Photos by: Mathew Stott
Melbourne-born Merve is about to settle in Berlin, celebrating her move with a 4-hour set in Panorama Bar this Sunday. Playful had a chat about how to read the crowd, Berghain memories, and much more. From Melbourne to Germany, what made you move to Europe?
I definitely knew I wasn’t going to always stay in Melbourne. So last year when I was touring I was based in Berlin, and I had a meeting with my agent a couple of weeks in and I said ‘I’m going to move here next year!’ that’s when I decided. I always felt that ‘ah, I’m home’ when I would return from the weekend, and I also have a lot of good core friends here and my agency is based here as well, so it all made sense. That being said, I didn’t always feel this way about Berlin. I came here in 2017 and had the worst time and I was in a bad headspace, I felt like the universe was sending me all these signs to go back home. As silly as my brand new laptop dying, and it wasn't covered here. Eventually I was like ‘fuck this city, I'm never coming back’. But I did return and I’ve had the best times since! We read that you've been growing up "between gay saunas and punk clubs in Melbourne," tell us about it!
I grew up on Wellington Street in Collingwood. It's very gentrified now, and I guess it's the same as Neukölln and Kreuzberg. I lived between Wet on Wellington (Melbourne's finest gay sauna), and on the other end is The Tote Hotel, which is one of the last iconic rock and punk pubs which they then tried to close down in 2010 because the Victorian government hates live music. But the whole street protested because it's such an iconic venue and it’s still open now, and so is Wet on Wellington should anyone wish to pop in! So I grew up in between these two spots and all the characters they bring with them. You started collecting records as a teenager; what was the collection like in the beginning? They were punk and rock records like Iggy Pop, The Jam, and Ramones. I was actually going through them recently, which was pretty cute. They were like pocket money records. I actually realised I have a Kings Of Leon record too... which according to discogs is the most expensive record in my collection lol. Later down the track, I started collecting disco and boogie as that was what I was interested in and listening to at the time and then it just grew from there, and I grew out of those sounds. You've also worked in the industry for a while, both with bookings and curating events, for example. What is the best with the industry?
I started clubbing when I was underage, but at first it was to just listen to the music that I loved. Then after a while, I realised that I really wanted to be in events. I love music so much that I want to be a part of the process of bringing it all together and bringing people together. My favourite part of every event I was involved in would be that moment when the event was peaking and I would just watch everyone having a time, and you’re pretty much dead, you've been up since 5 am, you probably smell a bit too, but it was all worth it. Essentially you're assisting in creating a space where people can have these moments. A space where people can have a break, escape from reality or find themselves or just dance their hearts out. DJing is a lot about reading the room to create an atmosphere for that particular crowd. How do you work your magic?
Reading the room is a skill I value a lot and I’m glad I’ve had the time to develop it over many years of djing. I play a lot of different genres that sit under the electronic dance music umbrella, and I think being able to read the room helps with being able to do what I do and play different things into each other. I always have one track that I've dug up and found deep in my search, and I look forward to sharing it with everyone and see their reaction. But then, everything is about timing and waiting for when it feels right. I mean, I'm impatient. I'm an Aries. But DJing has taught me this: Sometimes I need to stop myself from mixing out too soon. Shut up and let it breathe. Let the track play.
You're playing at Panorama this weekend (15/4). What does Berghain and Panorama Bar mean to you?
I love Panorama Bar, that’s always the floor you’ll find me on. When I play there, it feels like you're in the middle, and everyone is around you, and it's super cozy. I love that it's no frills. It's just a booth, and it has everything you need in it. Your lighting person is there, and you're ready to roll. I love it. I remember the first time I went. I was in my pyjamas and about to go to bed, and my friend called and said, 'Get up, we're going to Berghain.' The full amateur that I was at the time, once we got through security and I didn't have any cash on me, my friend had to pay for me and that was where I started learning. This is not Australia, and you're not going to be tapping your card around. It was a funny night, and ever since then, I always have the best time there, meeting great people, even if it's just small interactions. Last summer, I was there, and it was stinking hot, and I was fanning myself. There was this person behind me and they said, ‘every time I feel your fan, I feel loved’, and I told them that they are loved! That was super cute. It's it own weird little world, and I love and appreciate it. What's up next for you? What are your plans for the spring and summer?
Besides setting up my life here. Djing around Europe and the UK - I’ve got a few shows I’m really looking forward to (I can’t remember them all off the top of my head but you can check on Resident Advisor). Working on other little projects. Having fun and seeing my friends!