VOLTAGE Podcast 12 - Nene H
Nene H’s universe is a creative, groovy and bold old-school rave punch. Studying music since the age of 13, she started her musical journey by learning the classical piano, for which she obtained a master’s degree. Her love for electronic music was sparked when moving from her native Istanbul to Berlin, a city that she coined a “bubble” of “freedom” in her exploration of new ways to express her musicality.
Nene H has now made a name for herself with her signature boundary-pushing sound, always exploring different paths on which techno can lead her, be it in productions, live sets or DJ mixes. Her most recent works include the 2020 EP “Standard Deviation” in collaboration with the artist Poly Chain, and a terrific release in March of this year, the EP “Beast” on the French label Possession, featuring the remixes of artists VTSS and Hadone.
It is her “in-your-face” spirit, always taking risks to project her music to the next level, that Nene H has brought today in our 12th podcast episode. The occasion for us to get to know more about her artistic and personal peregrinations.
Can you tell us a few words about the selection that you have curated for this episode of Voltage podcast series? What was your inspiration for this set?
I recorded this mix thinking of big room and festival vibes since this mix is for you. It's in your face and fast but has some twists in it and is very groovy.
Your musical journey started with classical music and is now exploring the realms of electronic music, two worlds that are commonly seen as completely apart from each other. Having an in-depth experience of the two genres, what links do you see between them? What can they bring to each other?
They are very apart from each other, yes. Electronic music is very instinctive and western classical music is very systematic. Although I have very good knowledge about music, it does not necessarily mean that I will be good at producing or generally in understanding electronic music because they both have different approaches on how you create music and how you express yourself.
Jazz is a lot closer to electronic music in this sense, it relies on extreme knowledge and internalization of music theory just like western classical music but the expression around it is very intuitive and free. I am also not really into bringing these worlds together because in today's times, one represents western upper class and the other one does not. And hopefully it stays this way.
In an interview for the Ransom Note you mentioned how hard it was to ever be “satisfied” with your productions, to feel like they were completely “finished”. How do you personally cope with this feeling, and prevent it from having too big of an impact on you?
It has been a while since I have given that interview and during Corona time I had the opportunity to produce a lot and focus on making more tracks. So now I have more relaxed feelings about just letting a track go. It’s a process. I think people who produce in the beginning, they all have this feeling. At some point you have to let it go, because the truth is you can always do everything better, so don’t get stuck in where you are, just continue what you’re doing is where I am at right now.
Your productions, mixes and live sets show very different facets of your character. What is the connection between the three, the essence of what you want to offer as Nene H?
I have all these musical choices I have made and they all rely on years of years of try and error. 5-6 years ago when I was trying this all out it was a bit weird because I couldn’t really find my place but nowadays it is different. I have the experience and I know where I am using which language, while staying true to who I am. I don’t want to be the artist that fits into whatever the trend is. The essence is just being real and hoping that certain people will appreciate it.
What is left for you to explore that you haven’t yet? Where do you still want to dig as an artist?
Visual arts. I only focused on sound all my life and this is something that is definitely missing.
As a Turkish woman in the music industry, how do you feel about interview questions relating to your identity? Do you think it is important to voice your specific experience or are you tired of having your art seen through that identity prism?
It is a tough question. P.O.C.’s in the scene started talking about their experiences in the last years because of the political climate change and are feeling more safe to talk about these issues. I used to hide my experiences and try to fade in but nowadays we can talk more freely. But it is also a slippery slope because I also don’t want to be seen only as a middle eastern woman who is doing this thing. First I want to be appreciated for the music and then it makes me happy to see when people also understand the story behind people like me and appreciate the extra effort we need to take for certain things.