It’s been just under a year since we met Cera Khin at an in-store event at OYE Kreuzkoelln. We’ve kept in contact to discuss her rising DJ career, new record label LazyTapes and even invited her to come all the way to Hertfordshire in the UK to play at the Inverted Audio curated stage “Campfire Headphase” alongside Skee Mask, Rezzett and Terekke this July at Farr Festival 2018.
Inaugurated last year with a top-notch debut offering courtesy of herself and well-known Bristolian bass figure Ossia, her label has recently released a second split-mixtape, featuring seminal dark ambient junglist Christoph De Babalon, backed up by a late-night selection of suitably ethereal music from Cera. Next up is a 12″ from Peder Mannerfelt, which also marks the first ever vinyl transmission from LazyTapes.
Ahead of her appearance at Farr Festival 2018 we reached out to Cera to find out more about her roots and what she has planned to progress LazyTapes even further. Her mix is a two-hour recording of her multi-genre DJ set at the debut Timedance x OHM event “BRS>>>BLN” that took place last October in Berlin. Get ready for a hypnotic journey through dub, reggae, dancehall, jungle and techno!
Interview by Tom Durston Photography by Sanghee Lee
"There is no right and wrong answer to music, everything is subjective."
Hey Cera, big thanks for the mix. For those not in the know, it was recorded last year at OHM in Berlin for the Timedance event with yourself, Batu and Simo Cell. Please tell our readers more about that night, the aim of the event, atmosphere of the night and your DJ set?
Omar Batu kindly asked to play for his first Timedance edition here in Berlin alongside Simo Cell and Batu himself in my favourite club called OHM. I was pretty excited! I did the warm up and I started playing slow and Dubby. Right after 30 min the dancefloor was pretty packed, I didn’t expect it at all and felt like playing heavier sounds from Dub to Dancehall to Grime to Techno to Jungle. Really enjoyed the set and the crowd was pretty receptive and got me even more & more excited. It was definitely a wicked night!
You’re originally from Tunisia but are currently living in Berlin – what brought you to the German capital and how do you think the city has helped shape your outlook on music and life in general?
I moved to Berlin 5 years ago. Time goes so fast here. I finished my Masters in Marketing in Carthage (Tunis) and decided to go far away in a new country to experience and learn new things, rather than staying here. It might sound cliché but I’m mostly here because of the music. The city is very inspiring to me and I’m really happy I made the move here. Berlin has taught me a lot and it has given me the urge to be more creative and to do my own thing.
Looking back at your childhood, how was music introduced to you? Was it through your family, friends, or did you independently get into it?
Music was and still is everywhere. Of course my first introduction to music was through my Dad, he had a big collection of records, cassettes and CD’s. I was always curious to dig into his eclectic collection when I was a teenager. I spent hours digging and researching music online, reading books about music as well and learning more & more every day until now and yes my curiosity always keeps me going.
What turned you onto electronic music? Do you remember the track that made you hungry to discover more?
I grew up watching MTV and VIVA. When I was 14 I saw a video from Biosphere on the TV channel “VIVA”, The tune I remember is called ‘The Shield‘ the video was pretty sci-fi , obscure and mysterious and I was mesmerised by its weirdness and gloomy sounds. Ever since I’ve researched more about music in that genre.
How do you currently go about discovering new music?
I discover music everyday through Discogs and YouTube as well as record stores. It’s a blessing to be able to find new music on your own and get excited about it every time .
"Berlin has taught me a lot and it has given me the urge to be more creative and to do my own thing."
Over the past few years you have played at an array of established Berlin clubs including Paloma Bar, Sameheads, OHM and ://about blank – looking back what would you say was your break through gig, the night that made you determined that DJing was more than just a hobby.
Funnily, my first ever gig was 2 years ago at Paloma Bar in Berlin and then 2 years after I had the honour to throw my own night there, presenting my first ever LazyTapes event with Christoph De Babalon and Ossia.
Thinking back, everything seems so surreal to me. I don’t remember a night that determined me that DJing was more than just a hobby. But I guess everything popped up at some point. I’m working hard to make things happen and eventually it all pays off.
Last year you established your own imprint Lazy Tapes with the release of ‘Guided Meditation’ featuring yourself and Ossia – why did you setup the label and what is the reasoning behind using cassette as the primary medium?
I remember once I had a dream which you can classify as a lucid dream, everything felt so real and I dreamt that I had established a label called “LazyTapes” maybe this idea was always hidden in my subconsciousness? I don’t really know … I had already made some tunes by myself and also some tunes with Ossia then I decided to release them and that the cassette would be the perfect medium to start the label.
In addition to curating and releasing your own mixes, are you also looking to expand into the production realm as well? If so do you have some unreleased solo material ready yet?
You know, I started making music a year ago so I’m a bit of a baby into this domain. However,I do have some solo material ready but I guess I need to make more, I’m quite lazy haha… but yeah when I feel that everything is ready and I’m satisfied I will put out a new release at some point.
How do you go about A&R for the imprint? Is it a case of reaching out to long time favourites or are you open to under the radar talent?
I release the music I love, it doesn’t really matter if it belongs to a long time favourite or a new under the radar talent.
You recently announced the second release on LazyTapes from Christoph De Babalon, please tell us more about the makings of your relationship with Christoph and how this cassette was formulated.
This tape came together very naturally. Christoph De Babalon kindly recorded a special live set for one of my recent Noods Radio shows.
It’s fair to say that this effort alone deserves further gratification than a simple upload for streaming purposes, and this quickly became clear when listening to the show whilst it was running on the airwaves. For this reason, we decided to keep this show exclusive to that one-time airing, and to this very cassette and release it on LazyTapes.
"I release the music I love, it doesn't really matter if it belongs to a long time favourite or a new under the radar talent."
Your third release sees you venture in the realms of vinyl, a 12” from Swedish demigod Peder Mannerfelt, again how did this occur and what can people expect from this release?
This was also a bit surreal to me, I remember one evening Peder Mannerfelt sent some tunes, I listened to them, fell in love with them at first listen and decided to release them as a 12″ as a the third of the LazyTapes transmissions.
Looking ahead to…lets say 2020 – what is your vision for LazyTapes? How do you see the label developing?
So far everything worked out naturally without pre established plans, and I hope things keep going that way and hope to release more and more music that inspires me and will inspires the others.
Apart from DJing you are also making your own music – do you approach this by learning and getting help from friends or simply sitting down and learning it all yourself?
My best advice for people who wants to learn to make music is to stay at home, don’t go out and open Ableton (or whatever other music software) and tinker around, you will definitely end up learning by yourself and of course if you encounter some technical issues, you can get some answers / help from friends, YouTube, blogs etc … it’s all up to you and up to your need and urge to learn. There is no right and wrong answer to music, everything is subjective.
Finally we cannot wait to welcome you to the Inverted Audio curated stage “Campfire Headphase” this summer at Farr Festival 2018 – As you have never been to the festival before, what are you pre-conceived ideas about Farr, the stage and what can people expect from your extended DJ set?
I’m definitely looking forward to be playing at the Inverted Audio curated stage “Campfire Headphase” this summer at Farr Festival 2018 and I’m hoping for a crowd that is ready to have some fun :)
Photography by Sanghee Lee
Cera plays for Inverted Audio at Farr Festival 2018 on Friday 6th July alongside Natureboy Flako, Terekke, Rezzett (live), Skee Mask, Even Tuell, Nick Williams plus a special back-to-back set between Sofia Ilyas and Francis Redman. Tickets are on sale now.