Photo: Press (Bae Blade)
Bae Blade has a knack for working with thumping beats, but she wants you to go a little more than just doing the usual two-step routine: “It’s also nice to be able to sway your hips once in a while,” the freshly Berlin-based DJ and producer, who has just released her debut EP Mixed Feelings on Mutual Pleasure, says in the interview that accompanies her contribution to our Groove Podcast. It’s a mix that emphasises that she knows damn well what she’s talking about: Besides her brand new remix of a Penera track that kicks things off, these 60 minutes are marked by mirror effects of her roots in hip hop culture and rap music as well as her own, multi-genre approach to music-making. Sure, you can stomp away to this if you want to, but that would only be half the fun.
Before starting the Bae Blade project during the early stages of the pandemic, you worked as a touring photographer in the hip hop world and have apparently DJed before—the oldest available mix on your SoundCloud account is nine years old. How did you first get in touch with electronic dance music and what did your first steps as a DJ look like?
I actually kept the set online on purpose, partly because I find it kind of nostalgic, partly because I find it amusing what I was playing at that time. But it all started maybe a bit classically in the small town from where I come because there were no clubs, and we wanted to bring that to our own city. Sometimes I wonder where I might be now if I had just kept going. I got offers, but I never thought this would turn into something serious when I was 18 …
What was your motivation to start the Bae Blade project?
Honestly, I was annoyed by the music that played in the clubs where I come from in North Rhine-Westphalia. It was just too monotonous for me. There were rarely any drum’n’bass parties, maybe just a few house events. It was all about constant stomping, which can be fun, but it’s also nice to be able to sway your hips once in a while and that’s why I started again.
You’ve first made a name for yourself as a producer with collaborative tracks before contributing as a solo artist to compilations such as none/such 004. How did you get into producing and what is your preferred way of working?
I was gifted an old laptop with Ableton Live already installed, and I started experimenting with it. I wanted to bring to life the ideas that had been floating in my mind for a while. I spent hours in front of the programme, which seemed impossible to figure out to me at first. Fortunately, there are numerous tutorials online because I prefer diving into projects for long periods once I’ve completed my everyday errands. It’s probably not the healthiest approach, but that’s how it works for me.
You released your debut EP Mixed Feelings on Partiboi69’s Mutual Pleasure in September. As the title already suggests, it’s a stylistically varied record. Why was it important to you to showcase these different sides of you on your debut?
I wanted to showcase what interests me and how diverse I can be. I would say it’s like a compressed set of mine, and since humans aren’t just one thing, we reflect that in music as well. I don’t confine myself to a single genre.
The opener “Busy Overthinking” is apparently based on a slew of samples you have bought or received from other musicians. What are you looking for when you actually go on the hunt for samples?
With a specific mood in mind, I search for a sound, clicking through various options and sometimes going through kits that don’t quite match what I’m looking for. But I consider myself lucky because I usually find what I need pretty quickly, and by now, I’ve built up a massive library. (laughs) For “Busy Overthinking,” I kicked things off with the bass and built around it. I also played in the pads. So, it’s not just sampling; there’s some hands-on work and composition involved.
The track “Schneller als die Scuderia” combines an electro beat with a rap by SeppXTC. How did your collaboration come about and what was your working process like?
I already knew my friend from his earlier songs, and we both lived in Dortmund. I always admired his lyrics and flow, and I definitely wanted to release a song with an artist who had a natural talent for rapping. When I sent him the beat, he laid down his vocals, and it was a match made in heaven.
In the recent past, you have also released a slew of edits like those featured on two different Rare House Hits compilations on Amadeezy. Considering that you likely create those edits for your own sets, how do you approach reworking those tracks?
I believe rap vocals fit fantastically with house beats when layered over them. Since these are two genres I love, combining them feels perfect to me. I just want to see how this combination works, especially when the original tracks are much slower. It serves as a practice for me, particularly when I don’t have my own vocals. Ideally, I’d like to move away from edits and leave that to Queen Cascada. (laughs)
About a year ago, you started the All Bops No Flops residency at Rinse FM together with Amadeezy. How do you go about programming your shows there, for which you regularly invite other DJs to join you?
We invite people whose art we absolutely admire, and we gladly provide them with a platform, regardless of how well-known they are. The collaboration is smooth because we are friends and share the same musical taste. This has not only strengthened us professionally but also allows us to make new connections during the selection process. It’s a bit like digging for music, but with DJs/producers, and it’s truly exciting when someone exceptional in their craft can join us. Genre doesn’t matter; it can range from gothic rap to a special studio mix crafted with Ableton Live. Everything is welcome. Just because we primarily play electronic dance music doesn’t mean we aren’t open to other aspects that the art of music has to offer.
What was the idea behind your mix for our Groove podcast?
I started with my first remix, of Penera’s “Tribal Metal,” which will be released very soon on the SNC Crew Label, so it has its debut on this podcast. With the mix, I combine my current favourite tracks and showcase what a typical Bae Blade club night might look like.
Last but not least: what are your plans for the future?
I’m currently answering these questions form my old apartment and will be moving from Dortmund to Berlin in the next few days. I had actually wanted to make this move some years ago, but since I couldn’t find an apprenticeship as a media designer in Berlin, I ended up completing my high school diploma and then my studies here in North Rhine-Westphalia. Now that I’m finally done, it’s time for me to move on because I’m curious and excited about living in a big city. In Berlin, I’ll continue working on my second EP, aiming to challenge myself by incorporating my own vocals. In my track “I Like,” you can already catch a glimpse of this. I want to see what this combination produces. Who knows, maybe I’ll find it terrible and regret saying this right now, but that’s life, and I’ll take it with humour. (laughs)
Stream: Bae Blade – Groove Podcast 407
01. Penera – Tribal Metal (Bae Blade Remix)
02. Harry Connell – Hit It
03. Constantine – 90s Baby
04. Ollie Lishman – My Crew Go Hard (Unreleased)
05. Ollie Lishman – Let It Rip (Unreleased)
06. SONIKKU – Twisted ft. Terror Jr
07. Amadeezy – Bump N Boom (Unreleased)
08. WOLTERS – Lose Ya Feet
09. Mac Declos – VoyVoy
10. DJ Physical – I Like Dollaz
11. Wavezim – Sentada
12. Strafe, Avision – Party Started
13. Ned Bennett – Tear Tha Club Up
14. We Rob Rave – Ladies Night Out
15. WOLTERS – Raffica
16. Underworld, Kettama – G-town Euphoria (luna)
17. DJ Physical – Kellogg’s For Lunch
18. Clouds – Positive Delusion