Slithering techno and trance.
Mama Snake first garnered attention as a DJ as part of Copenhagen's now disbanded Apeiron Crew. She entered the techno scene with a fully formed sound: rattlesnake beats and emotional synths tied together by imperceptible mixing. Her watertight online mixes quickly earned her a following, and she's now busy balancing her life as a touring techno DJ with her job as a recently qualified surgeon.
Recorded right after her first 15 hour night shift at the hospital, this 90-minute mix serves as a cinematic introduction to her sound, fusing '90s trance with crisply produced 140 BPM modern techno. For those who have been following Mama Snake for a while, it'll be no surprise that she rounds out this mix with a breakbeat edit of Sonique's "It Feels So Good." Ahead of playing there in August of 2017, she told De School's blog that her goal as a DJ "is to get the crowd to fall in love with the tracks that I'm already in love with and take them somewhere they might not expect." It's an attitude reflective of the Danish scene as a whole, which often takes trance records that might seem unpalatable, and transforms them by couching them in a modern context.
What have you been up to recently?
Settling into a new way of life with a full-time job, less going out and more involvement in areas beyond music. It's a puzzle right now. Figuring out which things to be involved in and what to let go of in order to have the capacity to do the things that feel right.
The white, heterosexual male dominated world we live in still makes me pretty tired and is the cause of a lot of debates among my friends. That's not recent, but obviously still relevant and something I want to address, which isn't very easy in the context of putting out this mix, but HWFG. The idiotic things anyone, who is not a straight, white guy, still has to put up with are unreal. The excuses for not working towards a more inclusive world and paying attention to one's own privileges, especially in the music industry, are old school, outdated and fucking ridiculous. It's still permeated by privilege blindness, which I find really frustrating. Recently I have become a bit better at staying with the uncomfortable awkwardness that arises when you speak up, for instance when someone says something senseless like, "We book quality over gender" or, "It's not to be sexist/racist/homophobic, we're good people with good intentions, but we have to sell tickets/follow the hype/[insert any lame business-mindset related end goal]" and so on—the list of examples is endless. It's hard to have these conversations, many people head straight into defence mode and then nothing changes. It's hard to make someone engage in change if they believe they do nothing wrong. Not listening to and not giving voice to those who are massively underrepresented remains an issue as the result.
I've lost patience within some areas and realised that for me to properly apply myself I needed to regroup, turn frustration into action. Seems like more people are starting to realise that things need to change, and to drive that change you need to actually do shit and recognise your own responsibility. I'm trying to stay optimistic. Still tired though, or as we say in Danish: træt af pis ¯\_(?)_/¯
How and where was the mix recorded?
It was recorded in one go at home with my beloved, but kind of shitty metallic (snake) green 1210s, XDJ700s and a XONE:92 mixer. I've recorded almost all podcasts/mixes in my snake pit, my preferred place of recording outside of clubs. It's very different from playing out since there is obviously no crowd with an energy to put into it and no feedback at all. It becomes a more thought-out and less spontaneous outcome in a way, which I think is quite challenging to be completely honest. I am drawn towards tracks that are long and where many things happen, so I like to play them in their full length, which means that this mix only contains 19 tracks. All are tracks I feel deserve to not be cut short. Something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue.
The mix was recorded right after my first 15-hour night shift at the hospital where I didn't get any sleep since it was pretty full on. I feel like the mix turned out a bit as that night felt.
Can you tell us about the idea behind the mix?
Tried to pack what I consider "a perfect night out with the ladettes and lads" into 1 hr 30 min, bridging different tastes of mine. That turned out to be a difficult idea to pull off, but here's the result. Ambient to ease into it, get all settings back to zero. Enforce a longer attention span (first track is 15 minutes long). Then some atmospheric electro/breakbeat before heading face first into trance and techno and then closing it all off in silly millennium nostalgia. The latter is something I've found myself doing almost every time I play, I can't help it. It breaks the kinda serious vibe that tends to surround the world of techno with people looking like they're about to fight or march or some shit like that. To me going out has to be fun and about having a good time freed from all the stress of daily life, something that enforces positivity and happiness that aren't necessarily present at times due to whatever shit you need to cope with, so why not have a laugh and take the piss on things every once in a while. And then some pussy popping power at the very end, big up POORGRRRL.
Bonus: the live edition of Camargue featured is my favourite version of this old school classic and I read somewhere that at the show where this is recorded CJ Bolland played with Cisco Ferreira (legend!). I am imagining the two of them just pure banging on the machines and jumping around and that makes me very happy.
Quite a few tracks on your mix are marked "Forthcoming Amniote Editions." What can you tell us about Amniote Editions?
It's a project that has grown quite a bit and in many wacky directions since the start of it all earlier this year. It involves a lot of different people and is not only about music, that's just a fraction carried by some amazing artists that we've met somehow the past few years. Rose Marie Johansen is the visual and creative mastermind, the people behind Alexis Mark are our design experts, Maya SB creates what ultimately becomes the living beings in our world and web developer Andreas Øby works magic on making it all come together on our website—just to name a few of those involved on the visual team. All releasing artists have been so kind to dedicate a new alias for our weirdo universe. AEpep, Atheris, Mehen, Sidewinder, Sisilisko and many more—reborn and respawned as amniotes. We're not gonna explain much more about it (this is already plenty), but encourage those interested to interact with it. Go explore.
It's not a primary occupation for any of us, so it will be out when it's ready sometime next year also fitting into everyone's release schedules, pressing plant delays, other work etc. It's been very fulfilling to work on something that's not focusing on social media, press and selling stuff, but more about building a platform for different creative minds to be part of. Keep a lookout for a seriously insane website launching in the near future, that's where it's at.
How do you find the balance between your work as a doctor and your life as a touring DJ? Do the two play into each other?
Well, I don't exactly know yet. I guess both worlds consist of a significant amount of nighttime affairs—however, a pretty noticeable difference is that my colleagues at the hospital are sober (hopefully) haha. There is some inherent meaningfulness in working as a doctor that gives me a great sense of purpose. It's also a profession where you need to be completely honest about what you can and cannot do and ask for help when you need it. Everyone is working towards helping others and you never stop learning. It's pretty… sick.
I graduated in January and spent the year up until recently focusing on music alone and it was honestly quite disheartening and not the right thing for me to only be occupied with music-related matters. I pretty much already knew that beforehand, but wanted to test it out anyways. It did enable me to travel the world and see people I care about who live far away, which has been lovely and something I hope to keep doing somehow.
I find it hard not to fall into the trap of playing almost the same music three nights in a row and not having the same level of energy and excitement for everyone I meet. I've been very happy about cutting down on gigs for next year to reignite my love of DJing. It did get a bit too much for me with touring life and many of the dynamics within the music industry. There are many quick switches between highs and lows and it can be really exhausting. I want to stay enthusiastic and open-minded about the places I go and the people I meet, that's how I believe it should be and that's also how I've met many of my amazing friends from around the world—a special out to the Cool Room posse from Melbourne, Turtle Bugg in Detroit and Savile, Maxime and the whole NYC fam. I'm happy that London is sort of close to home, so I get to visit the Lobster crew rather often—not many people know but they're a huge group of people working tirelessly to make things happen and power through the struggles of the music industry, they've always had so much support for me not asking for anything in return, and I'm really grateful for that. I want to try and support and interact with people who share the same goals and values, so constantly travelling while also focusing on work that I care deeply about doesn't add up moving forward. It's important to me to have different points of interests and not end up having everything invested in one thing only. It makes me better at the things I do, but everyone's different and there are many different ways to be involved in music that are all right in their own way I guess.
I will prioritise my life as a doctor over DJing any day, so will continue both as long as it makes sense. Right now it balances out pretty nicely and makes me happy. And who knows, maybe there will be something completely different that catches my interest in the future. No one can predict how things turn out and nothing stays the same.
What are you up to next?
Working towards becoming an orthopaedic surgeon/body carpenter, developing and playing around with Amniote Editions with everyone on the team and figuring out how to properly apply myself and others towards a more sustainable way of doing things in general—and that's not going to be easy and will probably involve a lot of mistakes and trial-and-error along the way. Onwards and upwards, right?