Berlin based DJ, producer and label head Nadja Lind is an extremely passionate music-maker with a great attitude towards originality and expression. Proud owner of Lucidflow records, Nadja loves every aspect of the music industry, tirelessly connecting with fans and other artists to create and spread the music she loves over whatever medium is at hand at the time (although she is a strong supporter of the vinyl release scene). Nadja’s sets are usually dominated by her own productions, or that of artists from her label – a creative challenge she tackles flawlessly and without formula. Her productions have been supported by the biggest names in the business, including Laurent Garnier, Juan Atkins, Timo Maas, Carl Cox, Hernan Cattaneo…and anyone else with a decent ear for deep and techy house hits. Nadja took some time out from dominating the music world to talk about her love of Berlin, running her own label and trusting the tunes that bring on the goosebumps…
How has living in Berlin shaped your career? Do you think it’s a good place to try and make it as a DJ?
For me moving to Berlin was the right decision. Initially I moved here because of my ex who lives in Berlin and I felt like some change would be good anyway. I had been looking for production partners to start a project before I moved to Berlin which seemed to be almost a mission impossible. But as soon as I was in Berlin I met so many interesting people that it was hard to choose which project I wanted to invest time in. In terms of DJing, it’s the perfect city because you are well connected to the whole world, but I can’t really say if it’s a good place to make it. When you go out every second person you meet either is a DJ or somehow in this biz, so nobody in Berlin is waiting for another DJ to knock on their door you know… But for sure you can make connections to artists and people from all over the world very easily since everybody visits Berlin once in a while. One day Juan Atkins, who is considered to be the god-father of Techno, contacted me and was suddenly sitting in my living-room which was pretty surreal and also pretty cool of course. I doubt that this would have happened in any other city, in Germany at least…
You’re playing a Soulcloud gig on the 12th of April in London – what’s your experience of playing in the city? How do you find it compared Germany?
My experiences have been all amazing (unforgettable nights at Fabric and with the Campbell brothers in Hoxton just to mention a few) and I am very much looking forward to coming back to my favourite city besides Berlin. The Soulcloud/Ubahn promoters are very professional and so committed and passionate about what they do so if the party only becomes half as good – it will be a blast! I don’t give much energy into comparing anything. Each venue, even if it takes place in the same spot, is different.
You often release on vinyl, do you also play on it? Why is it important to keep the vinyl format alive?
Yes I do release on vinyl a lot these days e.g. I just did a release on my label Lucidflow ‘Nadja Lind & Friends’ where you will find tracks I made with Brendon Moeller, Chris Lattner and Quintin Christian. Then there’s another one about to be released on Wolf Trap together with my brother in crime Paul Loraine. And we just decided to have the Lucidflow No. 1 Nadja Lind & Paul Loraine ‘Making A Difference’ with remixes by Silicone Soul, Funk D’Void and Helmut Ebritsch repressed as a special 111 limited red coloured vinyl soon.
I used to play vinyl only for many years –my right arm is still a little longer than the left from carrying around the heavy bags! When I got booked more and more abroad e.g. India where it is absolutely unusual to play vinyl – I learned how to operate CD players and also used Traktor Scratch. Also it’s not very handy traveling with heavy over-luggage all the time.
I can also understand vinyl lovers. I even used to be very rigid about it myself and didn’t accept anything else but records! But I’ve always been surprising myself so nowadays I don’t cling to it and just enjoy playing good music and spreading good energy. After all, it’s about the music and not about the media. I’ve experienced vinyl very boring and very awesome DJ sets on all kinds of media.
From Lucidflow’s perspective it certainly was a good decision to also press wax. There are probably thousands of digital labels popping up every single day and most of them will be gone as quickly as they appeared. So it’s kind of a benchmark if a label can afford to provide and maintain vinyl releases.
What inspired you to create your label Lucidflow and how did it all begin?
It all began with producing under the project name Klartraum together with my buddy Helmut Ebritsch. We were quite productive and the demo responses where painfully slow so we decided to be in charge of releasing our music by ourselves. In the very beginning everything was so much work and stress but also fun, creativity and flow so we kept on investing a very great amount of time, money, work, inspiration, nerves and what not to keep up our little Lucidflow label. I am very grateful and happy about how the label has turned out up to date. A BIG THANKS to all our Lucidflow fans who have been buying, spreading and supporting Lucidflow over the last 6 years!
What do you love most about being in control of your own label?
To be connected to so many amazing people / artists around the globe and to be in charge of which sound I want to release and who I want to work with and when. It’s priceless to have full artist control. If I want to release a track I release a track. If I don’t like a remix it won’t be released. If I want to get a remixer or artist I write an email and just start. I’ve learned a lot in terms of what is important to me and what isn’t. How to ask people for help or for anything and how to say ‘no’– these were probably my most difficult tasks. Being responsible for my own decisions and company helped me a lot to build up my self-esteem in terms of knowing what is important to me at each moment and what just drains my energy.
Nadja prepared us an one-hour mix, playing merely her own releases, listen HERE
For most of your sets you play your own releases, is that correct? Why do you like to do this?
Yes, that is correct – my own productions and remixes. Simply because I can in the first place and secondly it’s been a dream of mine to do so.
Does it ever feel limiting?
Yes but in a positive way. I like to limit myself since I get confused if there is too much to choose from. But I also don’t cling to playing my own tracks only and make a dogma out of it. I very much go with the flow so if I get tired of playing my own tracks over and over again I play other Lucidflow artists or if I play a regular night like in my home town at Electric Monday at Tresor I also play other people’s demos. It totally depends on the moment. I can always trust in my personal indicator – goosebumps.
Do you think a DJ can be successful these days without producing his or her own music, and running his or her own label? Or is it essential to do it all?
I think there are many DJs who just pretend to produce and don’t actually have a clue about how to produce. Seems to work for them otherwise it wouldn’t be such a common practice. But I wouldn’t say it’s mandatory to be successful. I don’t know. It never occurred to me to pretend just because it’s good for the biz.
My goal has never been to create music to be successful as a DJ. I dreamt of playing my very own created productions to a crowd in a club on a phat sound system to freak out and feel & enjoy the energy together. Music is about emotions to me. I am way too attached to it to just see it as a job.
What is it about dance music that connects with you over other genres?
This is not an easy question to answer. I still haven’t figured it out really. It has not much to do with genre, speed, instruments… I cannot put it into words. What I can say is that if a certain track or sound touches my soul, I know it at once!
Your favourite kind of party involves…
Positive, feeling, open-minded and inspiring people, connection, love, smiles. An amazing sound system and amazing DJ/live-act and music. Fresh air.
Thank you very much for your time, it’s much appreciated.
Thank you so much for having me and for your interesting questions.
Nadja plays Soulcloud with Ubhan London, at The New Empowering Church on Saturday the 12th of April.
Listen to Nadja Lin on our 128th MEOKO podcast HERE