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'Fast forward again to one year ago, I happened to see a post by some Brazilian dude who wanted to start an electronic music platform for the queer underground clubbing scene. I was like “hey, I dunno what this is but I like your doodles”. So I joined forces with Stiborski and we started Bleak Narrative - which is an electronic music platform for the queer underground clubbing scene.´

Photo, styling: @edge.berlin  (Nazli Deniz Akgün)

Whattis the Rave Queen and resident of queer collective Bleak Narrative has spoken now for NCOUNTERS Berlin!

 

As Bleak Narrative they recently started throwing parties in Berlin - if you missed the first one stay tuned for the upcoming ones! Special creative photo shooting & styling for this act of NCOUNTERS was done by Edge Berlin.

NCOUNTERS: Ca​n you introduce yourself? Which city did you grow up in? How did you form your early musical aesthetics, how did it evolve from there on?

Whattis: I am Whattis. I grew up in Stockholm, Sweden. My early musical aesthetics was basically my dad forcing me to listen to Britney Spears in the car when I was little, which has deeply impacted my sound as a hard techno DJ today. Jk. The fact that music is the only thing I feel deeply passionate about at this point in my life is random as fuck. I don’t come from a background of any particular musical influence, I never played an instrument as a kid and I don’t remember being even remotely interested in music growing up. 

 

Fast forward to me starting DJing some years back on vague grounds. I had no clue what kind of music I wanted to play or even why I wanted to ‘be a DJ’. It was completely purposeless, on the verge of accidental. I discovered that I like techno at some point, so I started playing techno. It’s a touching story, I know. But it wasn’t that deep, my interest drifted away, I didn’t take it seriously. 

 

Fast forward again to one year ago, I happened to see a post by some Brazilian dude who wanted to start an electronic music platform for the queer underground clubbing scene. I was like “hey, I dunno what this is but I like your doodles”. So I joined forces with Stiborski and we started Bleak Narrative - which is an electronic music platform for the queer underground clubbing scene. Exactly what he wrote in that post I saw, funnily enough. Anyway, becoming part of and creating this context resurrected my motivation to play music. Actually, I think I only truly evolved as a DJ in the past year, I have a clearer and clearer idea of what type of sound I’m intrigued by and it doesn’t feel so fucking random anymore. So that’s cool.

 

 

 

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´ Berlin’s techno scene is run by cis men, which is reflected in who is organizing events, who’s playing at these events, who’s releasing music on what label, and so on. The cis male domination, both in the normative as well as in the queer scene is exhausting. Babes, I know it’s hard to leave your comfort zone and dare to discover something that goes beyond sucking off each other’s dicks all the time, but exquize you, me and everyone who’s operating in Berlin’s techno scene - where dafuq are the FLINTA* people?`

Photo, styling: @edge.berlin  (Nazli Deniz Akgün)

How is your observation on your local scene? Do you see any effects of the political situation on the scene? Can you give some examples? 

My groundbreaking observation is that people like people who are similar to themselves and share the same experiences as them. It’s legit, I too like to surround myself with people who are like me. I’m lazy and basic like that, it’s human. But Berlin’s techno scene is run by cis men, which is reflected in who is organizing events, who’s playing at these events, who’s releasing music on what label, and so on. The cis male domination, both in the normative as well as in the queer scene is exhausting. Babes, I know it’s hard to leave your comfort zone and dare to discover something that goes beyond sucking off each other’s dicks all the time, but excuse you, me and everyone who’s operating in Berlin’s techno scene - where dafuq are the FLINTA* people? 

What has been the most contributing experience/inspiration you’ve ever had for your music?

 

Signing up for SoundCloud.

What is the source of inspiration for you? How do you locate your art and artistic perspective of yours?

I go on the Internet and look for tracks. I hear a track. I like it. I play it. That’s my source.

 

I don’t have a complex artistic routine or discipline which tends to make me feel not so grounded being around other DJs, producers, ravers who are very vocal about their solid connection to music. I’m referring to people who can bitch about obscure genres they

were obsessed with growing up for hours. And people who are constantly name-drop ‘legendary’ this and that. Or those who are a walking fucking encyclopedia of old-school hardcore gabber. I can’t relate to it, I don’t really have a point of reference. Sometimes this makes me feel insecure, unknowledgeable, fake. But mostly I don’t really give a fuck. I trust my intuition for the music I want to play and eventually produce, that’s good enough for me.

Do you see any (dis) advantages of your particular identity such as gender/sexual orientation/ethnicity/political view or so when you find space for your art?

From a gender perspective, I see structural disadvantages in relation to me being not being a cis man. I can elaborate, but I’m tired and you’ve heard it all before.

 

In terms of sexual orientation, I am non-straight and it’s a contextual thing whether this is an advantage or disadvantage. In the context of Berlin’s techno scene, I’m pretty sure it’s working for me.

 

Ethnically, I’m a white, middle-class bitch who grew up in the safe havens of Sweden. There are so many battles I never had to fight. I am objectively privileged because society, which the electronic music scene is mirroring, has evolved in a way that favours the colour of my skin. This gives me advantages, whether I like it or not.

 

Politically, I don’t fucking know. I’m a leftist and a hypocrite by default because my ideological beliefs aren’t compatible with how The System functions. This is emotionally disadvantageous because I suffer from it every fucking day. Or not every day, sometimes I’m so deep into being The System’s lil bitch that I forget about it. Abolish capitalism, am I right?

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´ Safe spaces need to be safer. There are many incredible initiatives coming from all corners of Berlin’s club scene in regards to this. Still, even when your intentions and preparations are on point, it’s easy to fail in guaranteeing safety at the events you’re hosting because you can’t control individuals who attend (or work) your event and you can’t monitor their actions.`

Photo, styling: @edge.berlin  (Nazli Deniz Akgün)

What do you think still needs to improve in the music scene in Berlin? What would be the solutions for these improvements?

Safe spaces need to be safer. There are many incredible initiatives coming from all corners of Berlin’s club scene in regards to this. Still, even when your intentions and preparations are on point, it’s easy to fail in guaranteeing safety at the events you’re hosting because you can’t control individuals who attend (or work) your event and you can’t monitor their actions.You can obviously work hard to prevent dangerous situations, whether they’re related to sex, drugs, or discrimination of any kind, but no matter what you do, there will always be risks. To exemplify, I personally failed in creating a safe space at the last event I organized - someone overdosed on ketamine and, in all honesty, I didn’t have the right knowledge to deal with the situation. Even though it ended well, it made me think a lot about how fast shit can go down, and the seriousness of being responsible for taking action when it does. The learning is - I need to inform myself and acquire knowledge around this topic as well as collaborate with people who already possess that knowledge.

 

So what’s the solution to this? How can safe spaces actually be safe? Bish, if I knew, I’d be on it already. Maybe I can make an Instagram post about it to spread awareness or something. Jk. Thinking about it makes me feel a bit helpless which in itself is counter-productive. Wishfully speaking, the general level of self-awareness needs to improve from a lot of people, myself included. We should all reflect upon how our status, identity, and actions affect people around us. However, as much as you can’t control what people do at your parties, you also can’t control if they’ll be sitting down tonight with a cup of lavender tea and take a deep dive into their psyche to ask themselves tough questions that’ll teach them something about how their surrounding is impacted by their presence. 

 

The topic is overwhelming and scary because of its complexity and let’s be honest - we’re all animals who rather act on emotions and instincts instead of intellectual conclusions. I haven’t gotten too far with sorting my own problematic views, actions, and non-actions yet so imma making myself some lavender tea and start digging there. I’ll get back to you if I figure this shit out.

 What are the plans of Whattis and Bleak Narrative?

 

Whattis will continue playing clit-hardening techno and some of my own productions will see the light of the SoundCloud feed next year. I might get some plays, that would be cool. I will also be organising some hawt secret FLINTA* parties in Berlin with a friend of mine. Oh fuck, now they’re not so secret anymore. I’m so dumb lalala. Other than that, I hope I’ll be getting laid more in 2022 but I don’t own a crystal ball so it’s hard to predict. If you’re reading this and are a FLINTA* person who wants to fuck, just DM Ncounters on IG and they can give you my phone number. You can also do so if you just want to come to my secret parties, or why not combine the two?

 

Bleak Narrative’s future is bright af. We will continue being a borderless platform for queer club culture in all its senses, trying out some new stuff, and we will definitely focus more on organizing parties (yea, I luv parties) - both our own as well as in collaboration with other hawt collectives out there. Cya on da dance floor bitches. <3

Photos, styling: Edge Berlin

Editor: Nazli Deniz Akgün

NCOUNTERS, Berlin (2021)

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