Shinedoe: 'The lights went on and suddenly there was a bingo...'

The Dutch rapper reminisces about her first trip to the capital

I played about 16 years ago in Beijing – I think that me and a girl I came with called DJ Celeste were the first female DJs from abroad to play in the city. Some guys from Amsterdam wanted to make a documentary about the electronic scene in Beijing, so they invited us over. The first thing I noticed was the air. It was black, polluted. Like a dust cloud.

The plan was to play three venues, but one show got cancelled. It was around June 4... I didn’t understand exactly what was going on, but the police stopped the party. I hadn’t even put any records on – someone else was DJ-ing when they said they couldn’t play anymore. It was peaceful, not done in a rough way, just some officials talking to the promoter.

The other party was interesting – I was playing and there was an MC on too. I was doing a techno set while the MC was guiding the audience, doing movements while everyone copied them. It was really bizarre. I played a track by Jeff Mills, 'The Bells' – the audience felt that it was something fresh.

At one point the music stopped, the lights went on and suddenly there was a bingo, lottery-type thing. I was like, 'What’s going on?' while people were winning umbrellas and other stuff. That was great.

The other place I played was a small bar. People went crazy for the music, holding onto the DJ booth. It was groovy, a feeling... they were open to it. It was a great experience, and intense.

I’m looking forward to seeing what’s changed in Beijing. Back then there were not so many foreigners. Also, as a black woman, people found me interesting. It was okay, some wanted pictures with me but they were always polite, I didn’t feel it was offensive; they were just interested.

How has my music changed since then? The main thing in music is soul: that’s important, always has been, then and now. I’m not focusing on style; if I like it, I play it. Back then I played much faster compared to now. I like to keep the flow and not make it in a straight line.

Many things have changed. Now it’s all social media, marketing... I wonder if the purity gets clouded. I’ve had dance hits underground, but one track called 'Phunk' went overground on the radio and Steve Angelo from Swedish House Mafia remixed it.

A lot of people said: 'You have to make another one like "Phunk"', but when I make music I don’t plan it. I jam and create sounds and something comes out of it. That’s how I make music: from the heart.
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