JACKIE O BERLIN
Terra Incognita II – Caleesi
After making a resounding splash on the music scene in Europe, she is setting out with the aim of spreading her love on the planetary level.
I have no idea which technology or method one should be using to be a "real" musician... It's more whether one can take others on a journey of one's own making.
Berlin-based and world-grown, Caleesi artfully combines weighty bass lines with stirring rhythms and then imbues her groovy compounds with an impassioned and inspiring ambience. Fashioned this way, her sonic nebulae engender and envelop vast dreamspaces for the audience to explore, where an adventurer, wandering through ambiguous landscapes in amazement, inevitably and very soon gets lost pleasantly disoriented by the melodies coming from all over the world. Caleesi has showcased her style in many festivals and clubs this year, including Fusion and KaterBlau. After making a resounding splash on the music scene in Europe, she is setting out with the aim of spreading her love on the planetary level.

With some 50+ albums to his name, Brian Eno claims not to be a musician. What does this mean? Or, rather, what does it mean to be a musician in your particular case?

I have no idea which technology or method one should be using to be a "real" musician. Musicians can be producers, street buskers, DJs, live jammers, and, above of all, those who can tell a story through music. How – it doesn't really matter. It's more whether one can take others on a journey of one's own making. There are lots of people arguing that DJs aren't DJs unless they play vinyl, producers aren't live acts unless they play analog, etc. But at the end of the day, what matters is what comes out of the speakers and whether people respond to it or not.

Now when you have established yourself in your very peculiar style and sound, do you feel some confining pressure of expectations from the audience? Do you think of it at all when producing new music or preparing a set?

In the beginning, I felt a lot of pressure to curate my own sound, something that combines all of my interests without restricting myself in terms of genre, beats per minute, vibe etc. But it was mostly pressure that came from within myself. I think there might have been a time when people expected me to play sets that are like my podcasts – and I drove myself crazy trying to play a perfect set. But now I'm comfortable to just read the crowd, the mood and play music that allows me to take people on a trip. It can start slow and build itself up, or it can be a banging set that's full of emotion, or a meditative, atmospheric set for a fireside gathering. It depends on the situation and the vibe, the type and amount of energy emitted by people, whether the sun is up or down, and so on.

Do you have a passion for any other types of music aside from what you are usually playing? Something you would not put in your mixes for all practical purposes, but which you value for some reason nevertheless?

I don't have now much time to listen to other types of music – just the stuff I would play myself. I'm constantly looking for new tracks and new sounds and what I play usually reflects what I'm listening to. I recently discovered my love for disco after hearing RSS Disco play live for the first time. That opened up a whole new world which previously I was completely ignoring.

What are your studio habits when making or remaking music?

Over the years I've been making some tracks with good friends such as Ninze and Arutani, but this it's mostly me jamming on the instruments or controllers and the other person handling the software side. Recently, I have ventured into learning how to produce properly and now I am messing around with some first tracks of mine own. Usually, it starts with a dominant element in my head, like a synth line or a melody, and then I take it from there, adding more and more elements along the way.

What was the first ever venue you played? What brought you there and what did you take from it?

My first proper gig was a b2b set with Shepherd at Rummels Bucht. A friend of a friend heard my first set that I uploaded and booked us for a slot at his party. It was the shortest gig I've ever played – 1 hour! – but lots of friends got up early and came to support us. We were so nervous we almost vomited :). What I learned that day is not to wallow in panic before the gig. And also that I need 2 or, better yet, 3 hours to really tell my story.

You play around the world now. What is your most exciting place and what so special about it?

I've played some very memorable gigs that I can't put in any ranking. But some of the ones that stick out are: a 5 hour set in the Jordanian desert at a rave in Wadi Rum amongst the most beautiful scenery you can imagine. It was super special also because my brother tagged along and heard me play for the first time ever. Another special place to play was Heliodora Festival in Brazil, a hippie–hedonistic, psychedelic experience highlighted by a beautiful waterfall at the venue. I was playing for a crowd that included some amazing artists that I really admire – so of course that was really special for me personally. And last but not least, I'll never forget when I played in the ruins of a roofless chapel in the middle of the forest outside of Berlin, at a beautiful little festival organised by truly creative people.

Yes, this is what and who it's all about in the end.

► SoundCloud: Herzfrequenz von Caleesi