Photo: Daniel Rajcsanyi (Jorkes)
„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.
To say that Jorkes contains multitudes would be a bit of an understatement. A DJ, producer, radio host, label co-owner as well as organiser and curator of not one but two regular event series, the Vienna-based artist is leaving their mark on the house music scene on more than one level.
Freeride Millenium is the focal point of Jorkes’ work. After founding the label together with partner Paris Böhm, the two Radio 80000 co-hosts found a perfect home for the eponymous event series at Club Romantica in Stuttgart. Jorkes contribution to our Resident Podcast is inspired by playing all-nighters at the former strip club.
You’ve started out with hip-hop and R’n’B and were eventually drawn to house music. One of the DJs responsible for that was Soulphiction, with whom you became friends. When and were was that, and what exactly was it that got you hooked on his sound?
I experienced house music before I went to clubs in the homes of older gay male friends, that had all sorts of late 1980s and Big Room Gay club house records lying around their homes that we danced to. The first time I experienced and was deeply touched by house music in a club situation must have been somewhere around 2005 or 2006 in a vaulted cellar club in Stuttgart, where Soulphiction was hosting his Philpot label nights. The rhythm immediately captivated my heart. I come from a migrant working class family and was immersed mostly within the hip-hop scene of Stuttgart as a teenager by that time. It is not the easiest surrounding to express who you really are as a queer teenager and young adult, to move and act freely. With Soulphiction playing, I could move and act freely, just as I felt it. This is the thing that fascinated me with house music—the movement it sparks, physically and mentally. Soulphiction always had this easiness and nonchalance while playing. He was totally in charge of everything. Emotions fly high. Pretty difficult task to describe it now! But to sum it up, I always felt free and sexy while he played. I always had the impression that I was home and that I was been taken care of in a way. I think that is also what clubbing is about.
What did your first steps as a DJ look like?
The first baby steps were in the rural suburbia of Stuttgart where I grew up: barn parties where I brought record players and the Arrested Development and Wu-Tang Clan records I had nicked from my uncle. Being behind the scenes and not actively part of the crowd gave me an immense feeling of freedom. I also worked in a sneaker store while still going to school and the owner of the store, who was also our neighbour, threw in-store happenings and parties in hip-hop and R’n’B in clubs, where I also played a bit. Friends of mine also hosted 1980s and new wave parties, so I kind of started to dig into this universe and presented my selection. Then for a long time there was pretty much nothing club-wise as a DJ. But I always bought records, downloaded music, did my research, danced to and recorded mixes and uploaded them to my SoundCloud account.
Together with Daniel Rajcsanyi a.k.a. producer and DJ Paris Böhm, you founded the Freeride Millenium label in 2016. What is the concept behind it?
With Freeride Millenium, most of the things happen spontaneously as an eruption of emotions. It is like a sponge that gets soaked up and then you squeeze it. Besides being my label partner, Daniel is also my life partner, lover, muse, emotional support system, best friend, and sweetest person around, so we share a lot of adventures and experiences together. All of that finds its common ground at Freeride Millenium. All humans that we interact with, all the things that we consume, that move us and that we experience, get processed, digested, and released, whether it is sexual, intellectual, political, or emotional. We like to empower each other and carry this feeling out into the world. A feeling to be more excessive, more curious, more tender, more kind, more egalitarian and see things in perspective, rather than black and white. Freeride Millenium is kind of the diary of our daily interactions, the curiosity that drives us and our shared aesthetics.
You have released your latest solo EP, Free From Desire, on Aus Music. How did it come about that you signed with Will Saul’s label?
I always play a lot of songs out of the Aus catalogue. For me, Aus has many musical facets and is exciting. When I finished “Free From Desire,” I thought it could be a nice fit for Aus and sent it to Will in hopes it will find a home there. And so it was and one thing led to the other, which I am really happy about.
“When I make songs I’m different people,” you told DJ Mag’s Joe Roberts a while ago. Who are the people who produced Free From Desire?
There is the drugged up, used hole that after a tough weekend says: Never again! Or more? Are these pangs of my conscience, or is it the impulse that you need more? Then there is the hedonist girl that under any circumstances wants to give in to her passion and fall for her desires just to prove to herself, that she has the strength to do so. Like betting with yourself. And then there is the cutie pie, really shy and not really knowing where this whole thing leads to and what she is doing here.
Freeride Millenium is also the name of your long-running event series at Femke Bürkle’s Club Romantica in Stuttgart—somewhat fittingly housed in an old strip club. What was your motivation to start the series?
When Daniel and I started the label, we felt the strong urge and need to present the music we release and the artists we interact with to a crowd and experiment and share reactions, also visually. And personally I just love to spend the night with all different kinds of people in a club. It gives me security, freedom, and the space to be curious for one another, learn from one another, and have fun together. Dancing itself is something that frees your mind and soul. And through the dance you connect with all kinds of humans. As for why it is happening at Romantica: When we started in the beginning of 2017, we had just moved from Munich to Vienna and we didn’t know that many people in the city. On the one hand there is Femke, who owns and runs Romantica, I’ve known her since I was a young underage rave girl and she took me by the hand. She is a very close friend, a great companion, and just a very loving and caring human being. On the other hand, I had a decent circle of friends and family in Stuttgart and know some pretty cute party animals, so it seemed natural to start with our Freeride Millenium label nights in Stuttgart. Femke was also immediately on board with hosting us. Romantica as a place, with its whole past as a strip club, awakens and embraces my inner slut and the wild side of me, which I like to celebrate there too. And this is also what Freeride Millenium is about—music, ecstasy, lose yourself, interact, dispersion, deconstruction of the mind. These are the words that come into my mind. All of this was and still is our motivation.
What’s important to you in regard to the programming of those nights?
First of all the music. At the label nights, we try to musically connect different dots and see how it works out and is aesthetically coherent beyond genre boundaries. And we put the same emphasis on the guests whom we invite. Music in a club context vibrates and resonates only through the guests, dancers, and ravers. When I see how people are moved and touched by the music and how they dance, how they enjoy and how they happily interact with others, then everything feels and is right. We try to communicate this with our artwork, too. It shouldn’t be too serious. People should come and celebrate, lose themselves, find themselves in a new way, have fun and be curious, respect each other, and celebrate one another. Coming back to Soulphiction, he was the first to teach me about the political dimension of dancefloors and clubs and seeing how inclusive and diverse a dancefloor can be, with a positive approach and wording towards humans. This just fills my heart.
You regularly play at these parties. Do you follow a different approach than when you play at other clubs?
The thing at Romantica and at the Freeride Millenium parties is that I can spontaneously adapt to a situation and to the atmosphere. This is due to the fact that I know and admire everyone who works and visits and interacts with each other inside the club. Over the years they have become family and because of this I can relax way faster after the initial „stage fright“ while playing. When I play in other clubs and settings I am always so excited as if it is my first time behind the decks. As with my sets, I usually have a range of „classics“ that enjoy playing and that get people to enjoy dancing. „Classics“ means that they are classics to me and my musical taste, not necessarily what others define as classics. And then everything else is happening pretty spontaneously, but at our own label nights at Romantica I tend to experiment a bit more.
You also organise a series of sauna parties in Vienna called HOT. What are those all about?
We started HOT in 2018 with friends at the Apollo City Sauna in Vienna. This is a sauna for usually male persons that are of the phenotype „bear“. I enjoy going there on Tuesdays because they offer free entrance to people over 95 kilos, which is a nice way to empower body positivity. The sauna has two storeys, everything is twisted, sexy, mysterious, and pretty run-down. We never made really advertised HOT, it was more like „friends for friends of friends“ and was kind of a closed thing. Because of this, we always had a very relaxed, trustful, and intimate vibe. You could be naked, have clothes on, watch the performances, have sex, drink something, just lie around, whatever you feel like. The only important thing is to not give yourself mental barriers but to respect and accept the boundaries of others. This all worked out really fine. There was a bigger ambient floor where the DJ booth was in the middle back of the room, everything was red, the whole room is filled with matresses and pillows and we had huge piglet rearing lamps shining on every matress, so everyone could feel warm, cozy and relaxed. On this floor we had friends like Massimiliano Pagliara playing. Left and right to this room, there are darkrooms and cabins if you like to make things steamy. On the lower floor we had showers where you could also get your hair washed with healing earth, enjoy a massage ritual, visit the steam room, refresh in the pool or just sweat in the sauna. There was also a small dancefloor between the lockers. It is all just a huge playground for everyone to tickle their inner needs and let them come out. We already moved with the whole team into Vienna’s club context twice and have some surprises ready for the future.
Besides all of this, you run a Radio 80000 show, usually in tandem with Paris Böhm. How do you approach the individual episodes?
We both consume a lot of music and we both listen to very different music, which is a good thing. At Radio 80000, we tend to present the music that friends have sent us and that we like, things we just discovered and like to listen in different emotional settings. There are no boundaries genre-wise. In retrospect I realised that every show is driven by a singular emotion and when I see what has been driving us and what was around us at the time, it is always expressed to the point. Sometimes there is a special focus, for example when we watched a specific play at the theatre or lost someone close or had a very happy vacation. These shows just come together naturally then.
You usually record your mixes spontaneously and normally start with a specific idea or mood. What informed your contribution to our Resident Podcast?
They are spontaneous with regards to the technical circumstances. I record them in one take instead of multiple times. Thoughts and emotions always run through multiple layers of the soul. Mixes often represent a particular string out of these avalanches and waves of settings, always depending on the input you get from fellow near or far-away humans, mammals, circumstances, challenges, adventures, activities, and happenings. Lately I’ve been reading a lot about the era in the late 1980s when more and more „famous“ men acquired HIV and wrote their memories about how it was to live with the disease and the circumstances they were in. A great read is Hervé Guibert À l’ami qui ne m’a pas sauvé la vie, which has only recently been translated into German. In his description, he comes clear with his body being exposed to a society of different moral layers and also talking about how his friend lived with the disease in a precise way never exposed before. Between the lines of this description, you can parse his cuntiness towards enemies, his compassion for loved ones, his hopes for healing the world, letting your societal chains go, and the strength for being the best possible human being and not letting others down. Through the music that I play and in exactly this kind of emotional setting I find myself a lot these days, and first and foremost I love to dance and to party. In order to create such a feeling on the dancefloor I reminisce on the all-nighters that I sometimes play on Sundays at our Freeride Millenium label nights at Romantica and always have the aforementioned feeling in my heart. So I went through my „All Night Long“ playlists and emotional dancefloor highlights and put together this mix for you. I hope it brings fun and joy. Sometimes the roads you take in life lead you to the exact point where you are now.
Last but not least: What are your plans for the future and what?
I am just really happy that I can continue to make and play music and am very thankful for everything that happens and to everyone who keeps inviting me over and over again! In the near future, I have an EP called Super Hot Lover coming out on Permanent Vacation, after that I will another one through Live At Robert Johnson and one more on Freeride Millenium. It is all very exciting. Some remixes for friends and family are on the way, too, and I am working on collaborations with Paris Böhm and with NIKKNAME. At Freeride Millenium, we have some releases in the pipeline that I am really looking forward to showing to the world. We also work on the next Queer Base charity compilation. Queer Base is an organization that helps and supports LGBTQIA*+-identifying refugees that arrive here in Austria. We continue running our monthly label nights at Romantica and I am also supporting Femke with the curation of the Thursday night programmes at the club. You should come visit at one point. It is a lot of fun.
Stream: Jorkes – Groove Resident Podcast 46
01. Jorkes & Hard Ton – Cross The Line (Soulphiction Dub Mix)
02. Dream 2 Science – My Love Turns To Liquid
03. Barker & Baumecker – Strung (Eli Escobar´s Breezy Mix)
04. Couple Looking – For K+
05. Psychemagik – Let´s Make An Edit
06. Club 69 – Style
07. Roxy – Love To Do It (Danny Tenaglia Remix)
08. Mood II Swing – Ohh
09. Hercules & Love Affair – Blind (Frankie Knuckles Remix)
10. Jinny – Keep Warm
11. Running Hot – Only One
12. Ken Doh – I Need a Lover Tonight (Nakasaki Mix)
13. Alinka – Learning To Fly
14. Sy – Believe
15. Raphael Schön – I Don´t Know Why
16. Rhode & Brown, Benjamin Fröhlich, Rosa Red – Solid Floor
17. Lady J – Rakim Under
18. Coco Cole – Chanel My Face
19. Makam – What Ya Doin
20. Super Drama – JMNTK
21. Mighty Dub Katz – Magic Carpet Ride
22. Revivis – Fruition
23. Known Artist – El Ritmo Fatal
24. Pascal Moscheni – 4th Street
25. Xpansions – Move Your Body (Elevation) (Shadow Child Extenden Remix)
26. Atfc – I Call U (The Conversation) Atfc´s Conversation Killer)
27. Fargetta – The Music Is Movin´ (Bam Bam Tribal Mix)
28. Big Miz – Urgent
29. Pet Shop Boys – London
30. Jorkes – Super Fun Lover (Alinka Remix)
31. Jorkes – Follow Me To The Toilet (Chris Cruse’s More the Merrier Mix)
32. Jorkes – Free From Desire