The Italian DJ shows the depth of her tastes.
There's a type of dance floor experience we're sure many people have had, and it usually goes something like this: you're enjoying what the DJ is playing, you briefly go to the bar or chat with a friend, and when you reconnect with the music you think, "Wait, how did we possibly get to this track!?" This might be Paquita Gordon's speciality. Even at a time when blending genres is common practice, she plays with more freedom than most. Gordon doesn't limit herself to tracks with matching tempos, often making wild stylistic leaps through a simple blend or fade. This is most vividly illustrated during her annual set at Milan's Terraforma festival. On the Sunday afternoon this year, playing at the dusty, tree-lined second stage, she joined dots between dub, jazz, house, drum & bass and plenty more, peaking with a track at gabber tempo before gradually reducing the intensity and finishing with Wareika Hill Sounds' "Chant Rasta." Those who caught her at Nachtdigital a few weeks later saw a very different side of her style in what we called a "two-hour set of party-rocking house." Outside of the more typical club and festival shows, Gordon dedicates herself to organising cultural events in Sicily through the il Vulcano project, which describes its aim as promoting "the nature, culture, life and places of the Mediterranean."
Gordon is a big advocate of vinyl and analogue sound, once telling Electronic Cult that "vinyl is my instrument. It's the instrument I chose to express myself." On RA.639, we get to hear 14 killer records from her collection. The mix is in the vein of her sets at Terraforma, which means there's space for both Mr. Oizo and Jimi Hendrix.
What have you been up to recently?
2018 has already been full of experience. I hosted a monthly residency at Club Plastic in Milan and was involved in my city by also playing my annual DJ set at Terraforma Festival and, for a third year in a row, I musically curated the Design Week opening for Triennale Museum. I recently performed at Jazz Cafè and Brilliant Corners in London, got on board with Nachtdigital festival in Leipzig and a Giegling party at Hoppetosse in Berlin.
How and where was the mix recorded?
This mix was recorded this summer in the Plancton studio in Milan where I'm based since ten months, with my friend and analogue photographer Margherita Chiarva. As a DJ I work with vinyl only, and for this recording I used two Technics 1210 turntables, two Shure needles and an Ecler NUO 3.0 DJ mixer.
Can you tell us about the idea behind the mix?
My idea of a podcast conceived for the web is more like the creation of listening sessions rather than dance floor-oriented mixes. As a record collector I explore different genres ("world music," dub, new jazz, etc.), while never stopping research into electronic music, ranging from house to techno, drum & bass and trance. In this set I included recent digs with the attempt of merging diverse influences and styles into the definitive language of electronic sound. I guess this is what's happening through technology and displacement on our planet, a fusion of all cultures into a whole new global awareness, hopefully without completely losing our original identity heritage. What better than electronic music to represent this synthesis?
Tell us a bit about yourself for those who don't know. How did you start DJing? How would you describe your tastes?
Next November will be ten years from my first official DJ performance. The passion started while living in London between 2006 and 2013, inspired by the work of friends and by experiencing artists such as Ricardo Villalobos and Craig Richards at fabric or Theo Parrish at Plastic People. I didn't plan this journey, I was just lucky to get introduced to records and find my way in this life through sound. Since some years I have travelled with my bags of records from one tribe to another and never played a USB key yet; my taste and only rule in music is about being coherent to the preservation of analogue sounds, free from digital standardisation.
You seem to have a special relationship with Terraforma festival. How did this happen? What do you like about the event?
Yes, I definitely do. I've played at the festival since its first edition. Apart from a friendship with its creator and director, Ruggero Pietromarchi, who also holds a special mutual artistic inspiration and vision, this residency is another of those journeys that happened unpredictably and with no previous plans. What I most like about it is the fact that Terraforma represents a deep statement from my generation: after years of growth and observation of the outer world, we now have the responsibility to shift those paradigms left by our parents and grandparents. My dream is to give birth to a sort of Republic Of Music, an ideal country beyond any border, religion or political view.
What are you up to next?
I'm about to present a new show also involving visual arts on the island of Pantelleria in Sicily through the project il Vulcano. I'm looking forward to being part of Resident Advisor's 24/7 event at Istituto BASE in Milan on September the 8th, meet up again with the Giegling family at ADE in Amsterdam at the end of October. I'm also going to start a new season at Plastic and many more adventures to come as we keep on dancing the dream.