A formidable force in Dance Music for sure right now, Kittball Co-Owner Juliet Sikora & Elrow resident Tini Gessler are two artists making huge waves in the scene. Individually, their previous outings on Kittball, Moonbootica, Kaluki Music, Flashmob Records have been well received, with their latest debut collaboration ‘Tidy Up’ on Toolroom Trax; a heavy hitting club focused weapon moving dance floors around the world. With support from heavy weights in the scene already including Joris Voorn, Claptone & Roger Sanchez to Toolroom’s own boss man Mark Knight himself, you know that things are heating up!
Juliet Sikora & Tini Gessler – ‘Tidy Up‘
Hey Juliet & Tini! Congratulations on your new release and welcome to the #ToolroomFamily! How are you both and where in the world are you both right now?
TINI: Thank you so much! I’m really happy to sign our new Single with Toolroom! I’m currently at home in Barcelona, working a lot on new tracks in the studio, trying to get some ready before the pandemic allows clubs to reopen and we can go back on tour, such a rollercoaster these past two years, isn’t it?
JULIET: Thank you for letting us be part of your family & I hope you’re all doing well. It’s definitely been a rollercoaster! Corona related, I’m sitting at home working on my planning for 2022, touring, new music and lots of new projects!
So your your brand-new collab & Toolroom Trax debut ‘Tidy Up’, how did it come about and what was the inspiration behind the record?
JULIET: First off, I must thank Mathias Kaden who always said that Tini and I would get along great and that we should do something together! I played for Elrow in Germany in 2019 and was hoping to meet her there. Unfortunately, she wasn’t there that night, so I asked Mathias to connect us. We started by sending each other projects back and forth. In total we have produced 3 tracks together and ‘Tidy Up‘ is a definite floorfiller.
TINI: Juliet and I were talking about or first collab after my release on Kittball, we had a couple of ideas and we made a fusion of both. ‘Tidy Up‘ was our first work together, so we really looked to create a sound that identifies with our personalities. I had my inspiration during a show in south America where I had to play a deeper techno style, and the vibe really stayed in my mind till I could work on it in the studio.
Juliet Sikora @ Kittball Records Rooftop Party!
So you were first introduced by your mutual friend Mathias Kaden? Tell us a bit about how you first officially met each other?
JULIET: Because of COVID it was a bit difficult to meet up, so I took the chance when Elrow had a show in Amsterdam during the ADE and planned to go to Amsterdam. Anyway, so it was great to finally meet her and what can I say, love at first sight? It felt like we have known each other for years, she is a very warm-hearted person and we get on really well!
TINI: I’ve known of Juliet for a long time because I’m a fan of tunes and I play many of her tracks! We finally met in person 3 years ago after our friend in common Mathias introduced us we became very close friends and now create music together!
Juliet Sikora & Tini Gessler – ‘Mandala Acid‘
What made you want to pursue a career as artists & DJs in electronic music? Were there any notable artists who inspired you?
TINI: I love music, I love to play and to create music to make people dance! That’s the biggest reason why I’m a DJ, because there is nothing better than carving a career in something you love. I had some great early inspirations, including Luciano, Sven Väth, Carl Cox…
JULIET: The love of music and I’ve always been fascinated by what the person behind the DJ booth does, but first and foremost I was a partygoer. DJs that really influenced me back then and still inspire me today are Bad Boy Bill, Junior Jack& Kid Creme, Larry Levan, Laurent Garnier, DJ Koze and of course Carl Cox!
What was it like for you both growing up and developing as artists & DJs in Germany & Spain?
TINI: For me was really interesting to start my career in Barcelona/Spain, there are so many clubs, so many promoters and people that organise events. It’s a big clubbing scene and everyone seems to know everyone. Once you play at one club, you’re introduced to more people and you play at more clubs and events!
All the best DJs in the world come to Spain to play so in terms of developing as an artist and being inspired by people I admire, it’s been great! The people here love to dance, love to enjoy their time and have fun! It feels so good to be a part of the scene here in Spain and be able to perform and develop as an artist, whilst of enjoying myself of course!
JULIET: The scene in Germany is colourful, loud, diverse and open-minded. Berlin is an international trendsetter when it comes to the music and club scene there…
I started DJing at the end of the 90s, at that time there were already a few female DJs. It was hard at first, because female DJs were seen as bit of a novelty. But my passion for DJing & Producing was more powerful than the challenges I had to face and through perseverance I actually went on to make a career out of it.
What clubs did you frequent in when you were cutting your teeth as DJs? Are there any clubs you’ve been too that has an atmosphere like no other in the world?
TINI: My very first gigs were very local, in my hometown Sitges, like everybody else I guess doing warm ups, playing in bars here and there, then small clubs. I got my first residency at Pacha Barcelona, I then started as a resident with Elrow’s underground area at club KER, after proving myself on KER for a couple of years and evolving as an artist I was signed as an Elrow DJ, playing Elrow gigs worldwide! I guess they saw how much I grew as an artist and promoted me to the Elrow areas and I can say it was one of the most special moments in my career.
In between this, I’ve played many clubs and festivals and I have to say that each place had left a special memory in mind. If I have to choose, my favourite place to play in the world it has to be Elrow in Barcelona, its just so special to, it’s like having a residency in a small festival but close to your friends and family, it such a good vibe to be doing what I love around people I love! I feel like I can enjoy the experience completely and I think everyone who goes to Elrow Barcelona knows that there’s something special about that club!
Tini Gessler @ Elrow Barcelona 2020
JULIET: In the beginning, of course, you were more on the road regionally, you had to make a name for yourself first. At that time, you still had to play, but the promotion was to record DJ mixes on cassettes and then sell them at the door of the club where you played. As there was no Internet and social media platforms back then, that was the only way to make a name for yourself!
Unfortunately, almost all the clubs I played in back then no longer exist, such as the Flamingo, Clubbing 69, Livingroom, Tribehouse or the Zuhouse Club, if we’re talking regionally now. For me, things only went international years later. There were many highlights in the 20 years, such as Club Deep in Makarska, which was in a cave in Croatia and India is a huge favourite of mine and I hardly know any other country that celebrates electronic music so intensely!
Juliet Sikora Live In The Lab Mumbai – Mixmag x BUDX
Where do you both pick up new music & vinyl’s? Do have a favourite record store that you always go too?
JULIET: I must admit I stopped playing records about 10 years ago and the shops I used to go to don’t exist anymore… Otherwise, I get my music from sites like Beatport and Traxsource, but I always try to find new/old tracks in older streams or DJ charts from artists I like. That’s why I often play music that was released a long time ago and that I rediscover for myself!
TINI: I use to find my best records in Promos, sometimes I get really interesting stuff, lots of them are also from producers not really well known. I also use Beatport, I try to focus on the charts of the djs I like, the new albums and I also love to get lost listening to records of a completely different style. Regarding vinyl, I started playing with them, but now-a-days is really difficult to find the music I play in vinyl, so I is not really worth for me.
So Juliet, we’re big fans of Kittball Records here at Toolroom, but how did you first get involved with Kittball Records with Tube & Berger? Was it something that you had always planned to do?
Tube & Berger founded the label, but asked me to manage it for them for a while, through a label management company I worked for. They liked my work so much that they headhunted me and offered me a partnership! Of course, I didn’t think about it for long, as it had always been a dream of mine to own my own label.
Kittball x Ibiza Live – Juliet Sikora
What does it mean to you both to be a part of the #ToolroomFamily and release on Toolroom Trax?
TINI: It’s a big pleasure to be part of the Toolroom family! I always play music from the label, in fact, when I search for music I use to go straight to Toolroom Records on Beatport. A bunch of the DJs that I admire release music on Toolroom, so it’s a huge honour for us to be on the same label.
JULIET: I was really looking forward to working with the great Toolroom team again. We have known each other for years through the label business and since I already released a track with KC Light on Toolroom last year, it was clear to me that I would like to come back, and I am glad that you see us as part of the family.
KC Lights & Juliet Sikora – ‘Tonight‘
What 3 tips would you give any aspiring female producers/DJs/artists looking to breakthrough in the scene?
JULIET: I don’t think I’m going to be able to give you a secret tip that you haven’t heard a thousand times before. But from my personal experience, all I can say is believe in yourself, set goals every year and reach for the stars.
TINI: Work hard, you never stop learning and never stop developing your skills as a DJand as a producer! Be sure to enjoy your work because music is all about having fun! Be humble, the first jobs are never the biggest jobs but if you’re a professional, hard worker and believe in your talent; those little jobs lead to your dream jobs.
Okay, so who are the artists and labels that our fans should know about – big or small!
TINI: In my last mixes I played a lot of music from Eli Brown, Wheats, Eldon, Carlo Lio, Ango Tamarin who I’m really enjoying their sound right now. When I look for new music, I go straight to labels like, Toolroom, Sola, Kittball, Kaluki, Desert Hearts… They always deliver!
JULIET: I have to admit I am a big fan of Tony Mess, Dj Boris, Adele.Be, Chris di Perri and MellaDee. My 4 acts that I have discovered for myself in the last 3 years. On the label side, I found ‘Club Sweat‘, ‘Sink or Swim‘ and ‘Positiva‘ quite strong recently.
Thank you both so much for talking with us, it’s be great chatting with you! One final question before we wrap it up, what does 2022 look like for you both?
JULIET: I have to say there are a lot of things in store! I’ve just finished a track with Wally Lopez, and another with Jean Bacarreza plus three tracks with Flo Mrzdk which are as good as finished. But that’s all the collabs for this year. I want to concentrate more on my own stuff. At the moment I am busy looking for singers!
Apart from that, I am totally hooked on the NFT hype, my first US tour is coming up in March so my calendar is filling up more and more with festivals and club gigs. Oh and one more thing, I’m releasing my first sample pack on Loopmasters in April which I’m super excited about! So yeah, there’s a lot going on with me this year and I’m looking positively into the future and I hope to see you all on the dance floor in person ASAP!
TINI: Im really excited about this new year after the last 2, as I spent lockdown improving my studio skills, writing lots of music so I have a lot of new releases planned for 2022!
After a few cancellations throughout January and February, I have my very first US tour going ahead in March which I’m specially excited, new tour in South America, summer season few big festivals confirmed that I’ll play for the first time! Also the Ibiza season looks also promising along a few Elrow shows in the pipeline 2022 is shaping up to be quite the year!