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ISNT (Oramics) – Groove Resident Podcast 41

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Photo: Press (ISNT)

„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 the residents of clubs and collectives working locally and internationally the attention and respect they deserve.

The Polish collective Oramics has been a vital force in the wider dance music scene not only because of its events in different cities, but also it fostered discussions around the under-representation of women, non-binary, and LGBTQ+ people as well as Eastern European artists and DJs on an international scale. Having recently launched the new initiative Same Baby, Oramics now also offers a database of Poland-based DJs “who identify as girls, non-binary people and femme.”

ISNT is the founder of the collective that also counts dogheadsurigeri, Idę na, Mala Herba, Monster and Paulina Żaczek as its members. In the interview that accompanies the producer and DJ’s “hard and intense” contribution to our Resident Podcast, she explains how Oramics grew out of the Behind the Stage collective, how the project has since changed and what hopes to achieve with Same Baby as well as its criticism of the Western music press.


You have been active in the dance music industry for a while now and have already in 2009 founded the Behind the Stage collective. What was it that initially attracted you to electronic music and the scene around it?

I grew up on rock and grunge music and electronic music was foreign to me. One evening my brother took me to a club with music and I saw a girl playing a vinyl set there. I watched her spin the discs and I really wanted to know how she does it. She made a huge impression on me. It was also quite unusual because at that time—it might have been 2003—a woman playing in the club was a rare sight in Poland. That moment was the beginning of everything related to the club scene in my life. I wanted to know more about this music and how to play vinyl. I started listening to electronic music, getting to know the scene, signed up for a workshop where I learned to play with vinyl, went to parties, and the next stage was the desire to organise events. That’s how it all started.

What was your motivation to start Oramics in 2017, and how would you describe the collective’s initial goals? Would you say those aims have changed or adapted over time?

Oramics grew out of events that I organised under the banner of BTS Female, which was a series of events at which only women played. At that time, my goal was to promote female Polish DJs, because their presence on the stage, although greater than in previous years, was still too small. Over time, ideas came and it turned out that this project needed its own space and name to function as a separate entity and so Oramics was born. In 2017, the collective had clearly defined goals: to create a space for women in the Polish electronic music scene, where they could stand in solidarity with each other. We also wanted to give them a space where they could exchange their experiences, they could contact someone knowing that they would be taken seriously. Our goals have grown over the years. At the moment we support LGBTQ+ people—there are non-binary and queer people in our collective, so it’s natural for us to focus on this group. Especially in Poland, they are marginalised and discriminated against, as evidenced by the “LGBT-free zones” introduced by some Polish local governments. We also care about the promotion and visibility of artists from our region, from Eastern Europe, which are strongly under-represented when it comes to the international scene. Some people from our collective are activists and we all share the same ideals, so if there are politically important topics in our country regarding the aforementioned groups, we react to them.

Besides DJing regularly, you are also active as a producer and remixer and have released music on the Behind the Stage and Oramics labels as well as putting it out yourself or on other labels. What role does producing music play in your life?

Producing music is my passion and I like to devote the right amount of time to it, but I have to be in the right mood for it, it has to be the right day. I like to work slowly, I don’t like to rush, I don’t care about the number of releases. Making music for me is like stepping into another world, I cut myself off completely—it’s a place where I’m alone with myself and where no-one else is allowed in. I process my reality and what happens in it and release it in the form of sounds. Remixes are another matter, there’s another artist’s world already there, then I can walk around in foreign lands and put a bit of my world into it.

With the newly-launched project Same Baby, loosely translated from Polish as “just girls,” the Oramics collective aims to give Poland-based female DJs more visibility through a database of DJs. What prompted you to start Same Baby?

“Same baby” is a response to the question that we’ve heard a lot from bookers: “Why do so few women play shows in Poland?” The project sprouted in our heads for a long time. We organise our events ourselves and often while doing research for our bookings we lacked such a database. The original version was created three years ago- We had a list in an excel document, we moved it to Google Maps and put it on the website, but it was not legible and comfortable to use. Our internal list was useful to us, but we wanted promoters from Poland and also elsewhere to see and use it. Same Baby is a tool to make the female and non-binary part of the Polish club scene visible. The list is constantly growing, people who want to appear on the list are contacting us all the time. We released it on March 8th and we update it every month, so far there are 145 people on the list.

Oramics has evaluated the presence of Eastern European DJs in the podcast series of Resident Advisor, FACT Magazine and Crack between 2020 and 2022 and presented the results in October last year. According to the data, DJs from Eastern Europe are under-represented in comparison to especially Western European and North American DJs. Why did you focus on podcasts and why these three publications?

The electronic music industry was created by people in the West and at the moment they have the greatest influence on its development, and above all on promoting artists. They have a whole network of people and contacts that we do not have. For years, we have been able to observe how the East is trying to catch up with the West, to receive recognition in the international scene, and this is happening, among others, thanks to the support of such magazines as Resident Advisor, Crack or FACT. There are others, but we have chosen the largest ones to show that despite the internet, which definitely facilitates contact and artist searches, Eastern Europe continues to be heavily overlooked. Why podcasts? Because it is a format that does not put any financial burden on the magazines. All you need is good will and some time to focus on what is happening in the East. The charts we prepared first in 2020 and then in 2022 show that artists from Central and Eastern Europe are heavily under-represented. On the occasion of this topic, it is worth asking the question whether the Eastern European scene needs to “westernise.” We want to aspire to be on the international stage, but it is also important that we focus on our local scenes, define our own values, create our own spaces so that it is visible and interesting for the audience outside our countries. I encourage you to read the article I prepared for We Are Europe in 2021 in which I write more about the lack of promotion of Eastern artists by Western media and whether we really need to westernise: “Strengthening the Eastern Bloc’s Local Cultural Scenes After the Pandemic.”

The invasion of Ukraine has had a considerable impact on the world of electronic dance music. Do you think that this has created more awareness for the Eastern European countries in the music press and the scene at large?

As for the three magazines—Resident Advisor, Crack and FACT—I did not notice any major and long-lasting interest. When the war in Ukraine started, there were many compilations in support of Ukraine. A few articles were published, but that was it. The topic was hot, there was a momentum, and it passed as quickly as it appeared. There was no continuation in the form of further searches for what was happening on the stages of Eastern countries, no expansion of knowledge. It looks different inside. We have contacts with many artists or collectives from Western countries and their awareness is greater. They are in direct contact with us or artists from our region, so they are up to date and know what is happening on our stage. However, living in France, I observe on a daily basis the lack of information in the local trade magazines about the Eastern European scene, it is as if it did not exist at all. The eyes are either on their own backyard, which is logical, or even further West. An important platform is We Are Europe, which I mentioned earlier. There you can find a large number of articles that talk about the Eastern electronic music scene.

Oramics’ own podcast has recently reached a milestone, its 200th instalment. The focus of the series has been widened gradually over the years, nowadays female, queer, and non-binary DJs from all over the world are being featured. However, the podcast market has been oversatured in recent years. Has it become harder to introduce unknown, young, and/or under-represented DJs to a wider audience this way?

The market is definitely saturated with podcast series, I have the impression that everything is about to collapse. We publish our podcasts consistently from the beginning of our activity and this is one of many activities we do to promote other artists. If we focused only on podcasts, I think it would be more difficult to reach the audience with such a high market saturation. However, people come to podcasts from various sources and you need to look at it more broadly, one action drives another. For example, when we released the first Total Solidarity compilation, a lot of people came to our website and our Soundcloud channel to listen to the compilation, but they also got to know the podcast series thanks to it. Of course, it would be easier if we focused only on famous names, but that’s not our goal.

What was the idea behind your mix for our Resident Podcast?

This is my subjective selection and everyone can interpret it in their own way. As always in my mixes there is music that I like at the moment and what I also play at parties. I don’t like to play slow and light, so it’s always hard and intense. That’s my nature.

Last but not least: What are your plans for the future with Oramics and the Same Baby initiative?

We have some ideas but it’s too early to talk about them publicly.

 

Stream: ISNT – Groove Resident Podcast 41

01. OTON – Come Here
02. Assault Groove – La Fraicheur, Leonard de Leonard
03. Toni Alvarez – Fast & Dark
04. Toni Alvarez – Beat Therapy
05. Vizionn – Pulse
06. Jacidorex – Ritual
07. CLTX- New Generation
08. Cult – Mass Manoeuvres
09. Martin Modulate – No One Out There
10. Michel Ange – Metacortex 1999
11. NTBR & Jacidorex – Every Night
12. Bastet – My Bitch Up
13. BYØRN – Heimdall
14. BEYOND Ü – Embodment
15. NTBR – NEBULA
16. KETEK – Watch Out
17. Caspian – Athena 2
18. Manni Dee – Heartbreaker

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