Badass and vulnerable
Full look MARINA HOERMANSEDER
Known for her unforgiving and intricate approach to mixing, SPFDJ is merciless in her craft. The DJ, producer and label owner takes you on a rhythmic quest through the fibres of techno, hardcore, EBM, trance and acid, inducing an ecstatic journey of joy, rage and repentance. It is no wonder that she is a resident of the legendary Berlin-based Queer collective Herrensauna, as her ability to curate an atmosphere that empowers you to get lost in a dream-like state of self-expression is second to none.
After first purchasing turntables and a small bag of records from a “guy in a caravan” many years ago in Sydney, SPFDJ, whose real name is Lina Jonsson, has risen to become a contemporary icon and accredited name in the underground music scenes of Europe. From performing in iconic institutions such as De School, Berghain and Bassiani, alongside her appearances on HÖR and Boiler Room, it can be said the artist has a true natural affinity with the genre, conjuring sounds that tap into so many of our pleasure sensors and providing soundtracks to accompany our darkest and most beautiful fantasies.
As the Zoom call flicks on and we start to chat, although virtual, I can feel Lina has a powerful but kind presence, she is the type of person you can connect with easily and instantly feel at ease around. She laughs warmly and her piercing eyes glimmer as she tells me about growing up in a tiny village in the North of Sweden “think minus 30 degrees, winter reindeer, snowmobiles, ice fishing, that kind of thing.” While finding her tribe and calling in the darkness of the night, Lina did not originally move to Berlin to pursue techno, but instead to accept a PhD position in Astrophysics. “I think I went into Astrophysics for the wrong reasons, I had become really passionate about music and I realised this was the only thing I did for me and nobody else. Having a career in music took me completely by surprise, it was not anything I planned, it just sort of happened. So I quit my PhD and focused on this.”
Instead, Lina decided to accumulate her sharp ear, nuanced taste and experience with hosting raves in London and Berlin, to create her own label Intrepid Skin. “I wanted something where I could have more autonomy, more freedom, a platform where I could eventually release my own music.” Held together by a roster of artists with unique individualism, but a connection through their powerful identities, such as VTSS, Nene H. and Schacke, Intrepid Skin is a melting pot of relentless techno.
Since our last catch-up with the deity of Techno back in 2019, the world changed entirely. After landing and flourishing in Berlin for nearly seven years, Lina tells me her path hasn’t always been straightforward. The DJ tells me the abrupt period of stillness we were launched into catalysed a journey of personal growth and reflection, shedding light on unhealthy coping mechanisms and patterns of partying. “I’m a recovering people pleaser” she admits when reflecting on the little time she spent focusing on her mental health. “I was actually severely depressed for a long time, it is really easy in Berlin to just mask all of your problems with parties. All of Berlin is just one big unhealthy coping mechanism. Which is also good because you can find similar-minded people that really help in supporting your mental health, but it can be detrimental if you fall into the bad habits of self-medication.” Expanding on this, she pauses introspectively and then adds, “I definitely was engaging in some of that self-medication and partying to avoid dealing with my demons. So when that was stripped away from me (during the pandemic) I had to confront my inner demons.”
… Read the full interview in The LIGHT Issue