Photo: Lucie Rox (Zoë Mc Pherson)
Berlin-based Zoë Mc Pherson is a multi-media and sound artist, a music producer and a DJ, who in recent times has provided a platform for their own and other artists’ work with the audio-visual SFX label, including their recent Pitch Blender solo LP. They are also a member of the 3OK trio along DJ Diaki and Jay Mitta, known for its highly energetic sound and break-neck tempos. Mc Pherson’s contribution to our Groove podcast is a two hour-long recording of a set at RSO.Berlin last fall.
Quite a few tracks on Pitch Blender prominently feature your voice. How would you characterise your approach to using it, are you more interested in its sonic qualities or as a way of conveying meaning?
Clearly, Pitch Blender holds a lot of meaning in the lyrics, such as “Unidentified Objects” into “Lamella,” whereas my previous album uses voice more as an instrument.
SFX is referred to as a “hybrid label” that follows an audio-visual approach. Besides the XquisiteForce project that brought together sound and visual artists and whose results have been documented on a 2020 compilation, it serves as an outlet for your projects and collaborations with artist Alessandra Leone. How would you characterise your joint working process?
It grows, it confirms certain aspects in our work, it experiments a lot, it fails, it is successful, it is a friendship and a working partnership. We go through many different phases, we are perfectionists and hard workers, we have the brightness to do our best at communicating, like in any sustainable relationship.
Together with DJ Diaki and Jay Mitta, you form the trio 3OK. How did that come about and what is your musical meeting ground?
We met at the Afropollination residency at the Nyege Nyege villa in Kampala, Uganda. We are a hyper-rhythmical trio and the slowest we play is at 180 BPM. Our improvisations merge explosive beats from from a Tanzanian, a Malian, and a European perspective: DJ Diaki’s electro balani, Jay Mitta’s singeli worldwide and my touch of breaks, bass, and lasers.
As a solo artist, you have also created sound installations. How would you characterise your approach when it comes to site-specific work, what’s important to you when conceptualising these installations?
The last one I’ve created is for MONOM I’ve made this one specifically for their 4D sound system, creating every bit of it while spatialising it. Composing with space in mind is completely different than composing for a club, for the radio, for film or for theater, it’s another process and experience which I enjoy a lot. The piece is currently on tour, presented in Paris, London, and more places coming up.
What was the idea behind your mix for our Groove podcast?
This is a recording from a DJ set I played at RSO.Berlin for a Plasma night last year on October 21st. The mix is not perfect and I am probably a better DJ today, as each time I do another set. But, you know … I just love the live feeling to it, it reminds me of the awesome vibes on the dance floor that night. And it’s also one of these nights in Berlin organised by Femme Bass Mafia collective that, amongst other super nice collectives, has been pushing bass music in Berlin. So clap clap on that! As a Berliner, I’m loving it and they’re doing a brilliant job!
Last but not least: what are your plans for the future?
Lots of super exciting shows coming up; I’m heading to Armenia, Georgia—where I’ve always wanted to go!—Italy, London, and a lot more places that have not yet been announced in the next months. We will soon also announce the release of Pitch Blender Remixes on SFX, which contains absolutely sick tracks from Scratcha DVA, Jana Rush, MC Yallah, Kasimyn Gendang and Jessica Ekomane. This is incredibly exciting—DJ me talking—and I’m so, so proud of this one because I’m a fan of all these people, and super grateful they were into the idea. So stay tuned on all that! Have a nice spring everyone!
Stream: Zoë Mc Pherson – Groove Podcast 377
No tracklist available.