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Behind the decks with Eileen & Mowgli

Synths and boogies are uniting Eileen and Mowgli. Their musical journeys did however kick off in different ways, branching from R&B to Italo. This makes for a B2B that will dive into music from all corners of the globe, with a shared love for for 80’s House and vinyl. Two DJs with their own distinct sounds, which will undoubtedly lead to a cohesive yet versatile set! We asked them both some questions to dive deeper into what makes them tick.

Your styles of playing are notably different. Can you tell us a bit more about your DJ style and can you recall a set where a) everything was going perfect b) one you wish you had never played.

I usually play warm, soulful and funky sounds in my set and am trying to play with vinyl records more often, just like Mowgli. Each set is always a learning moment or a way to experiment and learn more. Usually, sets where everything goes perfect have to do with the mindset and also the feedback from the crowd and less to do with technical aspects. If I’m really in the moment and can really enjoy the crowd and space, then that’s a perfect set for me. 

I’m very diverse when it comes to music. It mostly depends on which mood I’m in or for what kind of organisation I’m playing for. I play a lot of melodic and rhythmic stuff. I always had a strong connection/roots with 80’s boogie/freestyle and classic Chicago and New York house which Eileen spins a lot. When she first joined the roster it was obvious I found someone to share a big love for 80’s music with.

Both your careers have taken off around the same time, just before/during covid. How has your journey through music evolved over time?

When I started DJing, I played mostly hiphop/rnb and ‘future beats’. Right before Covid hit, I discovered house music. When I realized that electronic music could be funky and soulful, I instantly fell in love with it. Then Covid hit, which gave me plenty of time to dive into this new (for me) genre and world. It felt like I was starting all over again. During Covid, my monthly radio shows on Operator were an opportunity for me to play “my new sound’’ and make it known that I was moving into a different direction.

I’ve learned to tell more stories throughout my sets instead of just throwing random songs at moments. I like to build up my sets to a certain boiling point and after that go deeper. I’ve also accepted that I just like a very broad range of music, so now I try to tie/fit them all together in a set as much as possible. 

This will be your second time going back to back and you’ve known each other for a while now through Pontoon. Could you tell us more about how you met and your personal connection?

I think we first met at MONO when we were playing a gig. I was opening the night and Mowgli was closing, and I remember being blown away by all the great songs he was playing. I’m really happy we met because Mowgli is a great person and I feel like I can talk to him about anything and can also go to him for advice. 

We did a small B2B in the beginning when she joined the roster. It was a night at MONO where we opened with a b2b and then did separate sets. We both started with a lot of boogie, funk and I remember that Eileen played some Italo towards the end. Of course this was the perfect overlap for me to then close the night. 

I was wondering if you could tell us a little bit about your early memories getting into electronic music? Was it predominantly through the internet? Were there any particular artists that you feel initiated or grew the interest?

In 2019, right before Covid, I visited Claire, a nightclub in Amsterdam. I remember Suze Ijo being on the lineup, and it was my first time hearing soulful, electronic music. I had the best night. I was there before 12am, and left at 6pm, having danced the night away. That’s when I knew that I wanted to know more about this type of electronic music and the rest is history.

My early memories of music were a lot of old skate movies & game soundtracks. But most importantly my parents went to a lot of Italo, House and New Beat parties back in the days so they know a thing or two about those music genres and the club scene. Shout out to them. 

Can you tell us about a track/album that; a) got you into electronic music b) a recent one that you’ve especially enjoyed?

Larry Heard – Missing You must have been one of those records that I fell in love with instantly. It’s such a great song and hits you right in the feels.

The’re a lot of electronic music/albums that sparked my interest. One that still sounds good from front to back is the So Where You album by Loose Ends. Nick Martinelli’s signature brit funk/boogie sound can be perfectly heard throughout the whole album.

Lately I’ve been a lot more into a melancholic kind of vibe. I listen to a lot of wave and shoegaze. A project that really caught my ear was the Mutual Dreaming EP by Innergaze from 2012 by Jason Letkiewicz and Aurora Halal. A beautiful yet distorted wave/mutant beat album.

Eileen, you’ve been a regular on our flyers since the beginning. Although you live in Amsterdam, Rotterdam has been the place for you where you started off your career. Curious to know what Rotterdam has brought you in terms of musical exploration.

I love playing in Rotterdam. I feel like the crowd here is open to anything, to much more experimental sounds, and I love it. It’s always a warm welcome in Rotterdam. And Bound45 specially has a place in my heart because they were the first to book me after I switched my sound from hiphop to soulful/funk. I have such fond memories of playing at their events, it’s always a joy! 

What can we expect to see from you in the (near) future.

I hope to get into mixing with vinyl soon. I’m also excited to be playing outside of the Netherlands very soon! And I’d love to get into producing, but unfortunately time is sparse. But I’d love to get into that!