The word community has in many ways become a vacuous marketing phrase detached from its original meaning. So it feels increasingly special to come across collectives with an actual pure spirit of community at its heart, such as Berlin based Soul Feeder. Officially founded in 2016 their speciality is in the releasing and supporting of genre melding and avant-garde deconstructed club as well as in the curation of esoteric but welcoming club nights in underground spaces across Europe.
Soul Feeder’s beautifully woven helix of friendships and collaborators can in fact be traced even further back to secondary school. It is here that we see the inception of this community ethos, one born out of a need to create space for outsiders in all shapes and forms they can call home.
Even though Soul Feeder’s origins were founded upon in person interactions a large part of how their community grew was through online spaces and forums they created such as Electronic avantagardeposting™. Online spaces can let toxicity fester - as the collective freely admit themselves - but they are also places where people can meet from completely different countries and backgrounds and unite over shared passions. When connections are meaningful they often come offline and into shared physical space; venues glow with love and objects for sharing music and art are developed and adored. This certainly happened with Soul Feeder as their collective further grew through these online connections and confidence was built up by all the artists who were making and sharing music together on these platforms. 
Having attended one of their events in Berlin in 2023 I felt like I witnessed a true testament to what they have been building and this transference from online to offline, as well as a continuation of their original ethos formed in their school years. At the end of the day Soul Feeder is a group of friends who enjoy spending time together in person fuelled by shared passions for avant-garde electronic music. It was joyous, euphoric, varied and packed full of people united by an extension of the very desire which birthed the collective pre-2016: community. The music Soul Feeder champions is driven by an emotional intensity, challenges and breaks genre boundaries but ultimately crystallises around these feelings of joy. Their recent compilation ANIMA brings together key members of the collective such as t0ni, DJ GHEPARD and gmaail, longterm collaborators 7777 の天使 and DJ Hristos as well as plethora of cutting edge artists such as Europa and Kenta204 creating a groundbreaking sonic totem emblematic of the variety of musical and political ideologies they represent. 
There is undoubtedly a strong sense of justice and understanding of the political importance of club nights and releasing music that runs deep for all the members which only further strengthens their foundations. They represent what club nights and labels can become and have historically been, places for solidarity to emerge outside of these spaces with wider political causes. This can be seen in their support for charities in Ukraine and Palestine with those attending given the opportunity to donate to these causes on the door as well as their championing of safe space policies at their events. There is a refreshing thoughtfulness and intentionality to what they do as well as a silliness and playfulness that is ever important in trying times. A combination of seemingly contradictory emotions which I think reflects the space a whole generation of young people find themselves in. A few of their core and extended members joined me to discuss these ideas, the lore and meaning behind the collective, their compilation ANIMA, as well as what might be coming next.
7777 の天使 1 - Photo: Madalena
DJ Hristos - Photo: Nicolae Farmache
gmaail, DJ GHEPARD, t0ni - Photo: Inês Baptista
Could you please introduce yourselves?
gmaail: Hi, I am Giorgio or gmaail
DJ GHEPARD: Hi, I am Michele or DJ GHEPARD.
t0ni: Hi, I am Thomas or t0ni
So what is the origin story of Soul Feeder and did you all meet before, after or during its conception?
DJ GHEPARD: While Soul Feeder was officially founded by t0ni and gmaail in 2016, its origin probably traces back to their high-school years. Since they were coming from nearby cities in Tuscany, they ended up being classmates at the same school in Siena and eventually became friends. Most of the time they spent together was dedicated to sharing their favourite music, discovering new artists online, fooling around in internet forums and sending each other classic cringe-worthy memes.
You see, small cities in Italy are pretty conservative to this day and they are not exactly the friendliest of places when it comes to being teenage-obsessed about anything. More often than not you are pointed out as a weirdo, and it is very easy to feel alone. The idea t0ni and gmaail had in mind when they founded Soul Feeder back then, was basically an online expansion of the experience of sharing and discovering music with your friends.
It all started differently from how the project looks today. At first, they ran a webzine where they covered a diverse array of music genres, ranging from indie rock artists like Arcade Fire to more electronic names such as Aphex Twin. They were also sharing premieres and new music on our SoundCloud and YouTube channels. By the end of 2016, they built a team of roughly seven passionate editors, including myself.
Throughout 2017 our growing interest in the new wave of experimental electronic music that came from the UK and the US (now usually called post-club or deconstructed club) led to a progressive shift towards covering it more than any other genre on the blog, and to the foundation of the Electronic Avantagardeposting™ group on Facebook.
At the same time t0ni and me (very timidly and under several different monikers) started making our first steps as artists in the online scene and by noticing that many other members of the Electronic Avantagardeposting™ were also trying to do the same we got the idea of starting a label within the community itself, and help all these talented artists to reach bigger audience.
The first releases we published on Soul Feeder were in fact compilations featuring tracks submitted by members of the EAposting community. Around the same year, we also started considering the idea of having parties featuring artists from the group which would also have worked and real life gatherings for people that only interacted online, and we started throwing a few in small venues in Bologna and Milan, which were the cities where most of us were based.
What was it about existing club culture which made you all feel compelled to create Soul Feeder?
gmaail: As we mentioned Soul Feeder was not born as a collective and platform directly connected to club culture per se. However, the more we got exposed to experimental electronic music, getting directly involved in the scene and its (now sadly all defunct) spaces in Milan, Bologna and Turin, the more we started to feel that underground clubs were the only frame where all these new ideas could actually be expressed and explored. It was in these physical spaces that we realised that what we envisioned for our online community could also be extended outside the borders of the digital world.
In the free atmosphere of a club night, one has the opportunity to connect with every person in the club and experience the performances of each artist on the lineup without constraints. This dynamic contrasts with online interactions where posting a song may face limitations imposed by algorithms, restricting the reach and hindering the full participation of the community. This led us to think that the experience of sharing and discovering new music we previously imagined only to be possible online, could actually happen in real life too, and help the members of our community to feel even more connected. Also, the club represented an opportunity to open us up to the less internet-savvy people who were possibly unexposed to the sound we were pushing and connect with them by simply inhabiting the same space for one night.
Could you explain to me the meaning behind calling your first official compilation as a collective ANIMA?
DJ GHEPARD:  The word ANIMA comes from Italian and could be translated as soul or spirit in English. For us, giving this name to our first compilation was a way to express and celebrate the intangible yet solid bonds we created with the featured artists over the years we spent working on music together. The compilation embodies the values of solidarity, collaboration, and unity, not only among artists but also involving collectives, fans, and venues — principles that have always been central to Soul Feeder.
It also meant that each artist was free to approach the compilation from the angle they felt more comfortable with, letting their quote unquote soul shine, creatively speaking. This is why the compilation sounds so diverse yet coherent, capturing the unique essence of each artist's creative expression.
DJ GHEPARD I’m aware you are a mastering engineer and mastered the compilation - did anything strike you about the release while going through this process?
DJ GHEPARD: Being the mastering engineer for ANIMA felt like a journey down memory lane for me. I had worked with all the featured artists before, so it was beautiful to see how their styles and production had evolved since our first collaboration. Mastering is often seen as a technical task, but working on this got me quite emotional.
Also, compilations are usually challenging to master due to the intrinsic diversity of the material, and of the varying quality of the pre-masters. Being familiar with the style and needs of each artist made my job much easier and significantly contributed to ANIMA’s overall consistency.
You’ve intertwined your releases with physical media such as CD’s and cassettes as well as a hand-made necklace with integrated micro-SD players and acrylic glass keychains. What draws you all to involving and playing with physical art and media within your collective in this way?
t0ni: Maybe it is because both DJ GHEPARD and I originally come from metal, where merch is always very important for both artists and fans. Jokes aside, we see physical media as a way to help digital music to transcend the limitations of the digital world and establish new connections between pieces of media that normally would not relate at all. And this also represents yet another opportunity to be creative. So much so that simply thinking about physical media has become an extremely fun experience for us and the artists we collaborate with.
And while it is sometimes hard to fully realise what might or might not work before you drop it, the process of working with people coming from other fields than music, observing their creative process and seeing how a specific album translates in their vision is always inspiring and a reward in itself.
7777 の天使 your track Two Halos stands out as a highlight in the compilation, could you let us know the meaning behind this track and why it felt right on this release?
7777 の天使: Two Halos is a track that blends elements of gabber, hyper pop, and  hexd in its production. While the music carries an upbeat vibe, the lyrics delve into themes of loneliness, frustration, and rejection, enriched with nostalgic references. Our focus on emotional storytelling in the lyrics creates a harmonious contrast with the energetic sound.
Completed in 2020, the track didn't quite find its place in previous releases. We held onto it as a special piece, patiently waiting for the right moment. When Soul Feeder invited us to contribute to their compilation, it felt like the perfect fit. By then, we were already on our third release with them. Their unwavering support for our creative vision allowed us to explore our musical identity fully. They've become like family to us over the years. Placing Two Halos in the compilation ANIMA was a pleasure, surrounded by an amazing roster of artists.
DJ Hristos could you explain how and why Soul Feeder felt like the right home for you as an artist?
DJ Hristos: I've been friends with t0ni since our teenage years, it all began when we met in an online Tool forum, and we've shared music opinions and artistic growth ever since. From that moment on, I had already realised that t0ni had the skills and determination to create a project that could leave its mark on contemporary underground music.
Within the Soul Feeder family, I've always felt a warm welcome and enjoyed complete creative freedom, allowing me to express myself to the fullest. Meeting Giorgio (gmaail), Michele (DJ GHEPARD) and all the other incredible artists who gravitate around Soul Feeder led me to great artistic growth. It's an environment that encourages pushing creative boundaries and collaboration, representing a unique space where pop, club, and avant-garde sounds seamlessly come together. Despite our diverse musical styles, we always understand and support each other.
As a collective you have previously moved around different spaces for your nights and have now seemingly settled on Panke Culture as a more frequent base for your nights. How has it been having a space you can return to and has this allowed for more freedom or depth to your events?
t0ni: Finding suitable event spaces in Berlin can be a bit challenging, although not as tough as it is in other European cities. What really made the difference for us with Panke Culture was the great relationship we managed to build with the managers and the staff through two solid years of events. They're not only professional and welcoming but also remarkably supportive, trusting our vision right from our initial meeting in early 2022.
The venue itself perfectly suits the kind of parties we organise. Features like having a stage have made our lives much easier, especially when arranging hybrid nights with both live sets and DJ performances. This flexibility has allowed us to bring in artists that would’ve been more challenging to invite in a more traditional club setting. On top of that, being able to return to the same space multiple times, knowing the ins and outs of the venue, the tech they have available, made us confident enough to explore different types of bookings and take risks. This has played a fundamental role in our growth as curators and promoters.
Sometimes clubbing can get a bit much - where are the best places to cry in Berlin?
DJ GHEPARD: It is hard to come up with places that work for the three of us. t0ni is a big fan of letting go in more ambient and performance-oriented spaces such as Kwia or 90mil (the cover of darkness helps, he says). For me, the best places to cry are usually hotel rooms or the guerrilla IKEA DJ booth in my room, while gmaail only sheds tears at the Sahara Imbiss in Neukölln when he comes into town to play (maybe because their peanut sauce is amazing).
What we all agree on though, is that Berlin is a good city for crying in general. People rarely judge you here, and they are pretty open to showing emotions in and outside the club, which is pretty wholesome.
t0ni, you have spearheaded the collective not just putting on events in Berlin but more internationally for example in Antwerp, Lisbon, and Ljubljana. Why did it feel important for Soul Feeder to be present outside of just one country and cross borders in this way?
t0ni: Making real life connections and meeting like-minded people has always been one of the main reasons behind my personal love for music. I never felt too connected to people in my school or in my hometown: growing up but I always made a lot of friends online, through video games, in forums, on SoundCloud or later on Facebook or Instagram.
Of all of these virtual places, the music ones definitely took over during the years and became pretty much my daily life. events have always been a way to connect with the friends the team and I have made during the years that were scattered all over the world. Many of them were based in Berlin which led us to pretty much moving our base here, and then spreading out every time we had the chance to do so. Like the rest of the project, the events side also came very spontaneously and more like a passion project at a time that eventually developed into a structured series of parties around Europe. Having grown up with a double citizenship, and having lived in multiple countries, I never felt like I belonged to a specific one, nor do I see our project as something tied to a specific country, nation, or geographic location in general.
A key part of Soul Feeder’s ethos was seemingly solidified in 2017 with the creation of the Electronic avantgardeposting™ group on Facebook which now has over 14,000 members. Can you let us know a bit more about this space, it’s purpose and what it means to you now?
gmaail: Originally Electronic avantagareposting™ was our very first attempt at the creation of an online music community focused on discovering, sharing and discussing underground electronic music, and also an opportunity for artists and fans to connect directly and independently from traditional coverstructures. For this reason, EAposting™ was born as a separate entity from Soul Feeder, as we felt that would’ve gone against the spirit of the group itself. The way we founded the group in 2017 was really spontaneous and we never imagined it would reach such a high number of members, or that artists like Loraine James, object blue and Jlin would be contributing directly to the daily life of the community. The first two years were simply amazing: within EAposting™ we met some of our closest friends and were constantly exposed to new music, new artists, and new point of views on both the contemporary and past state of experimental electronic music.
Unfortunately, the community's rapid growth also attracted some people more inclined to flaming and toxic behaviour, as it often happens in online forums and groups.
This led us to tighten content moderation, affecting the wholesome vibe of the original Electronic avantagareposting™. Additionally, as Facebook changed its policies and reduced its user base, the challenges of moderating a large group increased and we had to face the reality that the group had strayed far from our initial vision. These developments forced us to find an alternative space where we could uphold the core values of the community and revive the cute vibe of the beginning. So parties emerged as a natural evolution of the group for the insights we discussed before.
Today Electronic avantagareposting™ stands as the foundation upon which Soul Feeder has been built into what you see today.
From reduced ticket fees for those on low-income, opportunities to donate funds at the door to charities, and having a welfare team on hand, what do you think about how the political nature of club culture has changed over the years and what work is there still to be done? 
DJ GHEPARD: We see clubbing as a political act in itself, and over the years, the political nature of club culture has evolved. In the past, the political aspect of clubbing was more implicit in its nature, which sometimes, in turn, made people less aware of it. Recently, there has been a shift towards making more explicit political statements: promoters, curators, and fans now actively discuss issues that are going on beyond the club walls, showing that clubs are not an isolated reality from the rest of the world. This shift has resulted in positive changes, with increased safety for women and the LGBTQIA+ community through the presence of awareness and welfare teams at events, as well as a growing awareness of the importance of diverse and inclusive lineups. Conversations about mental health and responsible drug use are also becoming more common, and the stigma around not consuming substances at parties is easing.
However, the progress we experienced is all but widespread. Beyond the underground scene, corporate-oriented clubbing often prioritises profit over counter-cultural values, neglecting safety, inclusivity, and artists well-being. Diversity in lineups often degenerates into tokenism, and the mental health of artists is disregarded by pushing them to play an unsustainable amount of shows per week. So, although the overall scenario might look bleak, we believe in a potential for change, and we will continue to embody the transformations we want to see in club culture!
Just as central to the music Soul Feeder release and champion, is the art created to go alongside it. Could you talk to me about this network of photographers and graphic designers you work with and what your vision is when it comes to aesthetic expression?
t0ni: EAposting is once again the culprit here. When we started promoting music from the members of the community, we also took notice that many of them were engaging with visual arts and we felt it was important for us to give them a chance to promote their works. All the artworks for the EAposting compilations were, in fact, made by people in the group. From then on, our interest in contemporary visual art kept growing very spontaneously thanks to the friendships we made online and by simply hanging out in the scene, and so did the network of artists we are working with today.
Given that each of us in Soul Feeder and the artists we publish have diverse tastes in visual art, having a pool of talented artists and designers became vital for shaping our project's visual identity. Rather than replicating past designs, we approach each flyer and cover art as a unique entity, engaging in a dialogue with our previous work. Our collaborative process involves each team member proposing ideas, discussing them, and arriving at a final vision through mutual agreement. While it may not always be the quickest approach, we believe that trusting each other's instincts and finding common ground allows us to continually evolve our visual style.
In our early days, we leaned towards a flashy 3D style, but as time passed, we've shifted towards exploring more hand-drawn designs. The flexibility to adapt and experiment has been crucial to our creative growth, and who knows, we might explore new directions in the coming years.
gmaail, as a DJ you completely destroy and meld genres in your sets, what place does genre have in the world anymore and what does its deconstruction tell us about the desires of people at the moment?
gmaail: I've always found the categorisation of music into genres to be somewhat distant from my own experience of enjoying music. Genres can indeed be useful to draw broad categories and definitions but they can also become limiting and oppressive from an artistic standpoint. A genre should never become a rule.
Musicians and critics, in my opinion, should contribute to the disruption of the boundaries created by genres, and nowadays this has become easier thanks to streaming platforms, which (incidentally) promote a kind of unstructured, unsystematic, listening of everything that comes at hand, from different genres, styles, and eras. This has resulted in some very cool projects - just think about how impactful a cross genre project like 100gecs has been for the sound of the past four years.
I can't see reasons to stay anchored to genres beyond their immediate practical use in talking about music. Maybe some do it for cultural reasons or money, especially in the business oriented club scene, encouraging DJs to work only within specific genre frames. But for me, being creatively free is a fundamental aspect of DJing, and one that I'd like to be at the very core of what Soul Feeder represents.
Lastly, what does Soul Feeder in 2033 look like?
DJ GHEPARD, t0ni and gmaail:  Soul Feeder was created because we felt that something was missing in our life as music fans and artists, and through the past six years we tried to adapt the project to keep up with what we felt was needed in the scene. Thinking about Soul Feeder in 2033 requires us to imagine what might be necessary by then, a task that feels tougher than ever given the substantial changes we have had since 2020. Looking ahead, our hopes include reaching out to the artists and fans who have supported us from outside Europe, envisioning a future where we can all play and party together under one roof. The idea of a Soul Feeder festival has been a recurring topic for us over the years—an immersive two or three-day experience where people from all the cities we've visited come together. We can’t tell if it will work or if we'll have the necessary infrastructure for it, but the thought of it sounds like a lot of fun.