Life is a Techno Beat
An Interview with Trish van Eynde from Sphynxx Recordings
The universe revolves, in a continous pattern, and we find ourselves freely soaring within it. Profet's Chief Ideologue Filip Lindström interviews Sphynxx Recordings boss Trish van Eynde about the wonders of the soul, and the sensations of Techno, in a cyclical interview for Profet.
Trish van Eynde is surrounded by sphynx cats when answering my video call. One, of many, is climbing over her as we commence our distant conversation, really savouring the attention from the web camera. This particular breed has inspired Trish to name her record label Sphynxx Recordings, with which she celebrates female contributors to the Techno scene.
»I’m really crazy about sphynx cats« she says »and women can be like cats. They can be really nice and sweet, but they can also be like…«
Here Trish makes a hissing sound, imitating a discontented cat, which I won’t try to imitate in writing, because I believe it will look horrible. Anyhow, after this impersonation of a disgruntled feline, she begins sharing the idea behind Sphynxx Recordings.
»I wanted to do something fun with women. Not feministic, just something fun through which I could express my own female side and give other women the opportunity to do the same.«
The thoughts of this kind of a label has been with Trish for quite some time, but Sphynxx was founded in October this year. The label boss herself says she’s fairly picky when it comes to music, wanting every release to be something she could include in her own DJ sets. Thus, only one recording has been set free this far, a record by Spanish DJ Dinamite.
»They have much more open minds«
- Trish van Eynde about new Techno generations
»I met Dinamite in Tresor« Trish says, reminiscing about a night in the notorious Berlin club. »We ended up playing back to back, and then I asked her if she wanted to make some tracks for me.«
»So you felt like Dinamite understood what you wanted to do with the label?« I wonder.
»Yes, completely. When I saw her DJing, she had this energy, and she’s in it for the music. She’s not in it for the ego. I also recognized something about her in myself, she’s really dynamic, so she deserves her name. And, she’s Spanish, I love Spanish people.«
Trish started DJing in Belgium more than 25 years ago, as one of (or maybe actually the very) first female DJs in the country. Not unlike Jennifer Cardini, whom I interviewed in the Profet piece »A Delicate Series of Misunderstandings«, she has witnessed the slow, but visible, progress for women in the electronic music world.
»It puts a lot of pressure on you« she says about her early DJ days. »But, now luckily that’s gone. Now, it’s just about good music and good vibes. I started out as a resident for the Fuse Club in Brussels, and the first time I played there, there were seven guys standing behind me, watching me to see if I could really DJ. I was so nervous, and I was trembling so hard that I couldn’t even put the needle on the records. Afterwards, I discovered that none of them were DJs, so they had no knowledge about DJing. Yet, I felt like they were judging me, but it actually only happened in my head.«
Most likely, the judgement was not entirely a figment of Trish’s imagination, considering the hardships women have had when trying to enter competitive environments dominated by men. It is thanks to pioneers like Trish and Jennifer Cardini that the balance between the sexes in Techno is at least closer to being fair. Apart from playing in clubs for a quarter of a century, Trish has been working for labels like R & S Records, and her own etiquette Generations, which has taught her plenty.
»Through doing other labels, and making a lot of mistakes, I’ve learned what to do and what not to do« she says. »I’ve come to the conclusion that if you do it with you heart, it’s never an obligation. It’s never work.«
»So, what do you enjoy the most with running a label?« I say.
»What I enjoy the most? Well, I think it’s looking for new artists, and meeting new female DJs since there were none of them when I started. There is something about the amount of joy that comes from you addressing someone and saying that you see the potential in them, without them seeing it in themselves. It pulls out what’s already inside of them.«
»That’s a beautiful thing to be able to do« I tell Trish, sensing a turn in the conversation. »And it takes a person like you, who has made your fair share of mistakes during the years, to see this in others.«
»In Belgium« she responds »I’m known for not compromising. I play what I play, and I play what I like. You can give me whatever you want, if I don’t like it, I won’t play it.«
Frankly, at first I can’t exactly see Trish’s connection between witnessing potential in others and being known not to compromise. I try to wrap my head around it, and end up assuming that she highly values honesty, which is validated by her following statement.
»If you discover certain rules in life, they go for everything. Also music. I always try to keep my integrity as a person, but also as an artist. It hasn’t always worked, everybody makes mistakes, but it’s important to remember that at the end of the day, you still have to go to bed with yourself. You still have to look yourself in the mirror. You always know if you’ve done the right thing or not.«
Of course, rationally I can look at life and see it the way Trish does, thinking that honesty toward yourself and thereby others is key. Still I have cheated myself into situations which I feel no comfort in, both professionally and personally, but I am slowly learning how to allow myself to put me first. I reflect on Trish’s outlook and tell her the following:
»You seem to have a very relaxed view on life, I must say.«
»Relaxed view on life?« she laughs hysterically. »No, not at all.«
»That’s my impression at least« I say, having known her for a total of six and a half minutes, continuing: »Maybe I can see potential in you, that you may not know that you have.«
»Could be« Trish says, laughing again. »I used to be a nervous, very stressed person. I was rushing from one gig to another, from one point to another in life. Then I started doing yoga, where you have to tense up all your muscles, and then let go. I realised that was relaxing. I had been running around for twenty years of my life, and I think slowing down and preparing more ahead made me calm. I could enjoy the moment itself.«
Trish remembers having panic attacks from her hectic life style, always being on the edge of what’s humanly possible. I have gathered in my 24 years on Earth, and so has Trish in her 25 years in the music industry, that a life on the brink of breakdown is doable for a brief period. The length of this period is certainly individual, and so is the impact and collateral damage caused when you finally crash. Knowing this, Trish has lowered her pace and concentrates on what is most important.
»First, I’ll focus on the label and productions. I want to make sure the structure is good, because it’s like a house, if you build something on a weak fundament, it will collapse one day. Then, I want to expand my studio, but I’ll take it one step at a time.«
At this point, I reflect upon two things in Trish’s reasoning. First and foremost, I know how lousy I am with planning ahead, and I’m aware of how terrified I am of seeing everything I’ve built crumbling down before my eyes, because of this lousiness. Second of all, due to these realisations regarding my flaws as a human being, I have recently started repeating a motto – a mantra if you will – resembling what Trish just said. I decide to share this with her.
»Everything Is Going To Work Itself Out, Just Take One Thing At A Time« I proclaim gracefully, and tell Trish the story behind the washed out words. »Of course I’ve known this before, but I just started telling myself a couple of weeks back whenever I’ve needed a reminder. I even wrote it down on a little piece of paper, just in case I’d forget.«
»Have you noticed« Trish starts asking »that when you started doing that, things have been working out even better?«
»Yes, it does« I reply. »It really does.«
»Yes« Trish happily agrees, before diving into a theorized explanation of this phenomenon. »The energy you send out does influence the molecules and quantum particles of the universe. If you go to the supermarket, and sense a person with bad energy, of course something’s going to fall and it’s going to drop on this person’s head. Nobody else’s. If you think everything is going to work out fine, it means you’ll also start feeling more calm, and that’s the radiation you send out.«
»Exactly« I say, not knowing what a quantum particle is even if it would bite me right in the nose. What I do know, or at least think, is what I say to Trish next: »We have that in common, that we can see these energies. Maybe that’s how both you and I can see potential in others that they don’t know they have, because if you can spot someone with bad energy, of course you can spot someone with good energy as well.«
»Yeah, both is present in everybody« Trish says about the polar energies, and claims it all depends on »which one is dominant« in a person.
»I think this ability comes from when you yourself actually leaned back and started taking one thing at a time« I contemplate about Trish’s sensitivity to energy. »That’s when you gained a better view of everyone else. I’ve lived like that as well, stressing out and never being in the moment, or maybe always being in it. I don’t know how to put it best, perhaps either or.«
»It’s not always easy« Trish says. »But, I have noticed that this generation in Techno is more aware of things. They have much more open minds, and I think when I started DJing I would have needed people to be like that. But, they are like that now, and I guess it had to be that way for me.«
»Yes, because you’ve seen several generations of Techno people, coming and going« I say.
»I have so many stories« Trish giggles. »I talked about it with Jeff Mills, and I said to him ‘Haven’t you noticed that today, everything in the Techno scene turned out like you visualized it?’. He looked at me and said ‘Yeah, crazy, isn’t it?’. The music he made back then, people are more into it now.«
»There is the right time and place for everything« I say, as one of Trish’s cats comes back on camera to steal some more spotlight. »People have had time to get used to what happened 25 years ago, and now it’s more of a normal thing than a dangerous sub culture.«
»You could say that. Back in the day, people considered me a modern hippie.«
»Do they do that still?«
»My family does. When I think about it, I picture hippies from the Sixties. The clothes and the music were different, but I can see the link. Back then, it was all about love, peace and music, and I actually think that is the core of the dance scene.«
If anyone should know, it’s Trish van Eynde. After 25 years in the Techno circuit, she still speaks vividly about going out and experiencing new things, always on the prowl for the perfect moment when the kick drops. Another interest of hers is reading, and she starts telling me about books she’s read on the so called Hermetic Principles, ancient universal codes of conduct out of which one is known as The Law of Rhythm. Obviously, there is a clear connection between the olden wisdom and the modern Techno scene.
»Everything always comes back in a certain rhythm« Trish says. »It’s like the seasons. Throw something up, and it will fall down.«
»Absolutely« I concur, and think out loud: »Everything is cyclical, and one could imagine the seasons as a 4/4 Techno beat. So, your life is a very long Techno song made up out of repetition.«
The beauty of Techno is its apparent monotony, which in its best form actually changes all the time. You can look back at the beginning, the first bar of a song, and think it sounds exactly the same as the one you’re listening to now, but when you really compare them closely, they only bear a slight resemblance. The song is the same, but the beat has been modified, and you never know which way the next one might take.