Sinchi & Friends 35 is the Dutch duo of Femke and Nicole, known as Strange Boutique. A regular fixture on Amsterdam’s Red Light Radio with their Tuesday Night Prayer Meeting Show and connoisseurs of unique and rare music. We were delighted when they accepted our invitation to join the series and this is what they had to say…
‘To us a mixtape reflects our current mood and interests. The way they are put together is a very intuitive process. We react on each others individual selections and try to build a story that is not based on beats but on atmosphere. The purpose of a mixtape differs in that sense from a club-set and allows you to dig a bit deeper musically. Its a very different type of listening experience’.
1) Who are you?
Strange Boutique are visual artist/designer NM | Nicole Martens and curator Femke Dekker. Used as a label for their various collaborative projects since 2009 — whether in fashion, art or music — Strange Boutique is a playground for two opinionated, kindred spirits. As Strange Boutique, they exhibit a fondness for all things strange and ethereal, seeking out both the obscure and objects hiding in plain sight.
2) What have been your highlights from the last 12 months?
Our first ever release; a limited edition 10” called ‘Eva Crane’.
The track Eva Crane saw the light during a trip to our friend, artist and musician Christelle Gualdi who lives in Antwerp. This was three years ago and the track had been lying in a drawer ever since. So we were very happy to finally set her free.
‘Eva Crane’ is an evolutionary audio–visual project, where we ask friends and artists we admire to make a remix, rework or interpretation of Eva and we subsequently turn it into new visual work ourselves.
The very first edition was launched on Oct. 20 2016 in collaboration with the Amsterdam design platform fanfare, as part of their ongoing project Parallels of the Equator.
3) What do you have lined up for the coming year?
More installations where we combine our love for music, spatiality and spirituality. More sit down DJ sets would be very nice. More musical exchanges with friends hopefully. More plants around us.
4) Which track in the mix is your favourite right now?
We love them all but maybe the Phantom band has a special place in our hearts as it is our very small tribute to Jaki Liebezeit, who recently passed away. And another favorite is Maria Rita’s ‘Cântico Brasileiro No. 3 (Kamaiurá)’ from the latest Music from Memory release ‘Outro Tempo: Electronic And Contemporary Music From Brazil 1978-1992’.
5) What is your favourite track of the last 12 months?
Of course we would have to say both remixes of our ‘Eva Crane’ track, done by our friends Suzanne Kraft and Infinite Juju.
6) What is the last record you bought?
Lizzy Mercier Descloux’s ‘Press Color’.
7) Who or what are your biggest musical influences?
Family and friends
Love and hate.
Punk and Jazz.
Hiphop and New Age.
8) Do you have a ritual before you start playing or straight after?
One wodka on the rocks.
9) Who is your favourite DJ?
There are too many to name. But our favourite DJ’s are the ones rocking out to their music while playing.
10) Tell us about 3 DJ’s / Producer’s we may not know but should be looking out for?
Cosime, Panda Lassow, Margie and Hiele. So that’s 4.
11) Best advice for anyone coming into the scene, either as a Producer, DJ or Promoter?
Be kind. And remember sharing is caring.
12) Do you think there is inequality or disbalance in dance music, whether it is gender or race? If yes, what do think can be done?
Yes, that is still very obvious but baby-steps are being made and as long as we keep addressing these issues we’ll move forward eventually.
13) What’s your opinion on the importance of roots , traditions, respecting originals and sources? Should all music be open source and open to editing or do you think cultural and artistic misappropriation is an issue?
All music should be open source in the sense that music is and always has been about sharing and communicating. Which also is the case when it comes to appreciation and of roots and tradition. But there is a big difference between respecting those traditions & allowing them to be part of your vocabulary and artistic misappropriation.
Having a background in various subcultures, we strongly believe in Dick Hebdige’s description in his study, ‘Subculture’, that “humble objects” can be magically appropriated; “stolen” by subordinate groups and made to carry “secret” meanings: meanings which express, in code, a form of resistance to the order which guarantees their continued subordination.”
14) Due to developments in technology and software, there is so much which can be done to change a track to the tiniest detail, how much do you use this in your sets? Can too much technology be a bad thing?
We like the idea of the dj as curator and to create exciting, challenging compositions, even if that means altering tracks. But without to much emphasis on technical tricks. To us the selection is always more important then technique. For us creative interventions usually result in playing with tempo, and playing two or more tracks, or parts of them simultaneously, not for mixing transition but to create new sounds. Creating a state between a soundscape and a dj-set.
15) Favourite art besides music? Contemporary
16) Favourite writer / scientist / painter / philospher? Diane Di Prima, Eva Crane, Sister Corita Kent, Susan Sontag
17) Favourite film score? Wendy Carlos’ The Shining & Joan Baez’ Silent Running score.
18) Guilty Pleasure? Pleasure is never something to be ashamed of.
19) Favourite way to unwind? Sleep & Meditation
20) If to live in a lost civilization or culture, which one would it be? A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.
21) Blissful ignorance or harsh reality? Harsh reality blissfully ignored
22) What makes you smile? Good food / Good energies / Good music / Good people.
23) Ultimate aspiration in life? Being kind and generous.