From Avici to Axwell, to the likes of Henrik B to Ida Engberg, Stockholm is home to many a superb DJ, being one of Europe’s Mecca’s for aspiring DJ’s and producers. With Stockholm’s amazing community of emerging artists it was a treat to stumble across one very talented aspiring DJ Zoë Song as she introduced us to her new music.
Photograph By: Reine Järletun
This is your first featured interview right? And it’s amazing to have you! But tell us a bit about Zoe Song?
ZS: I’m from Stockholm, Sweden and I got into music pretty late in life. I’m 32 now and today, you can find many DJs and producers that are half my age. I don’t see my age as an obstacle though. This business, just like any entertainment business, can be very age focused, but the music is what’s important. I started playing the piano when I was 7 and music has always been a natural part of my life.
Were you born in Stockholm?
ZS: Yes, actually technically I was born in Korea. But I’ve lived in Sweden since I was a baby and I usually tell people that I was born in Sweden because it’s how I feel, I mean I’ve been here since I was four months old. People tend to think I’m joking when I tell them I from Sweden. There’s a common misconception that all Swedish people are blonde, and yes some of them are, but not everyone, haha.
You worked in Radio for a short while, what prompted the transition from radio to DJ?
ZS: I’ve always seen myself as a DJ, doing radio has just been a fun side project, it’s a good complement to DJ-ing, to get the experience of doing radio, and you can reach out to so many more people all over the world via radio, than if you were to just DJ in your local club.
The life of a DJ on the road can be demanding, so what is the first track you listen to to get your day started off right?
ZS: Usually the first thing I do in the morning is to listen to my latest track, to check if the mix sounds right etc. When you wake up after a good night’s sleep your ears are fresh and it’s easy to pinpoint what could be improved. But I don’t always just listen to my own stuff. I listen to both trance music and other genres as well. Sometimes listening to music that is different from your “own” genre can be rewarding as you get inspiration from a totally different source, which can lead to interesting results.
Photograph By: Aje Hedlund
…I just sat down and started to play around with different sounds, and suddenly realized that ‘Wow’, this sounds pretty cool.
– Zoe Song
ZS: I would say my genre is actually trance. I’ve been a lot into Progressive House music, but Trance feels more natural to me. As a DJ I mix both house, techno and trance. But as a producer and artist I focus mainly on trance these days. It’s where my heart is.
ZS: I’ve collaborated with several musicians and producers through different genres, but collaborations are not always easy and even though some collab’s have turned out great, many other projects have been a total failure where we just didn’t get along. Sometimes you have different ways of working and thinking, and it can be hard to find a golden middle way.
Isn’t Stockholm quite a competitive place for DJ’s?
ZS: Oh yes, indeed. Sweden, as you probably know, exports a lot of music, and we have some very talented musicians and producers from Sweden. Stockholm’s rave culture is still alive and growing, and there are a lot of DJs, especially in the electronic dance music genre. But it can also be a good thing. Together we’re like a family, a community, and we can help each other and support each other.
Where was your last gig?
ZS: In Stockholm, Sweden. I keep a low profile these days when it comes to gigs, because I’m focusing 100% on producing now, to gather a lot of own material to play on future gigs.
What Dj’s have you supported?
The most significant would probably be Mark Sherry. He was booked for a club gig at a well-known venue in Stockholm called the Slaughterhouse, along with the techno hero Gary Beck, of whom, by the way, I am a big fan of too, and they needed someone to warm up. I and Jonas Hornblad, another Swedish Trance artist, was asked to warm up, and it was great fun. Psy Trance is fairly big in Stockholm at least, but I have a feeling that it’s not as common that the people where I come from listen to Progressive Trance, so I don’t get to play that genre very often here at the local clubs.
Tell us about your Be Quiet EP?
ZS: The main track, My Little Secret, came together by chance. That’s how most of my songs come together. I just sat down and started to play around with different sounds, and suddenly realized that ‘Wow’, this sounds pretty cool, so I finished it and sent it to Bonzai, the legendary record label with a lot of sub-labels. I never thought I’d hear back from them, but they liked it. It’s the type of track that you’d play mid set at a hot sweaty night club, not so much suited for big arena gigs, but perfect for intimate local club gigs.
What can we look forward to hearing on ‘Be Quiet?
It’s a mini EP, containing the main track I just mentioned, My Little Secret, and another track called Hush Hush. Hush Hush was kind of a B side project I worked on but never really finished. Then as I got My Little Secret finished it kind of struck me that those two tracks would fit good together on an EP, and then I finished it in zero time. My Little Secret is more energetic and direct, whereas Hush Hush is more low key and the kind of track you could play in the beginning of a set as well as in the middle or in the end of a set. It can fit everywhere. Kind of like your favorite dress – it goes with everything.
Photograph By: Magnus Leppäniemi