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Mobilegirl’s recent set at Loom festival in Barcelona at the 360 stage was disruptive and surprising – confidently laying down mixes of old hits. Her sets mark a required move away from heteronormative male-dominated vocals, as well as trying to be cool. Meanwhile, her EP Poise stands alone as a zen place to escape to, featuring looping soothing synths. Mobilegirl’s grounding in multidisciplinary art across digital production – computing, graphics and producing – informs her self-aware sets and tracks. If there’s a code to music, she’s got it. We discuss finding balance in unexpected places.
You are well established in the Berlin scene, playing internationally and part of the New York-based collective Discwoman. How would you describe your experience rising in the world of electronic music?
It’s quite overwhelming in a lot of ways. It’s allowed me to see so many places I’ve wanted to see as well as people. And the latter is really what fills me with so much excitement. This sounds so corny but I’m certainly using music as a means to connect with people. It makes all the exhaustion that comes with travelling and exposure really worth it.
For your i-D tape, you said you started out wanting to make a mix for “lying on the bathroom floor” but couldn’t stay away from drums. Why would we be lying on the bathroom floor in the first place?
If a bathroom is clean, it has such calm energy. You get ready for the day there, freshen up, prepare to go to sleep. There’s a tendency you’re naked. There’s an importance and vulnerability to it all. I used to love just lying down on a towel after taking a shower for hours sometimes and listen to music. That would be the most tranquil time.
The album artwork you created for Poise is a 3D stylization of the Ying-Yang symbol. Is this a reference to finding balance?
Yes. I guess the name of the EP hints to that a bit, too. I wanted to put out something as my first release that crosses the expectations of what I would sound like. The music itself helped me a lot with finding comfort in music while everything around it was really out of balance.
You’ve mentioned before EP Poise’s repetitions are inspired by video game soundtracks, which you find therapeutic. Does creating repetitions in DJ sets also soothe you?
My thought processes when playing and when producing are completely different, and I have quite little interest in merging them more. I actually have a hard time playing very repetitive sets or a lot of similar sounding tracks in a sequence. Even the same genre for more than a few minutes makes me feel on edge (laughs). I like the challenge of unexpected blends that still carry a certain mood.
If you sound-tracked and created a video game, what would it be like?
Like Zelda Ocarina of Time’s soundtrack but not as good.
You’re not shy of making fun, popular culture references sampling from Kelis’ Milkshake, Legend of Zelda and Rihanna. What do you prioritise when picking a track?
It’s quite personal. I like picking vocals that can be placed into some sort of lesbian narrative, pitching male vocals even. But other than that, just anything I like and believe could somehow work in a club context.
Music and fashion often collapse into each other, including your water-inspired soundtrack for the Spring 2019 Chromat runway show. Have you collaborated on other fashion projects?
I’ve provided a score for a fashion film and have worked with Marieyat before! Coincidentally, also with a lot of water in the imagery.
As someone who has an “affinity to water”, do you find working in a highly digitalized context challenging sometimes?
I grew up always being surrounded by very digital workstations. My mother introduced me to graphics software when I was maybe 8 or 9, and I’ve worked my way through various other fields since. I studied media and computer science for a bit too, so it’s all quite close to me. It does get challenging in a more health-related way though. In a sitting-all-day-staring-at-a-screen way. I need to move a lot, I get really twitchy and unfocused.
You’ve previously opened up about using music producing to navigate depressive episodes. Where else do you find strength?
I put a lot of effort into maintaining a healthy mind. I see a therapist weekly, I work out several times a week and actively work on certain issues. It helps a lot to have a surrounding that is supportive of that. My friends are all quite understanding and I choose the people I work with with that in mind as well. Music is a double-edged sword because it can be so giving but also rather draining because of the nature of the industry, touring, etc.

Bella Spratley
Pinus Flash

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