Words by Kate Stephenson
Spicy or salty, shaken or stirred, Bloody Mary has rightfully cemented a reputation at the pinnacle of her game. We talk vinyl, Laurent Garnier and camping companions with the high priestess of Dame-Music just before she graces Australian shores this weekend.
With Babylon festival coming up this weekend and a hefty sitting last week at her second Piknic Electronic, we decided to catch up with Bloody Mary for the sake of techno.
Stoney Roads: Who/What would you say are your most strongest influences in your career?
Bloody Mary: My strongest influence was my formative years in France. Back then, there were no techno clubs in France, and the only way to experience this music was at illegal raves. At the time, the rave parties were new, and everything they stood for went against the system. Laurent Garnier was a really big supporter of this. He helped our scene and our culture so much – he was fighting with all the media at the time to stand up for what he believes in. He was a spokesperson for the whole techno scene. I really respect him for this.
SR: Can you tell us about your EP coming out in March. Are there any special collaborations on it?
BM: The EP will be the 34th vinyl release on my label, Dame-Music. It will feature two original tracks by me, 1 being an acid track made for the dance floor, and 1 on the B-side being something a little more introspective and personal. Since it’s a vinyl release, I wanted another techno track for the dance floor on the record, so I asked one of my favourite producers at the moment, Marcel Fengler, if he could remix me. He put his own take on my acid track, “Knockout”, and made a hypnotic techno version of it. I’m happy with how the record turned out, and looking forward to its release.
SR: How did you go about starting your label Dame Music? Can you tell us a bit about that journey – 34 releases is quite the feat!
BM: After releasing my debut album Black Pearl on Contexterrior in 2009, sadly the label owner Jay Haze decided to move away from Berlin and to close his two labels, Contexterrior and Tuning Spork. From that I decided to start my own vinyl label. At the time digital releases were so strong and no one was playing with vinyl, and no one believed that you could still sell it. But I have always been a strong supporter of wax – it’s a passion for me and I’ve bought and collected records for many years. The release of my album helped me create my own musical identity, and I didn’t want to be restricted by label bosses to fit in with the “sound of the moment”.
SR: Can you tell us about one of your most memorable gigs and why it stands out to you?
BM: I’m very fortunate to have been given the opportunity to travel with my work, and to share my music with many amazing crowds at festivals and in clubs around the whole world. Each party has a specific story and energy, and I’m always amazed by music’s ability to unite people and make us forget about cultural differences or problems in the outside world. It’s difficult to name just one gig in particular, but one that I won’t forget was the first time I played in Room 1 at Fabric in London. The sound system there is one of the best sound systems I’ve ever played on. I still feel this magic every time I go back and play there.
SR: Do you still perform as your live project The Jaydes? Can you tell us a bit more about this project.
The Jaydes was formed a few years ago when my friend Attan and I were sharing a studio space in Berlin. We had so much fun jamming together – this led to us releasing our self-titled album on Dame-Music in 2014, and building an analogue live set which we went on to tour around the world. Since Attan left Berlin more than one year ago, it’s difficult for us to make music together, as all of our music was made in jam sessions. We’re not into sending files to each other online to make music, that’s not our workflow. We will be reunited this year in May, when we will play our new live set together as The Jaydes at Lighthouse Festival in Croatia.
SR: Your last tour in Australia saw you play at Piknic Electronik with Kevin Saunderson, on a very memorable day for the Piknic team. Are you more of a club person or do you love open air shows?
BM: I love both – and really they are complementary because of their differences. You can’t compare a sunny daytime show to a dark nightclub. Regarding my last show at Piknic Electronik Melbourne, I have such great memories because the crowd was unbelievably full of energy and I remember the fun we all had together. I’m looking forward to capturing this moment again this year, and I’m thankful to the crew for inviting me again.
SR: Babylon is a four day festival out in the Australian bush, have you camped much in your lifetime? If you were to choose four people to go camping with who would they be and why (anyone, past or present, famous or not).
BM: I’m looking forward to Babylon, and being part of such a great lineup. My last camping experience was when I played at Fusion Festival in Germany. If I had to choose four people to go camping with, they would be firstly my Labrador who has passed away, who I loved so much. My boyfriend would be with us, of course. I would take a german techno producer called Thomas P Heckmann, who is an absolutely crazy producer because it would be funny to have a conversation with him around the campfire about studio tricks, and how he’s able to make such amazing tracks for so many years. Finally I would also take this French comedian, Alain Chabat, because I think he’s so funny and it’s always important to have a lot of laughter and fun in any situation.
SR: You are based in Berlin, can you give us one tip one of your favourite Berlin spots?
BM: We are very lucky in Berlin to be surrounded by so many great record shops. If you like digging, there’s many options for new and second hand shops. A few of my favourites are Oye, The Record Loft, Hardwax and the latest addition, The Ghost.
You can catch Bloody Mary doing her thing this weekend at Babylon Festival, grab a last minute ticket right here.