In Conversation with SOUCI & TAMILA
Words: Gina Bonnar | 7 Oct 2020
We recently had a conversation with Souci & Tamila, Berlin-based DJ/producers who gave us so insight into the Berlin scene as well as their Record Label "Raiders" and what it's all about. We also raised some important questions - How can footwork inspired collectives/communities do to ensure this music is not whitewashed and credit can be given to black artists that created this movement?
Hey girls, for those who don't know you tell us a bit about yourself.
We’re Souci and Tamila, DJs and electronic music producers based in Berlin. As members of Raiders Records we co-run a label and party series that focuses on a variety of uptempo, electronic music. Keep your eyes and ears open for our upcoming release QUEENS OF CLUB, which drops on November 1st.
How has quarantine been treating you? have you been up to much?
Tamila: Quarantine has actually been treating me good. I took the time to manifest my goals and find my inner peace again. Besides all the negative effects of COVID-19, of course.
Souci: I feel the same way. While quarantine has changed everything about my everyday life, I was able to reshift my focus to producing again and developing my sound, without having the big city and everything it has to offer distract me from it. This comes from a very privileged position though, as I have a safe income and do not depend on my nightlife income.
How would you describe your production and djing style?
Souci: Fast-paced, hard drums, playful melodies and every now and then some juicy vocals is how I would describe my style. I’m in my comfort zone around 150-180 bpm.
Tamila: It’s always hard for me to say what type of music I’m playing. Whenever I’m digging for new music, I never search for a specific genre it just has to have that special something. I love dreamy, hard hitting and heavy banging tracks that also transmit good and sex positive vibes. Though my style is continuously evolving it is definitely influenced by Detroit house music, Footwork, Trance, Techno and - I have to admit it- by Gabber.
Do you have any artist inspirations that have influenced your style as such?
Tamila: I wasn’t inspired by one particular artist, more by the vibe I get through mixing different genres.
Souci: Growing up I listened to hip hop and RnB. It took me until 2013 and Kaytranada (or Kaytradamus at the time) to discover a wider variety of (electronic) music. Nowadays I’m inspired by Loraine James, DJ Beverly Hill$, DJ Animebby, Badsista, Special Request to name just a few.
Tamila: That’s actually the time when our friendship started. We would go to concerts and parties like every day. I feel like this was the time when the base of our taste in music was created. And it has developed over the years and still consistently is. Funny part is that ever since our taste in music has somehow always developed into the same direction independent of each other.
So you're based in Berlin, how would you describe the nightlife - What dance music is exposed there?
Tamila: There’s always something happening which I love about Berlin nightlife. I’d say that the main genre that represents Berlin is Techno but hence the scene is so big, it is divided into little core sceneries.
Souci: Yes, techno definitely dominates the scene. And although (before March and lockdown) there was always something happening in the city, you can easily get lost in the abundance of nightlife. Knowing locals who enjoy a similar taste in music as you is therefore crucial.
So, we are really loving the Raiders collective you're involved in. Tell us more about what Raiders is all about!
Souci: One thing we always say is: We’re eight freaks who love ghetto-house. We only started off as a party and now we expanded to hosting streams, running a label and offering a platform for underrepresented artists. Our philosophy is diversity: 4 of our 8 members are female and 4 are BPOC. And besides from being a diverse group internally, we strive to leave a footprint on the music industry.
Tamila: Raiders stand for unity. We all come from different backgrounds and wouldn’t even know each other if it wasn’t for the music that brings us together. We’re open, we’re loud and we love to make people have a good time and spread positive vibes.
Raiders definitely has an original style and that's what drew us in when we discovered the brand. What kind of music genres does everyone cover?
Souci: The good thing about having an 8-headed collective is that at an event of ours, you’re likely to hear a variety of genres. Ranging from old-school, classic ghetto house to breakbeat, jungle, techno, trance, hardstyle and gabber.
Have you got anything exciting coming up with Raiders? any releases that we have to look forward to?
Souci: We’ve recently announced the release of our upcoming VA called QUEENS OF CLUB. QOC is a 2-part compilation exclusively featuring female and non-binary producers from all over the world. These talented artists have created a mixture of hard-hitting, mind-boggling, and genre-warping electronic music, ranging from nasty Electro to Gabber-esque Stormers and banging club tunes.
You recently changed the name of this from Ghettoraid to Raiders, what was the reasoning behind that?
Souci: Ghettoraid started as a one-off event, main focused on old school Chicago Ghetto House and Detroit Ghettotech. The response was beyond anything we imagined and so we threw a couple of other events after that one. As we grew from an event into a label, and due to each and every one of us reflecting on our role and privileges in the music industry - especially from the standpoint of not coming from the ‚ghetto‘ - it was way overdue for the name-change.
We acknowledge that electronic music as we know it comes from Black US-culture and that crediting them almost always falls short in our scene. We didn’t want to further contribute to that and ‚whitewash‘ this important part of music history. At the same time we hope to set an example by the name change for other collectives, or at least to spark a discussion.
in genres like Chicago house, ghetto house, juke, etc. there has been discussion about a sound pioneered by black communities is being whitewashed. We know you as a collective are making sure that the black history behind it isn't erased - what are you doing to ensure this and what can other footwork inspired collectives be doing to credit these artists?
Souci & Tamila: There are several things that artists can do, we’re going to name a few essential points we have learned over the courses of our lives and the past couple of months:
1. Listen to Black people: If you as an artist or a collective are being criticized, it’s not time to justify your actions and try to prove that you come from a really diverse environment‚ have Black friends who don’t have a problem with your actions‘or how your goal is to 'appreciate and not appropriate Black culture‘. What you should do is reflect on the critique and…
2. Do the work of reading more about white privilege, male privilege, and even class privilege. All of these aspects play a role in the music industry as well. Side note: Asking Black people to do this work for you - i.e. by asking them to provide with knowledge or information - is not the way to go - emotional labor is the key word here. There is already a lot of information all over the internet.
3. Beware of performativity: If you are posting online about your solidarity, ask yourself whether posting on social media is the only thing you are doing. Being an anti-racist means constant (lifelong) work on yourself and your environment.
4. Call out racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia when witnessing it in your environment. Always listen to your gut and don’t work with people you don’t feel comfortable with/you find problematic, just because they might be 'popular‘ or 'important players in the industry‘.
5. As all of us in the music industry profit from Black culture and Black music, use our platform to include Black people and other marginalized groups. But also: DONATE whenever you can. Give back to Black culture as a label, as a collective, but as individuals too.
What women on the scene have been catching your eye at the moment - Who should we be looking out for?
Tamila: Well obviously check out our girls $ombi and Jpeg.love, they are both vocalists and producers.
Souci: Check out all the women and non-binary producers from our upcoming release! Sarah Farina, Xyla, Theywept, YOZY, MSJY, Dj Fuckoff and many more.
What is the most memorable set by an artist you've ever seen? Why did this stand out for you?
Tamila: It was at a party that Souci and I went to years ago. I actually forgot his name lol but he was producing music live on stage and I remember that we couldn’t believe our eyes and ears at that time.
Souci: Yes that was insane. The most recent memorable set was Sherelle at Panorama Bar last year during CTM Festival. They absolutely killed it. It was a set full of uptempo, jungle, breakbeat & dnb.
What is the future for Souci and Tamila? Have you got any personal projects and releases coming up soon?
We actually had a talk a few weeks ago about our goals and where we want to see ourselves in the future. We both definitely want to focus more on producing and continue creating our brand.
Obviously producing and Djing takes a lot of time to perfect. What advice can you give women that are taking up Djing and producing?
Tamila: Just go and do it. Don’t be afraid to mess up. And don’t wait too long to play in front of an audience. Like practicing at home or the studio is essential, but you gotta have the guts to go out and show what you’re about. And it’s fine to mess up. I believe that I can speak for both of us when I say that the more, we played in front of a crowed the better we got. It’s really just learning by doing.
The girls have kindly created a mix for our mix series on soundcloud! Its a high energy and fun mix to brighten up your day, and gives you a glimpse of the kind of stuff they do!
You can find Souci and Tamila on Soundcloud here and here.
Make sure you check our Raiders Records for new releases and content!