VAN051: Lora Mateeva

For the 51st edition of our guest mix series we’re bringing you someone you’ve probably never heard of, but she’s a little bit like us. Using music to try and make her life a little bit better each day, why? Because it makers her happy. As it should do. Lora Mateeva, a name shrouded in mystery. A modest soundcloud page with a few mixes, all extremely good none the less, and many many reposts of absolute gold. A Bulgarian living in Berlin but also a person who really appreciates the music for what it is, and what its about. Bringing people together in a non-judgemental way. She’s an under rated selector, as she produced a very fine mix for us, but she’s also got a lot to say about her life and the music she listens to.

1. Moving from Bulgaria, then to the UK and finally residing in Berlin. Its quite a journey of musical preferences and tastes, do you have a preference on these places and their nights out or are they all too different to compare?

I moved out of Bulgaria when I was 17 and at this time had no knowledge or experience of the house, techno or rave scene apart from occasionally listening to one electronic FM radio station called Alpha. I was mostly into psychedelic and indie rock. During my stay in London I was completely into art, fashion and sometimes navigating my life towards music but went partying only couple of times purely because I was too busy exploring other interests and hobbies. I cannot compare so much from personal experiences the scenes but it’s clear exactly what makes Berlin so authentic and thriving. What is different here is the fact that most rules simply don’t exist - they are created by the collective common sense of the crowd and our own way of interacting with each other in a safe environment. Or at least this is what i see it ideally. You are trusted to behave like a mature, non judgemental, good person no matter your social status, age, appearance, sex or origin but also allowed to be frivolous as a child. A documentary about the techno scene here shows a doorman saying: “I think one year clubbing in Berlin should be mandatory just like the military service used to be - then people would learn how to live in peace with each other.” This freedom of course could be dangerous (don’t forget to go home) but I really like the non pretentious way of going out to hear some music, dance and meet new friends. Also - Berghain.

2. You told me that it wasn’t until 2 years after being in Berlin that you started to become properly invested in music, do you think there is a reason for this? Seems like quite a long time, in a place filled with so much music, to really absorbing the culture.

Berlin offers many other things I am drawn to and coming from London where investing in your hobbies is so hard I was just enjoying many other aspects of the cultural palette. I started listening to music properly maybe a year and half ago and getting into this kind of culture mostly because all of the conversations I initiated with people when I was out, stemmed from my excitement, curiosity and reflection on the music we've been listening to. I realised if we respond to music in a similar way we usually have quite interesting and similar thoughts. Then once I got to know a little, it was hard to stop searching for more good music. Regarding the scene - here you get to see so many upcoming DJs and bands just because the city is full of producers coming from all continents and the gigs are very accessible. It’s becoming quite cynical in terms of the massive competition, but then at least we have huge diversity and revelling audience. The music culture is really soaked into this place for decades. In addition there’s record shops and music events at every corner, new platforms for related talks and workshops, open minded people who discuss and alter the norms continuously.

3. You talk about your mixes reflecting your life experiences, how would you say that this mix reflects on current life experiences and recent ventures?

Initially I had the idea to mix songs under the topic Trees have eyes which was my interpretation of nature being and sensing like a human; or us humans experiencing through mixed up senses. For example seeing impressions through hearing a sound, feeling through looking at an image, tasting through touching and so on. I think music really allows us to explore the mind-body connections and access new perspectives by dispositioning the regular ways of thinking. However at the end I changed the selection almost completely and made this dynamic mix including tracks I got from Textasy, Emmanuel (Nummer, E-Talking), Nite:c and my most cherished recent purchase - the OEN Records 009 Audio Tape. You can also hear Juan Atkins, Convextion, and tracks on MORD and Lunar Disko Records. I really wanted to add one crazy 90s techno remix by Indigo Kennedy but after digitalising it, the sound was terrible and hopefully I’ll find a way to record it in better quality and use it soon.

4. Where do you see yourself going with your music, are there any big developments in the works or are you, as you said, just keeping it as a non-serious thing?

The first thing I need to do is getting a simple audio interface. It would make a huge difference if I am actually able to hear the next song coming up and accordingly adjust the beats or even get more creative and learn some basic mixing techniques. I’ve only been using my old laptop (not even a mac), a free virtual dj software and only a pair of hi-fi speakers. I say it is not a serious thing because my only gain is purely the pleasure of discovering + sharing new music, interacting with people, without the goal of being a DJ or claiming certain competences.

I just got invited to do another mix for a podcast which makes me genuinely happy and motivated to improve the quality.

5. A question we like to ask all our guest mixes, do you have a favourite track of 2018? Or an even harder question, do you have a favourite song of all time?

The Doors - Indian Summer, I grew up with them. Track of 2018 Linkwood Fresh Gildans and Reedale Rise - And the Rain Fell. This is basically my year of starting the music exploration so I cannot even process the amount of captivating works I heard. Everything, even the classics are new to me, I love it.

Vandelay Team