"Music is so colorful & diverse like life"
Based in Istanbul but always on the move, Zozo (Nigar Zeynep) is a stalwart of the Turkish Electronic music community. She has grown to be one of the most out standings in her country and an indisputable name in the new wave of artists and DJ’s experimenting at the fringes of dance music. A tireless digger, she evokes hazy images and clear emotions by means of a colorful and powerful selection. Never leaving behind the sonic fusion that constitutes her cultural heritage, she reveals herself as a sorceress more than a DJ.
We had a chance to talk to her, so enjoy your reading and check out his latest projects. Read our interview below to find out more about Zozo’s wide-spanning influences, creative environment and studio methods.
Hi Zozo! How’s it going?
Hi! I hope everyone is safe and well.
What an emotional roller coaster! Its’ going ok… in my very own flow and focus -as possible. I am totally out of my old routine and doing whatever I want. Not following anything, trying to enjoy my own time. But of course concerning for my self & for the future. I think there are bigger problems than covid-19 like govenrmets, human rights violation or climate change.
What was your first foray into the world of electronic music?
It was only MTV, local radio stations and some older friends or relatives before I start going out … Then I discovered a new path, I found myself dancing which was impossible for me as a grumpy teenager. I felt much free or excited with new music, new friends & new drugs… From festivals to amazing venues, a lot of things was going on in Istanbul, those days. For me it was a new way of life to explore and express myself. Like all the other young kids do (if they could do… ) I was around 16-17 years old.
The most remarkable electronic music artists and porjects for me was Leftfield, Massive Attack, Chemical Brothers, Aphex Twin, Air, Underworld, Brian Eno, Prodigy, Everything but the girl, Depeche Mode, Daft Punk, Bjork, Adam F… Most of these names may seem mainstream today but I still listen and play those records. They resonate with my youth and evoke vibrant memories from those days.
In and out of the electronic music circle, who is an inspiration to you?
Pj Harvey, Aysel Gürel, Ahmet Akkaya, Patti Smith, Marienne Faithful, Tori Amos, Joan Baez, Bjork, Fela Kuti, Andrew Weatherall, Nilgün (The owner of Gizli Bahce), Genesis-O*Porridge, Marina Abramovic, Mattias Aguayo, probably many others I forgot now…
I can add some communities & venues as well, rather then answering who?
Les Belles De Nuit, Sumabeach, Waking Life, Salon Des Amateurs, DISCWOMAN, Laboratoires Des Possibles, Hosoi & Lovepotion.
What was the last record store you visited and what did you keep there?
I bought some records not for my self- as presents, from a local record shop called Deform Music, in Istanbul. Some Rare Turkish disco stuff for my friend Mattias Polanco. Just before I went to play at his Love Potion party. I like to bring records and Turkish delights with me, if I can. I hope I can do it again!
Are you particularly permeable to your environment, creatively speaking? If so, how does it influence your DJ focus?
For me, it’s impossible not to be permeable. It’s something I don’t feel often, a rare interaction. But when it hits me. It opens a new door within. Its like witnessing some moments and discovering new or old feelings. For ex, hearing a soundtrack while watching a movie, listening to a small talk or watching an artist can be inspiring or reminding. It wonders me and I found myself in a search or digging to add those spices to my dj sets and create a new interaction and ambience. Like sharing a new idea or tasting a fresh meal together.
What can you tell us about Sameheads?
Sameheads is a small (but big) music, art and fashion community. It’s my best Berlin experience. A unique & creative platform with two floors space, a basement with special taste, where u can have lots of fun. There are movie screening and quiz days that u can spend some quality time and learn new stuff as well. The best crew in Berlin, runned by open minded and hearted ppl.
Can you pinpoint any early inspirations for Sameheads in terms of labels, artists, aesthetics or otherwise? Similarly, can you highlight any formative experiences that led you on the path to its inception? And from Macadam Mambo?
I don’t have any formative duties except some amazing memories and joy. I played at Sameheads a while ago for the first time and i found my self playing there regularly. I became a member of the family. If u let me pinpoint a memory with this community ‘New Dance Fantasy’ has been the best Berliner Festival or party that i have been. The ppl i met there became my besties.
Same as Macadam Mambo. Sacha is a long time friend (the dude) and he is a great dj. So I was involved to Macadam Mambo’s dj crew and community a while ago for the love of music and solidarity.
The rest can be answered by Nathan Dukes, Sacha Mambo & Guialliume De Bouis.
What is your criteria for choosing artists, projects, releases…?
I don’t release music personally.
As a resident at Sameheads or curating any parties, anywhere i don’t have a specific criteria. I like conceptual works as well. Then it can be more specific. Like curating music for catwalks, etc.
Curating a night is just sharing something i like and inviting artists or projects that i admire.
Its like collaborating with Friends. I just want to experience the things i like in a room or space with like minded ppl, or anyone who has not taste it before. So we can experience the music, exchange some ideas and burn a little fire and dance around it.
Do you ever have any difficulties deciding which artist should belong to which Sameheads?
Yes and no ☺ There are lots of unique and talented music ppl who is suitable for Sameheads. I would love to invite them all. I generally have 3-4 nights per year. I am following my wish list and trying my best to make it happen. Trying to have at least one artist who never played there in the program of every party to keep it more interesting.
What contemporary label do you feel you share a certain affinity with?
On U Sound, Knekelhuis, Offen Music, Stroom Tv, Tax Free Records Club Chai, Müstesna Records, Emotional Especial, BDFM, Music From Memory, Blackest Ever Black, Berceuse Heroique
Has anything changed in how you approach your work with the project since you started? Your general outlook or anything else?
I wear the same old jacket. Just changing the arm patches ☺
You have a really eclectic sound when mixing, what has influenced you to be so musically varied in your approach?
I don’t know… I like different things. For me, music is so colorful & diverse like life.
It is constantly evolving. I usually can’t stick to a certain era or style. As a selector dj, I’m trying to keep myself updated with this constant evolution.
What makes a good mix to you?
Just the right bits and pieces to charm the snake!
For people that have never heard you play before, how would you describe your sound to them?
‘ Free styler witch doctor disco trancer ‘ :-)
So what music are you currently obsessed by? Have you picked up any records recently that you have been playing in every set or have been listening to every day?
Tbh, Since the lockdown I do not listen new arrivals a lot that I used to do. I am totally out of my routine. But the fire and love of digging is coming back nowadays.
I listen to an independent local radio station called Açık Radyo almost every day. For me it’s the best news source in world as well. Grande service in my own language!
The rest of the answer is:
LP & COMP:
Gary Clail & On-U Sound System / End Of The Century Party
Elswehere Junior 1 / Compiled by Dj Sofa (Music For Dreams)
David Byrne (American Utopia On Broadway: Original Cast Recording (Soundtrack)
Cocteau Twins ‘Heavon or Las Vegas’
JEANS / Talking to the Entitites (Oracle Bones)
Tala Drum Corps / Parade [BAKK Records)
Volodymyr Bystriakov* / Alice Through The Looking Glass (Music For Animated Television Film), 1982
Fragments Comp. (Hivern Discs)
Houschyar / Temmuz (Macadam Mambo)
Dj Haram / Grace (Hyper Dub)
Silvestre / Yeah Ep (Meda Fury)
Current Obsession / XXX (Butter Sessions )
Various / Transition Vol. 1 (Knekelhuis)
Desired State / King Nightmare (Liftin Spirits)
Tornado Wallace / Midnight Mania (Optimo Music)
8ULENTINA / Girl Bunt (Club Chai)
Mameen 3 & Rodian G.A. – Planet Cluj (Sameheads)
214 / Figments (Klakson)
Blue by La Tour (One of the best movie scene, which seduce u to make love. Old farts will get me)
Zen Paradox - Say Goodbye To The Dark Place (Knekelhuis)
HAPPA / One Three Five (Whities)
Ouai Stéphane / Quelque Chose De Pas Mal (Global Warming Records)
Would you like to share a set? Can you tell us more about it? When and how was it recorded?
For the lock down, i can recommend all the radio mixes and guest shows that i’ve made because they are much more experimental and suitable for the days we are locked in our caves. Can be nice for doing nothing or doing something… (whatever, who cares?) The ones i record for Noods Radio, Rinse Fm, Red Light Radio, Marguarite Records, Teder Fm, Strange Sounds From Beyond and so… There are lots of new and old music to discover on the. recordings. Thanks to those amazing artists and label workers …
There are also live recordings and podcast series which is more dance floor friendly on my SC profile. This is from the last ‘Mental Spring’ night while i was warming up for Rouge Mecanique and Daniel Baughman, recorded live at Sameheads:
If you had to change one thing about the music industry that we inhabit what would it be?
‘’I heard someone from the music business saying they are no longer looking for talent, they want people with a certain look and a willingness to cooperate’’
This is basically the main thing i would like to change as Joni Mitchell says. But hey! even Joni Mitchell could not change it…
Do you think that after the Covid-19 event, the music industry will change?
The fire of music will last forever. Music & dancing are ancient rituals, dating back to the primitive ages. Its older than all the religions we know. So considering that our world goes through an epidemic every hundred years this ritual will survive also covid 19 -for sure. Ppl will gather somehow and do their rituals like they always do. This serves to a basic human need and it has to be fulfilled. I am sure this will bring some kind of changes which I can not foreseen now. I can’t imagine myself and others touring as hectic as used to be throughout these times. Considering that my country has a 14 days of quarantine period for citizens coming from abroad, I am also not into spending 2 weeks in a hospital or university dome to play a 2-3 hours gig.
To look at things from an optimistic point of view, after plague and variola ppl didn’t stop to go to churches or mosques. So we might see some kind of normalization (considering the ways we use to party as normal) in some time if we don’t get hit by a meteor or something. Until a vaccination or reliable cure is found for this virus, digital platforms, radios and streamings look like the only options which (to be honest) seems to me like rock & roll without sex & drugs.
And technically (during this period), digital platforms or radios will be more active and important. When it comes to internet, it does not matter where we are, we can connect anyone on that stream to share the sources… But in terms of performing and djing I can not think djing without a crowd and an interaction because for me, djing is an organic social practice and a collective experience.
What lesson should we learn from this paralysis?
We should not eat bats.
(Humans are not the owners of this world)
What tracks would you recommend us to liven up the confinement?
Lets lift the spirits!
Corona / The Rhythm Of The Night
Cocteau Twins / Fifty Fifty Clown
Massive Attack / Teardrop
Barac / Return To Eden
Laid Back / Sunshine Reggae
What are your future plans?
Industrial Hemp planting :^)
Tell me one record that you wish you had signed.
Chemical Brothers / Surrender
Finally, Zozo is a really interesting name, what’s the story behind it?
My first name is Zeynep. My ex called me ‘Zozo’ one day even I don’t like this name a lot, my dj name became Zozo & everyone started to call me with this name. It’s easy, stupid and fun. Lately I learnt that it’s also a French word which means a little stupid kid (like me!)
Also, Zozo is the hero of a French comic strip written and designed by Franchi and edited by René Touret.
Zozo (Nigar Zynap)