DJ White Lie moved to Berlin from Sweden a couple of years ago. Faced with an electronic music scene that she saw as being both repetitive and overwhelmingly male-dominated, she and a few DJ friends started doing parties in bars that were meant to be the diametric opposite in both regards. The friends dropped out, she kept going, and DJ White Lie has been going from strength to strength since, regularly playing bars and clubs in Berlin and Paris.
Looking forward to DJ White Lie playing for us at the indieBerlin photo exhibition on 18th February, we asked her some questions:
indieBerlin interview with White Lie
indieBerlin: How would you describe yourself as a DJ?
White Lie: Curious.
indieBerlin: What is important to you when you play a show?
White Lie: That the promoters, bookers, and sound staff behave like decent human beings. I don’t (necessarily) need them to kiss my ass, but sometimes they’re beyond morons, and nothing kills my vibe quicker. Apart from that I have fun and a good time no matter where I play.
indieBerlin: How did you start to play as a DJ?
White Lie: I came to Berlin around 2 years ago, fresh outta Gothenburg where the music scene is very much indie pop/rock orienteried. I remember that I walked into a club here and got a decent panic attack, this was at Tresor day 3 in Berlin.
I felt that techno, and most electronic music over all even, was really provoking my anxiety
By coincidence I met a couple of other girls that felt the same, so one night we stepped into a bar with a small dancefloor in the cellar and asked if we could throw a party.
We wanted to create an event without these following two elements:
1. techno/house and 2. male DJ’s. Instead we played hiphop and RnB, as a contrast to that monotonous beat we felt that we were hearing everywhere. That night was the first time I saw a mixer. After 5-6 parties we split up, but I kept going, I don’t really know why. For some reason I kept getting booked in bars here and there, and
I played for 4 hours at the time: hiphop track after hiphop track
Around 6 months ago I started to collect vinyl by accident (it might have something to do with that I became friends with Inkswel, that gave me a push in the right direction) and after that things got more serious. I started expanding my musical taste and my ways of playing. Nowadays I play a mix of funk, soul, jazz, hiphop, disco, house, and what they call “broken beat”. The house part of me is a bit embarrassing since I’ve been making fun of electronic DJs for ages – but I’ll manage to live with that too.
indieBerlin: You have a strong DIY vision in your DJ style. Why is it important to you to do everything by yourself?
White Lie: This is a boring and obvious answer, I’m sorry in advance, but I think it’s strongly connected to my gender. I haven’t been doing this for that long, but as a female DJ you get so much shit from males in every goddamn corner: sound guys, other DJ’s, dudes on Twitter, someone you had a one night stand with 20 months ago, some random twat from Italy that’s been trying to get a gig in Berlin for years, you name it. Therefore I’m trying to be in as much control as possible. But I am working a bit with sort of an agent now, he’s going to get a hard time with me carefully watching every move he makes…
Also, what I created around my DJing is something I am very proud of
I want that to be exclusively about me. Hehe. But with that said I am curating parties and events too, and I’m always keen to play with friends and other DJs with good taste. Music is about sharing and all that, right?
indieBerlin: Can you describe the DJ scene in Berlin? How is it different compared to other places you know?
White Lie: I don’t know how to describe it anymore.
The closer I get to it, the more diverse I experience it
Apart from Berlin I’ve only been playing in Paris, and French people have always loved me no matter what I do – no one knows why – so I don’t have an objective view there. Overall, same as always, no surprises here: still very male dominated.
indieBerlin: Most annoying request so far?
White Lie: Most annoying is when people ask you to come and play and then ask you to bring your own gear. Second worst: when they ask you to come and play and the gear is fucked up. Like stop wasting my time.
If the question is meant for music requests in general, whilst playing, I’ve got everything from Britney Spears to Rod Stewart requested, this week, but I feel like it’s always coming from a good place in a way so it doesn’t bug me too much. Anymore.
Thanks for the interview! Check out DJ White Lie on Soundcloud.
Interview: Mia Morris
Mia Morris is co-founder of indieberlin and a Berlin native. She has been active in the Berlin arts scene since the early zeroes as photographer and visual artist, also under the name Funkyrotic. Mia Morris also runs ocular-online.de which specialises in SEO marketing and website optimisation.