Josephine Wedekind – a lady that’s been collecting and mixing music for the better part of two decades. She also heads up the Berlin branch of Digital Structures as well as being involved with a fair number of events and festivals across Europe. But, without me saying too much – let’s jump straight into the interview and hopefully you guys can get to know her a bit better by the end of it…
Firstly I’d like to say I was pleasantly surprised when I heard you’d be performing at Origin this year. I’ve been listening to your sets on Soundcloud for a number of years now and your recent xXƎTEXx compilation on Digital Structures has been highly featured in my DJ sets.
I’m flattered, it is always inspiring to find like-minded people. Thank you for your feedback and great support, I appreciate it a lot!
Well let’s kick off with probably the most relevant question – how would you describe your sound? As someone that has focused more on their DJ sets overproduction; you say you strongly believe in storytelling in your sets – could you elaborate on this?
I prefer not to limit myself with genres as I’m convinced that it’s all about the vibe and correct timing. Therefore I like my audience to interpret the music I select in their own way. I would totally agree with someone that would interpret my current sets as seriously pumping, hypnotic or psychedelic, but still with the right groove to dance your ass off. This actually describes my aim on storytelling well – with the right vibe to go as far as possible in a powerful and refreshing journey till you lose your mind – that we’re going crazy while dancing and I’m playing. I try to experience the music as a dancer and deliver an “out of this space-ride“.
Yes! I 100% agree with that and try to approach my DJ sets in a similar manner.
Digital Structures is definitely one of my favourite labels and these past few month we have been incredibly spoiled with Digital Structures’ artists performing in Cape Town – Human Element @ Love & Light, Gabi 2B @ RezFest, Yuli Fershtat @ Into the Wild & even Eitan Reiter @ Origin last year. Can you tell us a bit about the story behind how you got involved with Digital Structures and your role within the label?
Yay! These guys are an excellent choice! Digital Structures has released quite a few tracks that are timeless masterpieces, e.g. Happy Fat Kids by A. Balter & Eitan Reiter and there are a dozen more stunning ones, which I still love to play from time to time. Lately, DS got even more intense with some impressive releases.
The story behind how I got involved; I got introduced by one of my favourite human beings, Golan – also well known as DJ Bayawaka. He’s been a buddy and #1 fan of labelhead Yuli Fershtat aka Perfect Stranger for a long time. He got the idea that Yuli and my vision are merging and that we would collaborate well together. This was followed by an invitation from Gabi aka Gabi2B and Yuli to become head of Digital Structures’ Berlin branch, which I’m very happy and grateful about.
You recently released the xXƎTEXx compilation on Digital Structures – easily one of my favourite releases from last year. Can you elaborate on the name of the compilation and perhaps talk us through your selection process for the compilation?
I’m quite astonished with the feedback in general but especially because it is my first VA ever – I did not expect such a huge resonance. I’m firmly convinced about those tunes and they are all killer! At this point I also wanna give a Hi5 and say “Thanks! That is more than just well done!” to all the artists on the VA: Massive Moloko, Breger, Chalm Chor, MNGRM, Herrmann Stöhr, LMX, Peter Groskreutz, Jossie Telch, Diamandy and Yuli Fershtat.
The intention was simply to represent my kind of taste and yes, of course, it had to represent the label’s sound as well. I asked some of my most cherished producers whom I think share a common understanding of music in a specific way. The process through it… hmmm… the collection took me almost a year. So I don’t think I have to mention that is was not easy, especially when you wanna present it as good as possible.
Regarding the name. It is cumbersome to give something a name. We run, from time to time, an event which we call xXƎTEXx. After over- and overthinking it, I asked myself if it’s really necessary to have a “new” title and name the VA differently. I like the name a lot because you can read and pronounce it in various ways and this matches the thoughts behind it very well. And yes, on top it looks super cool, hehe ☺
As far as I’m aware you’re currently based in Berlin right? I think any techno lover has always had a dream of visiting Berlin for the music scene there. How has living in a city with such a vibrant underground music culture influenced your music? Also, how else do you spend your time while not DJ’ing – I’m especially interested in your involvement at the Sisyphos club and Mo:Dem Festival?
Yes and, as you can imagine, it is just awesome to be a Berlin-based DJ and cruise to your gigs by bicycle, I fell in love with the city and its peeps; the people around me are, among all other, quite active and charismatic individuals that are constantly evolving, just like the city itself.
Did Berlin have an impact on the whole thing? I can’t really say how I would have evolved in a different place since I mostly grew here as an artist and DJ. Like-minded folks, I met from other cities around the world told me that they cannot play a certain style because there’s no crowd to support it. But I like to believe that good music with the right vibe and intentions will find its way to reach its lovers anywhere.
And yep, I totally share your interest in Sisyphos and Mo:Dem Festival. They got me, too!!!
Oh dear Sisyphos, may your will be done! Glad, I’m a part of your powerful crew. Thanks for all those crazy nights and days full of your special energy – quality times!!! So.., all of a sudden one thing came to another, friendships started, visions were shared and suddenly I was not only a performing artist but also part of the crew. To work at Sisy means to be with a bunch of good friends. And what could be better than that??? For sure it’s sometimes not easy, especially when you had to travel to gigs the same weekend but luckily as soon as I enter Sisy it’s all good again. And since Sisyphos opens its doors from Friday at midnight until at least Monday, there’s enough time for playing somewhere else and work a shift or two at Sisyphos. If there is a public holiday, the parties go on even longer. Hardcore but nice ^^ I realized that if you do what you love, passion makes everything possible. Therefore, I joined two work crews there. One is the Kassencrew (cashiers), where we listen to a lot of music and give all of our guests their stamp ;). And the other one is the Artistcare/Toncrew. We welcome and take care of all the artists, setup the booth with what is needed for their performance and help with anything else that pops up. It’s pretty similar to the task of being a stage manager, just with up to 5 floors to manage at the same time. Yes, and once a week we check if all the gear is ok. We clean it and prepare everything else that’s needed for the weekend.
Regarding Mo:Dem; We went a few years ago for the first time cause we followed the call that you can have a seriously blasting experience there. All my imaginations were more than just topped. A small hi-end festival with huge vibe that echoed worldwide in a very short period. I had an amazing time, made great connections and even got an incognito slot on an (at that time) alternative stage which is now known as Swamp stage.
The connection with Mo:Dem turned out to be on a more advanced level. Before the following Mo:Dem one of the guys came to me at a party I was playing at in Berlin and asked if I wanted to play at next Mo:Dem. We realised we have similar ideas and a great cooperation was born. Now I play regularly at Swamp Stage – a dancefloor where my music is home, where the styles merge, but never lose themselves. Besides delivering tunes I’m also an active promoter and stage manager. To get more info on it check here. The future looks bright there and I already can hardly wait.
Ah exciting! Hopefully I’ll be able to catch you performing at Sisyphos and Mo:Dem sometime soon. More recently you’ve started your downtempo Ayjo project – which you’ll also be performing at Origin. What prompted you to begin the Ayjo project and could you describe the project’s sound for us?
I’ve been digging for and collecting music for some years now. And at some point I accumulated so much nice music which is not necessarily meant for dancing. These tunes are more about sound collages and chilling, but of course there is some danceable stuff too. I actually debuted this project at my very first Mo:Dem – which I mentioned before. During my visit to Croatia I also played at the Lost Theory Festival as Ayjo. So it turned out that this project expands my possibilities in various ways.
And finally, is this your first time visiting South Africa and Cape Town specifically? You previously mentioned to me that you’re going to be staying here for a few months – do you have any specific sites you want to visit or activities you’re looking forward to doing while here?
Yes it’s gonna be my first time and I’m looking very much forward to spending a few months in your beautiful country and to meet nice and heartful beings. I don’t have any specific plans yet. I’m open to go with the flow and go anywhere interesting or just to stay at a place I like. So I’m curious how and where it will take me, but I’ll for sure discover the music scene there as much as possible; as I already got a few nice offers to perform at 😉
Awesome! Well I’m certainly excited to catch your sets this weekend and I’m hoping this interview has gotten a few more people excited too. You can catch Josephine playing under her Ayjo alias from 12:00-14:00 on Saturday at The Psychedelic Dream Chill Out stage easing us into the day and as Josephine Wedekind at 20:00-21:30 that evening on the Beats Floor alongside one of the best techno line-up I’ve seen at an outdoor trance event in CT. If you’d like a preview of what you can expect to hear her play check the soundcloud playlist below.