Exclusive Mix & Interview
January 1st, 2019
Label: Through My Speakers
Sarah Farina. For those who may not know you, please introduce yourself to our audience and tell them who you are.
I'm Sarah Farina from Berlin and I got a deep love for sharing music with our world.
I DJ and produce music and I’m part of the music label & collective "Through My Speakers“ and I also host a Berlin club night called ‘Rec Room’ with my very good friends DJ Uta & Kepler since 2013.
I describe the music I play as "Rainbowbass“, which is a term that I came up with to introduce the music I love to others. For me, the vibrations of everything I listen to, everything I play, translate into color. Sounds visualised like a rainbow – naturally connected to each other and to me. The message of Rainbowbass is that it’s all one, like we are. All the grooves, BPMs & energy levels in beautiful harmony.
Your musical style. Take us through your influences, favorite genres, and everything that helps you put together your sets.
When I was little, the music that my parents listened to influenced me. They listened to artists like Sade, Bob Marley & Grace Jones.
As a teenager, a close friend of mine Johann introduced me to lots of music from Detroit, artists such as Madlib & J Dilla. Also lots of old Funk & Soul music. At 18 (that was in 2008) I got in touch with club music for the first time through a DJ duo called the "Sick Girls“. I went to their monthly party "Revolution Nr 5“ and they basically educated me in club music. Through them I heard club music from the UK for the first time, also genres like Footowork & Juke and much more stuff that blew my mind and widened my music horizon. After some time we became close friends and they play a big role in why and how I became a DJ. They inspired & supported me so much and became my music mentors.
Me getting into music and DJ'ing happened very naturally, it was really never a plan. When it comes to genres I don't have a favorite one, it’s more about a feeling. If it feels soulful to me I’ll play it. What helps me put together my sets is definitely exchanges with other music nerds and also listening to other DJs play or just educating myself when it comes to music history. That’s actually very important to me: To know where the music & culture comes from. If I have the opportunity to visit the music birth places, I’ll try to do that.
I think it’s very valuable to visit the places where the things come from that inspire you as a person and to meet the key people who built the scene & culture. I’m all about connecting with music communities and exchanging with cultures in different places at eye level. I deeply believe that collaboration at eye level creates an enormous potential to do epic things together.
Educating myself in music and history helps me listen to music from a different perspective and this helps me build my sets and become a better DJ. Of course there are also music styles which I haven’t spent much time on yet, but I’m sure the right time will come for all the music that is still unknown to me. And if something doesn’t feel exciting to me at the moment it might change, I want to stay open minded.
"...the vibrations of everything I listen to, everything I play, translate into color.
Sounds visualized like a rainbow – naturally connected to each other and to me."
What are your most memorable moments as a DJ? What have been your favorite collaborations?
There have been many magical moments. Generally moments where it felt like we're having world peace for a couple of hours, everyone is letting go, living in the now and enjoying themselves and no one is being judged. Basically having a safe space.
My favorite moments are those when I can feel that music really is an universal language and how it brings people together. But to be honest, there can never be a single moment which was the most memorable or defining one. That moment always finds it’s way back to me when someone in Europe, Asia, Africa or wherever decides to book me and gives me the chance to take another journey, meeting my own favorite artists and open minded audiences in beautiful places.
Regarding collabs, I’ve been in the studio with Kabuki, Perera Elsewhere, Dbridge, DJ Rachael and it was really great having that experience. First of all, they are wonderful people and being able to create something together is just magical. And Yo van Lenz & me go to the studio all the time and we’re working on an EP right now, we also released a track called "Peace Dub“ on Modeselektor’s label "Monkeytown“ this year. Yo is really a music soulmate to me and we really seem to speak the same language musically.
From open air festivals, clubs, and events - what is your favorite place to play and why?
They all can be so much fun but for me it’s really more about having a positive experience itself and bringing people together through music; regardless of location. But I definitely can say that I feel more comfortable in small venues, where I don't play on a stage. Being at eye level while playing is very important for me. It just feels more natural and I find it easier to connect with the crowd.
Also, I don't want to be in the focus. DJ'ing is not about me. It’s about the vibes and having a good time together and a place for everybody to feel safe in. I want to be part of the crowd so the only thing that is separating me from crowd is the DJ booth.
How aware are you of the vibe of the room when you’re performing live?
I’m very aware of the vibe of the room when I’m DJ'ing. I feel like that’s my job as a DJ. To be sensitive and play music vibrationally. I want us all to have the best time possible and to make everybody feel good.
For me, it’s about breaking boundaries in club music and creating a musical journey for the crowd. When I’m playing it feels like there is some sort of vibe exchange happening between the DJ and the crowd. And I love how music is such a powerful universal language. It feels healing to me.
Take us through your production process. What software / hardware do you use that helps you reach your preferred sound?
I use Ableton and sometimes midi keyboards or a drum machine but most of the time I just end up using the Ableton software. I’m always looking for samples, especially drum samples because 90% of the time I start off with drums.
"...Rainbowbass is that - it’s all one, like we are. All the grooves, BPMs & energy levels in beautiful harmony."
What is it about Berlin that offers an atmosphere that might not find anywhere else? Is there any other place in the world that matches the scene?
I had the privilege of traveling a lot but there are so many places I haven’t visited yet. I’m sure that there is a place similar to Berlin, I just haven’t found it yet.
Berlin is like a Disneyland for grown ups, it’s still cheap in comparison to cities like NY, London, Amsterdam and so on and the health insurance is also really good (I mean it still sucks but compared to some other places in the world it’s really good) and it’s safe. Those things make living quite comfortable in Berlin. I think those things relax people to a certain point. I feel like that’s why Berlin feels very chill.
Maybe even sometimes a bit too chill, haha.
In terms of BPM Berlin is like 120 or 60 BPM and London for example is 160 BPM, like a Jungle tune. Do you know what I mean? At least it feels like this to me. I like Berlin. It’s not too big and it’s not too small and lots of great DJs come to play here. Also, I’m very happy to see more diversity happening in terms of music styles & line-ups. The club scene is becoming more open minded and also more political.
Tell us something about you that the audience at your performance might not ever know.
I’m not sure if people know but I’m always sober and always have been. For me personally it’s about getting high on music without any help from the outside. But I also don’t judge people who choose to do so. I only drink water & tea. I think water is the best drink in the world because water is life! ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ It gives me the most energy when I’m playing.
Oh, and I really do love animals, I have my own Youtube playlist with the funniest and cutest animal clips. Also just nonsense stuff. I love memes and lots of shows from Adult Swim. I’m also really into podcasts. Actually, I think I listen to more podcasts then I listen to music. Voices calm me down and I love listening to them especially when I’m traveling. I mostly listen to storytelling podcasts like Risk! or Live at the Moth and many political podcasts from NPR and The Guardian. I love that you can just close your eyes and listen and that you have to use your imagination because sometimes it takes to much energy from me to focus on a screen for a longer time if I want to watch something.
If you could perform in front of a group of cartoon characters, who would they be?
Haha, I love this question! I think that would be the whole Adventure Time family, Lisa from the Simpsons, some characters from Hey Arnold, the dog Brian from Family Guy and Daria Morgendorffer from MTV.
Sarah Farina, in a few sentences. Tell us about this mix you made for us. Where did you get your inspiration? Is there anything special you want the audience to know?
This mix is basically a summary of all my favorite club tracks that I’ve been playing for the last 2 years. I’m playing lots of different tempi and go through many different music styles to create a musical rainbow. This mix also reflects one of my typical peak time club sets because I usually start with a slower tempo and end my sets most of the time with Jungle, Footwork or Hip Hop.
And of course I hope this mix makes people feel gooooood!