Part 1

Name: Patricia Baloge
Nationality: Ghanaian
Occupation: DJ, producer
Current Event: Patricia Baloge just released her debut single, Desire
Recommendations: The Alchemist by Paolo Cohelo, is definitely a classic but really helped me understand that life is journey that has to be enjoyed. I'd also recommend my new track called "Desire".

If you enjoyed this interview with Patricia Baloge, follow her on Facebook and Soundcloud to stay up to date on her gigs and releases.

When did you start DJing - and what or who were your early passions and influences? What what is about music and/or sound that drew you to it?

My encounter with the art of DJ'ing happened in the Winter of 2017. That's when I got myself a controller and began to teach myself. After that, I got to perform my very first club gig in June 2018. Years prior to the beginning of my relationship with DJ'ing, I had been an avid listener of South African House music and had been drawn to the sounds of Black Coffee, DJ Sbu, Liquideep and many others. Of course, that naturally led me to expand my ear to deep house and progressive house music. What really got me into that fully varied genre, is the story telling through sounds. I like to say that to listen to house music you need to have patience, passion and you need to love surprises. When I'm vibing to an electronic track I always wait to see how I'm going to be surprised by the producer with either a kick, a drum, a very unique melody or sound. When that happens, that's when to me it becomes more than just music. That's when it becomes spiritual and I get to really connect with the music on a higher level.

For most artists, originality is first preceded by a phase of learning and, often, emulating others. What was this like for you? How would you describe your own development as an artist and the transition towards your own voice? What is the the relationship between copying, learning and your own creativity?

It's very true that we learn by copying others and then find our own voice within the process. In my case, the emulating part was and still is mostly done on a technical level. I like to see how others do what they do so that I can implement it in my work, and have it evolve to make it my own. With that being said, I'm very diligent about making sure that my craft is representative of my unique perspective when it comes to the substance of what I deliver creatively and sonically. When it comes to the substance I'd also say that it's intuitive, feeling oriented and a very subjective process. Which makes the end product completely unique.

What were some of the main challenges and goals when starting out as a DJ and how have they changed over time? What is it about DJing, compared to, say, producing your own music, that makes it interesting for you?

I realized over time that there are different types of Dj's. Some DJ's are great with being put in an environment, reading the crowd and delivering what they believe the crowd wants. I see DJ'ing a bit differently. To me it's an art form that allows me to not only express my world but also to give the crowd a unique experience with sounds that they would probably have never heard if they hadn't come to my show. I want them to leave and say "Damn! What was that?! I was good! It was different." That's how the Dj's I admire make me feel and that's something nobody can copy.

I'd say that the challenge on this journey is to play in spaces for souls that are willing to open up to new sonic experiences and fully connect with me for a time of a set. It's a challenge that makes Dj'ing interesting because I've always been on the quest to connect with kindred spirits, and now I have a tool that can help me do just that. Another factor that makes me love DJ'ing is finding new tracks that open me up to new emotions and I love being able to share these tracks with the World. Music is my healer and now I get to help heal the world with sounds that help me.

How would you define the job and describe the influence of the DJ? How are the experience and the music transformed through your work?

The Dj helps spread music of various artists in the world, which allows us to experience different scopes of emotions that elevate our consciousness and the awareness of ourselves. As I have progressed over time, the sounds and my mixing style have progressed as well. When I began, I was more focused on curating good music. Now I'm still focused on curating good music but mixing and blending the sounds has also become something I put much more energy and passion in. It has also become super important for me to tell a story with each set if I have the predisposition to do so.

What was your first set-up as DJ like? How and for what reasons has your set-up evolved over the years and what are currently some of the most important pieces of gear for you?

I remember that for my first gigs I'd bring my own controller, the Serato SB2 because that's the controller on which I learned and felt comfortable playing on. Then I realized that I wanted to make this a career so I decided to learn how to use a CDJ properly and now I believe I can play on almost everything. The most important piece of gear for me is the music in a USB stick, a mixer and my headphones.

How do you make use of technology? In terms of the feedback mechanism between technology and creativity, what do humans excel at, what do machines excel at?

Well, I'd say that technology is primordial in todays world. Technology is with me almost all the time and has become my companion. Whether it is to create sounds on my phone or write a song or curate tracks wherever I am, technology has become an extension of me to a pretty high degree. Humans excel at allowing space for creativity and channeling ideas. Technology is there to transform these ideas into something tangible that others can grasp and enjoy. As much as we're learning the negative effects of technology in our current society, it is also undeniable that it can help us reach our highest potential when used right.

Could you take us through a day in your life, from a possible morning routine through to your work? Do you have a fixed schedule? How do life and creativity feed back into each other - do you separate them or instead try to make them blend seamlessly?

Aside from music I have a jewellery line called Madame Baloge. That was my first creative baby that takes my time when I'm not working on something music related. Right now we're in a transitional process of going from accessories that were handmade at my home studio to a manufacturing studio in Bali, so I'm currently spending my time on product development and design.

My mornings are simple. I wake up, get ready and start my day. I don't have a fixed schedule as everyday requires me to focus on different tasks. I chose a creative life so I do feel like life and work are blended and I like it that way. All the different activities I do definitely feeds off each other. Whatever I learn in one field helps me realize something new about myself and therefore gets me to apply slight changes in the other. Being able to switch from fashion to music and vice versa helps me take a break and get back to whatever I have to do with a fresh mind. It's a great recipe for people like me who can get bored a little easily at times.

Let's say you have a gig coming up tonight. What does your approach look like – from selecting the material and preparing for, opening and then building a set?

To me building the set is a very crucial part in which I enjoy putting a lot of energy. First I think about the venue and about the vibe and environment I want to create through the delivery of my set. I then go over the list of all my tracks by category and begin to pick what fits the mood I'm trying to convey. That to me is also a time I use to bring in new gems I recently discovered. After I have a nice list of good tracks I pick the ones that speak to me the most at the moment and remove the rest. Then comes the fun part. Putting the story together and building the sonic experience by putting the tracks in an order that I believe will fit best for the story I'm trying to tell.

Can you describe your state of mind during a DJ set? What supports this ideal state of mind and what are distractions? Are there strategies to enter into this state more easily?

During a DJ set I tend to feel free and connected to the sound on a whole new level. At that moment it's no longer about me and the music, but it's about how me and the music are going to serve the people in the crowd and get them to have the time of their lives. That ideal state of mind is supported by great preparation and my full presence.

What are some of the considerations that go into deciding which track to play next? What makes two tracks a good fit? How far do you tend to plan ahead during a set?

First, it has to be coherent in terms of key so that it flows in the ear of the listener. Other than that it all stems from a feeling. It's an intuitive process that I cannot really explain.

If I have time, sometimes I begin planing a week ahead and I keep building until the day arrives.

Would you say you see DJing as improvisation? As composition in the moment? Or as something entirely different from these terms?

I think every DJ is different and every phase in the career of DJ affects the way that DJ delivers their vision. For me, at this stage I enjoy being prepared. Then if there is room to improvise because I got a longer set than anticipated, I have fun and do so. I might end up fully improvising in the future but right now this is what works for me.

How do playing music at home and presenting it in the club compare and relate? What can be achieved through them, respectively, and what do you personally draw from both?

I like to take it as getting to test my medicine before I share it. When I am home playing I get to experience the sound, elaborate on how to deliver it, feel it, get excited about it and visualize myself playing it out. Playing at home allows me to strengthen the relationship between me and my sound. It helps me see and decide how I can evolve and bring something new to shape the evolution of my delivery.

How would you describe the relationship between your choices and goals as a DJ and the expectations, desires and feedback of the audience? How does this relationship manifest itself during a performance and how do you concretely tap into it?

The audience is there to have a good time and be drawn to the present moment through incredible beats. I know that's happening when I see people move happily and dance. When a set is going greatly and people are having fun I know the connection between me and the crowd has been established and it give me more energy and excitement to keep going.

Especially thanks to the storage facilities of digital media, DJ sets could potentially go on forever. Other than closing time, what marks the end of a DJ performance for you? What are the most satisfying conclusions to a set?

In an ideal world what marks the end of a set is the sun rising after a whole night of people dancing. The most satisfying conclusion to a set? Everyone sweating from dancing so much!

Art can be a purpose in its own right, but it can also directly feed back into everyday life, take on a social and political role and lead to more engagement. Can you describe your approach to art and being an artist?

Being raised in a society that has had for agenda to make everybody the same, for the sole purpose of serving those who are ranked high up, has made being an artist a political statement. A while ago I came to the understanding that if I wanted to contribute in changing the world, I could not be like it. So I made the promise to myself to find my truth and make sure I live by it to the fullest.

It's a constant fight because we are always bombarded by information that has the potential to stir us away from ourselves and our purpose. My belief is that we were put on Earth to help raise the vibrations and the best way to do so is to find our purpose in who we truly are. Once we do, we are then armed to really serve the world from our heart space.