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Berlin's Steffi

PBar resident Steffie Doms reveals how she preps for a set, where she finds new music and exactly why it is she loves vinyl

Steffie Doms, aka Steffi, is a talent revered across the world for her legendary sets at Berlin’s Panormama Bar. A staunch vinylist, she segues extended journeys which span the full spectrum of house music old and new to some of the keenest clubbers you’re likely to find. This month saw the release of her debut album on Ostgut Ton, an understated affair which travelled back to house music’s warm, analogue roots in both Chicago and Detroit. Here she talks to us about the details of her trade before she plays Fabric this weekend...

Dazed Digital: Are you able to play as you do at PBar everywhere else do you think? Or does that place just conjure a special something in you?
Steffi: Most of the time playtimes are around 2 hours. At PBar we play 4 to 6 hours. Of course there is lots more to tell in longer sets then in a two-hour slot: I feel very comfortable in PBar as it is my home base so I know my crowd and which records work at what time.

DD: How did you find the album writing process? Is it something you enjoyed and would like to do again?
Steffi: It was a very interesting process. As soon as we found a release date for the album I locked myself in my studio from March till the end of October and worked on it full time. I certainly had some moments where I wanted to drop the whole project but as soon as I got some structure in my workflow it was a really exciting time. Especially working with Virginia on the vocal tracks was a great experience as we both wanted to do all the work ourselves instead of asking an engineer to mix down the vocals. So we sat down for hours to find the right EQs and effects.

DD: How much of your album was made with the dancefloor in mind? What were your other main goals with it?
Steffi:
None of the tracks. I just let it happen basically. When I make music, I just go with the flow and see what happens. My tracks tend to be kinda deep and I don’t think about if its works on a dancefloor or not. I don’t care about that. It’s nice when people play it in their sets in a club but I also love the fact that people listen to them at work or in a car.

DD: Are you someone who often goes hunting for new records to play or…? Where do you look/what are you looking for would you say? Anything specific or just ‘a feeling’?
Steffi:
Definitely!!! I love record shopping and do it is as much as possible all over the world in shops or online shops. It’s really important to me. The excitement I feel when I hear new records and when I find records I was looking for for a long time.

DD: So you play Fabric in March… do you still get nervous about playing places? Will you do any extra special preparation for the gig or…?
Steffi:
It really depends on the gig actually. Sometimes big places don’t make me nervous at all but sometimes I am restless all day about a certain gig. I always take quite a long time to pick out my records. I hardly play CDs so I am limited with what I can bring on a plane. At the moment I do a couple of gigs with Virginia (who sang on my album and on my release for Underground Quality) and we play a few songs off the album and the EP where she sings the vocals live so we try make a few cuepoints during the night to see when we can play these tracks.

DD: And finally what is it you love about vinyl so much… what makes you lug it around the world instead of going digital?
Steffi: We all know vinyl gets more rare every day and when I think about the day it will disappear forever I get really sad because I can’t imagine not going to the shops and check out new music every week, talking to people in the shops and going through their back, finding interesting new or old things. Somehow I don’t have that connection to music when I shop online so much. I use a lot of online portals but I order stuff on vinyl there. I can’t seem to get into buying digital files and work with them. For me it’s really important that music has a body. I like to look on the labels and recognise stuff when I am digging or searching for records. I also prefer the sound of vinyl on a big system. Traktor or Serato for example sound really flat to me and loads of DJs who use it don’t inspire me unfortunately.

Steffi plays London's Fabric Room 3 on Saturday March 19th alongside the likes of Ivan Smagghe and Michael Mayer