For SR0013, Amsterdam-based Italian, Elfwings, brings her love of
spiritual, psychedelic sounds to a mix packed full of slow rave and downtempo tunes.
From the seaside to the Sex Pistols.
I grew up in a medium-sized city in the centre of Italy called Pescara, which by the sea. My interest in music started when I was very young. When I was thirteen, I remember my dad gave me two CDs which were in his car - Sex Pistols, ‘Never Mind the Bollocks’ and Nirvana, ‘Nevermind’. After that, my interest in music didn’t stop and I explored so many different genres, always in search of original and alternative sounds. I started in punk rock and rock, moving to 70’s rock ( Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Led Zeppelin…) then on to bands like The Cure, New Order, The Smiths, and Depeche Mode. I have a deep love for David Bowie. He’s one of my icons. And Bjork. She’s a 360 degrees artists. I love when art and performances mix with music. Other newer artists that influenced me Royksopp, Moderat, Air, Placebo and many more.
From my beloved country, I feel like mentioning the singer / songwriter Fabrizio De Andre, who often sang about marginalized people and about anarchism and peace. His sound is at times very ethnic, his lyrics terribly deep and existentialist. I’ve listened to his music every single day for more than 15 years.
My music preferences and what I listen to today has evolved a lot moving from indie, electronic, tribal, world music etc. Then, last year, I started diving into world music and different music styles from all over the world. I’m very curious about how music evolved in different countries such as the middle east or Japan.
A festival experience changed my life.
Two years ago I went to a European / Scandinavian version of Burning Man, called The Borderland and my life has changed quite a lot since then. A friend introduced me to this world and I made it mine and I decided after many years of obsession with music, and multiple attempts to start bands, to play the guitar, and to sing, to start DJing. I bought a controller from one of my roommates in Amsterdam and I started to play with it. I started to DJ and then it made me feel reborn. A new passion started burning inside me. I never stopped since then, not a single day, playing almost every day. Music makes me feel amazing and empty, in a sort of nirvana state where nothing can touch you.
The name Elfwings, comes partially from a playa name (a playa name is the one you are given during a burn event, like a nickname that somehow tells something about you or your character). When I attended Borderland I had two pairs of elf ears and was floating around here and there, always meeting people and exploring this new “world”. At the end of the burn, someone from my camp told me that they saw me and my ‘ears are like wings that you fly around with, exploring new horizons and people’. That really resonated with me and at that moment I decided Elfwings would be my ‘playa’ name. Then, just a short time after, it became my DJ name.
My sound is often spiritual, tribal, deep, warm, sometimes dark and other times, psychedelic. I am fascinated by psychedelic tunes, nature sounds, tribes, mantras, exotic, middle east, spirituality, awareness, connections. My music path started very early and explored so many different genres, which I am grateful for because it helped me to not get stuck in just one sound, to experiment and to not be afraid to risk trying new things. I love different cultures, tribes, festivals communities and psychedelic culture and those passions resonate in my sounds. I feel many psychedelic artists are such part of my music background and influenced me deeply, especially names such as Shpongle, such an eclectic artist and mind that tried what it was not thought to be possible. I started to attend many festivals in the last two years and those changed me deeply and influenced my sounds. I attended many psychedelic ones and also as a fire spinner, my side passion alongside music and climbing.
Different cultures deeply shaped my music taste.
Artists such as Kaya Scintilla, Kaya Project, OTT, Carbon Based Lifeforms, Bluetech, Symbolico are really part of me and made it essential for me to get hooked to digital music and start to be curious on how to produce that. Digital music is an ocean of possibilities and my connection with music grew when I understood that I could combine my engineer and signal processing engineer background and skills (I have a master degree as a biomedical engineer and programmer) with making digital music and understanding sounds.
I am still diving into that at the moment and I look forward to making more creations out of it as I continue to learn and explore. My last trip in Berlin gave me fresh inspiration and I got super fascinated by downtempo scene, ketapop, and slow rave. I adore the mix of psychedelic sounds with downtempo and at times almost minimal.
My mix for St. Romain is a fusion of some slow rave and downtempo mixed with some keta pop and who knows what else, I’ll let the listener decide - I’m not so attached to labels. I love slow rising and floaty watery sounds. Sometimes sounds get fewer, just the essential and it’s like we are all of a sudden underwater. When you remember you need to breathe you go to the surface and remember to inhale some air. There you get an ecstatic breeze of sounds, almost ritualistic, and at other times chanting, then at other times, it seems as though Alan Watts is still alive, telling his incredible thoughts while sounds are still playing. In general, I like the idea of creating a trance-like state, a sort of limbo where music is the only thing that exists. I love so many producers at the moment but at the moment I play at a lot of Kollektiv Turmstrasse, A Macaca, Geju, Riyoon, Okuma, Super-flu, Acid Arab, Sergio Walgood, Stimming, and Ali Kuru.
I am very excited about what 2020 and the festivals I will play.
Last year, I played at my first festivals such as Feel Festival (GE) and Paradigm (NL) plus Borderland. Another joy of the year was to start to play more frequently in Amsterdam at psychedelic events such as Shining Darkness and Sundays in Motion, and slow rave / downtempo event such as Esoterica, which was born from a fusion of Berlin and Amsterdam artists. I moved to Amsterdam from Eindhoven, after finishing my studies a year ago. I am now part of a community/ collective of artists and each year we try to attend several festivals and co-create. We are currently defining what will be this year. I am excited about all this!
I’m also currently working hard on four tracks, three of which belong to another project I have, called Deser Dar, where I focus on some more rough sounds closer to synth-wave, old school techno, minimal, and goa. I am looking forward to seeing what shape it takes and understand where to release them, but first of all, finish them and have fun doing it!