Despite the shutters being down on Europe’s clubs and a shadow having hung over summer, Trikk, the Portuguese DJ and creative now based in Berlin, has managed to hold on to the heart of the continent’s club circuit and keep it pumping – and he’s not letting go. In August, Trikk, who is part of Berlin’s prevalent Innervisions roster, released several tracks with the label’s founder, Dixon; through them, the duo gave excited listeners not only some much-hoped-for new material but also a glimmer of the sunny and carefree summer that many hoped 2020 would bring.
It is clear from our conversation that Trikk belongs to the club. His love for the club community is reflected in everything he creates, sonically and visually, highlighted through his collaborations with Dixon’s clothing brand, Together We Dance Alone. Focusing on the deconstruction of clubwear and capturing the sensation and exhilaration of dancing, together but alone, TWDA creates garments that evoke the very essence of Trikk’s productions – a synergy between the physicality of the body and the euphoric force of the sounds that move it. As he mentions in our interview, clubwear isn’t just practical; it represents a state of mind.
Hey Trikk! Where are you at the time of this interview and how’s your day going?
Hello! In between Berlin and Porto at the moment, enjoying the fall.
As a DJ, live sets and club culture are at the heart of what you do. Have you struggled as an artist without the intimacy of live performances, or is the process of producing a track or mix what you enjoy most?
It definitely impacts daily creative life as I make music for clubs mainly – one thing doesn’t go without the other. There is tension at times between coming home and trying to emulate or translate what I felt over the weekend into pieces of music, and if one thing ceases to exist, there’s a weird imbalance that I must adapt to while these times persist.
I know that you have recently released a remix and extended club version of electronic duo Keope’s gorgeous track The Canary Inukh with Dixon, fellow DJ and founder of the Innervisions record label. Together, the two of you have managed to utilise the original track’s harmonious vocals and playful rhythm to create three minutes and forty-two seconds of pure drenched-in-sunshine joy, swelling with exhilarating synth and a striking beat. What was your original intention behind the remix? Was it fun to create?
Thank you for your kind words. The intention behind it was very simple. Steffen (also known as Dixon) and I agreed pretty quickly that whatever would come out of this had to have one specific goal in mind, which was, in the end, to be a radio-friendly track, with that club feeling mixed in with something friendly enough to ease the listener into daily life.
You’ve known Dixon, aka Steffen Berkhahn, for a while now, as well as fellow Innervisions' founders Kristian Rädle and Frank Wiedemann of house/techno duo Âme. How have you found the last few years working with them on such a successful, trailblazing label?
Short answer, educational. In all honesty, it has been one of my most difficult creative periods making music so far, and I mean this in the best way possible. Early on, when we started working together, I understood that I had to challenge my perspective every time I attempted to create. Do I really have anything to offer? Do I have anything that nudges someone’s world a little bit forward?
I questioned myself extensively till I learnt how to balance those questions and turn them into positive undertones – that took some time. But the lesson I took from it was far more important than any music I could have ever done. Reflecting and aiming at being the best version of myself was the goal all along. They work this way and I stole it from them – I hope they don’t mind!
Before moving to Berlin and making a name for yourself on the Innervisions roster, you also spent time in London making your way around the club circuit. How do the two cities compare?
They don’t, but both have a very special place in the world and how they pushed club culture forward to new heights and helped settle an industry for times to come. But for me, London was always a learning curve, and I learned what today still has been the biggest impact on my music. Berlin was my settling moment. I became more aware of what I wanted to do with Trikk music-wise.
Would you say that the sort of music you’re producing has altered as a result of your relocations around Europe? How did moving away from your hometown of Porto help to broaden your creative spectrum?
Definitely. I’m affected by the environment I’m surrounded with – city noises and landscapes and people to some extent. Every country I’ve been to is unique and fully immersive if you let yourself go. I also grew as a person in every city I made home, my creative process benefited from that also.
From taking a look at your Instagram profile, it appears that you are a massively creative person in more ways than just your musical output. What else inspires you?
Music is only one ramification, an important one for me surely, but I’m interested in all creative fields, and that can vary from food to architecture, for instance. I’m very visual when I create music, and I take inspiration from the mundane a lot of times too. That could be a flower or perhaps a piece of clothing. Everything matters.
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How do you perceive fashion and how does it enable you to express yourself and your music?
My awareness shifts towards shapes, textures and colours, and fashion englobes it all. Apart from that, one of the most important roles fashion has in my life – creative or not – is that it enables me to express myself in a silent way. It’s an extension of my personality.
Could you share more insights about your connection with TWDA?
Our paths crossed through Steffen 'Dixon' Berkhahn, essentially – he was wearing it while we toured over the last two years and it had an impression on me. It had amazing motion and hue undertones when in contact with the light system in the clubs, while also making a purely aesthetic impact.
I then became more familiar with it through their creative director, Ana Ofak, and connected with their ethos, spirit and attitude towards clubwear on a deeper level. We ended up collaborating recently in a mixed media project representing both our ideas of clubwear.
What is your perception of clubwear?
Simplistically explained, clubwear serves the purpose of stylistically and conceptually representing the idea of club performance – if well made, it is a powerful tool to represent counterculture, sensations and even a state of mind.
Finally, whereabouts would you like to see yourself play in the future? What’s next?
Everywhere and anywhere really, but that reality might need to wait a bit longer for now. I’m working on an album and that would be my first LP – it’s overwhelming but exciting.
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