DASCO is a character who embodies everything we hold dear about electronic music. A passionate DJ, producer and label owner, she first found her feet in Tel Aviv before moving to Berlin a few years ago. It’s a move that’s paid off handsomely too; quickly gaining a reputation as one of Berlin’s most exciting DJs, she recently launched her label (the excellent Bisexuality Exists), and even played Panorama Bar alongside regulars such as Nick Hoppner, Virginia and Oracy. As DASCO says, “My only mission in this world is to share my energy and messages with others and lift them up through my music”. All things considered, it’s a role she’s fulfilling with rich aplomb. We checked in with her recently to chat about the Panorama Bar gig, dealing with negativity, her aforementioned label and much more besides…
Let’s start by talking about your debut in Panorama Bar just last week. How was that?
Panorama Bar was absolutely amazing! I had such a beautiful time. I was surrounded by many friends (some of them even came specially from Tel Aviv). The crowd showed me a lot of love and I felt at home, calm and happy 🙂
Is it somewhere you visited a lot previously? What are some of your favourite memories of the place?
Yeah for sure, ever since I moved to Berlin it’s my favorite club. Also, my gang: Roi Perez, David Elimelech, Partok and Dr Rubinstein play there quite often so if I’m in Berlin the same weekend I usually go there to have a dance and spread some happiness on the dancefloor . One of my favourite memories of the place happened when I just played there and pressed play on the first track. It was like “here we go, let’s do it”. It felt like everything connected so beautifully together. It made me feel so happy to see everyone smiling and dancing together. You could definitely feel the magical energy in the air..
Was there one track or moment that really stood out from your set?
Yes. It was when I played my track “Get High With Me”. It was very emotional for me because I saw the enthusiasm of the crowd when I played it. Some of them even sang the lyrics together with me. It was like they were saying “yeah we wanna get high with you..” it was so beautiful! Even now when I remember this and write to you about it I get emotional again. It means so much to me to see the effect of my music on the people, how it makes them happy, loving, united, dancing, smiling, celebrating… It gives so much meaning to my life and inspires me to keep doing what I do.
Tell us a bit about your beginnings in electronic music; was it a form of escapism for you? What did you love so much about it?
]Well, I have a gay brother who is a bit older than me (he even came to my Panorama Bar gig) and when I was young he took me to some queer parties in Tel Aviv. This was when I fell in love with the clubbing scene and electronic music. The parties in Tel Aviv around that time were amazing and they brought so many good DJss from abroad who played mostly New York House & Tribal House like Danny Tenaglia, Victor Calderon, Peter Rauhofer and so on. I was drawn to it right away.
Do you remember your first clubnnight? Were you instantly transfixed?
Yes, it is something I will never forget. I was about 16 years old when my brother took me to this queer party in Tel Aviv which unfortunately doesn’t exist anymore. I saw there so many people dancing together to the sounds of this rhythmical House music which was new to me. The atmosphere was very liberated, people dancing without their shirts, they could do what they want and be what they want without anyone judging or criticising them. The feeling of freedom to express yourself as you like, the lights, the performers… as a young girl it was something I never saw before. I was amazed and immediately fell in love.
Tell us a bit about your early experiences as a DJ in Tel Aviv. Did you ever view being a woman as an obstacle to becoming a full-time DJ? Did it take an extra inner-strength to be accepted do you think?
Definitely. Tel Aviv is not the best place for a female DJ (many female DJs there will tell you the same). If you are a woman, they just don’t take you seriously enough. The people who run the clubs, the promoters and so on most of them are males and it’s like a men’s clique. I understood it right away when I first started to DJ there in 2013 and then the year after, this was one of the reasons why I decided to leave Tel Aviv and move to Berlin where you can feel much more equality. Unfortunately the situation today in Tel Aviv hasn’t changed much. It’s quite common to see festival lineups with maybe 20% female DJs or sometimes even there are only men in the lineup. Sometimes they can even book two artists more or less at the same level for the same party, one is female and one is male and the male DJ fee can be double than the female fee. You can see it also in other fields unfortunately, not only in music. Hopefully the situation there will change soon otherwise I guess many good female DJs will have to leave Israel in order they can receive the chance they deserve.
Why do you think women in general are not as accepted in the scene? There are so many great female artists now, from Margaret Dygas to Honey Dijon to Sonja Moonear to Tama Sumo… I could name loads more. But still there seems to be an issue?
Unfortunately there are still many misogynists in the world. The situation is slightly better than before though we still have a long way to go…
Does electronic music take on a more political edge in Israel? Are people there wary that not everybody in the region is granted the same freedom to dance and express themselves?
To be honest, My homebase is in Berlin, I left Israel in 2014 and even though I go there sometimes, I’m not in the loop anymore with what is going on in this case.
As an international touring DJ, is this something that you are acutely aware of? Are you always conscious that you’re representing your country when you play abroad? Or are there other more important considerations?
I see myself more as a “person of the world” than a presenter of a certain country. For me the music talks, not the place I’m coming from. My goal is to make people happy, to make them come together and feel accepted regardless of where they are coming from.
Speaking of, let’s talk a bit about femininity and your label, Bisexuality Exists. What’s the thinking behind the name? And why is this an important issue to highlight?
As a bisexual, it’s important to me to campaign against biphobia and bi-erasure and normalise bisexuality in today’s society. I wanna show people that it isn’t black or white, there are so many beautiful colours in between… I called my label Bisexuality Exists so it’s like “in your face”. Don’t tell me I need to decide and pick a side or that this is just a phase. It’s here and it exists.
Do you think enough is being done to make the electronic music scene a safe space for marginalised people? What would you do to improve it? Or is that too big a question to answer here?
I feel that in the last few years there is more awareness than before and there has been some progress though still there are things to improve. Unfortunately, not to every club you can call a safe space. To improve it I think it’s a good idea to give more exposure and visibility, maybe also to employ a diverse team at the venue.
Do you think these are issues generally confined to more ‘business techno’ events? Or are they issues that pervade the scene as a whole?
Unfortunately these issues can happen everywhere and not only in the music scene but also in daily life.
In terms of artists who push a social and political agenda, who do you look up to inside and outside of music?
I really like Moby. He is not only a brilliant musician in my opinion but also an animal rights activist. Veganism changed my life and it is one of the best things that ever happened to me, physically and spiritually. I’m also very inspired by Gill Scott Heron (RIP); he was quite brilliant at transferring messages through his beautiful music.
I noticed you received a lot of negative feedback on a recent video you did for Beatport, where you were criticised for dancing! As a DJ, this must be incredible! What advice do you give to other female DJs suffering from the same totally unnecessary critique?
My advice to other female DJs is just do what you feel like, be free, enjoy yourself, don’t let anyone bring you down or turn off your light, keep shining, keep doing your thing and don’t let anything distract you from your goals and ambitions.
We have a voice, we are powerful. We have the right to be free to do what we want to do and go against patriarchal dictates. A woman can dance as much as she wants, dress (or not dress) how she wants, she doesn’t need to cover herself or be ashamed about her body, she can smile and enjoy herself and her femininity as much as she wants, as long as she wants, everywhere she wants.
You have seemed to enjoy some great gigs recently too. Can you tell us a bit about them and what made them so special?
That’s true. Apart from the Panorama Bar gig last month, I also had a really great time at Into The Woods Festival in the Netherlands. I played the spot before DJ Boring who did the closing and it was so much fun! The location was dope and the crowd was so lovely and into the music. In general, I totally vibe with Dutch people as they are so pleasant and calm and being around them relaxes me. They also often smile at one another and I just love this kind of energy. I also had two really nice gigs in Italy this summer. One in Polifonic Festival and the other was in a beautiful location called Masseria Wave together with the amazing Italian artist Protopapa. It was so beautiful to see straight and queer people mixing togehter celebrating love and freedom.
Before we go, we wanted to say that we love your latest releases and you’re in a really rich vein of form right now! Can you tell us a bit about where you’re at with the label, the releases and what more we can expect from you soon?
First of all, thank you! I’m happy that you like my releases. At the moment I’m working on new music which I will release on my own label as well as on other labels. Later this year I have a new record coming out on Shall Not Fade Records called “Powerful Woman” which talks about women empowerment. As I’m a perfectionist I can be quite slow sometimes with releasing new music. For me it’s about the quality more than the quantity. I see my music as a way to transfer messages to the world, messages of positiveness, unity and love.
I also really like using my own vocals in my music.
I have a dream one day to play live, to bring with me my little Microkorg Keyboard and Microphone to the party, to play and sing live together with the crowd. Time will tell when and where exactly it will happen…