How did you get into DJing?
I got into the electronica scene in Tromsø around the time I got old enough to go out clubbing. I went to see local and more known legends such as Christian Bruun, Charlotte Bendiks and Bjørn Torske play and jokingly tell my friends «In a couple years, I’ll be up there behind the decks playing!».
Some of my most influential moments have been running into talented and creative people at private parties. Before we started bringing mixers, turntables and CDJs I would volunteer to queue up a playlist I’d put together. As a kid and teenager, I would arrange tracks in order to create a story. Like, I’d have a really specific series of events in mind, almost like making a soundtrack for a movie. People noticed the effort I put in my song selection and a lot of them encouraged me to start mixing. I started jamming with Edvarda Salomonsen who’s my partner in our local club concept The Underground Jungle. We got to have our club nights at Café Circa and from there it’s all been uphill. It’s been an intense and inspiring year so far and I’ve learned a lot. I still am learning, but I’m getting somewhere for sure!
What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear a new track?
I need to feel it. Not necessarily understand it, but be able to dance, laugh, cry, feel badass or have sex to it. Just feel something when it comes on. Listening through tracks can be a long process; you might dig it at first, but realize it’s not really in your sound. And vice versa.
Describe your mixing process?
I take the event or who the mix is for into consideration, as well as the mood and vibe I want to create and express. When I first began mixing I was really strict on having perfect beat matching. In retrospect I see it sabotaged the track selection; I’d exclude a track if it wasn’t perfect with the one I was planning on mixing it with. I’m getting more comfortable with taking chances and not mix perfectly, but dare to let the audience hear that I’m working on something for them and see how they react as a way of communicating with the crowd. I’m also working on not beating myself up for every mistake I make, but rather learn from it. I’ve only been playing for a year.
What is the scene like in Tromso?
Bigger than you’d think, and very tied together. It has a long history seeing it was the capital of Norwegian house and techno when the genre first emerged. National heroes like Mental Overdrive, Bjørn Torske, Rune Lindbæk and Biosphere started off in this small town. Check out the movie Northern Disco Lights, a great documentary about Norwegian electronica.
And we sure know how to party and appreciate the few clubs we’ve got! It’s needed in order to stay warm in the harsh Arctic climate we live in… Café Circa and Verdensteatret regularly host club nights, but we have a lot of other venues at our disposal if someone feels the urge to host an event. We all have this common «dugnadsånd», we want things to happen and we’re not afraid of doing it ourselves.
Insomnia Festival, Norway’s longest running electronica festival going on it’s 17th year, really puts us on the map; with the ethos «Music. Movement. New Ideas.», their events offer interesting bookings and surprising elements as input for the scene. To show the width the whole electronica genre has and how compatible it is with other genres and art forms.
Any must see spots for those stopping by Tromso?
Not to be biased, seeing that I’m the booking manager of the place, but Café Circa is a great bar and nightclub on Wednesdays and in the weekends. I’ll always carry that place in my heart. It’s where I had my first official DJ gig and it’s a place where I’ve always felt like home. Verdensteatret is also a great place with a lot of history and curates great nights for enjoying music. Also check out the program for Cinemateket, the small cinema in the back of the bar. They screen newer independent films as well as old classics. Concerts and Tuesday jams at Bastard Bar are intimate and fun! These places are so open and warm, you’re welcome to come as you are and thrive together with others looking to connect with people through good artistic experiences.
I would also suggest looking into the art scene. Independent galleries like Galleri SNERK, an artist/student run space located in Tromsø Academy of Contemporary Art and Small Projects and bigger museums like Perspektivet and Nordnorsk Kunstmuseum are all curating a lot of interesting exhibitions for all kinds of art.
And I could go on forever about the tons of festivals going on here, but I’ll just mention my personal favorites. Tromsø International Film Festival , Insomnia Festival and the Northern Lights Festival all offer a broad range of acts within each of their respective fields.
And take the bus out of the city centre and hike up a couple mountains!
Besides being behind the decks what else do you spend time on?
I work. As mentioned, I’m also the booking manager for Café Circa. I got the position in May and hope to offer interesting musical acts whilst staying true to Circa’s vibe; being an undefinable place where everyone is welcome, has the right to be themselves and genuineness is rewarded.
But overall I spend a lot of time searching for music, mixing, jamming etc. When I grew up I tried out a lot of after school activities, but always ended up quitting when I got bored or never mastered whatever I did. So I’d been longing for a creative outlet for many years when I discovered DJ-ing as something I genuinely enjoyed while it still challenged me. So to answer your question, I don’t really do anything else than being behind the decks. This is what I want to do.
Whats in the mix for F5?
A mellow mix of tranquil melodies and spiking percussions turning more and more mystical and almost occult towards the end. Stayed true to my vibe; dreamy and hot, hard and soft. I wanted to keep it a bit hypnotic for the listener to be able to focus on the music, but still suitable for background playing to just set a mood in the room.
Keep your eyes and ears open. I might suddenly pop up somewhere near you...
Check out Ra-shidi's other work here