Doc Sleep‘s sound is rich, melodic, and complex. “Since I was very young I’ve been drawn to melody and harmony in music, so I almost always have melodic elements in my tracks,” she explains. The Berlin-based DJ grew up in rural North Dakota but spent many years in Minnesota before relocating to San Francisco—where she resided for the better part of a decade. She’d already been collecting house and IDM for some time before her move, but a chance meeting with an audio engineer inspired her to begin making synth-based music in a basement studio of Dolores Park. She’s since released two solo EPs (on Detour Records and Bottom Forty), and contributed solo and collaborative tracks and remixes to Dark Entries, 100% Silk, Discwoman/Allergy Season, Tribal and Twirl, and several others.
As a DJ, Doc Sleep really found her voice during her time in the Bay Area, performing small, intimate club shows with regularity. Though encompassing disco, house, and other feel-good dance music, her sound is founded on a deeply melodic and forward-thinking take on techno. Her sets are intricately and intelligently composed—cerebral experiences without ever losing sight of the dancefloor. While touring through Europe and North America, she’s become a resident of Berlin’s Room 4 Resistance at ://about blank, and, since 2013, she has been the co-owner of Jacktone Records, which specializes in techno, ambient, leftfield, and experimental electronics.
Her podcast for XLR8R is a mix of the heavy hitters that form the basis of her club sets and records of her close friends and acquaintances with whom she plays or has connected through her music. Among them are Mor Elian, Skee Mask, Job Sifre, and Solar, to name just a few.
Due to temporary issues regarding the GDPR, EU readers can stream the podcast here and download it here.
01. Clothilde “Big Day Part II” (Labareda)
02. Pablo’s Eye “Austin, Texas” (Extreme)
03. 8ULENTINA “Rope Swing” (Club Chai)
04. Joy O & Ben Vince “Transition 2” (Hessle)
05. c.l.a.w.s. “Far From the Eyes” (Left Hand Path)
It’s been very busy, but as opposed to 2017, I’m feeling energized by it all.
Jacktone has had a busy year releasing five records so far—what’s in store for the label for the rest of the year?
We’ll continue with the release schedule of one or two a month that we’ve been doing the past few years through early Fall, then it’s time for a breather to reconfigure, all with the intent of bringing more attention to the artists.
On the schedule so far this year, we have artists returning for their second and third releases and a few debuts. We’ll continue to rep a lot of Bay Area/West Coast artists, but sneak in some other very talented folks, as well:
Oakland’s DJML turned in an incredible rhythm workout for his first outing, coming the end of May; Brooke Keller (formerly recording as odi me) returns for her third release, this time under her more introspective dance-oriented gayphextwin alias; then, a stunner of an experimental techno album from Nihar Bhatt of Surface Tension/Left Hand Path; Damon Palermo (a.k.a Magic Touch) is doing an ambient collaboration that’s guaranteed quality; Le Scrambled Debutante, an avant-garde sound collagist with what is probably the most experimental EP we’ve done; Ghorba, a hardware producer and part of Fem Synth Lab in Los Angeles, debuts with a very strong first album; Dan Snazelle, a modular producer who makes groovy Detroit-rooted techno (a rarity with that kind of setup); and, finally, Hugo Paris (a.k.a Lavender) returns for round three, but this time he’s stepping out of his Lavender alias. With Hugo’s record, we’re also doing our first label collaboration and co-release—with Beacon Sound in Portland.
That’s everything I can talk about at this point. I’m so proud to rep all of these artists—it blows me away the quality of people we get to know through this project. Amazing artists, amazing people.
Can you tell us about Room 4 Resistance?
R4R is a queer collective started by Luz Diaz and rRoxymore, focused on community-building and creating safer spaces and visibility for underrepresented artists. We throw regular events at ://about blank in Berlin, and also produce workshops, curate panels, and host a monthly radio show on Radio Quantica to promote women, genderqueer, trans, non-binary, black, and POC artists. The residents are rRoxymore, Luz, Deena Abdelwahed, Nazira, Yuko Asanuma, DJ OCCULT, LMGM and myself, plus an incredible organizing and deco crew who are the unsung heroes of it all.
For our events at blank, we try to move beyond booking huge headliners and use the platform for up and coming artists. We also want to provide the artists a place to experiment, to really push the boundaries of their sound and sets, and I don’t think you’ll find a more receptive and supportive dance floor in Berlin for this type of thing.
We’ve just started the summer season at blank, which means we’re in the garden and if you’ve been, you know it’s truly a magical setting. Our next party is a collaboration with Lisbon queer collective, Mina on June 29; then, our CSD party July 28; followed by a collaboration with Comeme September 15.
We’ve also started doing international showcases this year, where we collaborate on lineups and workshops with local crews and clubs. So far the crew has been to Copenhagen and next up is London and Paris. In June, we’re over the moon to play with Brutaz again, this time on their home turf in Poland, and in August is Kaiku in Helsinki, featuring a live set from Jacktone/Borft/Peder Mannerfelt artist, Isabella, who will be on a European tour. There’s a lot more in the pipeline; it will be a busy Fall!
You dropped your debut EP back in 2016, followed by a sophomore outing in 2017—can we expect more solo material this year?
I’m finishing two EPs at the moment, one will be released on Jacktone and another I can’t chat about yet, but, I’d like to have at least one of them out in the Fall, so the clock is ticking!
When and where was this mix recorded?
Last week at home, under the watchful eye of my dog
On what equipment did you record it on?
CDJs + mixer
Was there a particular idea you were looking to convey?
Because of time constraints, I couldn’t get too deep with this one, so my goal was to showcase as many friends as possible. Doc Sleep’s “Friends Are Important” Mix. ;0 There are Jacktone artists, but I also wanted to give some shine to pals running labels and producing killer tracks that frequently fly under the radar. There’s also a few heavy hitters that often show up in my club sets.
What else do you have coming up this year?
Besides everything mentioned above, I’m headed to the states for a few tours: July, I’m in Seattle, Portland, SF and LA; and, then back again in October to play with some inspiring crews in the South!
Doc Sleep will be performing at this year’s Her Damit, which has recently been postponed but is scheduled to take place in August near to Berlin, Germany. More information can be found here.
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