Interivew: Hoe__Mies wearing Tommy

vor 4 Wochen

When thinking of intentional spaces for women and queer people, hip hop events may be the last ones coming to mind. Except for when they are being hosted by Gizem Adiyaman and Lucia Luciano

Three years ago, the DJ Duo started their party series „hoe_mies“ welcoming all LGBTQ +, women, people of every color (and yes, even straight men). The two are not only known for their advocacy against racism and discrimination, but also for their perfect beats to shake your ass to. Last year, the two power women launched their podcast ‚Realitäter *innen‘, broadcasting talks and conversation about discrimination, inequality, body acceptance, social issues, and music. Now you can see them in Tommy Jeans‘ latest „Music Takes us Further“ SS21 campaign featuring musicians, poets and activists. This campaign aims to inspire a social shift towards a future where nothing is being wasted and everyone is welcome. 

Fräulein talked to Gizem and Lucia about their visions for a better community, music and their connection with Tommy. 

How did you meet and how did you evolve into a DJ Duo?

We met in middle school and very soon became best friends. We shared a common love for music that played a huge role in both our lives. Fun fact: It was only after our first year in middle school that we organized our first school party which was the first one the school has ever hosted until this point. We loved music so much that we would meet up during recess to sing Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston songs in a corner of the schoolyard. The first time we performed as a Duo was at a school talent contest. We sang Marvin Gaye’s “I heard it through the grapevine”, we didn’t win though (laugh).
Our journey as professional DJs started many years later, in 2017. At the time we didn’t think of Djing as a legitimate career option, since there were hardly any role models. So we kind of just started teaching ourselves how to spin, to make sure there would be good music at our parties. After a while it became so much fun and people loved our vibes. They started booking us as a duo. Meanwhile we’ve become quite ambitious: after we played several music festivals such as Splash !, Melt or MS Dockville and went on tour in Germany, Austria and Switzerland in 2019, opening for the Austrian band “Bilderbuch”, we realized that we wanted to see what else was out there. We’re hoping to be on the road again – once the situation allows us to – and go on tour through North America.That was actually the plan for last year.

You are seen in Tommy Jeans‘ latest „Music Takes Us Further“ campaign. How did you end up participating and how do you identify with the brand? What role does fashion play in your life?

The story behind the campaign totally aligned with us, as music has always played a big part in our lives. And when it comes to fashion: we love expressing ourselves and it’s safe to say that we both are major fashion victims. Plus we are kids from the 2000s. We grew up on these iconic Tommy Hilfiger streetwear-meets-denim looks. Our idols TLC, Aaliyah, Missy Elliot, Destiny’s Child etc. were all rocking Tommy. So it’s a total honor to be part of the latest Tommy Jeans Campaign.

What is your DJing style? Which artists are never missing in your sets?

When we play we feel most free. We love to dance and don’t take ourselves too seriously. We take our audience to a journey through all the genres we love, from Hip Hop & RnB, Dancehall, Afrobeats, Baile Funk, Jersey Club, over to Techno & House. Our sets are heavy on the booty bouncing music, often with explicit and sex positive lyrics and of course lots of female and queer energy. You’ll never miss Megan Thee Stallion, Cardi B, Nicki Minaj or Missy Elliott in our sets.

You are protesting against Hip Hop’s exclusionary attitude towards women and members of LGBTQ. Has the hip-hop industry changed for the better in recent years? When are we finally getting there?

The Hip Hop scene has definitely seen a lot of changes in recent years. You have to keep in mind though, Hip Hop and our society are not separable. Hip Hop is often singled out as the misogynist, queerphobic genre, but the exclusionary attitude we see in Hip Hop is just mirroring where women and the LGBTQ community stand in society. There’s a lot of work to do still. Yet we embrace the fact that executives are finally starting to realize that there’s a growing market for non-male, non-straight Hip Hop so we’re seeing more female and queer artists who have a foot in the industry door and are able to express themselves and tell their stories.

With your party series and podcast you are doing educational work against racism and discrimination. I am sure not everyone agrees with it. How do you deal with criticism and the pressure that comes with it?

In 2020 we’ve seen people’s expectations of us grow due to our increased visibility. The more reach our work had, the bigger the responsibility that came with it. A lot of the discourses around racism and discrimination are super academic. Not everyone has access to that knowledge. To us it’s crucial to talk about complicated societal issues in a relatable way, via the music we play and via storytelling on our podcast. Of course you can never please everyone or speak to everyone with your work. Criticism can be really helpful at times, but sometimes really harsh. We try not to take it personally and filter out the constructive criticism that helps us work on ourselves. Our integrity helps us navigate: we know what our intentions are with the work we do, that’s why we don’t shy away from uncomfortable topics.

Last year you established your podcast realities. What is the concept behind it and how did you come up with idea of ​​starting a podcast?

The concept behind our podcast is similar to our events: We want to offer marginalized realities and identities a platform. Oftentimes, we only talk about discrimination and inequality without actually including the perspectives of marginalized people and listening to those who are affected by oppressive structures. To us representation is an important step towards social change and we had the great opportunity to learn from the perspectives of our guests.

Last year was not only the year of your first podcast episode, but also the year of the pandemic. How has COVID-19 shaped you and your work?

The pandemic has really changed everything in our lives. With nightlife being completely taken out of the equation, our income situation became uncertain. Thankfully we had our podcast. We fully committed to producing timeless episodes and social media content to extend the conversation with our audience on instagram. We had to learn to be more open to new paths and to be more grateful for what we have. We were finally able to take some time to reflect and work on ourselves. But after a year long break from partying, we honestly can’t wait to play real life events again (when it’s safe again, of course).

What did you listen to during quarantine? What did you eat, do and how did you keep your creativity flowing?

Lucia: I listened a lot to other genres than I play as DJ, that keeps me inspired. I try to eat balanced and healthy. Working out, trying out new hobbies, reading about things you don’t know and staying in touch with my friends and family keeps my creativity flowing.

Gizem: In the beginning I listened to a lot of music. I thought to myself, how great it was, that I finally had all this time on my hands to dig deep and catch up on all releases. But towards the end of 2020 I found it increasingly harder to find good music, also because I feel like artists are holding back their bangers, since the clubs aren’t open to break records. So I also tried to broaden my view and started listening more to electronic genres, such as (Ghetto) House, UKG and Jungle, my favorites are usually the tracks that sample Hip Hop, RnB and Dancehall Classics. I really like Jeftuz’ UKG edits on bandcamp.

What will be the next step for Hoe_Mies?

We don’t usually plan that much in advance, try to keep an open mind and go with the flow, maybe that’s our secret. Right now we’re taking a week off from Berlin. We rented a little cabin in Brandenburg to decompress and work on new projects. The most exciting one we can tell you about is our first book, where we want to reflect on our journey, the good, the bad and the ugly. And to offer perspectives from our lived experience on how to bring together social justice and mindfulness.

 

 

Interview: Ann-Kathrin Lietz and Hannah Sulzbach

Images: Tommy Jeans SP21: Music Takes us Further Campaign

 

 

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