Born in Munich and residing in Berlin for the last 15 years, DJ, producer, songwriter and singer DJ Virginia has been fronting the aggrandisement of electronic music both within Germany, and internationally. Influenced by the dance music of the '80s and '90s, Virginia has been fusing these sounds with a contemporary twist and her signature, spontaneous vocals since embarking on her music career in '94.
Propelling the multi-dimensional artist into the international electronic music realm was the quintessential house track “I Rock”, released in '99 and in which Tom Novy's vibrant arrangement is inlaid with Virginia's flawless vocals. Since then, Virginia gained multiple residencies across Germany, notably at Berlin's emblematic Berghain, and was involved in the production of cutting-edge albums namely the 2008 LP Twisted Mind, co-produced with Eye-Q Records' Steve B-Zet. Virginia's latest work includes her 2016 LP Fierce For The Night and her collaborative Work a Change with house and techno DJ Steffi, both of which were dropped on Berghain's Ostgut Ton imprint.
Read our interview with DJ Virginia ahead of her highly anticipated set at Cairo's Sakanat Studio this Friday.
How are you? How has your year been?
I am fine, thank you. It's been a good year for me. I've been playing at a lot of new venues and festivals. I had the chance to travel to cities and countries I had never visited before - just like Cairo for example.
Have you always lived in Germany?
Yes, I was born and raised in Munich and moved to Berlin more than 15 years ago. Recently though, I moved to the countryside near Lisbon. I needed a fresh input and I am in love with Portugal.
When did you begin your hybrid career as DJ/singer/songwriter/producer?
I started the classic way most teenagers do, I guess, with piano and vocal lessons. When I started going out in the early ‘90s, I started buying records and around ’94 I played my fist gigs. It took me a couple of years though to buy some music equipment to record my fist track ideas. Back then, gear and music programs were so much more expensive than today. I started touring internationally after releasing “I Rock” in ‘98.
What are the main influences driving your sound?
There is music that influences me as a singer and music that inspires me as a producer, but of course the styles overlap sometimes. As a singer I listen more to lyrics and vocal techniques. As a producer I have a close look at arrangements, effects and sounds. I have quite a wide range of singer/songwriters, producers and bands who inspire me. I don´t mind the genre as long as the music touches me. You could find anything on my list from Tina Dico to Aphex Twin, from Jamie Lidell to Underground Resistance.
Are there distinct differences in sound between the various regions you have lived in across Germany? If so, in what ways have they influenced your music style?
I have only ever lived in Berlin and Munich. Berlin is known for its techno history and Germany, in general, has a great techno legacy. Electronic music I found most influential to me came - as mentioned before - mostly from the UK or the US like electro, drum and bass, dubstep, UK garage to US garage, Chicago & Detroit house and techno. I also was a big fan of the ’90s French house wave.
Can you tell us about some defining moments in your career?
Time and time again, it’s a defining moment in my career when I listen back to a record I made a couple of months or years back. Once I have some distance, I think to myself - “that’s not too bad”, or when I’m performing my music live on stage with other musicians like when I played my Fierce For The Night album on Ostgut Ton during my live tour. Another one is my performance at Dimensions Festival; the crowd was amazing, the sound of that Void Stage was powerful and we had the most fun performing the music live. Other defining moments in my career were when I had the chance to see some of my heroes live in concert such as Sade, Prince and Tracy Chapman.
Are you familiar with the music scene of the MENA region? How are you feeling ahead of your set this Friday at Cairo's Sakanat Studio?
No, I am not familiar with the scene but I am thrilled to be playing for Sakanat Studios this weekend. I only saw some videos and pictures of the party. Definitely looked like the crowd had lots of fun and knows how to party.
Lastly, what are you most focused on now? In music and in life.
In life I’m always focused on music. I just took the month of November off from DJing to be able to work at the studio full time. I can’t do both - DJing and producing - equally well at the same time. Currently I am in the process of writing new solo stuff...it’s truly a great feeling to be so focused on creating music without having to leave the studio to catch a flight.