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Newcastle-based techno artist Jacklyn breaking Berlin’s sound in the UK

Written by Caterina Biondi

Who or what inspired you to make music?

I'm from France, I have lived there for a long time. Growing up I had lots of friends that were DJs and producers. At the time, I used to listen to lots of Radiohead and their album Amnesiac. Thom Yorke’s Atoms for Peace inspired me to dive more into the genre and make electronic music.

So, you started approaching music from electronic rock. When does your passion for techno begin?

It was three years ago that I started to get into the groove techno sound, exploring different sonorities, buying more synths and seeing if I could play around with them. What first got me into producing music was sampling: watching documentaries about Nina Simone and Martin Luther King and creating music with these sources that were more inspiring and emotional.

What’s your relationship with the techno community? What do you think about raves?

Raves for me are very special, both because I follow a lot of Detroit techno and also for the story behind it: Berlin's history at the time of the wall. The grounding point of when Tresor opened for example. [Tresor was the first club in East Berlin after the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989]. Underground music is very special to me even if it’s changing today and has become very commercialised. I think it’s very important to remember where techno comes from and the story behind it. The people that were brought up on techno culture maintain it and nurture it today. I think it’s important we promote underground techno how it is, recognising that it’s a sound which gives the freedom to live. Otherwise, raves become places where we don't feel safe or we feel like ‘I don't wanna go there because this is like a fashion show; people are gonna look at me or they are gonna judge me’. Also, to really achieve that, the scene should be diverse and make sure that everyone feels included in certain spaces and we're still working towards that.

What’s your creative process?

When you create an album you want it to be streamlined like a story. So you don't wanna start off with something heavy. It’s nice to build up. It's like a book. In the first chapter, you start with something. The second chapter gets heavier, there you tell the story. And the third chapter is the breaking point.

Talking about production, it’s a very hard job, because you can listen to something and think it's perfect, but then maybe someone else listens to it and could feel like it’s not working. I think everyone is unique and has something special to give. People can relate to different parts of the album, but the important thing is to tell a story within the production.

Do you take a similar approach with your DJ mixes? How do you build them?

When djing it is very important to read the crowd and to make sure the process is very smooth. Start with a warm-up, build it up, look at the crowd, engage, smile, warm them up and get them in the mood. You wanna understand what your audience wants, which can be very unpredictable. When you see the smile on people's faces and you see the audience dancing joyfully, then you know you're doing a good job. People work five days a week and come dancing in their free time, you want to make sure that they are having a good time. Playing your tracks is also useful because you are testing the sound through them to see if you inspire emotions in the crowd.

You have played in several clubs in the past years, both around the UK and internationally. Which is your favourite venue to play in?

I played at Tresor in Berlin this year for the first time. I was given a special chance and I felt very privileged djing there. I love where the DJ booth is situated, the sound system, the artist's care, the people that come, the passion for music and the history behind it. Everything falls into place.


I am based in Newcastle and the scene here is very diverse. We don't have specific sounds like Berlin, where there are very underground places with edgier sounds like Tresor, Berghain and Panorama Bar. Here we only have World Headquarters. But even there it’s still very hard to play at a techno night every weekend. In Newcastle, that kind of sound is not showcased. It's such a small town, so it's kinda difficult to break in. In London techno is becoming more popular. There is Fold for example, which showcases the best techno sounds.

Next steps?

I am still working on a few remixes and on an album. This year I self-released an EP and some DJs, like François X, tested my sound. There were a few vinyls and stuff I released. I'm possibly looking to do the same next year, maybe release other vinyls and a few mixes I’m working on at the moment. For the next EP release, I am looking at September 2023. I really want to take my time with it this time. I am learning that it’s very important when creating music to make sure that it’s exactly what I want and it’s the story I wanna tell.

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