December brings the fourth and final installment of Expatriarch Generations: Berlin legend Gudrun Gut has chosen DJ/producer Borusiade as her newcomer artist, and in their interview, you can hear ruminations on the realities of sustaining a career in music. During her 35-year music career, Ms. Gut has maneuvered through everything from post-punk to electronic abstractions, including many notable collaborations, mostly recently with Faust’s Hans Joachim Irmler for their album 500 Meter issued this autumn. Borusiade has been active in her native Romania and throughout Europe, sharing the decks with the likes of Chloé and Andrew Weatherall. Now based in Berlin, she is finalizing her first EPs for release via labels Cómeme and ViAAL. On Dec. 19, Borusiade will debut her live set for the Hot Topic party at SchwuZ along with DJ sets by Gudrun Gut, Anika, Lady Blacktronika and Herr Noll.
Borusiade: I’ve been DJing for ten years now, and I’ve been producing music, but SchwuZ is going to be my first live set. I’m excited and a little bit nervous.
Gudrun Gut: I think it’s really important to play your own music. I think it’s a big step for a DJ.
Yeah, I think it’s very important to have this feedback. There is a big amount of creativity in a DJ set as well, but the moment you come with your own stuff, it’s very intimate. Either people love it, or they hate it.
You shouldn’t care!
I don’t care, but I’m very curious.
It’s exciting! For me, it was a little different. I started as an artist, in a band, with Malaria! and Mania D and the others. And then at one point I switched into DJing, next to being an artist, to make some money. It’s important to have an interest, a passion in music, because it’s a very hard world. It’s really hard to get anywhere in this business.
How did you make it for so long? Was the passion so strong? To make it your life, to live from it, making what you love – it doesn’t even seem like working anymore.
It is work.
It is work, no disrespect. But I think it’s a dream…
It’s a really difficult question to answer. I’m a very stubborn person. I was always really interested in the music I was doing, and I tried to control it, too. Even when we were in the studio with Malaria!, I wanted to know how the studio works. I was always curious about the whole structure, the label, the promotion. I had the strong will to understand it more. It’s really hard to make money on it if you don’t have this commercial approach. There are musicians who really want to be successful money-wise, and they produce something different, looking at the charts and copying. But we are working in a field where it’s more like an art form. Music as an invention. And that’s really difficult to survive on.
The last years were really hard for independent record companies, because suddenly you couldn’t even live on an album release. You had to play live. So it’s really important to play live to make some kind of income. The value of music – bread is worth more, which is a pity. But it’s going to change. I have great hopes in it.
When you were in Malaria! and Mania D, did you have side jobs like everyone in Berlin?
I had lots. I tried the bar. I was not very good at it. So I worked at the studio service, doing some cabling, and then in a record shop and then a publishing company. The thing is, you can’t really have a proper job, because you don’t have so much time. It’s always fill-in jobs. I think in the creation process of new material, it’s really important that you have some time for yourself. Nothing to do. You have to shift time. You know the old saying that the artist sits in the café and does nothing? It’s really important!
Thank you saying that. I feel less guilty!
You need to get some ideas. You have to let loose and then suddenly, (snaps) at night. And then you work full on. But you need this kind of emptiness.
Really, thank you for saying that. I thought it was lazy.
No, no, no.
How do you manage to keep a fresh vision on music? To be a person of the times?
I think pop music is a living culture. It has to do with day-to-day life. The hippie time, the arrogant 80s, the 90s club stuff, the 00s. Every year has their day-to-day life involving in art and politics, always interfering with each other. I’m always interested in taking little parts of that life into the music. Put your own dreams and visions together with normal life. This is what I’m always doing. For example, for me, classical music is not the art form of today. It’s a traditional, old music. You can’t really change that, because those are the rules, and that’s fine. Our task as an artist of today is to transform the life we are living now.
Look now at what you can do with Ableton Live. It’s fantastic. Before that, when you had samples, you had to re-time them. It took ages to get them into the music. Nowadays (snaps) zack! It’s much different. Most people have GarageBand and do their own music. That’s fine. It doesn’t have to be good. (Laughter)
It’s crazy. Everybody can do electronic music today, and then it’s all about the way you do it. When you said samples, it made me think about Delia Derbyshire, how she was taking pieces of magnetic band, pure analog, nobody would work like this today…
In Malaria! we had a bass drum loop with a tape, and I would have to hold the tape loop with a finger. There was no technical way to do it differently. But we wanted to have a loop!
Maybe these limitations bring more satisfaction.
I don’t think I was more satisfied in the 80s than I am now.
Well, this is why you’re still continuing!
I’m very excited to hear your live set.
I am too! I’m a bit nervous. I hope I’m going to get positive feedback.
We’re all going to support you. That was another very important point: to have musical friends who support you. Because you have to get your music out of this vacuum. It really helps to play it once, to get feedback. Then you save hundreds of years in rehearsal, somehow.
In the end, this is why we make music. To bring it out in the open one day. It’s like releasing some creative steam. It’s a way of communication.
We are both rehearsing our live sets at the moment. I’m rehearsing for the shows next week with Hans Joachim Irmer. And I know after the first show, I have to change thousands of things. I already know it, but it doesn’t matter. Every show is going to be different.
How did you get the deal with Matias Aguayo’s label?
Cómeme? I was invited to play a DJ set in Düsseldorf with Lena Willikens at the beginning of this year. She discovered me via female:pressure. I posted a mix, she listened, invited me, and we connected very well. She’s part of Comeme. Then I returned to Berlin and met Avril, the label manager and a friend of Lena. She saw me play a few DJs sets, like it a lot, and asked me for some demos. After some months they gave me the news that they would like to have some of my tracks on the label, and I’m also joining their booking agency, and I’m starting to have a show on their radio platform.
Super! Congratulations! This is how it goes. Little things adding up.