I connected with MìKO in a past life when I lived in Barcelona and nightclubs, Techno and after-parties where the habitual. During those 2 years of livin' la Vida loca, I never had the chance to have the deep conversation we had this week. It wasn't exactly a conversation, more like an email exchange and I'm really grateful I followed my gut and reached out to her for this Fearless Interview.
Read and enjoy 😊
- What does music mean to you?
Music is everything: my passion, my escape valve, a way to express myself and communicate my moods without having to speak. I always listened to a lot of music, when I was 8 years old I asked my mother to make me study harp (don't ask me why haha) but at home, right, there wasn't much money in those years and it seemed a pretty far-fetched wish. Besides, I was born in a small Sicilian town where there wasn't much time to think about hobbies that expensive, or at least it wasn't the "normal" thing.
Music also saved me from quite dark moments in my life as, five years ago, I went through cancer and the music accompanied me on the path from illness to healing.
- How do you prepare mentally for a set?
If I'm honest with you, I don't have any "ritual" of preparation for the set but I like to know the place visually to make a mental effort of projection and imagine the moment when I will play and the people who will be present. I've been a DJ for almost 10 years and I've been lucky enough to perform in quite different situations. I say this because I think, as a DJ, it's important to be able to offer different versions of yourself. It is not the same to DJ in a club at 5 am or in an 18th-century palace for a corporate event.
Nor am I a DJ who makes a closed list of tracks, I like to carry a good arsenal, usually more than 200 songs so I can have no limits and I can flow with people.
And finally, now that I think about it, in the last few years, half an hour before a performance I go to a bathroom that has a mirror and rise my arms like a runner who just won for three minutes. They say it works!
- What is Religion BCN, tell us a little more about the project and values it defends.
Oh my beloved boy... Religion BCN was born in 2014 to defend the idea of the club and underground culture that is a culture that is born from mutual respect among participants to what is a social ritual like dancing together. Unfortunately, during these years I got quite upset because I could never find people to associate with, so I had to do and I keep doing everything alone. What you don't know because I haven't updated my LinkedIn yet, is that since March 2019 I started another project called Metrics.
This project I am in partnership with Giordano Franchetti, a musician, composer, DJ, and producer I had the pleasure of inviting to my parties a couple of times in the last two years. You'll probably wonder why I haven't followed Religion and the answer is because I wanted to start something from scratch. I currently produce specific events with Religion BCN such as musical premiere soldering parties and music cycles based on specific styles such as Spacewave, a party in which we asked guest artists to give their version of the music dances from the '70s and '80s. The funny thing is, in the end, I ended up calling almost all women artists.
At Metrics, which I like to describe as an event promoter with a soul of cultural organisation, it is clear that I have passed on everything I learned with Religion and the values that for me are the key to a good job in this sector: diversity, inclusion, and versatility.
In Metrics events there is space for all collectives and colors as something natural; we also bet a lot on the local because I think that without local talent there would be nothing, it is the essential substrate for a scene to be born. So one of our mottos is: come for what you know (which, although it looks ridiculous, is almost always the international artist) and stay for what you don't know. We want Metrics to be the reference for the future of events and we want to demystify a whole series of beliefs about electronic music that is already time for them to change, and I am convinced that with perseverance and courage we will achieve it.
- What is your vision and relationship with money as an artist?
Well, it's still complicated after ten years. It's been a few years since I decided that my work has value and that you can't go and act for free. If it happens, it means it's not professional and I'm poking for friends on a BBQ or on an intimate birthday. When I started I was saying yes to everyone because I needed to make the experience, now I prefer to say no and keep a certain image of who I am and what I do. It is clear that the fee I ask depends on many factors such as who is the promoter, the capacity of the place, whether there is entry or not, how many hours I will act and if, thanks to a gig, I can get another gig or a lot of publicity. So the advice I can give is always to evaluate situations without humbling yourself.
- How do you deal with conversations about money, what's your advice, how do you decide your value, and how do you say no when they offer you less?
I think I have just partially answered this question in the previous question, but I can tell an anecdote. I was recently contacted to DJ in a café in Barcelona and asked to bring the equipment (including speakers), to play a promoter and to DJ for about 4 hours for 70o. And as you can imagine I was very angry, to the point that I wanted to call the person who had contacted me and yell at everything. I replied that I did not find it convenient for me but if I asked him (quite politely even though the premises had not been the best) to value a little more the work of an artist.
The problem is that if you don't value the music, the musician or DJ will never be valued.
Well, actually the DJ less, because he thinks he plays a few buttons and period, but building a story with music is something different and it's more than beat-matching a few tracks one after the other.
Finally, I think the value is a set of different factors between the experience, the time of the performance, whether it is a live set or a DJ set.
I want to provoke some thought here because I am controversial by nature and because it seems to me that our society needs to exercise more of its critical capacity and not think that things will be handed to us. As with football, I do not understand how you can handle such high fees... it doesn't get into my head that someone can charge $80.000 for an hour of acting. Wealth is tremendously poorly distributed and is often neither a matter of meritocracy. But we'd get into political issues and we rather don't mix.
- What's your bargaining weapon?
Well, I don't think I have a very definite one...it always depends on the situation and who's in front of you.
I always try to use common sense and education and if I don't like the deal and I see that the promoter is not going to give in because he is deaf and doesn't understand then I don't accept the gig and I go do something else.
- What would you say your musical legacy is?
I'm still building it...I've returned to production after years where I thought I wouldn't get to finish a track in my life but that's not true and I know I'll get something worth sharing soon.
- What is your big vision or dream?
To return to music the respect it deserves in Western society where the dynamics of the music industry have managed to objectify music in a horrible way.
- Who inspires you?
I have a lot of artists, public figures and people close to me who inspire me. I am inspired by their resilience, courage, and creativity.
But since we are talking about women I will name them: Paola Maugeri (Italian music journalist), my mother Francesca Rizzo (professor of philosophy at the University of Messina and, a few years ago, romance writer), Perel (German DJ producer), Liliana Barbera (my teacher of Ancient Greek and Greek Literature of high school), Billie Holiday.
- If you had the chance to change the world with a sentence, what would it be?
You make it very complicated for me, especially since I'm not a person of favoritisms. The world can be changed from our environment with everyday small gestures.
I believe that the key to positive change is to set aside this unbridled individualism and understand that I am not the only person, nor the only species that live on this planet. The Ego kills.
- How can I help you?
You're helping me and other women to say what we think. Women have always stepped on each other because of the fact that society has raised us with the mentality of unhealthy competition. This, thanks to initiatives like yours, is already changing.
Thank you, Mìko, it has been a pleasure diving a bit into your head ;)
Hope you enjoyed her insights!
You can connect with Mìko (and by all means, should) via: