The Berlin-based DJ delivers a boisterous mix of influences to drive away those winter blues
“Remember when I said I was going to bed”, says the voice of Nik Mantilla on the second track of Nene H’s new Trifecta EP, “well, that was a fucking lie”. It’s a sentiment that embodies the spirit of her infectious new project, a trifecta of tracks created in homage to the three cities that shaped her: Istanbul, Berlin and Copenhagen. Across the whistle-stop tour of her influences, Nene H creates an aural landscape of relentless beats that provoke and electrify, transporting the listener beyond the remits of space and time.
Released on Live From Earth’s sub-label, Live From Earth Klub, the German outfit aims to support the creative endeavours of upcoming artists, with Nene commenting that there’s “not a lot of labels who would give such a big support to our community in this way”. Similarly, Nene H is also dedicated to uplifting marginalised voices through Sirän, the Istanbul-based collective that she co-founded in 2022, hosting DJ workshops and parties for the city’s young, queer POC community.
For her exclusive Dazed mix, Nene has created an exuberant and boisterous blend of influences from techno to trance and grime. “I just wanted to make one last cunty, sexy, cute mix before the end of the year”, she shared with us. Mission well and truly accomplished.
You’ve just released Trifecta – how do you feel about it?
Nene H: Very happy and excited about it. Super thankful to Live From Earth for making this project such a big thing. We still have a music video coming out soon, there is a lot of support from their side and I got to work with so many POC artists from various art forms for this release, which made it very monumental for me personally. I loved the whole process and loved how Live From Earth came through to make all of this happen. So thankful.
What are some of the main inspirations of the EP?
Nene H: It’s basically three tracks like love letters to three cities that have big importance in my life. I always want to have a concept when I do things — this has been in my mind to pay my respects and show my love to people that have shaped me in these cities, and this was basically when I got the opportunity to do it. My communities in these cities are always a big inspiration for me, I learned so much from them.
What are some of your earliest memories of music? Have they influenced your sound at all?
Nene H: My family was extremely musical, a lot of amateur musicians and instrumentalists who played traditional Azerbaijani or Turkish music. I remember playing the accordion at the age of two or three. Of course it influences you. I grew up with microtonal music and uneven rhythmic patterns because south west Asian music is tonally and rhythmically a lot more complex than European classical music. European music is a lot more complex in polyphonic area, where south west Asian music is not — it focuses on monophony but gets very detailed and complicated in a different way. So I got all that ear training from a very early age. It is general musical understanding though, but still somehow of course affects your choices in general.
How does living in Berlin for the past nine years influence your sound?
Nene H: A lot. I met so many inspiring DJs and producers who are into different sounds, not only techno. A lot of teachable moments here, so my sound growth definitely mostly happened here.
What are you listening to at the moment?
Nene H: A lot of hip hop/rap. I have been making some beats, or I made some of my first attempts to make beats, to be more precise. I love it because there is no pressure so I am focusing on song structures and analysing the productions a lot. Obsessed with Megan Thee Stallion.
Do you have any fun projects or shows lined up?
Nene H: Yes! Announcing my own label “Umay” on January 10 next year. We have the first two releases already planned, one with BASHKKA one with WTCHCRFT, and I am so excited about the music but also the artists. I just want to support as many underrepresented artists as I can and this will be a platform to do the work hopefully the best way possible.
Tell us about your Dazed mix.
Nene H: It’s a little piece of sunny vibes into the dark winter period. Hope it can fix some pain somewhere out there and give people some good vibes.
Trifecta is out now