Philo Interview

Here you go mate!

Let’s start at the beginning. Talk us through when you got into DJ’ing and also, what was it that inspired you to take it up?

I’ve listened to drum & bass since I was about 14 years old and in the course of my adulthood I’ve always gone to drum & bass parties a lot and with passion. I was lucky that my boyfriend is a DJ and had turntables (and at that time still half a club PA, which is now unfortunately in our basement haha). I tried vinyl 4 years ago and realized that it worked pretty fast and well from the beginning. After half a year I played for the first time on my birthday, which I organized in a club, b2b with my boyfriend which worked wonderfully and got a lot of positive feedback. The thing that inspires and motivates me most about DJ’ing is on the one hand the incredible joy of the music itself and on the other hand the fact that I always deal with what I like to do most.
Furthermore, every time two tunes are mixed together, it’s a kind of new creation that can sometimes sounds even better than the individual tunes. That means new sounds emerge, which are simply symbiotic. Also the time spent with selection and knowledge. You can learn something new every time, whether it’s discovering a new tune, new techniques or biographical/historical aspects. It’s also really nice to be able to bring other people closer to great music and to “edutaten” them. The last, but also very important, factor is to make sure I like the music I play in the club 100% and there’s nothing nicer than when everyone else celebrates it too.

We can expect to hear you on your bi-weekly radio slot on How did you go about securing a slot on the station? has been my favourite radio station for years, which is actually always on when I’m working. I survived all my work during my study with jungeltrain (big shouts to the crew and thank you for everything!). At some point I asked myself how to get the slots and wrote to the crew to submit mixes. Coolly enough, I got positive feedback that under certain conditions (i.e. finding timeslots, testing equipment, installing software, etc.) I could start a show on it, and then it started quite fast.

Let’s talk about the structure of the shows. Recently you’ve displayed great versatility, switching up vibes from show to show. Do you plan in advance what you want to play, or do you decide on the day? 

I’m a big fan of conceptual sets. I like storytelling and have a precise structure. Of course, completely improvised stuff is often very cool and can create nice combinations (which I really enjoy on b2b), but it can be a bit “dangerous”. Some things can go wrong and that’s not so cool LIVE. That’s why I always try to find some kind of theme or motto under which I build and create my sets. Of course, not everything has to be planned minute by minute, but by trying and preparing, you can create extreme transitions and recombine sounds.
In addition, it’s always very important to me personally that the tunes fit. This doesn’t necessarily have to be based on the subgenre, but perhaps more on the sound characteristics and dynamics. A perfect set for me is when there are virtually no noticeable transitions from tune to tune (dBridge and Om Unit are the kings) and that is difficult without planning it in advance and changing subgenres. Since I don’t really produce much, I really see myself as a DJ and DJ’ing consists (for me) of much more than just quickly threading one tune to the last end of the other one. 

As a DJ you like to play vinyl in your sets, so are you an avid collector? If so, can you give us some examples of recent purchases and where you buy vinyl from? 

Since I started out with vinyl I’m very familiar with it and I’m also a big fan of vinyl. I love the feel and having music in a physical form, but there are a lot of arguments to play digital and I don’t want to miss it anymore. In the beginning I bought a lot of vinyl and built up my collection, but now I only buy a few times a year, and only my absolute favs. For example, I love to play breakbeat and ‘90s-adapted sound vinyl, because the feeling is different and the mixing is different.
Recently I bought the EP from Borai & Dunham Audio “Clouds Across The Stars” and I’m always happy to put it on the turntables. Most of the time I order from the German distributor “Have-A-Break”, or buy directly from “Kompakt”, my local record store and also label, in Cologne, which mostly has techno, house, etc., but also a small, but very high quality, section of drum & bass and bass music. Funnily enough, the owner or buyer has a very similar taste as I do when it comes to drum & bass, there are a lot of jewels lying around!

In addition to vinyl you also play digital too. What software are you using?

Like most of the people I use Rekordbox and I love it!

 your opinion on the “vinyl vs. digital” war in the industry?

Ouff, I’ve already dealt with this discussion a lot In the past and I was definitely a tough 100% vinyl supporter, but that changed after I bought my players. It’s just made it so easy. It’s cool in the sense that many people are given access to it, but on the other hand, every person can call themselves a “DJ” now. To get a feeling of beat-matching, the listening itself (sometimes the visual representation gets too much attention and is not as accurate as our auditory perception) and also the structure of tunes, I think it’s really advisable to start with vinyl or at least to learn it, because it’s already something different. The argument of “realness” is kind of lame, buuuut vinyl is “next level” somewhere, at least compared to the simplicity of digital playing.
But on the other hand there is the question if you really need vinyl etc. All in all, I think the hybrid mixing approach is really cool, because some tunes (everything from Fresh 86 for example) are not available digitally and therefore some music gets “lost”. And honestly, if someone really rocks a 100% vinyl set, it’s simply something else to aspire to.

Obviously at the moment with the COVID-19 situation I understand there’s no gigs planned but how about before, did you play out much?  

It’s really a pity this year would have started incredibly well for me – two really big festivals and several small ones, as well as many requests for club gigs already at the beginning of the year. Since the end of 2019 I have been co-founding my crew (Deegree Recordings) in Cologne, with whom we had incredibly cool plans for this year – after all, our first party could still take place at the end of February. Apart from that, I’ve already been DJ’ing very regularly (funnily enough, often not in Cologne but in other cities – but that changed again at the end of 2019 and I played more in Cologne).

Staying with COVID-19, obviously it been devastating for the events industry and doesn’t look to be returning to normal anytime soon! How do you see things moving forward with the scene from now?

It’s not the scene itself that I’m worried about. The passion will always be there. What could really become a big problem are the clubs that couldn’t survive the whole thing. In my hometown Cologne there is already (as everywhere else) one big club dying/closing, because smaller clubs are not the biggest economic engines of the cities and have been a constant thorn in the side of politics for a long time. Due to the current situation, small clubs especially are in a very precarious situation. Even if some have backups and get financial support through livestreams etc., some will surely have to close down in the near future. Maybe there will be hope for new clubs and also new generations of club owners and promoters who can bring new energy to the scene, otherwise there might be more outdoor and illegal raves (please don’t do it now, that’s the stupidest thing that can be done right now) and therefore a smaller circle of people will celebrate.

Can you give us some idea of your favourite D&B tunes? 

This is always really difficult, but some of my favorites at the moment are definitely Digital “Deadline”, Seba “Snow”, Spirit “International”, Dom & Roland “Outta-Endz”, DJRUM – “Hard to Say”, and of course Calibre & High Kontrast “Mr. Majestic”. I always find it difficult to limit myself because there is so much good music that I listen to non-stop and then discover again years later.

What about modern day labels and artists that you are feeling?

So for labels of course Metalheadz (were there ever bad releases?), Function Records, UVB-76, Samurai Music, Rupture, Astrophonica, Good Looking Records, Secret Operations, Amaar, Fresh 86, Hospital, 31 Records, Exit, Reinforced. I could go on until tomorrow…and for artists, Digital of course, who pushed me a lot personally by always helping me with feedback and support (thank you so much Steve!), Spirit (RIP), Bungle (totally underrated in myopinion), Om Unit, Seba, Borai & Denham Audio, Response & Pliskin, Ruffhouse, Fracture, Homemade Weapons, Loxy, Mako, and Coco Bryce.

Do you listen to any other genres away from D&B?

Preferably everything with breaks from 130-174 BPM. For about a year I’ve been playing a lot of breakbeat and UK-house (actually all UK bass-music) elements, which is a cool change and still totally groovy and has a strong energy. Otherwise techno and house (if it’s not too lame), oldschool hip hop, sometimes reggae and dub. It can also be classical music, but then at concerts or in the opera.

Let’s talk about your mix! Talk us through what equipment you used and how you went about choosing what to play?

My setup includes two 1210’s, two XDJ’s, a Reloop RMX 60 Mixer, two JBL MK306 Monitor Speakers (although I didn’t have them at the time I recorded the mix, those were old Fame Speakers) and an old subwoofer (which is really powerful!). Recently I came across “Fallout” by MSDos and Ted Ganung again and immediately felt like making a mix a bit off my other subgenres by going into the real liquidfunk with a good vibe. The weather encourages me a lot to do this. Since I have some records in this direction that I have never played in a mix before anyway, I took the opportunity to do this. Furthermore there are some tunes in the mix that brought me to drum & bass about 10 years ago and which I listened to non-stop. For example “Snow” from Seba or “Inner Space” from Apex (R.I.P), so the mix can be seen as my history of good vibe favorites. And to give the whole thing a little nostalgic touch, the last half hour was very oldschool – a la E-Z Rollers and Adam F. I hope I managed the balancing act between liquidfunk and beautiful spheres without being too cheesy.



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