Having her roots in the ancient city of Istanbul, as a true nomad and free soul Elif’s wings brought her reputation already exceeding the thriving dance culture of her home city and made her a regular selector at top venues both locally and internationally, as she delivers her unique blend of synthesized and organic sounds. We had a little chat to know more about her and walk with her down the memorylane back to where all it started. Here’s how it went.
Before music, you used to be a travel & music blogger and a content creator. How did that help you musically?
I have been actually many other things and I wouldn’t necessarily call that period ‘before music’ because music has always been there. I have been or / am an architect, a yoga teacher, a content creator… and all of these form an interdisciplinary net of give and take when it comes to making sense of the world, understanding concepts, interpreting perceptions and overall inspiration.
I can use knowledge from my architecture background in my understanding of music today which would find its similarities in a vinyasa yoga flow I construct etc. In the case of your question, for sure make use of my ability of storytelling I inherited from my content creation history in my musical path, both in social media where I literally tell my story with words and in music itself where I can create tracks or sets in a way to tell a story. I’m sure I use the inputs of my professional and private life in every aspect of my creation journey, consciously but also subconsciously.
What was a turning point in your career and how did you make the switch?
A few things combined: Partly growing up and understanding and learning to respect my passions combined with some sort of financial security which allowed me to throw myself in the arms of ‘breadless art’ but besides these the fact that I had to constantly promote consumerism and products as a part of my job which started to build some sort of bad conscious around what I am offering to the world. I believe I have more to offer, like healing through disciplines like music, yoga but also using that kind of influence to create awareness about things that matter, not only brands and products.
You blend the indie-rock-come-deep-house tonalities. How do you do that and how did you come up with such a distinguished sound?
Yes I do blend some indie rock come deep tonalities but if I defined my sound only as these words it would not be very accurate. I actually don’t like to ‘define’ a sound but let the music speak for itself. What I play in my sets changes a lot, depending on many things: the location, time of the day, the setting, the crowd, my mood… Many things. Last thing I can say is I have a sound. But I believe there is something that you’d recognize if you listened to a set of mine that is around 105 BPMs or another set of mine that is around 122 BPMs or a set I played at a day party versus a set I play in a dark night club. Vibe would be very different but I think you’d recognize I played those sets. Back to the indie rock tonalities. Of course I didn’t come up with it but it’s just what happened when I started mixing what I loved. I listen to a lot of indie rock and I love its translation of emotions into the dance floor.
How were you first introduced to the Gardens of Babylon? And what do you think you and the GOB have in common?
Probably online. TGOB is a global family and has a lot of online presence. And Shihi herself is as strong as the brand. I remember meeting Shishi in person in Burning Man 3 years ago when a good friend of mine was playing music and she was behind the both. Not sure if it was kind of a TGOB gathering but I think that was my first introduction with her. Before that I haven’t been to a The Gardens of Babylon gathering and to be honest I was even kind of questioning if the spirituality aspect of TGOB was just riding along the hype of these trends that are quite hip nowadays (I come from a culture where religious values are highly used to manipulate big crowds so I have this first natural response). I even didn’t believe you could make people meditate in a nightclub. But when I attended my first TGOB event that started with a meditation and connected with the crowd that makes TGOB all my doubts dissolved. Here spirituality was as important as music and I believe that’s what I have in common with TGOB. I believe tears running down my cheeks when I first meditated in a party!
If I’m not mistaken the first ever TGOB event I played was the first Monastery festival which was a perfect blend of spirituality, music, family and it has a very very special place in my heart. It was like everyone you ran into could be your lifelong friend.. I play in many more TGOB events after that and I feel part of a big international family that shares similar values and love of music. I feel happy that I belong to this family. I feel a lot of love and support!
If you were to describe the Monastery in one sentence, what would you say?
A magical gathering of wonderful beings united by the passion of music and search of higher consciousness.
What do Music and Love have in common?
Both are energy that can be defined with frequencies to begin with 🙂 And I love sharing both. I think both are means of communication when It comes to it and both can form bigger things then themselves and unite people together. Both could be the secret of our universe.
Do you believe that the crowd can increase the DJ’s self-confidence or vice versa?
I am actually a very shy person. Sometimes it’s even difficult for me to look at the crowd while I play let alone make big gestures with my hands or jump around and dance. I’m usually shy and focused. Having played numerous TGOB events I started to realize the front row now consists of friends I made on another TGOB dance floor. Seeing these people when you are at your most vulnerable as a shy person (because when on stage you are super open to all sorts of energy directed at you) is just very very comforting and it always puts a smile on my face and relaxes me even more. In TGOB events I smile, jump, dance and am super comfortable. I am grateful for these real friendships that extended beyond the dance floor and they know who they are 🙂
Lastly, what was the non-electronic track you’ve listened to?
You mean the last one? I listen to a lot of non – electronic tracks 🙂 Don’t remember which one was the last 🙂 How about a spotify playlist?