Interview by Helena Markos
In the photo: Polyxene from the isolation
Xenia aka Polyxene is talking to Tales of Psychofonia about her current situation during the pandemic. She shares her thoughts about how the music scene would emerge in the post-virus era. Xenia also talks about how the city of Vienna, where she has been based for the last 8 years, treats her artists during the lockdown.
Xenia has been DJing for many years now and she is a connoisseur of the good stuff; with a robust and heavily eclectic record collection, she definitely knows how to set a dance-floor on fire. Her DJ sets oscillate from mind-bending electro to techno, breaks and cheeky rave sounds.
Hailing from Athens, Xenia also speaks about the representation of Greek women in the international electronic music scene, as well the influence of her Greek roots in her expression and music.
T.O.P: Hi Polyxene! Welcome to our Tales of Psychofonia world! I would like to ask you about your journey into the electronic music so far and what is your “now”?
Polyxene: Hello Natasa! Thank you for the invite. I was listening beats since early, I started researching, then the non stop dancer and clubber Xenia followed. Very soon a dream about getting turntables became true…Afterwards I studied Music Technology and Sound Engineering cause I wanted to go deeper to the world of the sound. However playing for a crowd took a long time as I was not so confident plus I tended to be emotional and serious concerning DJing. I moved before 8 years in Vienna, got my first chances to try it in bars and venues. Slowly and steadily this moved on and here we are. I still don’t believe that this dream which I saw back then became reality. So grateful.
T.O.P: So Xenia, how are you copying with the pandemic and how does it affect you?
Polyxene: I’m doing very well actually so far. I am a person who anyway enjoys a lot being at home and recharge on my own during the week so my routine didn’t change so much apart of course from the mad weekends when I was DJing. I feel so fortunate that I have music in my life and the fact that I have to deliver mixes and making music. This kept me in a good and active mood during the first days while all of us were in shock.
There is plenty of focus now on productions something that I was trying to give more time to so there is a win on that ! I enjoy my house so much and I feel so lucky to be on this safe spot at the moment. Furthermore, now I give time to things that I kinda forgot that have meaning to me and make me relax more…I’m thinking that some routes, dreams and plans will have to change but that is not the end and it’s good to prepare mentally as much as we can for this new era.
T.O.P: How do you feel the scene will emerge in a post – virus era and how things will develop in terms of creation, expression and the social aspects of it?
Polyxene: As it seems now that we’re heading back to the new ‘normality’ still all this feels like a new strange world. Even if many clubs will open again and will be filled up with crowds still will not be the same. Cause is not about reopening and about throwing the masks…every music lover’s and dancer’s life is affected and this will affect the scene. Venues from countries that they don’t have the strength or they don’t prioritize the nightlife are closing, the workers of the industry are rethinking to change their jobs and as I see already many artists are planning to find another ways to make their living.. .
I assume that straight afterwards every promoter will keep it ‘simple’ by avoiding to book big international artists and will focus more on how to support their residents so that the community can grow steadily. I believe something new and fresh will born, which we cannot even imagine right now. New technology will play the first role to the reconstruction of consumption and the entertainment in general. Creation though seems to flow unbothered, whilst there is more time for some to work on music again and not bother so much about social media, promoting their shows etc… Also, artists will feel more free to express their feelings, because the lack of the unknown grows more and more, leaving no space for doubts and procrastination of the past.
T.O.P: Is there any moment, person or experience that you think it was a milestone for you?
Polyxene: I often mention the moment that I met my best friend Konstantina (Wonderli) she showed me and led me into Detroit techno, drum n’ bass and generally electronic music, through her I met people with big knowledge and passion, showing me the way. Without their influence I wouldn’t have this journey.
T.O.P: The recent years we have experienced some very powerful female presence in the electronic music scene. Although, Greek women seem underrepresented… Why do you think is that?
Polyxene: Yes, it seems like that. As I observe, especially the last years there are a lot of women involved in the Greek electronic music scene but it seems to us who live abroad that they are not represented enough, as it happens to the rest of the world. I also had this thought sometimes, trying to figure it out I suppose one reason is that in Greece we don’t see often women/feminist collectives, platforms, social media channels to really push that. Not sure if this bad or good cause it looks that it moves in another way within the social circle and that’s also okay and natural I suppose. However, they deserve more support which it could be bigger and I hope for that in the future.
T.O.P: How does the city of Vienna treats the rave culture? How is the scene developing over there?
Polyxene: For sure, as for the most cities, there could be more support from the state concerning spaces and also a big topic lately is whether is a need for a night mayor on which the majority of people agree to. Almost every new bar-club has problems with the neighbourhood sooner or later concerning the sound cause the city is not constructed to have a main district focusing on nightlife. But promoters, artists, collectives, activists achieved a lot the last years and I’m sure they will continue. Undoubtedly, the city is raising up with bigger festivals and more interesting venues. Younger people are very active too into the culture.
Currently during the days of the lockdown, committees are helping, promoters and clubs are active by organising live streams to help the community and the musicians. I hope that by the time the ‘new normal’ is entering, additional support plans from the state will be offered.
T.O.P: In what ways your Greek roots influence your expression?
Polyxene: That’s a good question. I’m quite expressive when I’m socially surrounded and if you ask me particularly as a DJ…dancing, smiling and having as much contact as I can with the people is necessary for me. I act in a dramatic way and I think that the Greek roots have sth to do with that as well as with my sensitivity or how I use my energy. But I don’t think that this applies to every person necessarily.
T.O.P: Apart from your gigs, is there any music production on the side?
Polyxene: At the moment gigs are frozen and probably some out of Austria, which I was very excited for, so the only thing that can go on is music making. There are some ideas for collaborating on that but not sth confirmed to be announced. When I was not active as a DJ in venues I used to spent hours on playing around and making tracks. That’s how I kept connected. Of course they were so many unfinished and some messy. My goal this year was to start making it again, finishing some old ones and starting news ones with a fresh mind…the current lockdown is helping to this, I’m not busy with DJ gigs something that usually takes a lot of energy from me. So yes, sth will appear soon.
T.O.P:…and the last one; Is there an album/artist or tune that you would suggest as mind/soul healer?
Polyxene: They are a lot but this one I want to share now.. .Whenever I hear this track everything just stops around me…Biogen is the man. RIP . ‘Halogen Continues’ is the track.