Casting a spell: Faery’s psychedelic selections are eye-closing and mind-opening

today26/01/2023 11

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So you’ve gone from playing very small spaces to some of dance music’s biggest in the past year. How’s that journey been for you?

In a way the rooms gradually got bigger, which was nice. Each room felt a bit like a step up but it’s felt manageable. The first one I ever played was on a boat for a Whomp party in 2021 – it was the first one where I didn’t know everyone there. I still get nervous before I play but I’ve got to the point now where it feels manageable, and I know I can do it. Especially for De School, when that email came through I sort of yelped. I was at my desk doing some work and I saw the email notification pop up and I think it said something like “Faery // De School” and I went: “Aaah”.

How was De School?

That was a really amazing experience. It was one of those gigs where I felt I wasn’t quite with my body. I was warming up, and I love playing warm up sets – I wanted it to be quite dark and spooky because I was playing before Peter Van Hoesen and he plays the best dark tunnelling techno. So I was playing these ambient, weird vocal tracks and slowly built it up. I was actually quite going for it at the end, and I was a bit worried I’d maybe got a bit too intense for Peter but he went for it too so it was absolutely fine. And it was really lovely having three hours – it was just a really nice experience.

How do you prepare differently for these different kinds of gigs and spaces?

Weeks, sometimes months before, I will start making playlists so when I’m digging through Bandcamp and I find a track that I’ll think: “Ah, that will be perfect for this event.” I’ll pop it in a playlist, or I’ll have a notes section on my phone with different things and ideas, and then before I will go through it all and organise it.

Read this next: The story of London’s original party boat

When I’ve seen you play, without sounding too cliché the one word I think of is “hypnotic”, and I know others have said that about you as well. What would you say you are trying to evoke in listeners and dancers?

I guess I do like that hypnotic title. I like to imagine a set as almost like casting a spell, it’s about doing something with the space of that room that lifts people out of the everyday. Some of the best sets I’ve seen in my life when it starts, you can quite rationally think about what you’re enjoying about it, and then there’s this moment when you can’t think about it anymore, it sort of wraps around you and takes you with it – often with those sets they can be two hours long but it can feel like 20 minutes.

Tell me a bit about your Netil Radio residency

I really love radio, I think it’s actually been quite instrumental in my journey in music. I did 1020 Radio [in Bristol] and I really loved that – I think having to make a mix every month is a really great exercise. Even when you’re not really feeling it you’re held accountable to that process. It also helps you distill the music you’ve been discovering each month in regular intervals, like I can find patterns in what I’m listening to.

I was already aware of Netil because a lot of my friends have shows there and I really rate Miro, the guy who runs it – he’s a really lovely presence and he has such good selections. He cares a lot about the politics of radio and the history of it as a radical communicative too, and I really respect that. And it just felt like the right station because there’s so many artists on there, and it’s very organic.

So what’s next for Faery?

I’m still loving making mixes, I’m working on a few at the moment that I’m really enjoying and I have some gigs coming up that can’t be announced yet, but last year was just so crazy I’m still absorbing it in a way.

And finally, tell us about your Impact mix.

This mix is loosely based on two of my favourite sets I played last year – one was the set I played at Above Below Festival where I had the best time closing the festival in full vortex mode, going from driving deep techno into dark, spiralling d’n’b; the second was a set I played at Fata Morgana Festival in Normandy – that was a really special set for me, it was one of those ones where everything felt flowy and even though it was 2 hours it felt as though just 20 minutes had passed.

I love building things up quite slowly, what I tried to do in this mix is start off with sparser, ricocheting, percussive tracks and from that lighter stuff I like to gradually get into what I like to call “thick techno” – chunky deep stuff, and then I always like to bring it back down again so I have tracks that are ambient, but they are really intense so they are kind of like peak time ambient. I think it’s nice when things are getting intense to strip everything back and then you can go back to that process of building things back up again. I also find these to be an amazing tool for shifting tempos and for entering new territories – for this mix I decided on fast, skittering psy-influenced techno, but I also love going into d’n’b at this point too. I think the thing I love most about this new, psy-esque fast techno is the way its intensity comes from its speed rather than a huge amount of weight to the tracks.

Isaac Muk is Mixmag’s Digital Intern, follow him on Twitter

Biosphere – Rotation
Loek Frey – Atone
DJ ojo – Exit Strategy
Varuna – Reer
Andrea Riffo – Roxe Elixir
Diffused Signal – Qose
Terrain – Choices
Pianeti Sintetici – Kacnea
Repertorem – Descencion
Asllan – Birth
D-Leria – Junglism
Svreca – Peels A Tangerine
OCHERii – Lapanim
main(void) – Inertial Frame
Svreca – Sleepless (Voices From The Lake Remix)
Doctrina Natura – Szkolna
Paleman – Visible
Notzing – Zulaw II
Aa Sudd – QPP
Ruben Ganev – Control
Spekki Webu & Altjira – Aalto’s Labyrinth
Loek Frey – Decipher
Peace Regime – untitled
Sunju Hargun – Mai Chau

Written by: Tim Hopkins

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