An uplifting ode to queerness and love.
It's a well-worn cliché that DJs can tell stories or take you on a journey with their sets, but it's a cliché that Octo Octa makes good on. On this week's RA Podcast, she weaves a tale through track titles as well as her own personal memories attached to the tracks. You can hear the emotion coursing through it. In a 2019 mix, she told the story of house and its effect on her, and her first mixtape for T4T LUV NRG, the label she runs with partner Eris Drew, she created a "love hypnosis" session mean to create "self empowerment." The "message is meant to move you both physically and emotionally," she said. "'Love is the fire I need.' I believe it's what we all need these days."
Octo Octa also makes good on this idea through her actions outside of DJing. She's made a point during the pandemic (and before it, too) to provide education for fellow artists, including creating guides about how to build a home studio or the 16-page collection of DJing tips she made with Eris Drew. More recently, she's moved into teaching online classes. She believes in creating and sustaining community, both on and off the dance floor, and helping to uplift those around her.
All those values seep into her RA Podcast (and almost every other set she plays), full of ultra-positive house tracks and inspired mixing that highlight her love for dance music itself. It's a vibrant collection of music old and new, highlighting the breakbeat sound she loves so much and revealing diamonds in the rough like Radicall's "One Moon, One Star," a Robert Miles-sampling UK hardcore-style anthem from 2019 that closes out the mix. In her own words, "it's a story of queerness, love, hope and revelry," and it's the kind of mix that you'll want to revisit over and over, learning all its nooks and crannies and twists and turns.
What have you been up to recently?
I've been making music, listening to records, teaching a class about home studios and production and playing video games. I collected video games for a long time and I’ve been trying to find comfort in going back and revisiting games I haven't played in years. I picked up a nice CRT TV off Craigslist for $15 and have my GameCube and Dreamcast on it up and running in my studio.
How and where was the mix recorded?
I recorded the mix in my studio at the cabin. It's a vinyl mix of some tour records, some records I've had in the collection for a long time, and a few recent cheap Discogs acquisitions.
Can you tell us the idea behind the mix?
It's a story of queerness, love, hope and revelry. It's told through it’s track titles, cut-ups, and personal memories attached to many songs. I've been home for so long and far away from clubs and friends that it’s packed with thoughts of being back on a dance floor with everyone again.
You had a track called "Find Your Way Your Home" on your most recent EP that was actually written just before the pandemic. How have you spent the time since everything shut down, and how has it affected you?
I have been at home in New Hampshire with Eris and Q since lockdown started. Eris and I were in the UK on tour when the US travel ban was put into place and we had to make a quick decision to come home after many gigs had canceled. So we've all been in the US in the woods ever since taking in nature and spending time together. I had a wonderful BBC Residency with Eris for the past year that just ended and I have been working on music the entire time being home. It's been very hard not performing but I'm trying to look towards the future.
T4T LUV NRG has had an incredible run of records so far. Can you tell us what you have coming next—and is there any kind of style, aesthetic or vibe you go for with the records on the label?
There are a bunch of releases that we are planning with friends that we hope to come out this year but we can't talk about yet. I can say that Eris is mixing down her debut album which we are planning to release this fall. I'm already planning my next mixtape, and Eris will be putting together Raving Disco Breaks Vol. 2, which should come out late spring.
The general 'guideline' for the label is that we use it to highlight amazing artists in our community of trans/non-binary producers & DJs.
What are you up to next?
I just finished teaching five-day course about home studios and my production methods for IO Music Academy, which was recorded. I also have some more free guides I have been working on for the T4T LUV NRG site. My next mixtape Love Hypnosis Vol. 2 will be out on T4T LUV NRG sometime this year and I am already working on another EP. That may seem soon, but She’s Calling took a long time to get released because of the pandemic, and I re-engineered the tracks after hearing an initial test press. So I'm very much ready to work on new material and hope I get to DJ at least once before 2022. I'm ready to crawl into a subwoofer and peer into another plane.