“I want my ethics to be reflected in my work in the the events I organise and in the music I play”
When you listen to Guenter Råler, the Italian born, Amsterdam-based DJ and producer, you’ll immediately notice they marry pop, unconventional rhythms, and avant-garde energy like no other. With a captivating debut at Lente Kabinet and ADE, they’ve shared stages with luminaries like Giant Swan. As a Stranded FM resident, their monthly show “Sound Extremism” is a mesmerising journey into experimental club music. Focussing on community-building in the Queer nightlife scene, they’ve spearheaded collectives like Queer in Wonderland, FLUID, and Club Hits Different. Their productions are a sonic alchemy, melding post-digital aesthetics and emotional deconstruction – safe to say they’re silly, euphoric, unexpected and hopeful all at once. Definitely something you don’t want to miss out on!
How are you today?
Pretty good, thanks! I’m currently doing a residency in Italy, I’m working and enjoying my time here. Glad to have a cute moment to chat with you after ADE!
How would you describe your DJ style?
I would say it’s an unpredictable and fun, sometimes silly and euphoric, sometimes hard and energetic. I love to cross many genres during my sets, not focusing only on one type of rhythm. I want my selection to be uplifting and bring some joy to the dancefloor, surprising my audience and keep them wondering what tune will come next. I like to adapt to the mood and vibe of the crowd, while staying true to the music I enjoy. I’ve been really into edits and baile funk, and I’m always looking for new sonorities to add into my sets.
What’s your main source of inspiration?
At the moment I’m really inspired by music scenes outside of Europe. I’m drawn to beats that don’t necessarily follow the techno format of a 4/4 beat, so I’m really digging baile funk, soca, deconstructed club and neo-perreo. These genres in my opinion are really pushing forward the club sound across the world. In less musical terms, I’m also inspired by communities around nightlife and how they are able to foster a sense of hopefulness. I feel like for a lot of people, music and art in general represent a way of expressing themselves, to resist and exist in the current world.
Besides DJing, what do you do in your daily life?
Making art is my main activity at the moment, so besides DJing I produce music and work on my solo practice as a visual artist and sound designer. I’m right now doing a residency where I’m researching on topics around technology, contemporary social issues and politics.
What do you like to do before your set to get in the mood?
If I’m able to, I like to arrive at the club a bit earlier to experience the crowd, the music, dance a bit and catch what the vibe is. That helps to me transition and focus into ‘performance mode’. Otherwise before leaving the house I listen to some groovy tunes, may it be rnb, pop, hyperpop, and I just relax and recharge mentally before giving all my energy behind decks.
Which other DJ’s or music artists inspire you the most?
So many names come to mind, I appreciate the most artists with very open and authentic creative expressions, no matter the genre. I’m a big fan of icons like Arca, A.G. Cook, SOPHIE and Eartheater because I admire their capacity to continuously evolve and work with different aesthetics and sounds. I love music that translates emotions in a visceral way so there’s a lot of artists in the I particularly love as well, like Kelela, Blood Orange, Clairo, Frank Ocean. I listen to a lot of independent artists too but the list would become much longer. Thinking of DJs R3LL, Crystallmess, Estoc, Jualiana Huxtable pop immediately in my mind. Their ability to mix different genres together always blows my mind.
How does your work interact with the communities you’re in?
My work is all about community I would say. I’m running three collectives (Queer in Wonderland, Club Hits Different and FLUID) which mainly focus on promoting safer club experiences for queer people and marginalized communities. Art can be a great catalyst for change and community building, and nightlife plays a big role in that sense. I want to use my platforms to do something good for the people around me and I want my ethics to be reflected in my work in the the events I organise and in the music I play.
That’s incredible! If you could change anything about the industry what would it be?
I feel like as artists we have to rely so much on social media for visibility. I don’t think this will change in the future, but it’s important for me to also focus on creating real connections with places and people, instead of nurture a performative online persona.
What is your biggest accomplishment thus far?
Being able to do this as my job is already a big accomplishment for me. It’s been a bit challenging through Covid, but I’m quite proud to be able to do this and I’m excited to see what the future holds. I’m also extremely proud of everything we have achieved with FLUID, Queer in Wonderland and Club Hits Different, all the artists we booked and all the people I met through them.
For sure, congratulations. Dream b2b/collab?
Great question! Probably producing a song for FKA twigs or Kelela. Dream b2b with Dj G2G.
What is your favourite song at the moment?
Brujita by Rusowsky
What makes someone in the crowd stand out to you?
I love when someone is smiling at me while I’m DJing, making eye contact. When I see they’re enjoying themselves and letting go. It’s just a great feeling and a nice way for me to acknowledge the crowd.
What’s something that you can’t live without?
What advice would you would give young DJs trying to break into the industry?
Network is surely a big part of getting gigs, but beyond that my advice is to not be shy to reach out to people and try to connect with communities and events that resonate with your values, musically and ethically.
What are you manifesting for the rest of 2023?
I’m manifesting to explore new territories in my music and art practice and to start a new EP very soon!