Selects #3 is approaching!
A “tender experimentalist” at heart, chananja’s delicate approach to the technicalities of DJing as an art form results in an otherworldly, magical sound. With unprecedented sentiment and imagination, chananja’s carefully crafts intricate sonic worlds, where the listener is invited to surrender and let go. From poetry to broken beat to deconstructed spiritual folk and everything in between, her sets transcend beyond confines of a genre, or what we know a club experience to be altogether. Chanaja’s mixes are a journey through soundscapes and storylines not typically explored on the dancefloor – but absolutely should be. To get in the mood for chananja’s set on Thursday for Glamcult Selects #3, we caught up with the artist to learn more about her love for DJing and the story-building within it. See you there <3
How are you today?
Good! I woke up kind of late, did some sewing.
Getting straight in to it: how would you describe your DJ style?
I really like mixing things that just feel logical to me, it’s about the emotions and feelings that come with the music. I always try to evoke a connection through these emotions when I play.
You’ve been described as ‘a tender experimentalist’. How is that reflected?
I grew up using a lot of Internet, just late-night browsing. I feel this certain intimacy with everything technology (although I did used to play a lot of guitar). Even though it can be described as quite cold. When I started producing and DJing more, there was just something about how tiny and intricate it can get that fascinated me. This is something that’s really tender in my eyes. I guess it’s about the physicality of it, and the feeling you get in your body when interacting with such technology to create sound.
Would you say it’s the same with the guitar? This feeling of interaction?
The difference is that for me with DJing, you can to control a lot with a little. You can push a button and have a wave of noise, and then push another one and make something opposite happen. This creates a lot of space for experimentation. I guess I try to approach it as an instrument, but it’s still different.
What are some other sources of inspiration for you?
I really love poetry and the act of story building. I like how with little words you can create this whole world, and inhabit it. Other than that, it’s community and kinship, especially Queer kinship. It really is something that pushes me to do this.
You incorporate poetry as well, right?
I try to – I’ll find something on YouTube and connect it to the set somehow.
Do you ever write your own?
How would you say your work interact with the communities around you? You have spoken on Queer kinship being a point of inspiration..
I’m not sure. I always play songs from people in my communities. I try to play a lot of Queer artists. Apart from that, I think just existed within my community and appreciating the kinship is also a contribution in itself.
On a complete 180 from DJing, what else do you do in your daily life?
I study – I’m currently doing my masters in musicology, so it’s a lot of research and writing about music. Especially, that relationship with materiality. I also do a lot of handwork – like sewing, playing the guitar, all these little movements. I sing a lot, that’s all I do the whole day. The best compliment I’ve ever gotten after a DJ set is someone saying to me that I sang along to every song knowing the lyrics perfectly. I was so proud!
What makes someone stand out in the crowd for you when you play? Who’s having their “main-character moment” in your eyes ha-ha?
Just the people who are really getting into it. Obviously, it can be with a lot of movement, but also the person with their eyes closed. Sometimes it can be a person who seems a bit lost. It’s like that moment before going into the water. Because I work at a nightclub, I see a lot of people not feeling too comfortable. When I DJ, I love seeing that moment when it’s like ‘oh wait, I’m actually comfortable now’
I guess when you work you have to be so aware. But, when you DJ the fact you make people feel better — more comfortable — with your music is amazing.
What are you manifesting for 2023?
Ongoing tenderness and care.