Resom is perceptive. Her well-roundedness, whether it be on the musical, social, or political fronts, reflects a certain resonance of hers, like a wavelength she shares with the community around her. Resom takes what she does seriously, but not so much so that there’s any semblance of departure from her roots. She’s true to herself.
Resom has been DJing for the better part of fifteen years. We had a long conversation about her life and music, spanning from her early days in Leipzig to her first time playing at Tresor and current residency at ://about blank. This was a thorough interview, over an hour of which was recorded, so I’ve broken it up into three parts. Part one addresses origins. As much as I’d like to go on about Resom’s resonance, no one could say the following better than Resom herself.
When did you realize you wanted to make music your life?
It was always there. Everything is about music. Honestly, I don’t understand why people are not into music. For me, it’s always been a big part. I grew up with music. My parents had a big record selection; I listened to their weird music sometimes, as well as their popular music. We had a tape recorder and a TV, so I was recording everything from the TV. This is getting more into the east German way, but I think it was the same in the west. People just recorded stuff from TV as well as from radio. We started to do mixtapes. I think this is something very 80s, for my generation. There was no internet. So you were forced to listen to the media to which you had contact, like radio and TV. There wasn’t a point where I thought, “ok, I want to do my thing about music.” I tried different things, but in the end I always came back to the music.
When did you start DJing?
I did music at school parties. Then I did radio. Then I started to do field recordings and mix them on the radio with some radio shows I did. I think I started DJing in the early 2000s. I moved into a house project in Leipzig where there were other DJs. All of my friends were completely into music, as well. I think my first bigger gig was in 2003 at Conne Island in Leipzig.
Who were your biggest inspirations when you started?
Music. I don’t have one special person or one special track that inspires me. Music inspires me. I’m really bad with names. I cannot remember names. That’s why I will stick with vinyl; I’m more of a visual person when it comes to remembering things. Of course, there are people from my past that I saw DJing who were super amazing. There are some people in Leipzig as well as in Berlin and the whole world… of course there are a lot of singers like Stevie Wonder who really impress me with their music. Manfred Krug, for example, is a German soul singer from the east of Germany who was pretty important for the German music scene. But he’s more famous for his acting.
I was always more into jazz and soul. Nirvana was really important to me, and stuff like that. Depeche Mode. It’s not about genres. I don’t really care for that. You can make music with anything. It’s about making the rhythm. But of course it was the music of the time I started to DJ. Plaid, Autechre, Aphex Twin, all the weird Warp and Rephlex stuff, a lot of dark sounds, polyrhythmic stuff and Punk.
Did you ever have the realization that you would need to make sacrifices in other parts of your life to pursue a career in music?
The point is that I never intended to make a career out of it. Sometimes I was surprised to hear the reactions of other people when they saw me play. They were completely flushed. But I’m just a DJ, I’m just playing other people’s tracks. I always try to give feedback to those people who make the music. I’m just a presenter. I don’t even know what makes me special compared to other people. Of course, there are so many good DJs. So many. I wouldn’t even know where to start with listing names. I was always serious about playing music and always took every chance I could take. Of course there’s a moment where you feel like you don’t want to do it for free anymore—because people don’t show enough respect then—and this gave me a situation where people start to think you’re getting commercial. But that’s not true. I’m still playing at ://about blank for a lower fee. I do it because it’s my home and I feel connected to it completely. It’s simply more a thing that I get into a situation where I feel more comfortable. When I’m into that, I don’t really care about how much I get paid, or stuff like that. If I’m comfortable, then it’s good.
Of course, we all have our borders. And for myself, I have my borders. I always try to expand them. That’s everyday life. But it’s very important aswell, so experience the stuff within the borders too—focus on the inner self.
Tell us about your roots in Berlin.
The first club I played in Berlin? That was actually Tresor. The old Tresor. It was definitely one of the worst sets I ever played. I was invited to play the chill out floor, or the +4Bar, and it was pretty funny because they had these old Vestax turntables with the straight tonearm. They had this button where you couldn’t pitch the velocity anymore. It was pressed. And I didn’t know that. So I was trying to mix and beatmatch and it didn’t work. Someone pressed the button, and the record was just flying off. I thought, “fucking hell! What is that?” Someone could have told me. I felt so bad. But that was back in 2003. A long time ago. I was booked at a lot of private parties after that. And venues that don’t exist anymore.
What are your favorite clubs in Berlin?
://about blank. It’s definitely my place to be. I like the people who run it. I like their policy. I like the way they do the club thing. And I do really like the sound. They try to improve. When any of the residents say anything about the sound, like when there is a problem or a way to improve it, they really try to do that. I like to play at Panorama Bar. It’s very special. Tresor, Globus, is nice and the sound is really amazing. And the audience is very open-minded most of the time. And it’s always packed. When you play on a Monday evening for a thousand people it’s fucking amazing. They’re into it, and they come early, and they really want to dance. Another favourite Spot is Ohm for me.
Globally, I love De School in Amsterdam. I’ve played there twice now and it’s simply out of this world. For me, it’s next level. It’s not only about the soundsystem or the way to play there, it’s about everything around it. The way they do it is super professional. They really try to look into your eyes. There’s not this exclusivity with “ah, you’re the artist.” I’m with the crowd. That’s what’s most important to me. For me, the person at the door or the person at the bar or the person cooking are at the same level as I am. I try not to see the difference. To say hi to the doorkeepers is the most important thing you can do. Because you say hello and you say goodbye. They’re the first and the last person.
I really enjoyed playing a small venue called Rye Wax in London. It’s super small. But it’s really well made. I liked playing there for a collective called Siren. It’s a feminist collective. They’re really cool because they actually do things. Robert Johnson is really nice to play at. And Leipzig of course. Conne Island is super good, as well as IfZ. And Pudel Club in Hamburg!