VOLTAGE Podcast 30 - Lea Occhi
Zexi - Bana 5
Jack Fresia - Magari
Deluka - Sub Away
Deluka - Injection
Hedström & Pflug - Lack of Focus
Jauri - Miritu Parana
Corium - Speed Dial
JXXXO - Summer in Las Toninas (Stier Remix)
Thomas Colin - Computer City
Franklin S - Untitled
Undivulged - Fuet
Flits - Pattern
Atonism - Stampede
Undivulged - Challas
RLK18 - Aviv
Corium - Roaming un Reality
LUAP & IGLO - Untitled Monument
LYRIC - Imagine Yourself
Ackermann - I Got My Man (M.I.T.A. Remix)
Parisian DJ based in Berlin, Lea Occhi is a multiple-faceted artist with a mental yet groovy Techno style. Her trance-inducing sets are rich in influences, exploring both mechanic and organic sounds, to which she brings her own twist.
She is committed to promoting values of tolerance, diversity and freedom, notably by organizing parties with Spectrum, LGBTQIA+ collective that she co-founded.
Alongside her podcast for VOLTAGE, this interview is the occasion to get to know more about her musical background and influences, as well as her impact on the scene and upcoming projects.
Let’s start with the podcast. Could you guide us through your set and tell us a bit about your selection?
Hey Voltage crew, it’s an honor for me to be your next guest! Thank you so much for the invitation!
I think the wonderful weather in Paris and Berlin recently inspired me for this set. 1H full of fresh & unreleased tracks from all my current favs emerging producers! It started by some tribal and organics sounds to go into a very solar and groovy atmosphere. The second part is more intense with a housy touch in the end! Hope you’ll like it!
It also shows my current feelings full of good vibes, motivation and excitement for this summer season!
Is there a track that stands out to you, and that you would like to talk about?
I really fell in love with this new EP from Deluka - Injection which is all I love : tribal and mental. The new EP from Corium on Canticle Records is also one of my best discoveries of the month so far! Will play those tracks all summer for sure!
Going back to your musical background, could you tell us about your first encounters with music?
Music has always been part of my life! I was brought up on music. My father is a big fan of Jazz and French Songs, he has a huge vinyl collection that we've always loved to listen to together. He passed on this passion to me. As I am a very solitary and reserved person, music has been a real way to escape since my childhood.
How did your love for electronic music start?
I was 12 years old when I first discovered electro music, thanks to my German uncle, a real techno lover! In highschool, I listened to more 'commercial' electro, until this night - Paul Kalkbrenner at Paris Zenith! I was 18yo. It may be very cliché to say that I am sorry, but his music touched me in a way I still can’t explain, I even cried ahah a real revelation! My curiosity for techno culture started at this point!
I visited Berlin in 2014 for the first time afterwards, exploring clubs, understanding German culture, and discovering Berghain (of course) ! I realized I found a passion, something I really wanted to invest myself in.
What are the sounds and genres that influence you today?
I am very receptive to tribal sounds which allow me to escape and inspire me a lot! I am also very influenced by mental, groovy, organic and fast rolling techno like Jeroen Search, Magna Pia or Rene Wise! In parallel, I listen to jazz, soul or French songs which allow me to disconnect. And my guilty pleasure? Psy-Trance!
You are the founder and resident of the collective Spectrum - a “parisian LGBTQ+ collective with tolerance, diversity, freedom, parity and respect at its core”, that is a staple of the Parisian nightlife. How do you balance being a DJ and a promoter?
Being a promoter as well as a DJ is a real opportunity for me! I love doing both, and could not choose between the two sides. It's an amazing feeling to be able to invite the artists I love, introduce them to our community, welcome them in Paris, meet and create a true relationship with them! It just takes a lot of organization and work to combine both.
You are committed to your values: promoting women, helping LGBTQIA+ and refugee communities, notably by donating earnings of the Spectrum parties to relevant associations. How do you conceive the link between your music and your engagements?
I can say I am lucky to have found the perfect balance between my music, ambitions and fundamental values through Spectrum! Support emerging artists, highlight women, queer artists, respect the parity is our main priority. Which is also very important to us is to provide a safe place, by educating and training our security staff, and doing security and drugs prevention before, during and after each event!
We also try to stay close and attentive to our audience, discuss, analyze and work to give the best and keep this safe space alive. Meeting the audience in the crowd and exchanging with them is important in order to hear their points of view and to improve. Our crowd creates this safe space with us!
Indeed, we are also committed as much as possible to causes important to us, by donating a part of our profits to different associations! Values that influence my life and actions everyday.
Which actions do you think are impactful for the scene to reach more gender equality? What would you like to see implemented?
These past years, and even more during Covid, we could see in Paris and Berlin many actions promoting women artists. Initiatives and online exchanges have been organized by several lgbtq+ associations, media or electronic music in general. We could see a real awareness and change of behavior from collectives, promoters and agencies who gave space to emerging artists and support diversity and gender equality. For example, I was really happy to see that venues like Berghain have started to invite emerging women DJs recently!
Other crews have carried out their actions through showcases on Hor, or exclusively female events and initiatives. Female:pressure, Paris Technopol, Venus Agency, Provocative Women For Music, ACT RIGHT are some examples of inspiring initiatives for making the night safer, equal, inclusive, mixed and environmentally friendly! Mentalities are evolving, but the % of men is still much higher, especially at big venues/festivals - and I feel like I'm too often always the only woman during my gigs...
With Spectrum we will continue to work as much as possible in this direction for all minorities. I'm also very happy to see new talents growing like Radical Softness, Yonti, Rachel Noon, Blasha & Allatt or Beatrice. Artists you will discover at Spectrum soon! ;)
We have had the chance to welcome Parisian artists u.r.trax and Mac Declos for awesome podcasts here at VOLTAGE, and we asked them about their feelings towards the Parisian scene. Both said they would like to see more diversity of places to party freely and express oneself. What is your opinion on this, notably coming from your Berlin x Paris perspective?
I couldn't agree more with this! I left Paris 3 years ago actually because of that... Even if we should not compare, these are two very different cities, with different cultures and histories. But after discovering Berliner clubs experience, as a mental techno lover, it was obviously an evidence for me to move there! (Also thanks to my half-german boyfriend who helped the decision ahah)
I feel really lucky to work with La Station Gare des Mines which is one of the best parisian spots in my opinion ! I am also proud that with Spectrum and some other Parisian collectives as MYST, ANGST, SOUS TES REINS... we are providing a safe place for our communities - with freedom, tolerance and respect as the main value that is still very rare in Paris, unfortunately as there are few alternative and cool venues in Paris. MYST even organizes events in warehouses sometimes for 1 night to offer more to our public!
One thing is for sure, the culture is different and Berlin is very rich in spaces to organize events. The French administration is much more difficult and challenging - prefectoral authorisations can be canceled very easily without any valid reason.
On the other hand, since last year, we could see new spaces opening in Paris like KM25, Centrale93 and this year Virage! After the Covid, we saw help from organizations and town halls (Paris and Ile de France) to offer more secure places for promoters and artists. I think the nightlife in Paris is evolving and it is time to have space for everyone! Also at La Villette, Fawa collective by Corbeille Dallas & Camelia is taking over the management of the old PériPate club under the ring road! Should be great!
Paris remains small and the capacity spaces too! I hope these new places will survive and offer a place for all dancers and collectives!
How do you feel about producing, is that something that you envision for your future as an artist?
Producing would of course be a goal for me! I still don’t have enough time to focus on it as I have an intense full time job next to music. But I made the decision to focus 100% into music this winter, so hopefully I will have more time to experiment and finally get into it soon! I have so many ideas in mind!
Any exciting upcoming projects you would like to share with us?
Yeaah! With Spectrum, we inaugurated last month the new space of La Station Gare des Mines which is amazing! We reworked the space again, and the next event will be on 25.06 for the Pride Edition and it should be insane... I am also thinking about creating my own label, and also a Spectrum label! I just can’t wait to work on it! We are also working on new collaborations with Spectrum with some international events! Stay tuned... ;)
As a DJ, the summer season is going to be intense with great events/festivals, I am so excited! Really hope to see you, and dance with you! xx
Next up: Ellen Alien
Editorial Team: Noah Hocker and Michiel Demeulemeester
Interview: Jeanne Briatte