TSL Podcast Warm-Up: QASH

SAVVAS STAVROU (1)
photo by: Savvas Stavrou

On this week’s TSL Podcast warm-up, Cyprus-raised and now, London-based Qash talks to us about her career, which already includes gigs alongside top DJs, such as Dixon and DJ Koze.

Qash, aka Marianna Xenophontos, was born in Cyprus in 1986. It would not be a cliché to claim that she was always into the music as, from a young age, she learned to play the piano and the guitar. Her nickname is a result of how her friends used to call her when she was still at school. However, we assume that they never imagined that this name would be printed on flyers of clubs in London and others in Europe, as well. And probably, neither did she!

“Djing was not a decision, it was something that happened naturally. I was always into music and growing up, I learnt to play the piano and later, the guitar. Gradually, I discovered electronic music and began to mix, initially as a bedroom dj and at house parties and then, when I moved to London in 2011, I started to upload my first mixes on soundcloud. Like everyone else, after creating a good music collection and feeling confident enough, I began to try to make my way into clubs. The scene in London is a little odd. There are incredible parties, but there are not enough clubs and bars that play the kind of music I want to. Furthermore, the competition is very high and the club owners who would take the risk to give a chance to a rising dj are only a few. At that point, I came across Contender, which unlike other events that prefer mostly big names, gives an opportunity to new artists to show their abilities and skills. So, in September 2012, I played my debut set in London and kept working hard to improve, until I played in more, bigger events and earned my place as a resident dj of We Concur, which organizes some of the best parties in London. On NYE, I was in the same lineup with Dixon, DJ Koze and Daphni, something that I could not have even imagined a few years ago. Djing is a way of life for me. It’s my passion and the best way to express myself”


SAVVAS STAVROU (2)photo by: Savvas Stavrou

Her second visit to Berlin and first ever to Berghain was really important for her. According to Qash, the experience affected her both in terms of what she was mixing, as well as in terms of how she was doing it.

“It is no coincidence that Berghain is considered the temple of techno. That weekend, I went there twice, on Saturday morning and Sunday evening. On Sunday, Kristian from Ame was playing at Panorama Bar from 9 pm until 1 am… It was one of the best parties I’ve ever been to in my life! The vibe was fantastic and the house music Kristian was playing was something new for me, blending progressive elements, soul and disco, always with the characteristic 4/4 rhythm of house, which was like guiding the people on the dancefloor. This was also my first acquaintance with Innervisions, the German label founded by Ame and Dixon. These two artists definitely influenced me more than anyone else in the way I play, the tracks I choose and the way I mix. Listening to Dixon’s six-hour sets, I adopted a more patient style that lets the tracks unveil all their aspects and gives the audience the feeling that what they hear is a piece of a larger puzzle, a story with a beginning, a middle and an end”

ANTONIO CAVALIERI 1photo by: Antonio Cavalieri

Qash has already played opening sets in big events, appearing before headliners whose names could create great expectations from any warm-up dj, so she seems to know this art, as she likes to call it. Besides, a warm-up set is a kind of appetizer before the main part of the party and has to be done right.

“Playing opening sets is a very difficult art and something that not anyone can do. I am glad to know how to put people in the right mood while they are eager to hear the headliner. Besides, the warm-up set I did for the first We Concur party is one of my favorites”

she says.

Qash OT5D

Ambitious but conscious, Qash has chosen London as her base, even if she knows how difficult and demanding its scene is. However, this does not seem to discourage her.

“I generally think that the most difficult thing is to make the step from playing warm-up sets to headline sets. This has to do with how the scene works in London, as I described above. In other places I have played, people are more keen to listen to new artists, while in London, a city that operates under capitalism, people like to get what they pay for. So, the breakthrough is coming a little bit slower. But as we said, hard work and patience are slowly beginning to pay off”

ANTONIO CAVALIERI 2photo by: Antonio Cavalieri

She seems to be an artist with personality and a talent no one can ignore. Although these two factors are key to succeeding behind the decks, self-preparation is very important, as well. How does Qash prepare herself before her gigs?

“Surely with a good sleep (as much as possible) the night before and a good meal just before the gig! Generally, I do not have a ritual, as every gig is different. I shortlist some tracks according to my audience, the venue, the time of the day etc… However, which of them I actually select and the order in which I mix them is something I decide after I push the play button for the first time”

Many clubbers from all over the world have already danced to Qash’s rhythm. Is there a country she found really special due to its clubbers?

“I don’t believe the country affects the way people react to the music. I believe in the music I play, so I expect the same reaction everywhere. When the music is good, the vibe is good, too”

ANTONIO CAVALIERI 3
photo by: Antonio Cavalieri

Her gig alongside Alex.Do and Ryan Davis at Pickle Factory (London) on January 15th was the first from the many more to come, such as that in Ritter Butzke (Berlin) on February 4th. 

“This year, I want to produce my own tracks. I’m already working on a remix of Fever Ray and every time I tested it, it worked really well. So, I am looking forward to finishing it and sharing it with the world!”

Qash We Concur 3

On January 10th, Qash recorded her first podcast for 2016, exclusively for Blank Music. Listen to it here.

Find Qash on facebook and soundcloud!

Thank you Qash!

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