194 Muk


01. Poets Of The Signature - Limite Noire
02. Komodo Kolektif - Festival of the Black Sun (Parts 1 & 2)
03. Drew McDowall - Unnatural Channel Part 2
04. Polonius - Hunter-Prowler (Tracking is Oskexis)
05. Bill Laswell - Kala
06. Loopy But Chic - Time
07. Future Sound of London - Abandoned Housing Blocks of Prypiat
08. Brian Eno - The Lost Day vs. Creepy transmissions
09. White House White - Oddball Harry
10. Inversor Demente - Ununhexium
11. Tolouse Lowtrax - Tazza
12. Velmondo - Cova Foradada
13. Zaliva-D - Wicked
14. Phew - New World
15. Chris Carter - Small Moon Redux

Back to school. Autumn comes right on time, sharply. Great time to share a delightful conversation with Eglė Naujokaitytė – Muk, DJ & musician living in between the continents of Europe and South America. You might also know Eglė from the wild „Verslo Rizikos Rezervas“ music project or as Musetteandrums. She is an art scene figure, known and appreciated by several generations already - those who are coming from alternative underground culture, dance music world, radio communities, those who are contemporary art scene dwellers. We look at the current affairs and enjoy Eglė‘s point of view.

Egle, you do many interesting things. You are a DJ, musician and also a literature translator. Maybe you could answer the question of the century - what's more important in the song, melody or lyrics?

I guess the question will remain unanswered for a few centuries more, if it still stays relevant – I think the more humanity seems to be “evolving” the less they care about what’s said in a song – even most modern music I listen to myself rarely has lyrics anymore, not even mentioning modern pop tracks that sound as if they were written for a lobotomized consumerist society (maybe it is?). I like a lot of music from the past where this junction was still important, and to me personally both go hand in hand. Can’t really think of a song with a bad melody, but amazing lyrics, but if the melody is great yet the singer sings nonsense it can also lose its charm.

DJing usually comes as a natural outcome from loads of digging. Is that also the case in your life? If yes, tell me how you started to dig the neverending music libraries. Where was the start? And how does the process of DJing feel right now?

It definitely is and must be! Though it saddens to me to admit that the more I live there seems to be less and less time for not only what I love doing the most, but everything overall. So I definitely dig less than, say, 5-15 years ago. As for how it started, for me I guess it was through last.fm – when it was still cool and a new thing, I remember the “similar artists” function I found fascinating. Then again it was great for less abstract and obscure music, so when later I moved more to that I guess was the usual – blogs, discogs, soulseek, radios… The libraries, as you said, are kinda neverending these days, to a point you sometimes get the feeling there’s too much stuff in hand – then a lot of great stuff gets unintentionally forgotten… I’m really in between hunger for new discoveries and going through my old archives these days.

What kind of music was circulating in places you were growing up? Did some of it become an influence in a much more conceptual creative approach, which developed later in your life?

I grew up in various places and honestly I still feel that I’m growing. I’ve lived almost half of my life in Latin America – Venezuela and a few more, my formative years were spent there. Later lived in a few places around Vilnius. I’m not really sure if my living places really influenced my tastes for music – maybe? I remember I loved pre-millennium pop when I lived in Caracas, but I wouldn’t know how much did Aqua and Eiffel 65 influence me :) All I know is that hearing a lot of folk music from everywhere when growing up made me have a let’s say “saner” perspective as far as “exotisation” goes. It’s obviously all right to be interested in other cultures and their music, but many times this ends in complete superficiality, or at least I noticed this in Western culture’s people. They don’t really try to understand foreign music, such as African, Latin, Asian, they just exotize it, somehow take over it and make it a fancy artefact of themselves, instead of really feeling it and being genuinely interested – it’s context, roots etc.

You are living in Mexico city, which is on the exact opposite point of the globe from your birthplace - Lithuania. Sometimes distant cultures have surprisingly strong mutual points. Do you see some? Maybe even in the music scene?

Is it – the exact opposite! Never thought about it. Well the similarity I often feel between Mexico and Lithuania is this still somewhere lingering post-colonial vibe – just as we many years were occupied by the russians, Mexico had influences coming from Spain and maybe from USA up to these days. So people seem to sometimes have a hard time to be clear and honest as far as identity goes. This becomes evident in self-esteem issues and naive idealism – and in music in the way that it seems difficult for people to actually create something unique, everything is copied from “leading” countries and their cultures. I feel that lately Lithuania has advanced in that sense and at least underground culture has much more local identity than before and people are generally more prone to be themselves, rather to copy stuff from the outside, but in Mexico there’s still a lot of looking to the outside, even though the “scene” and the clubs loudly scream about “local culture” and all that. To me it doesn’t really seem authentic, except of perreo parties perhaps. I remember when I had just moved in Mexico the electronic scene had just really began functioning, and I came with this “European eclectic” vibe which I had been playing for years already. There would be local deejays coming to me and offering lessons or saying that my “secuencia” (order and way I select my tracks” doesn’t make sense. 6 years later the same people are bragging about mixing a variety of genres together, but in my point of view they still haven’t really nailed the essence of eclectic.

Nightlife. One after another, clubs have become a cultural institution in many western cities. You, for sure, have seen many underground places, which are designed to never become institutionalized. How do you see and experience the nightlife culture and what makes it a culture?

Don’t mean to sound very serious, but I guess to me nightlife is culture when it has a certain didactic element – when it’s curious and seeks to offer new things and be open to experimenting. If it’s just about “what sells best” and what’s already popular I see no way how can that have anything to do with culture. You know, “Salento” is also a club, but would you say it’s culture? That’s of course a very radical example, but it can happen with less mainstream stuff too – when once daring and interesting clubs kind of sell-out and just invite to play established and well-known people and don’t seek to open doors for new artists who might have something interesting and fresh to offer.

Club scene finally starts to look for solutions to increase gender equality. Some ways work out very well, another still seems a little bit forced, unnatural. What's your view on this topic? If you'd be a consultant for perfecting or reworking the system, what would be your suggestions?

As you know, this scene was mostly men-lead, as everything in this world, and often men would only accept women in their circle if they’re “like them”, not as actual women with all the quirks that it implies. On the other hand I do agree that sometimes it’s a bit forced. Lately women get invited more often to play because “we need more women on the bill”. Like, should I be happy about being invited because I am a woman? In a way I am, because there used to be a time when I literally wouldn’t get invited at all because of the same thing. Men are still pretty fragile and get very defensive when facing strong feminine figures. But to be honest, ideally I would be most glad to be perceived as a person with great taste and skills. My advice? To look deeper, to the essence of things, dividing people into men and women in a way is also superficial.

Could you recommend a few of your favorite female DJs and producers we should keep an eye on?

Lately I really became a fan of Void Vision. She released her album on Mannequin a long time ago and supposedly should put out something else, but still hasn’t. I hope she will… Salo from Peru is a great dj. Now that I was in the last DT Camp I loved Ece Ozel and Anna Haleta. Obviously a longtime fan of Pandora’s Jukebox and Cosey Fanni Tutti, hope she puts out something soon!

You seem to be an artist, who cares about the storyline of the creation. I presume it because of your strong connection with the literary world. What narratives do you notice in the contemporary music world and what's your personal artist tone? How to build the story with DJ art?

Difficult question! I’ve always done it quite intuitively. I see that now there’s more people doing that (but maybe because there are more djs in general) and at the same time I have a feeling a lot of it is lost, people seem to be so hectic and stressed out after these three wonderful years we had to survive, and no one seems to have the time to stop and daydream a little – as if everybody (well, mostly anyway) would be sensing the end of the world and want to make as many things as possible as fast as possible – the same I feel in most parties lately, this anti-creative, destructive vibe of just pumping yourself to death. No place for stories in such atmosphere… Maybe narrative is an old-fashioned concept? Probably I’ve always been a little old-fashioned in many ways. Also, I think it’s good for music people to read books – you can definitely sense more creativity in music done or mixed by people who like reading fiction.

Radio becomes one of the main formats of sharing music by different communities of music lovers. You were also a part of Cashmere radio, located in Berlin. What radio stations do you like? Are there any shows you follow?

Radio must be to what I listen the most these days, precisely because of this last 10 years internet radio boom that brought many great community radios! Though my favorite radio for many years now is New Jersey’s WFMU – they have a wonderful blend of interesting, not ego-centric selectors to whom the music they play matters more than showing off their name and a variety of shows I love; I still sometimes listen to LYL and Cashmere… As a part of Radio Vilnius now I try to listen to friend’s shows and discover new ones there… And my latest discovery, thanks to my boyfriend, was XWave radio which sometimes plays dreadful and cheesy goth stuff, and at other times exquisite obscure stuff from the 80s.

What musical ideas are you having and developing right now? What synths, machines or instruments accompany you?

Well, now that I’ll go back to Mexico we will start working on the new Gris Futuro album, a synth project that we have with my boyfriend. I want to make some sort of weird retrofuturistic blend for our next release, will see how that will work out. I also have many unfinished things of my own and want to really properly launch my solo project Musetteandrums, as well as new ideas. There’s very little time for everything. At the moment I have an mpc live and a korg minilogue, but want to sell my Yamaha RX5 and this vintage delay rack and get hold of a couple of vintage rhythm machines.

The last question. A song for someone surfing on the Digital Tsunami wave.

Interview: Ugne Uma Published: 1 Sep 2022
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