This week’s Waveform Mix comes from RTS.FM’s uber-talented Meriem, who talks to The Waveform Transmitter’s Ste Knight about production, Algerian influences, and theremin.
We discovered Meriem only recently, once again during a streaming marathon…this time the source was YouTube and the RTS.FM radio channel available on the service. Meriem‘s set immediately stood out as we spotted the use of a theremin as a live element of her set, so we sat, we watched, and we were blown away.
The instrument seemed to work perfectly with the tracks she was playing. Incorporating the modular system into her set was a stroke of genius which allowed her to bring something to her set that we hadn’t really seen very much of before.
Of course, we are all familiar with artists assimilating some live components into their set. Jeff Mills has, for some time now, included a 909 in his sets, and closer to home, the likes of Melōs‘ Drumlake Experiment and Phantom Planet Outlaws have been hybridising their sets.
Meriem‘s set stood out, too, because she was performing a vinyl set, something that is increasingly becoming a rarity in the age of modern CDJ and digital DJing. It was refreshing to see, and her skills behind the wheels pointed towards an accomplished DJ, despite being relatively new on the scene, at least in comparison to some of her peers.
2017 saw the release of her single, Thesis, via the Im-moral imprint. Both tracks on the record draw upon classic underground techno tropes while converging with Meriem‘s own nuances to set her style apart. Volatile is stright-up Detroit, with its stark, minimal composition positing something bubbling away just below the surface of the track (hence the name). Versatile dips the techno sound in an acid bath, with a glorious 303 bassline squirming around at the front of the mix.
Meriem has been kind enough to record an all-vinyl Waveform Mix for us, and you can listen to it right here! The stream is available below, but first, why don’t we catch up with Meriem and see what she has to say for herself.
Waveform: Hi Meriem. Thank you for coming to talk to us! Let’s start at the beginning. How did you start out Djing?
Meriem: Hi Ste! I started back in 2013, playing sets at the Munich after hour scene – deep and dark techno stuff – but up to that point in time I hadn’t played used any vinyl.
Waveform: Did production follow soon after you started DJing?
Meriem:I had experiences before starting Djing, but nothing serious.
Waveform: You incorporate your ‘magic box’ into your sets quite a lot (a theremin to those who don’t know). What made you decide on utilising this particular instrument as a live element to your sets?
Meriem:It was a gift by my boyfriend – a modular system with 2 Theremin controls. After diving into that sound, I fell in love with it and that gave me no other choice than to include it in my performances.
Waveform: You recently released your EP Thesis, on Im-moral. How do you describe your sound? Does your Algerian heritage come into your music at all?
Meriem:Ha, probably my Algerian mentality. To describe my sound I would say, hypnotic techno with a mystical touch.
Waveform: You are heavily involved in RTS.FM. How did that come about? Tell us about your role within the collective.
Meriem:My friend Alexander Pietrzak did this long years before and we decided to start a new travel project for the radio station last year. Our vision was for it to travel around different cities besides the “stations” and to present local artists and the city itself. I did the organisation, events and the creative directing.
Waveform: You also operate as an artist manager. Do you find that being an artist yourself helps with managing others?
Meriem:No, these are two different things but standing contacts can help.
Waveform: Your excellent Waveform mix contains a snippet of an as yet unreleased track. Tell us about your production process.
Meriem:Ha, I’m sitting there, using my little gear and try to be creative – sometimes it works and sometimes not. That’s the clue and all artists’ reality. In general, I start with percussions, putting melody and guide lines on the top and start with the arrangements and add some more sounds to round it up.
Waveform: And what inspires you when putting a mix together?
Meriem:Love of the music, my records and my current mood.
Waveform: What is coming up for Meriem? Anything exciting in the pipeline?
Meriem:Productions, productions, productions. My plan is to work on a live act and set up beside being a DJ.
Waveform: Thanks again for chatting with us Meriem! Best of luck for the future!
Meriem:Thank you very much for having me! Enjoy the mix!
We are certainly looking forward to hearing more from Meriem in the future and given her dexterity with a Theremin, her live set sounds very exciting! In the meantime, take a listen to her Waveform mix, below.