Between the cold concrete slabs of Berghain, Tresor and the umpteen industrial warehouses that litter Berlin, a vibrant and novel sound emerged. The stagnant reputation of floor-thump techno seems to be finally shedding. In its place: a new subculture. Take as starters, Bill Kouligas’ Pan imprint. Which, through the release of several watershed albums from the likes of Objekt, Helm and M.E.S.H, became a guiding light into this unknown world. Next, Berlin’s Janus parties opened a space in which these sounds could be moved to. M.E.S.H joined Lotic and KABLAM as residents. They brought wheel-ups, mash-ups and break-downs back into the repertoire of Berlin clubs.
It would be simplistic to assume that a label such as STAYCORE has done nothing more than continue this trajectory in another direction. For one thing, the label is based in Stockholm. For another, the label’s roster is fresh, the only real crossover artist being KABLAM. Yet, during the STAYCORE showcase at this year’s CTM festival in Berlin, it was hard to decontextualise the label from what has recently emerged in the city. There were explosion effects, future grime and R&B drops. But to immediately canonise a label in its infancy would be a fatal error. We therefore decided, following her set at the notorious Panorama Bar, to catch up with STAYCORE-mainstay, mobilegirl…
Firstly, congratulations — seemingly counter to everyone else’s experience, 2016 was a great year for you. Can you give us a rundown of the last 12 months and where you see the Mobilegirl project now?
Oh no that comparison feels so guilt loaded but thank you (laughs). It’s been quite a packed year, something I didn’t expect at all. I moved to Berlin a few months before 2016 and from there things changed and developed so rapidly that I ended last year with a tour around Asia! I couldn’t even the possibility of doing something like that in 2015. Right now, I’m just excited to see what’s coming next.
How do you compare playing between continents?
I don’t tend to shift what I play between where I play it. But it definitely felt really special to be able to play so far away from home. There is a difference in the mentality though. The circumstances are just utterly different. Berlin is especially is spoilt while cities in East Asia are on the rise. People are actually moving things.
There seems to have been a bit of a recent shake-up in Berlin by artists like yourself. Do you think of Berlin still a home to innovation?
I don’t think Berlin will lose its drive anytime soon. Generally sounds and development of sounds have become quite globalized through the Internet, so what actually matters is giving certain music a space to exist in real life. I think Berlin offers a lot of possibilities for that.
Speaking of which, you just played this year’s CTM festival at the notorious Panorama Bar. What can you tell us a little bit about how your set went?
I always like to have a nice mixture between parts that are straight up danceable and parts that are meant to be actively listened to. A lot of acapellas.
Yeah, your live sets are famed for their generous throwbacks to 90’s R&B classics, all the way from J-Lo to Sisqó. Can you tell us a little bit about your relation to this period of music and its influence on you?
I started actively listening to music as a kid when I would go to my aunt’s place and would go through my older cousin’s Winamp. Most of her playlists were filled with R&B so that really stuck with me. I like playing and referencing that music because I feel like for both me and the crowd it provides a little comfort through familiarity.
Would you describe yourself as an official affiliate of Staycore? Is there any divergence between your self and the label that you see as important?
Oh yeah I definitely see myself as a core member. I think we, within Staycore, all have quite different aesthetics which set us apart from each other but that’s definitely a benefit rather than anything that needs to be compromised or discussed.
Can you tell us a little bit about the label in general — is there an ethos that underpins it?
The tagline that has manifested is clear and obvious: “stay true to your core”. The direction within the label is rather free, following our individual taste and ideas. It’s mostly about having a place to express yourself without feeling pressured.
Can you tell us a little bit about your approach to writing music? The impression I get is that you feel more comfortable re-working existing tracks than spawning something entirely new. Is that fair to say?
I’ve been working on original productions and aim to release something later this year. So far I’ve just felt more comfortable with putting out remixes as I have a quite different approach to those than to my other productions. They don’t have this strong self-representation factor that I dread but are rather a reaction or expression of appreciation towards certain pre-existing songs where I see the focus on those and not on myself.