Host Spotlight: Subcora

Host Spotlight: an opportunity to shine a light on our wonderful radio hosts and wider community, be it a new music release, a brand new music residency or simply to champion them as an individual. This week, we catch up with Liverpool-based DJ and Archetype host, Subcora! We have a natter to find out a bit more about her musical background, how she first got into DJing and what’s coming up next…

Photos by Liz Lyons

How did you first get into music?

I was born and raised in Turkey, with a family who are extremely passionate about music. Some of them are professional singers and my parents are still singing in choirs. I remember the sounds in my childhood being quite eclectic… My father was a big fan of classical Turkish music, but also really into 60s and 70s French pop. My mum, on the other hand, was more into Turkish folk and psychedelic. 

I’ve also been in several choirs and sung briefly in several bands since childhood. I then started music journalism, contributing to various music platforms in Istanbul. I gradually got into DJing, with my first recorded set – and ‘official start date’ – in Berlin in 2016. Since then, I’ve been in a committed relationship with DJing!

Who did you grow up listening to and how does that compare to the music you listen to now?

Like many children, I first got into what my parents liked: Turkish pop, classical, folk and psychedelic, Anatolian rock. My father didn’t succeed in getting me into French pop, though! Perhaps because I was way too preoccupied with MTV in the 90s… Later, I picked up on rock, punk, post-punk, trip-hop, indie rock, and finally electronica. I feel like all of these influences are still with me and I’m constantly on the search for a way to show my loyalty to them. 

While I was hosting MDR’s Breakfast Club, I realised this even more; that our early influences are very much embedded in our psyche. For instance, I play a lot of percussion heavy, afro house tracks, which I’m probably drawn to because of my upbringing around traditional Turkish music. Likewise, percussion heavy oriental music from the Middle East is also very much a part of the culture. Turkey, and particularly Istanbul, is a culture melting point where sounds from the East, West, North and South all blend in together.  

When living in Istanbul, I went to countless gigs and festivals with line-ups of European and US artists. I like this cultural fusion that I’ve experienced, especially when playing a daytime set without the pressures of moving the crowd, as I can showcase these influences a bit more.

What’s been your favourite DJ gig to play so far? Where would be your dream venue to play in?

My favourite gig so far is Afrikaburn, the biggest official Burning Man regional event, hosted in the Northern Cape Province of South Africa. It’s a festival with a pretty solid identity and community spirit, which I believe my music really fits into.

In Liverpool, you can’t beat playing at Africa Oyé, a free festival dedicated to African culture! I find that when you play in a club or even a ticketed festival, the audience is usually from the same demographic. But with Oyé, children, families and people just passing by, are all dancing to your music which is very special. Lastly, there’s a little bar in Brixton called Super Cute. Each time I play there, there’s such a connected, supportive crowd and lots of dancing! 

My dream is to play Burning Man in Black Rock City. I’d also love to play at Germany’s Fusion Festival and Garbicz Festival in Poland. 

What’s next for you?

I’ll be joining Keep It Cryptic on their ‘In Bloom’ residency in the Bloom Building, with a few more to be confirmed soon. If I can get to Istanbul, there might be some there for me too! Over the summer I’d like to do more podcasts for labels again, as well as returning to Melodic with my monthly show Archetype, perhaps with a new concept… 

Tickets for ‘Keep It Cryptic: In Bloom – Festival of Underground Arts, Music & Counterculture’ are on sale now – grab yours here! In the meantime, listen back to Subcora’s last Archetype show below: