re:ni (Photo: Press)
Meakusma is happening again. The festival in the small Belgian town of Eupen is taking place from September 1st to September 4th. Playing there – among lots of other interesting artists treating punters to practically any contemporary genre of underground electronic music – is British DJ and producer re:ni, who in advance recorded a bass-heavy festival mix and answered some questions. Read why she did a second version of the mix, what she has coming up in the next months and what kind of mixes she listens to when she goes for a run–if she does.
This year, you released your debut EP Revenge Body on Ilian Tape. How did you arrive at this meticulously produced, twisted, bassy sound? Did you have musical heroes that essentially shaped your taste or did you try to focus on yourself as much as possible?
We’re all products of our environment, so I think everyone is inevitably shaped by the music they consume. But to be honest I try to avoid actively replicating too much. I’m always sort of just chipping away at stuff until I have that kind of ‘golden moment’ where a sound just sounds right to me, or where different pieces start fitting together. These moments tend to come organically and they aren’t ever an attempt to achieve the sound of another artist or genre. I don’t feel like I’m explicitly trying to focus on me or being ‘different’ either, I think that just happens when you’re in the zone spitting out ideas. Collecting samples from things I’m inspired by beyond dance music or even music is important to me too. In general I’m trying to push sounds to their limits whilst maintaining groove, function and feeling–for me an essential balance which the best dance music perfectly strikes.
There’s a reason genres like jungle, footwork or dubstep blew people’s minds when they first emerged and that’s not to say there aren’t people still excelling at these sounds, but rather than attempting to do something that’s already been achieved to perfection, it’s interesting to think about how that balance can be created in a fresh way. For example the contrast between warmth and euphoria and roughness and darkness in jungle–how this can be recreated without relying on explicit jungle tropes like 90s pads, amens and so on?
Do you have further productions coming up?
I’m working on a few exciting things which just have been developing at a snail’s pace due to being away gigging. I recently moved from London back to my parents’ in Dorset on the South Coast of England with the aim of being here a good few months to knuckle down and finish a solid amount of music before I think about moving back to city life. One of the advantages of lockdown was having masses of time to work on music. I’ve found with going back to touring it’s been hard to find a balance, especially being in such an intense environment like London where the next nervous breakdown is always just around the corner. Since moving to the countryside I’ve felt a lot more creative and I’m excited for what will come from my studio time here. There’s a lot I’m still hyped on in London though–me and Laksa run the party and radio show re:lax and we just had an amazing summer rave with Metrist and Shannen SP, sweaty as fuck, definitely one to remember! We have some exciting stuff to announce with re:lax soon too.
Where and how did you record the mix? Did you have a certain concept?
I actually had two versions of the mix, the first one I set out to be a bit of a snapshot of my recent club sets. I came back to it after going on tour in the States though and decided it just didn’t translate in the way I wanted it to, so I recorded a second version in my dad’s studio in Dorset which I’m a lot happier with. It’s always worth redoing something if you’re not happy with it! Even if it means staying up all night or getting up at the crack of dawn to get it done. Am always keen to push friends and family in my mixes and put in dubs for people to hear for the first time, so I’ve included unreleased and forthcoming stuff from myself, Laksa, Jurango and NVST as well as some of my favorite releases this year – e.g. by Mobbs, Rat Heart.
As a regularly playing DJ and producer, do you still listen to a lot of mixes or is the sheer abundance too overwhelming for you?
To be honest, I’m more likely to put an album on or try to read if I’m on the go, but will stick a Bukem Progression Sessions or Mantra Mix on if I go for a run–not gonna lie: It’s been a while since I actually went for a run. On my phone is a rotation of when mates send me their mixes–anything by Darwin, Laksa, $hotta Tapes–Felix Hall’s dembow mix has been fully rinsed this summer. Will always check new Gigsta mixes too, because she’s the goat!
Apart from your own set, which one(s) are you looking forward to the most at Meakusma?
Sadly, I’m only there one night, but I would 100 percent catch POiSON ANNA, Felix Hall, Rezzett, Holy Tongue, Mother!
MOBBS – STEIDE
Clearlight – Circular Thinking
Phatrax – WAGA RÓŻY (OUTRO)
Kangding Ray – Branches
DK – Sequences
Dominowe – Rah
Bill Youngman – 2009
Doctor Jeep – Vault of Glass VIP
Buzz Kill;Rico Casazza – Less Is More
Rat Heart – TEETH LIKE A BURNT FENCE M8
Morphing Territories – Paper Brain
Appleblim – Illusory Universe
Herman – Gevangen
O.M.Theorem – Lemma2-A2
NVST – Its The Punk (Problem DJ Version)
Sepehr – Bipayan
Zargo – Discovery 1420
Groove präsentiert: Meakusma 2022
1. bis 4. September 2022
Tickets: Festivalpass 100€, Tagestickets variieren