Photo: Press (wyme)
„You can always rely on the residents. They know the club, the crowd, the sound system, and they are a pillar of the musical identity of a club, just as important as the architecture, the acoustics or the interior design,” Nick Höppner once said in Groove. Our monthly Resident Podcast aims to give them the attention and respect they deserve.
The DJ known as wyme is not a full-time promoter, as she’s quick to point out, but her xeno- series nonetheless makes the impression of a club night that is both ambitious and highly professional. In the past four years, it has somewhat regularly brought together live music, DJ sets, and other types of art at Bratislava’s Fuga club.
As the name already suggests, xeno- puts an emphasis on inclusivity and challenging music, something that is also reflected in wyme’s mix for our Resident Podcast: glossy pop edits rub shoulders with boundary-pushing electronic music by the likes of Kelman Duran, Nick León or Bratislava’s DJ GÄP. It’s a versatile and razor-sharp, poignant set.
What was your motivation behind starting xeno- and who else besides you is on board?
I founded xeno- as a way to showcase contemporary club (and non-club) music, predominantly created and performed by members of the LGBTQ+ community and their allies. Our mission is to promote inclusivity, with a focus on non-violent feminist ideals and support for marginalised groups within the clubbing scene. The motivation behind starting xeno- was to provide additional options for people in the club scene of Bratislava. I also felt that besides me being a DJ, I could use my skills and connections to bring new people and aesthetics to the scene. While I initially started the party series alone, I always discussed my ideas with trusted friends, some of whom are also great promoters. I am grateful to have such supportive friends and the team at Fuga club, who have contributed to the success of xeno-.
The name refers to a prefix most commonly used in biology, meaning “foreign,” or more colloquially “strange”. What kind of philosophy does this express?
The name “xeno-” for our event series is meant to express our aim of welcoming and embracing difference and diversity, creating a safe space that is open and inclusive of all people, regardless of their background or identity. The use of the “xeno-” prefix is meant to convey a sense of openness and curiosity towards what is “unfamiliar.” The idea of xenophilia, or love and attraction towards the strange and foreign as you mentioned, is the essence to our mission of promoting inclusivity.
You put on the first edition of xeno- in August 2018. What do you remember of that night?
I remember I was afraid whether it would be successful at all. And of course I had a lot of doubts. But it turned out great. There were many people and a lot of new faces which motivated me. Bratislava is a pretty small city and especially when you count only the people who attend underground clubs or similar kinds of events like exhibitions. Sooner or later you remember the faces. And here I suddenly saw a crowd who I have never seen before and I felt that they came for the genuine interest in this particular party. The first events were purely—but not intentionally—aimed at female DJs and producers of club music. However, I wanted to show a wider picture. I also started to engage in welcoming live acts, various performances and I still want to continue advancing the form. I am endlessly open to ideas and inspirations.
Obviously, the pandemic severely disrupted the event series: you had to cancel your planned 7th edition in May 2020 and it took you until August 2021 until you were able to return. How was it when you could put on events again?
Like everyone, we had to accept the devastating reality. Our last party happened on 6th March 2020, and the same day the first case of COVID-19 in Slovakia was confirmed so it was somewhat a goodbye party. The following day, everything closed down indefinitely. The period of silence was mainly about reflecting and appreciating more what we were able to achieve in the past and how to make it even better in the future. When restrictions were eventually lifted and I was able to throw another party, I named it “Renascence” to reflect my feelings of rebirth and renewal after the difficult times we had been through due to the pandemic.
You invite guests from all over the world and Vienna’s Antonia XM for example has become a somewhat regular guest. Is it important to you to forge long-term connections internationally?
People like Antonia are close to my heart. We have developed a great friendship over the years, and so did I with many other people from the surrounding countries of Slovakia. At the end of the day, it is not that many of us, if you don’t live in some ginormous country. So there are great and important connections in cities like Brno, Prague, Vienna, Budapest and we support each other either with playing at the events we organise or keeping each other updated with interested artists from all around the world. I greatly admire Antonia’s work, including her label Ashida Park, which she runs with Marcus, and also her solo project. So I am always happy to have her. I also have to thank xeno- for introducing me to so many amazing people. Through my event series, I have had the opportunity to meet and connect with a diverse group of talented individuals. While my events may not be on the same scale as a large festival, I believe that there is value in smaller gigs where the connections become more personal and the atmosphere feels more like home. It is a great opportunity for both promoters and artists to create meaningful experiences and forge lasting relationships.
You don’t do it every time, but occasionally also play sets at your events. Do you try to shape the sound of xeno- as a DJ yourself?
My aim is not to play officially at my parties—which is why I never write my DJ name in the line-up—but rather prefer to put the focus on the artists I have invited and fully dedicate myself to my role as promoter/host. However, I do play from time to time, usually at the openings when the crowd is small and the night is just starting. I always want to give the prime time to my guests. Although I love DJing and I play at other gigs, managing my own events requires a lot of responsibility, especially as I am often working alone. In these cases, I prefer to concentrate on my role as host and give my full attention to the organisation, the guests and audience. Ultimately, I believe that I shape the sound of my parties through the artists I invite, who I fully trust and admire, and it is their work that I want to showcase. Another scenario in which you could see me play at xeno- would be the B2Bs at the end of the night where all the guests get behind the decks and we fool around together.
What was the idea behind your mix for our Resident Podcast?
It took me a while to finally decide which path to take, as my selection is usually so diverse and eclectic that it can be difficult to put it all into one mix and achieve my desired level of satisfaction. My BPM range at events is quite wide and I play according to my mood and the audience. I used to play mostly between 135-175 BPM. I always had slower things in my library as well, but did not use them as much. Usually I played slower mainly at openings or for listening purposes. But after the summer of 2022, since September, when I started playing at gigs again more often, I tried to experiment and bring in the slower stuff also during “prime time” or later. I was thrilled by the positive response from the crowd, and it really made me happy to be able to slow things down and bring a different energy to the party. This experience has given me new motivation to continue expanding my music range in the future. To get back to your question, the mix I made for you is based on what I played at the parties in autumn of 2022. I included some new releases and some old favourites that I haven’t put in any mix yet and I feel like they deserve to be out there. You can expect to hear a lot of Spanish vocals and some well-known tunes put in nice club edits.
Earlier this year, you released an ethereal cover of Dua Lipa’s “New Rules.” Do you have aspirations to become more active as a musician?
Not many people know that I actually studied music and also singing. I have been musically active since I was very young. I was also part of several music groups while studying opera singing. During that time, I tried many things to find what fits me best. These experiences were valuable, but my attitude towards producing music changed and I became very strict with myself. Maybe that is the reason why I don’t do my own stuff at the moment. I am never satisfied with myself. I always felt like my inner expectation of how my work should sound/look like did not respond to my actual skills or abilities. I found my passion in DJing and representing what I really like through my selection and how I build the mix. I admire so many concepts and genres that I just feel I wouldn’t be able to fully express all of my interests in my own production. I still really like to sing and I know that sooner or later I will come up with something. But I am not in a hurry. I was so much surprised about the reach of Dua Lipa’s cover. People were even including the track in their mixes. How amazing is that! This motivated me to release more covers of my favorite songs in 2023 and continue using my voice while inspiring myself to create something original in the future.
Last but not least: What are your plans for the future with xeno-?
In the future, my plans for the club night are somewhat uncertain at this point. The club night was 90% of the time funded by the government’s Ministry of Culture. There were few events that were not funded and we could really feel the struggle. Throwing these parties is not cheap, and I want to be able to fairly compensate the artists who perform, the visual artists who make the flyers and the virtual identity of the event, the technicians, etc. My goal is to showcase a wide variety of artists from around the world, and I don’t want to limit myself only to local artists. However, we did not receive any funding this year, although we applied. So I am not sure what will happen as a result. Organising these events is very demanding, and if I want to do it well, I need the necessary funds. I am open to the possibility of continuing the club night if an opportunity arises, but trying to do it at my own cost is counterproductive.
Stream: wyme – Groove Resident Podcast 36
01. Diony Lake – Death has its place here
02. fuga dream – ecological balance
03. DJ MacKeeper – Pipe PSI
04. Zutzut – Jadea
05. Miss Jay, WRACK & Xiao Quan – Jarackquan
06. jaijiu :: ANTI SAPO || ZARAMAY x JAIJIU x
07. KELMAN DURAN – E I
08. Rosella – Ella [Prod. C.Z. & Paul Marmota]
09. DJ GÄP – Confused
10. Nahash – Sangre Y Poder
11. bk beats – cr@zy tøwn – butterfly (dembow refix)
12. bdstf – New Rules
13. Conejx – Bosque Yakushima
14. TenTwentySeven – Scared Donk
15. Toumba – Sa7rawi
16. Sangre Nueva – Tu Forma
17. Nick León – Apretao (Kelman Duran Remix)
18. Kaval – Sorcerer
19. Meryl x Justin Timberlake – Coucou (Sevenbeatz Bootleg)
20. Zurvolt – Lamento (ft. Shiroi Kitsune)
21. Existen 10000 Sucursales Chedraui Pero Sólo Hay Un DJ CHEDRAUI
22. Ynfynyt Scroll – Por Fuera
23. bergsonist – grassroots
24. WRACK – B.M.L
25. DJ Narciso & Endgame – Sem Limites (Nahash Remix)
26. Imaabs – Demon’s Therapy
27. Siete Catorce & Amazondotcom – Sad Hug
28. j. balvin – cuando tú quieras (bk beats edit) (US)
29. Rosalía – La Combi Versace (feat. Tokischa)
30. blastah – Diablo
Mastered by Fausto Mercier.