcase some great artists. Right now, we’re preparing LSR026. The situation with pressing plants is a bit difficult, but I’m very excited for people to hear it.
Throughout the pandemic, the label has only released two EPs by co-founder Ned Beckett under his Dream Sequence alias and JakoJako. In such a precarious situation, how does a small label like Leisure System go about making – potentially financially risky – decisions whether or not to release new material?
The last two years were definitely a struggle for many in the industry and we were doing the best we could. Both Sam and Ned have other projects that are fundamental for their careers with Sam making music and DJing and Ned running his booking agency. So we had to balance all of this. I’ve also always had a full-time job while working for Leisure System. It felt right to focus on releases that were easier to manage because it was a family affair. Both Sibel (JakoJako) and Ned had material ready and we made it happen. It’s been amazing to see JakoJako grow and develop as a producer, live performer and DJ and we wanted to support that in whatever way we could, also during the pandemic.
You have been hosting the regular radio show Resonate on Refuge since the community radio’s launch in January this year. How did you end up becoming one of the first residents?
I had been a fan of the Refuge parties and had played at one before the launch of the radio station, loving their line-ups and event concept. From the beginning they donated to important, local causes and raised awareness. So George and I were acquainted and when he told me about the new project, inviting me to join, I was up for it. I felt like after the end of Berlin Community Radio, there was something missing. The city needed another well-located, social and creative hub where people can exchange ideas and music, connect with each other. Shoutout to George, Richard and everyone else involved for all their hard work.
How do you go about programming the Resonate shows?
I want to use my radio show to showcase any type of music that moves me by artists I love and friends of mine. No boundaries, no rules. That can mean experimental stuff that might not sound like my usual party sets or dance music. In the future, I want to bring on some guests, like Yha Yha, who’s a talented, really cool DJ. Her style is also quite eclectic. She will make a mix for a show early next year. My plan is to put out some episodes with a special interest focus too.
You regularly use your social media channels to point your followers to other people’s work, predominantly DJ mixes. Would you say that your listening habits, especially in regards to DJ mixes, have changed during the past two years. And if so, would you say that this had an impact on your own DJing as well?
My taste and listening habits constantly evolve. I’m always learning something new. Bandcamp, SoundCloud and Resident Advisor help me to explore. During lockdown I had moments of falling in and out of love with stuff. I listened to many albums from front to back, EPs and of course DJ mixes – genre-wise all over the place, like experimental, pop, club, techno, breaks, hardcore. I got into certain labels like New World Dysorder, Nyege Nyege Tapes, ParkingStone, Príncipe, SZNS7N, HAUS of ALTR, and Hooversound Recordings while also revisiting old favourites of mine, like PAN and Hyperdub. I guess my DJ style is still eclectic and varied. I love intense sounds as much as contemplative and soothing ones. It totally depends on the mood & setting.
What was the idea behind your mix for our Groove podcast?
The idea was to make a mix that sounds bassy, groovy and energetic, because I wanted something uplifting for the cold, dark winter months. A mix that starts off really slow and then makes you want to dance in your room. Nothing too hard. It’s very percussive and melodic with lots of sick vocals, combining styles like club, bass, house and breakbeats, with some gorgeous ambient in the beginning. There’s not much four-to-the-floor techno in there because I played loads during my last gigs, so I was feeling like something different for this one. There’s also some amazing queer talent featured.
Last but not least: What are your plans for the future?
I’m excited for the upcoming Leisure System release that’s dropping next year and more radio shows. Hopefully some fun B2Bs at the Refuge Worldwide HQ. Of course I’m also looking forward to a time when gigs are back on in Berlin and other parts of Europe. It’s kind of hard to make plans right now but I’m trying to stay optimistic. Next year, I definitely want to travel and explore other scenes if possible.
Stream: Golden Medusa – Groove Podcast 321
01. Nala Sinephro – Space 5
02.Lyra Pramuk – Constructs of Still (feat. KMRU)
03. Space Afrika – Meet Me At Sachas
04. Zvvra – Bizzaroland
05. Simo Cell – Short Leg
06. Isabella Lovestory – Mariposa
07. Emma DJ – amor
08. Diessa – you fought well out there
09. POUCH ENVY – Disintegration
10. Yao Bobby & Simon Grab – Diamonds (Dhangsha Remix)
11. fiyahdred – Anyway (Do It)
12. Delta Rain Dance – Penta (Bong Mix)
13. Chrisman – Mada
14. Kai Whiston – Enabling Dreamtime Communication via Distortion Implant Device
15. LCY – U
16. DJ Lycox – Eu Mbora Dou Bue Show
17. De Schuurman – First One
18. Sneaker Pimps – Spin Spin Sugar (Armand’s Bonus Dub)
19. Bored Lord – Pleasure
20. FAFF – Ooh la la (feat. Meg)
21. DJ SWISHA – Reconstructed Club
22. Toumba – Lil Amam Sir
23. Bapari – Daybreak
24. Anz – Inna Circle
25. OSSX – CRAZY LOVE (OSSX EDIT)
26. Go Mike Gip – Deep Inside
27. Club Eat – Counting
28. badsista – HOJE TEM TRANCE
29. Batu – Inner Space
30. India Jordan – Emotional Melodical
31. LOFT – Wish It Would Rain
32. Stenny – Varisum
33. Tales of the Underground – Bliss Overdose