Hello everyone and welcome to December! It’s hard to believe than in less than 4 week’s time we will be into a new year and no doubt we are all hoping that ’21 is going to be a much better outing than 2020. It’s still great to see that clubs and the industry is moving on a little further than last month but we are still nowhere near where we want it to be. The dancefloor is most certainly calling!
My page this this month is an all girl’s affair as I spoke to the one-woman machine and Berlin resident ‘Cinthie’, Ibiza Queen ‘Clara Da Costa’ and Sydney legend ‘Gabby’. To round off the month in style, the Music of the month comes courtesy of Parisian resident DJ/Producer ‘Manda Moor’.
Berlin’s Cinthie has become one of the most respected figures in electronic music in recent years both in her hometown of Berlin and across the globe. Cinthie not only runs several highly regarded labels, runs her own record store, releases music on countless labels, she is also a full-time mum. Hard to believe she does all this and she certainly takes it all in her stride, daily. Before lockdown her touring schedule was insane with her playing in the likes of NYC, San Fran, Sydney, Melbourne, France, Italy, UK and of course her home town of Berlin. I caught up with my friend Cinthie about the lockdown, her amazing studio, her music and what it’s like to be mum as well as being touring artist.
For those that don’t know you and have been hiding under a rock, give us a little background on Cinthie? When did the love affair with House music first start?
Ouff that s such a long time ago. I think it all started around 1994 when my cousin gave me a tape by Sven Väth when he played at the legendary Omen Club in Frankfurt. Back then he played all kinds of stuff: early Techno, EDM, Electronica and some house. From there I started to look for more music like that and the fascination of the music never left me since then. In 1996 I started working in a record store and had my first gigs in clubs. My first release came out on Electric Kingdom in 2001 and I had a few more releases after but after some up and downs I would say I’m on a more steady rise since I founded my label Beste Modus in 2001. I guess this is where most people know me from.
How have you been throughout the lockdown? No doubt your daughter has kept you busy throughout this period?
First, I was in shock but I never expected it to last that long to be honest. I’m trying to make the best out of it but it’s hard, especially because I just released my first album which I was working on for almost two years. It felt a bit like taking all my hard work and just flush it in the toilet. But I know better times will come very soon and that kept me motivated. Luckily, I can spend more time with my daughter and my record shop is skyrocketing as well as I got amazing remix work in. So overall I can’t complain although financially it was kind of a disaster.
I know how busy you are with the running of your Elevate Store, all your labels, release schedule and also being a mum, you probably feel there are never enough hours in the day. What does a typical day for Cinthie look like? How do you juggle all this on a regular basis?
Hahah true, people always ask If I ever sleep. Tbh I don’t really need a lot of sleep and the work I do is a dream and that keeps me motivated. A usual day starts at 6am, then waking up my daughter and after bringing her to school at 8 am I either go quickly to the gym or directly to the studio. I try to hit the studio at least 3 /4 times per week even though im on tour. I leave around 3 pm and spend some quality time with my daughter and once she is in bed I I’ll go to my store which is next door and wrap up orders and do my admin work. The shop is only open Wednesdays and Saturdays since I’m not travelling and I’m happy to have it because I can still connect with like minded people in a cool and a different way.
2020 has been a weird and a quiet year for most artists but you have certainly made the most of the lockdown with a fair few releases and have kept that flow going. What’s been your favourite release this year of your material? I assume that your debut album on Aus Music is up there?
Yes of course my album has been my favorite of course. I had this for many years on my wish list. And now it’s finally out and the response was incredible. I also released another EP on my own imprint 803 Crystal Grooves which I absolutely love. Remix wise there will be another cool remix out soon for a French duo which I believe is some of my best work so far. Could be an early summer hit for next year ;)
How are things in Berlin at the moment? Have things started to open up at all? Have you any exciting gigs penciled in that you can tell us about?
Berlin is crazy at the moment, I think it has never felt so empty tbh. I played a few gigs in summer under the current regularities which were nice but it’s of course not the same. Now that the vaccine is about to come I have a lot of hope for next year. All my gigs from this year have been postponed and not cancelled thats why I’m still positive but let us see how things go. I don’t wanna get too excited and then it’s maybe cancelled.
I know your co-founded label Beste Modus amongst others have taken back seat recently but your Crystal Grooves and WE_R_House labels have been releasing some amazing things recently (Thanks again as always for having me) from the likes of Sam Haskin, Manould and Simon Shaw. I know when we spoke last year We R House was going to come to close but you continued to release some great music, what was the reason for the change in mind? What do you have coming on the label and also your Crystal Grooves over the next few months?
Yes I was at a little turning point and did not really know where I want to go with the label. Also I did always so many things for other people I thought it was about time to maybe focus a bit more about myself but then especially when you sent me more tracks, I thought I should keep it open and now I just sent in the tracks for no 12 to the mastering. Got some amazing music coming, also for Collective Cuts, the sublabel of my 803 Crystal Grooves label. Unfortunately pressing takes up to 12 weeks now due to Covid but let us see. I also wanna release another album maybe on my own label by the end of 2021. Got so many great tracks sitting on my HD.
What releases and remixes have you got coming up for other labels you can tell us about for the remainder of the year and early next year?
I’m usually very picky with other labels I’m releasing music on but I’m working on a release for Shall not Fade, Heist and a few other labels I always had on my list. Remix wise I’m remixing Franckie Knuckles, Kim English, Ejeca and a few other ones which I can’t talk about yet. It’s very exciting that I got so much amazing remix work in.
If you had to choose one thing, either continue just to DJ or just to make music, which would it be and why?
Arghgh not that question, that is too hard to decide. Hard question indeed. Tbh I love both. No I can’t decide, I’m sorry
Let’s just talk about your amazing studio! Every time I see pictures I always think there has been something new added to the room. What’s your ‘Go To’ piece of kit in the studio? Have you any plans to expand and move again or you are happy with everything now?
I I’ll never ever gonna move again hahah. I only needed to move once because the old building got knocked down but luckily I found the exact same room in another building, big thanks to old GDR buildings which all had the same sizes.
Tbh there is always something new in my studio apart from the core machines of course. But there are always tiny little additions which make working with the machines easier. I used to work for Ableton for a few years but then made the switch to more hardware after I jammed with the Cab Drivers in their studio. I was lucky enough to get a few classics like the 909, 808, 707, sh101 or d50 etc. Holger, who is one of my best friends and an absolute studio nerd for more than 30 years is helping me a lot setting it all up and he is always pushing me forward. He also does all the content for Electronic Beats, hence he always knows about the latest stuff. In return for his help he can use my studio whenever I’m away. I trust him 100 percent and know I will find it in even better condition then when I left.
I won’t buy any more new stuff as I have everything I ever wanted. My workflow changes from time to time but I always start with the 909. just love the drums with a nice groove on. Model D or the Juno 6 for baselines and then a nice synth on top. Really depends what I wanna do.
Your work ethic and drive to success is so evident in everything you do, you are one of the most hard-working figures in our industry. If you had one piece of advice for anyone reading this who either wants to start out in this game or just wants to maintain their drive, what advice would you give?
Thanks so much for the kind words. Well if there is any advice I could give then it’s be patient and work hard. The you will shine. But bare in mind not everyone can be at the top of it. It also depends what you want. For some they just want to be famous and rich and play the big festival slots. For myself I found out that I’m more a club DJ and that I don’t necessarily have to be at the top. I think I’m sitting very comfortable in the middle. Means I still have enough time to dig for music, make music, meet friends etc and most important, I don’t have haters because I grow naturally.
Hopefully it won’t be long before you can start touring again and then we can welcome you back to these Australian shores. Where has been your favorite place to play to date and why?
Oh there are many good places. I love Berlin of course for its freedom and long parties. But I’m also in love with Paris, London and New York and also Sydney and Melbourne. Also Asia has always been amazing. The good thing about music is, you always meet like minded people on tour and that makes me kinda feel at home everywhere I go.
If you can sum up 2020 in 3 words, what would they be?
Shock, hard work, love … that’s exactly what I did or what happened to me this year.
For all things Cinthie head over to her Soundcloud page and her Elevate page
Clara Da Costa is no stranger to the island of Ibiza! Clara has been a resident on the island since the 90’s and has become an integral part of the scene out there as we know it today. Gigs throughout the Island’s number one spots have continued over the years at the likes of Pacha, Zoo Project and the legendary ‘Space’ (RIP). Clara hosted several label showcases at Carl Cox’s legendary ‘Music Is Revolution party and of course the final year in 2016 bringing in a host of international talent to play at her party. Since her move from Sonica Radio Clara now resides on Ibiza Global Radio with her weekly ‘Jacks House’ show bringing an army of faithful listeners every week. The label has gone from strength to strength over the years since its first release in 2016 with the label reaching the No 1 spot on Juno and gaining top 10 on most of its releases. 2018 ended on a high note for Clara with her being recognised for her commitment to the underground scene as she was awarded the best Ibiza DJ at the DJ Awards. This award was fully deserved. It’s a pleasure to speak to Clara about life on the Island, her label, her radio show and a few bits in between.
Thank you Clara for stopping by, how are you and how is Island Life first of all? You have had some pretty strict lockdown rules have things started to ease now?
Yes, we had one of the strictest lockdowns in the world and we were not allowed out for almost 3 months apart from a trip to get food from your nearest supermarket or the chemist. It was tough and I did it alone but got through it. We have had restrictions since, such as dancing was banned in June, no clubs opened at all but people did manage to do the small scaled down events outside for a short time but it was minimal to be honest. We have a 10pm curfew and we have been wearing masks at all times since the start. There is a struggle as may people have not been able to work since October 2019 and the benefits system has not helped that many in the bigger scheme of things. There are new laws in place and they just announced that no more than 6 people can gather for festive celebrations etc. It is hard to speak of what 2021 may bring but some are optimistic. It is a waiting game though and we can only be patient and hope to all come out of this pandemic safely and as soon as possible.
I know you have been keeping busy and keeping the airways alive with your show Jack’s House on Ibiza Global Radio, how has that been going?
It has been good thank you and has kept me going. Naturally there are weeks where I have not felt too motivated due to all our current circumstances but I pick myself up and select the tracks on a weekly basis, I go in, do it live and usually but the end, I feel regenerated and it always feels good to share the tunes over the airwaves and continue to support all the independent labels and producers that are still hard at it. I also feel a personal responsibility to do my little bit in keeping our scene alive while we deal with the current state of things. My show will be 11 years old in a few week’s time and it genuinely comes from a place of pure passion and love for music
The followers and listeners seemed to have gone up so much in recent months, do you think this is due to the lockdown’s?
I think radio is one of the oldest forms of communication and comfort to a lot of people especially when you know you are part of a listening audience. We are living a time of separation when people just really want to come together. Imagine jumping in your car and switching on the radio and no music or talking came out and there was just silence! Radio gives people an instant form of company especially if they are alone plus with no clubs open, it is the only way for dedicated music lovers to keep up to date with what is being produced in studios across the globe
Apart from the radio show I know your busy with your ‘Jacks House’ label. The label has had some great success over the years with artists such as Alex Arnout, Tuccillo, Two Diggers, Legit Trip, Lee Onel (and myself, thank you) to name but a few all having released on the label. What’s next for ‘Jacks House? What your plans for 2021 with the label?
Thank you. Yes, I have the Banshee EP release coming out very soon by Legit Trip from Russia who is a young talent I took on a few years ago. This will be his 4th release with the label but this time it is a digital release. Most of the label releases have been vinyl only but I am trying to make a balance between the two formats although I have some new vinyl releases in the pipeline for 2021. Depending on the state of the world and some kind of return to the dance floor, I would like to be able to start planning showcases again. I have had some amazing events with different artists from the label over the past 5 years at amazing venues such as Space for Carl Cox, The Zoo Project, Pikes, Pacha and ADE collaborating with the PIV crew in Amsterdam. It would be a dream to get those back on the road again
I know a few artists on the label have a lot to thank you for bringing their music to the masses, are there any new exciting producers you have found recently that you can tell us about?
I am just about to open up for demos and am looking for new talent again. I love to find fresh talent and although I have some amazingly talented and accomplished producers on the label, I love to give opportunities to new producers which I have done previously and have no concerns in promoting a new name. If the music is good, its good and that is all that matters along with a good attitude and integrity
You have been on the island since the 90’s and things have changed massively (even pre Covid). Where do see the Island next summer? Do you think Ibiza will ever recover from a disastrous 2020?
It is going to take time and nobody can fully predict what the future holds especially for 2021 but I know there are still many creative, determined and hardworking people here that are ready to fight and bounce back when they can. We genuinely just have to be really patient, there is a big hill to climb but we need to climb it
Is the island preparing for 2021 already? I did see some early bill boards already.
There are some announcements being made but not all public yet. Venues are definitely preparing events and filling up their diaries with intention to launch
I know the island would be a different place without you on it, do you see yourself staying on the island forever?
Awwww, thank you. Who knows! I have been here almost all of my life but you never know, I love Amsterdam and have considered it as an alternative, but for now I am staying here. Times are hard but I try to find gratitude in whatever I can, the famous Ibizan sunset and starry nights gives me so much of that.
Most clubs in Ibiza, especially Space and Carl Cox’s night, do hold a special place in your heart. Now that Space has gone, which is your favourite venue now?
Yes, I still really miss Space and not seeing Carl and the rest of the crew this year has also been strange. My favourite venue is still undoubtedly Ibiza Underground, it is everything I love, a great sound system and all about just listening and feeling the music with a community of people that understand each other.
In no particular order, name the top 5 places that you have played in across the globe? Once we can travel again properly, where are you most looking forward to be going/playing?
- South Africa
I really want to return to Australia when it is possible. I was supposed to do a tour at the end of 2018 for our beloved friend Paul Strange RIP. Unfortunately, that is when I also had my accident so the plans actually got postponed for 2 years and then the virus came along. I love it there plus my best friend Claire and her family live there too. I played on NYD the for Space on tour at the Greenwood in Sydney about 4 years ago and it was magic, I definitely want to get back there.
What’s your favourite Ibiza moment from over the years and why?
So many to mention but the best memory would probably be the memory of the early 90s when we were so free with no mobile phones or social media etc. There were less of us and we all stuck together and you knew you would all find each other on a Sunday morning on the terrace of Space.
If you can sum up 2020 in 3 words, what would they be?
A big mess
Head to Clara’s ‘Jacks House’ sound cloud page for all the latest Jacks House news and release info.
Get to Know……
Every month I will be ‘Getting to Know’ an artist……in keeping with the female artists theme this month, I spoke S.A.S.H selector by the name of ‘Gabby’. When I first moved to Sydney in 2016 she was one of the first DJ’s I heard play out here. She didn’t disappoint. Her warm, wonky and grooved based soundtrack is infamous on the legendary Sunday terrace’s at both the Greenwood and Home Nightclub. Gabby is a firm favourite amongst the Sydney faithful. She has also played at some of the world’s most revered clubs and Festivals including the likes of SONAR Off Week, Epizode Festival in Vietnam & Salon Wilden Renate in Berlin to name but a few as well gracing the turntables in every nightclub in her home town of Sydney.
Away from the late nights and early mornings, her career began in the world of dance. Joining the esteemed Detour Dance agency in 2002, Gabby began performing as a professional dancer and choreographer both in Australia and overseas. She continues to choreograph and provide creative direction for some of Australia’s leading artists, while cultivating the future talent of Australia at her Elevate Performing Arts School.
Where are you based: Sydney
Where do you play: Pre Covid, in person. Post Covid, on your screen
Favourite place to play: Anywhere with a good sound system and positive vibe
Music Style: hee-hee, dancey?! I like to play groove-based music in the minimal and micro tip of house
Favourite producer: It really depends on my mood and can change every day. I have so much respect for all the creators out there doing their thing and expressing their voice. Knowing that such diversity exists out there – that’s my favourite thing
Favourite label: For the past couple of years I’d say ‘Sukhumvit’ have been really consistent
What’s next for 2021: Lots of smaller and safe, uniquely curated electronic music events in iconic spaces that this city hasn’t allowed before. Exciting stuff ahead friends
Gabby has done us this superb exclusive mix especially for Decoded, head to the link below and enjoy!
Music of the month – Manda Moor
Manda Moor is a Danish/Filipino producer and DJ causing a stir in her hometown of Paris. She’s a regular at respected nights such Luciano’s Cadenza Vagabundos in Ibiza, BPM Festival, DJ Pierre’s Acid Jack during ADE and Ibiza Global radio to name but a few. She recently launched ‘MOOD EDITS’ with Sirus Hood with the concept of it being a run of a limited series of edits of some old favourites with support already coming from heavy weights such as The Martinez Brothers and Loco Dice, you can certainly see why. The series is up to number 8 at the moment but this one here is a particular favourite of mine.
Thanks for stopping by, have a great Christmas and an amazing new year. I will see you on the other side.