Interview: 5 minutes with Hemka

Hemka is a techno DJ and producer hailing from Paris, France. Since sharing the stage with genre greats such as Surgeon, D. Carbone, Jeroen Search and Sleeparchive, her ability to impress an audience rises with each enchanting performance. Taking cues from electronic music of the ‘90s, industrial or even psychedelia, Hemka’s fast-paced approach to techno has been highly praised gaining her club premieres at prolific clubs such as Tresor in Berlin and Rex in Paris.

It didn’t take very long at all for respected labels such as Decoy, or Float to take notice, releasing her debut EP titled The Mystery of the Black Flamingo alongside similarly like-minded artists such as TWR72, Tensal or PEARL, it’s plain to see why Hemka has been creating serious waves not only locally, but across the globe, and far beyond the realms of techno.

We spoke with Hemka on stage energy and morning struggles:

Set the tone for us. Why the arts?

Arts to me is a way to escape from life. I feel free to express my feelings whatever they may be. It’s very important for me to share my emotions with people. Arts are sincere and genuine.

Which comes first when you’re producing – the sound or the idea?

It depends.. but most of the time it’s the sound. I listen to it and then ideas will come to me.

Does your material feature any collaborations?

Yes, I’ve done some collaborating, but the one I’m most proud of is with Moteka. Our track will be released really soon on Skryptöm.

What’s on your current playlist?

If you’re dealing with my « techno » playlist i have some good tracks from Echelon, Aleksi Perälä, 4NYØN3, Deniro, Makaton and a lot more 😉

If its my personal playlist that I listen to when i just don’t want to listen to techno – I listen to Drake, Cardi B, Madonna, The Weekend. Haha

Tell us about the chemistry you have with your fans on stage.

I prefer to play in small venues so I can be close to the audience, so I can see their eyes or touch their hands. I love to hear the audience scream, or whistle, because this is their way of giving me stage energy. The more it comes to you, the more it all comes back. Obviously I need this energy to excel, to evolve.

What techniques do you experiment with to get your original sound?

I usually try to start from an initial preset on my machine, then turn some knobs and other stuff till I get the sound I’m looking for. Then I’ll record it and put some different effects and plugins on it to get that “special sound”.

Take us through a day in the recording studio.

I have a lot of ups and downs in studio. I have my good and bad days.

Generally, I like to start early in the morning. I’ll try and find cool or rhythmic grooves, and once I feel satisfied I go ahead with leads or noise effects. Sometimes I can spend the entire day trying to find inspiration that never comes, so it can take hours or even days to make a track… And sometimes it’s completely immediate – I’ll be able to make a track in 2 hours. Most times I get inspired at night, so I don’t really know why I struggle to start in the morning… haha

But I actually record everything that I play on my machines, because I know that it will be used someday, somehow.

Was there a specific moment in your life where you thought, “this is what I want to do”?

Yes definitely. I’ve always been into music somehow. My father is a drummer, my little sister is a good guitarist and I used to play the bass guitar. But once I touched turntables, I had this feeling that I’d do something with them. I’ll always remember the first time I went on stage – I was SO nervous that I actually could have peed in my pants! But I played, I did my best and I felt so relieved and happy right after. I cant even explain this feeling… I just told myself “this is what I wanna do!”.

What do you keep close by while you’re playing a set?

Hmm, nothing much. My phone and my glass, haha.

Any emerging artists on your radar?

Evod, Dold, Oisel – I love their styles!

What gets your creative juices flowing?

Experiences in life, or travelling I guess. I have to live different emotions in order to succeed in translating them into my music.

Take us through your collection of gear, tech or software that accompanies your creative expression.

I actually don’t have that much gear, but I reckon it’s enough. They all have their own sounds, and luckily these are the sounds I’m looking for.

So I have a microkorg (Korg), a sub 37 (Moog), a TR8 (Roland), a Evolver (Dave Smith Instrument) and some good VSTs.

How have you refined your craft since you entered the industry?

I think that I’m more patient. I’ve learned to wait, and to keep making music for passion.

Breakdown the news for us: what can we expect from you this year?

A lot of things actually. I’m releasing 2 EPs on Balans this year, as well as an upcoming album I’m busy working on. My collaboration with Moteka will also be released on Skryptöm soon.

I have a lot of gigs throughout Europe coming up, and I’ll keep working on loads of demos 🙂

See Hemka’s upcoming live dates below:

03.03 : Bordeaux, FR (Redgate)
10.03 : Montpellier, FR (Dieze Warehouse)
13.04 : Paris, FR (Concrete)
05.05 : Nijmegen, NL (Bevrijding Festival)
12.05 : Paris, FR (Secret Warehouse)
21.07 : Granville, FR (TBA)

Preorder Hemka’s upcoming EP 707 Collision scheduled for March 16th release here 

For more information follow Hemka on Facebook