Exclusive Q&A with DJ/Producer Noema

Hi Noema, thanks for taking the time to talk with us. We’ve been enjoying the remixes of your recent album ‘One’, featuring Kalabrese, Lauer, Mehmet Aslan, Panthera Krause and Shubostar. For those people yet to hear the album and these remixes could you tell us a little about the project, how it all came together and why you chose these remixers? 

Since the very beginning of my career I was always interested in not only music but combining it with performative elements, bringing people together and creating transformative moments. I also always played with ideas about how to make the audience actively participate and change their role from consumer to producer. In my project ONE I experimented with those ideas.

Since the original music is a rather long 45 minute minimal music piece, I liked the idea of having some short clubby remixes as well as some more experimental ones. The musical material of the original piece is very rich, so I was curious what other producers would do with it. I selected remixers who I believe have the necessary sensitivity to understand and work with this sort of material, and they all did a fantastic job. 

As a matter of fact, this Remix EP is only part I of the package. In Summer 2024 part II will be released with remixes by Kelpe, Lovefingers, M. Rux, Oceanic, Hear & Now and Nicola Noir.

Stream/Download: Noema – ONE – Remixed (Part I)

We can see from the press release that the original piece ONE is an “interactive performance concert” that includes original music, interactive choreography, stage design, theater, costumes and more. Could you go into more detail on this one and how you’ve introduced all of these various elements?

In the beginning of the performance our five contemporary dancers, who are wearing intergalactic costumes, ask the audience to participate in the performance. There are four movement groups and one stage design group, each led by one of these dancers.  Every participant gets a costume and becomes an active part of the performance. During the performance the musicians play the music, the movement groups dance a choreography and the stage design group paints on two huge canvases, which are on the sides of the stage. As a result we create a comprehensive art piece together with up to 120 participants like it has never been done before.

On the original album, you also merged together musical worlds through the implementation of a small orchestra into your usually electronic-focused music. Could you talk us through your process of bringing this idea to fruition?

A lot of people don’t know that I actually have a background in classical music.

I have played music since 1988 and studied classical guitar and music theory at the College for Music “Hanns Eisler” in Berlin, which I concluded with a diploma.

My productions always have a lot of live elements, but with this project my idea was to focus on the acoustic instruments and only use very little electronics to accompany them. For ONE I recorded a small chamber music ensemble of 13 instruments. Each instrument plays 56 melodic patterns that are repeated and consecutively played from the first to the last. Every player can move on to the next pattern at their own pace, which leads to ever new combinations.
The inspiration for my piece was classical minimal music from the 60s and 70s, especially the compositions of Terry Riley and Steve Reich. Their music had a profound impact on me. 

You’ve been DJing since 1997 and made an indelible mark on the Berlin club scene during your time in the German capital. Could you tell us a little about your roots in electronic music and share some of the most notable happenings during your 25 year career in music?

I first saw a DJ playing at a Breakdance workshop that I attended in 1997. I always loved dancing as well as collecting and sharing music, so when I saw this guy playing it blew my mind. It connected all those dots and I realized that I need to become a DJ. Ever since my enthusiasm has never faded. I LOVE djing!

My first crush in electronic music was classic US House from the 90s and Disco from the 80s.

From there I started to obsessively dig my way through a vast amount of styles from old to new, always on the quest to find the best tracks that have ever been made.

When I discovered Matthew Herbert around 1999 he became a very strong inspiration for my productions in terms of sound design.

My 10 years residency at Wilde Renate until 2018 was certainly a very important time for me, since I had the liberty of experimenting with eclecticism, and learned how to play long sets.

Playing at Burning Man is certainly a highlight for every DJ, as well as Fusion and Garbicz Festival. But the most cherished moments are the extended up to 10 hour DJ sets that I regularly play. Those mostly happen at rather private events and festivals, with small crowds around 80-150 ppl. The vibe is very hard to put in words. At the risk of sounding crazy, after a few hours, me as a person kinda disappears. I enter a state of flow, in which the playing goes by itself and I only watch myself doing it. These sets create such a strong energy that I regularly see people crying of joy and having transcendental moments. One time a guy told me that he was depressed and felt lost for many years. During my set he realized a lot of things and finally understood what he had to do. He told me it changed his life. I will never forget that. I also played gigs for big crowds in Ibiza, Mykonos, Tulum etc but nothing can beat the experiences I have with this kind of sets.

Where is home nowadays and what brought you there? 

I’m based in Berlin. In the last years I spent a lof time on the road between Germany, Turkey, USA and Mexico. At the moment I try to spend more time at home to work on new music and projects.

What does the future hold for Noema once this remix package of the album is released?

First of all, I’m very much looking forward to the release of the second package of the remix album of ONE in summer 2024, featuring Kelpe, Lovefingers, M. Rux, Oceanic, Hear & Now and Nicola Noir.

Besides that, I work on reviving my African Shakedown edit label and on new music for my MAGIC JAMS moniker, which has its focus on black music, crate digging, balearic disco etc

Can you provide some visual accompaniments to this project for our readers to check out? 

For sure! Here you can find a lot of surreal and absurd videos which explain the interdimensional story of ONE. You will also meet the man, the legend himself, Jonny Astro, who will guide you through this multiverse of sounds and dances.

Could you share with us one thing that’s been brightening your days of late, maybe a new record you discovered, a book, a movie, a place or anything else that’s been a beacon of light in your life recently? 

I’m a huge fan of Rick Rubin, and his new book “The Creative Act” is a must read for every artist in my opinion.

Lastly, can you leave us with one of your favourite quotes from somebody that’s been influential in your life, maybe a composer, writer or anyone else? 

I love quotes, since they help me remember the important things. So here’s three for you:

“Making art is not a matter of ‘i can’ but of ‘I must’”

– Arnold Schönberg

“Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” 

– Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, 

“I don’t give a shit, but I care quite a lot.” 

– Richard Serra

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