DJ Souci, On How Music Collectives Could Change The Music Industry

Get ready to get a perspective shift when it comes to your idea of what a music collective can do.

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It’s a commonly understood fact that getting noticed in the music industry can sometimes be an uphill and isolating experience. That’s partly why we’re seeing a rise in communities and music collectives, and you could assume that Berlin-based No Shade is just your run-of-the-mill collective, but through a carefully planned mentorship program, they have a higher aim. Besides running club nigh, they also operate a training program for female and non-binary DJs and VJs with the intention of creating supportive and educational spaces for their mentees and crew members. 

By creating a sense of safety, community and collaboration in their course work, No Shade have made themselves a life-changing element for the mentees. More specifically, we’ll be highlighting the journey of the recently graduated mentees and what being part of the program has done for them both personally and professionally. 

On the festive night of the mentees graduation, we grabbed Souci. We wanted to hear a bit more about what being part of a music collective can do for you individually, as part of a community and even more importantly, what kind of changes an initiative like No Shade could do for the music industry in the long run. 

Souci has been a Berlin native for almost 15 years after moving from Belgrade. Her unstoppable need for self-reinvention and openness to new experiences is palpable in the ways she carries herself.

How did you find out that you wanted to dabble in music? When did that happen? 

I’ve actually known for a very long time. But due to the lack of resources and knowledge about how to get started, I didn’t really get into it until this year. I first started practising with a controller at home and then slowly started connecting with other women and like-minded people to start projects.

So we’ve stalked you a little bit on Instagram and we can tell that No Shade isn’t the only collective you’re part of. Can you tell us a bit more about that?

It’s funny, as soon as I started working with music, people somehow heard about me and about the style that I like to play. They reached out and were like “oh, we need you for this collective because we’ve got exactly the same vision as you!”. And that’s the kind of thing that I enjoy the most about all of these experiences; connecting with other people and feeling that collective support system. 

That was going to be my next question. Why do you think there’s such a big desire and need for working together and creating collectives in the music industry? 

It’s just very hard to do things by yourself. So if you come together with like-minded people and you start a collective, it’s more intimate. You’re even closer than friends, more like a family. You spend a lot of time together, organising, planning, doing releases, doing events or just helping each other out. You’re just following each other through it all. 

What’s your favorite thing about having been part of the No Shade program? 

I feel like it’s been much more than just mentoring. We’ve had individual mentoring, but also workshops in marketing, PR and things like the history of rave culture. So, we kind of got to know a lot more about the whole industry and just make friends along the way too. 

What do you feel like has been the biggest difference between before you started and to now, where you’re at the end of the process? Both creatively and personally?

I feel like I’ve developed a lot in the past months with No Shade. Especially when it comes to my practical skills and after having been a part of this program, I feel much more confident in what I’m doing. I feel that even more after getting the response I’ve had from my mentors and from my collective who’ve followed me in the training.

How do you think that diverse and inclusive communities like No Shade could change the music landscape? 

I hope that they change things substantially so that it’ll just be a normal thing to have more diversity and more inclusivity in the industry, which is still not the case. 

I feel like representation is still an issue and just the fact that No Shade exists shows me that other people who are from similar backgrounds to me can be empowered and do something similar.

The way I grew up it wasn’t even feasible for me to think that I could be creative in the music industry. Seeing all these developments that have happened have just encouraged me to try it out for myself. That’s exactly what I feel like programs like these are going to change in the long run. 

What are your words of wisdom to anyone considering applying for No Shade’s program?

My words of wisdom are that you should do anything that’s been on your mind –  just try it out! And in the end, if it turns out to not be for you, then it might allow you to shift into doing something else or you might develop from one creative process into another one. 

I started with DJ’ing, then I tried music production and now I’m just excited to see what happens next. I feel super empowered, confident, and strong and I also have a sense of belonging that I haven’t had before now that I’ve graduated. So go apply, try it even if you don’t get chosen, then do it yourself. Try to connect with people. I used to feel I was too old to do something like this, but it’s just not the case. It just doesn’t matter what age you are. No matter if you’re “too young” or if you’re “too old”, just go for whatever is on your mind. Your life is always in development. 

A huge thank you to Souci for the fantastic tunes and unstoppable attitude!


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