Sinchi & Friends 51 is Jen Orlando . We recently discovered Jen through various radio shows in the Netherlands. Having got talking we heard she’d just moved here and having heard this mix with lots of diverse music, different genres and challenging mixes, we were intrigued to know more… Get to know her in the interview below.
1) Who are you?
My name is Jen:) I grew up in Connecticut and spent the last eight years in Brooklyn, New York. I used to throw parties and DJ in New York, until the last year when I became more introverted and withdrew from the music scene. I recently moved to The Hague with my partner. I teach yoga, spend a lot of time digging through music, old and new, and right now I’m just trying to make sense out of my place in the world and the possibilities for me, especially after making some very drastic life changes.
2) What have been your highlights from the last 12 months?
I committed to the idea of moving to Holland 12 months ago, so a lot of the last year went to planning and executing. From researching visas and how to bring up a cat, to downsizing and wrapping up my life in NY. The last month in New York was one of the most stressful months, but it was also one of my favorites. I was completing a month long yoga training while simultaneously packing. The physical exhaustion was unreal. But it was a magical month. I’ll never forget the feeling of driving back from the port of New Jersey in an empty Uhaul. I didn’t have to worry about many possessions until some stuff arrived to Holland 2 months later. I felt completely weightless, like I was about to float away.
3) What do you have lined up for the coming year?
I don’t really know what is going to happen, but I know what I want to work on. Music, both DJing and learning how to produce. I’ve had gear for years now that sat largely untouched. I had a rewarding, albeit very demanding job in New York with a long commute. Coming here, I was able to push the reset button. I’m still figuring a lot of things out. I’ve only been here four months and I’m already restructuring my time so that this opportunity of having more of it doesn’t just pass me by.
4) What can you tell us about this mix? What was its inspiration?
I was going for a bit of lightheartedness and playfulness, while challenging myself with what I could mix together. I listen to many different genres and sub-genres of music and I have a diverse background with classical music training and studying audio art. I’m just as captivated by an atmospheric dubby techno track as I am with ambient, leftfield, or the avante-garde. I’m really pushing myself to find ways to thread these things together. With juxtaposition and putting things in different contexts, I think you can challenge someone to hear something new, or make a familiar sound feel new again.
5) Which track in the mix is your favourite right now?
Eomac – Prayer Pt. 1. It’s hauntingly ethereal and sounds great over kick drums and a bassline.
6) What is your favourite track of the last 12 months?
Desire by 69 (Carl Craig). It’s representative of a certain aesthetic for me… something beautiful and melancholic, but also a bit hard and unpolished. Also, when tracks were standalone and timeless, not just made with only the dance floor in mind. It’s also incredibly versatile. It works peak-time, and it’s something I can also play when I teach yoga to someone twice my age with no techno background.
7) What is the last record you bought?
A bunch of 2 euro used breakbeat and Hardhouse records while in Bristol.
8) Who or what are your biggest musical influences?
I can’t narrow this down… instead, I’ll say the fact that there’s always more to discover. I can spend hours one week getting lost in Discogs, yet still discover music I never heard before that I like the following week. I’m always amazed by this, it’s like a well with no bottom.
9) Do you have a ritual before you start playing or straight after?
Usually beforehand I fill my big container of water, use the toilet one last time, and light incense.
10) Who are your favourite DJ’s?
Fred P for the atmospheric and emotional control of the room. He has an intensity that is so captivating. His sets are so cathartic that I’ve gotten weepy on the dancefloor before.
Patrick Russell for his wide-range of taste and being a bit more abstract and daring. His sets make me smile a lot.
Elena Colombi, who I haven’t seen DJ but follow her radio shows. The first time I heard her show I remember thinking, wait, you can really just play whatever you want? You don’t have to stick to one genre?
11) Tell us about 3 DJ’s / Producer’s we may not know but should be looking out for?
12) Best advice for anyone coming into the scene, either as a Producer, DJ or Promoter?
Do you, and have patience with yourself to figure out what that is. Whether music is an avenue to connect to other people, or and avenue to withdraw and connecting to yourself, or something else… It is limitless. Don’t let anyone else try and define it for you. If you feel alienated, ask yourself why. And don’t screw anyone else along the way.
13) 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?
Music, art, yoga…. these are ideals being executed by humans in capitalist societies. I’ve learned that ideals fall apart a lot within these systems. People do bad things all the time, and I think a lot of people get away with it, even in a call-out culture. An injustice can be abstract and it’s easy to make excuses for other people’s bad behavior, especially in an industry that can be very self-serving.
I read somewhere that high-potential women are over-mentored and under-sponsored. The music industry is full of gatekeepers, yet I never hear about artist’s experiences with getting help from other people in higher places. This is critical for development and advancement in any field. Maybe nobody wants to talk about it and act like they got there all on their own? Maybe more people at the top need to help raise the profile of talented artists and DJs who aren’t well known, instead of using the same artists to raise the profile of their own club/label/event/etc? From my short stay in the Netherlands, I think there is generally more opportunity here than in New York. But, New York is very expensive, which factors into risk-taking when organizing parties, for example.
I am really happy to discover more music made by women lately, and more female DJs. I think anyone that wants to help make a difference can look to their own habits, from the artists and DJs you support to the parties you chose to go to, and what those lineups look like.
14) Do you think the gap between the mainstream and the underground is getting closer or further apart? Is this a good or bad thing?
I think what’s considered “mainstream” and what’s considered “underground” shifts. Ideas get recycled, watered down, revisited, and revamped.
15) Favourite art besides music?
Poetry and storytelling, both in written and audio forms.
16) Favourite writer / scientist / painter / philospher?
My favorite American poets are Jane Hirshfield, Mary Szybist, C. D. Wright, Tony Hoagland, and Mark Strand.
A favorite podcast is Love + Radio.
17) If to live in a lost civilization or culture, which one would it be?
I’d be curious about a pre-agricultural, hunter-gatherer, nomadic way of life.
18) Ultimate aspiration in life?
To tread the line between not feeling stagnant and being at peace with standing still.