The German producer shares a funky mix of 80s new wave and spacey house edits
German producer Perel is known for bringing cosmic disco and house edits to the dancefloor. For her second full-length release, Jesus Was An Alien, the artist takes the notion of ‘rave as ritual’ to extraterrestrial new heights, with 10 tracks that combine spacey electro pulses with 80s new wave and disembodied vocals. “Jesus Was An Alien is a discourse about whether Jesus was an actual alien,” she explains, “but also a social debate about what is and implies religion today”.
Like revving up a spaceship, the record borrows on elements of Italo, like rubbery bass arpeggios and full-bodied major chords, and wriggling drum patterns, to give the impression of journeying through space. On the title track, Perel brings on French-Canadian producer Marie Davidson, whose vocals ring like otherworldly mantras against an infectious backdrop of glinting synth-pop. Elsewhere, squelching retro synths battle against kinetic melodies that send you floating into a state of higher consciousness. It’s feel-good but dreamy; a summer-ready record with a cosmic punch.
For her exclusive Dazed mix, the producer ascends to even groovier heights with a club-ready mix of new disco, thumping house and Italo. “I call the mix ‘Perel summer mix for Dazed‘ because it kind of sets my personal vibe for this season,” she explains. Listen to the mix below.
Tell us about Jesus Was An Alien. What are some of the main ideas behind it?
Perel: Jesus Was An Alien is a discourse about whether Jesus was an actual alien, but also a social debate about what is and implies religion today. Who are our arms raised to? Who are we seeking salvation from? Is the world still waiting for a saviour that might be already amongst us or did we create our own true religion based on narcissism? Are we pretending to be on a video call or is this another opportunity to evaluate our face?
There’s something in us that is looking for a greater sense in life, the connection to a higher power, a shared consciousness (or one great consciousness). Until you realise that we’re all connected and that the divine is within us you feel lonely and disconnected. Most religions tried to fill this gap but also mistreated the concept of God in order to make us believe God or Gods are beings apart from us. Gods are real but they’re more like something to look up to rather than worshipping them. They are masters to teach to unleash and (re-)create our own divinity.
We are all gods. But our minds and bodies are polluted, important wisdom about the universe and humans got lost or willingly destroyed in order to abuse power. We are slaves. I think Jesus, as an alien, tried to show an alternative but people had not been ready to see what he really was and then created a concept that made the most sense to them.
How did you feel when creating it?
Perel: I started working on the album in 2019. Back then I felt on a pretty low vibration from touring which soaks a lot of energy out of me. I felt I had been too long in the matrix without an escape. Being in the studio and working on the concept of my second album helped me to unplug.
What would you like people to take away from it?
Perel: Questions are always the beginning of something new. I like when people have questions or when my music moves something in them. I’m not only talking about positive experiences – I’m happy for all kinds of directions because then I know I created something with character and not another vanilla record.
What are some of your earliest memories of music? Have they influenced your sound at all?
Perel: I get this question a lot and I will always tell the truth: Backstreet Boys, Spice Girls, German Hip Hop, Britney Spears, and Destiny’s Child. But I don’t believe this had a direct impact on the music I’m doing now. People expect me to say cooler stuff but those are my childhood memories and I loved it. Also, I personally think what impacts your music the most is pretty subconscious and I kind of feel pressured to come up with some reasonable explanations why I sound the way I sound. But honestly, I don’t know. I should undergo hypnosis in order to find out.
What’s your experience of the pandemic been like? Did you spend it focusing on music?
Perel: It was terrible. I was extremely bored and hopeless. OK, I was depressed. Sure, I made a lot of music and finished my album, but let’s be honest: not knowing when you will ever be performing live again (and earning money) overshadowed the whole experience.
How has it been returning to live shows? Do you have any favourites post-pandemic, why?
Perel: I remember performing my first post-pandemic show in April 2021 in Brooklyn, shortly after New York’s clubs reopened. It was pretty intense, but also because I was not used to playing at night anymore. I’m still not used to it, to be honest. But quite special had been the moment when was able to return to Germany, my home country in order to play the closing of the Akasha Festival. I couldn’t see my friends and family for almost two years due to the travel ban between Europe and the US. I think I cry in every set I’ve played.
Tell us about your Dazed mix.
Perel: I call the mix ‘Perel summer mix for Dazed‘ because it kind of sets my personal vibe for this season. I included two tracks from my new album, “Matrix” and “Kill The System”, and created a story around them. I had around 300 folders of new music that people and friends sent me in the last two months, it took me three days to dig through. I not only found some pearls for my Dazed mix but also for my shows. Most of the tracks that are in the mix will definitely be part of my summer tour.
1. Romain FX – “Le Sucre D’Adam”
2. Omri Smadar & Roy Shpilman – “Adama Yuksek Remix”
3. Boys’ Shorts – “Spectral”
4. Louis de Tomaso – ”Fatale Recall 5”
5. Longhair – “Techno Power”
6. Perel – “Matrix”
7. Alinka feat. Robert Owens – “Midnight Ride (Dub)”
8. Montessori – “Digital Mind”
9. Enzo Elia – ”Zanari”
10. Perel – ”Kill the System”
11. Michael Cignarale – ”Horny”
12. Montessori – “Glue In The Sand” (feat Vongold)
13. LuCasa – “De Disco Trein”
14. Kiwi – ”Hedonistic Tendencies”