Trance is back – for a few years now, the melodic-emotionally charged sound has been mixing more and more with the techno underground. Time for a DJ portrait from this area. With DJ Fairytail we meet a newcomer: in their starting phase, who is just as fast as their sound.
“I never actually start below 160 bpm,” says Lara, aka DJ Fairytail, when she describes her sound. Starting with classic, happy trance, it has recently developed in the direction of hard and psy trance. “I like creating a fast dark vibe between 160 and 180 bpm more now. While I still enjoy the sweet and playful happiness of trance, I don’t like putting it on anymore.”
For me this meeting is a premiere – my first interview with a DJ from the quite wide field of trance. Admittedly, I avoided the sound for a long time. Too cheesy, too pathetic, too overloaded. At the same time, I have become more open to it in recent years thanks to the subtle trance interludes of many techno and progressive house DJs such as Courtesy, Janthe or Mama Snake.
For the interview we meet for a coffee in the Waldstrasse district. The Dankbar Café is busier than expected this Friday morning. It’s raining outside, inside Lara is talking about her arrival in Leipzig. It’s been around four years. Originally she comes from a small town in Mecklenburg – Neubrandenburg. Sounds like sadness, but due to the fusion festival bubble there is a great awareness of electronic music in the area, says Lara. Unfortunately, that wasn’t enough for our own clubs. Instead, she boarded the regional train to Berlin with her friends at the age of 17/18. At that time they were mostly in the Griesmühle, a former club in Neukölln that was known for straight techno.
As much as she liked the first Berlin rave excursions, at some point “standard industrial techno” didn’t pull her along – and she didn’t really find many alternatives in Berlin either. “Meanwhile, hard groove is really big in Berlin, which I really like. But trance is rarely heard – that later inspired me in Leipzig to go down this path,” says Lara.
She first became aware of Leipzig through the Berlin club scene. Because both cities are not just an hour’s train ride away, the scenes are also closely connected in some cases. In the end, she preferred the smaller Leipzig for her studies. “Right from the start, Leipzig was the most likeable city for me. Especially because there is so much going on here and it is so well connected to Berlin,” says Lara.
In Leipzig, she first dives directly into club life and encounters an environment in which many people make music and DJ. Two years ago, she too wanted to do more than just party – she bought her first DJ decks and went in search of her own sound.
“I wanted to take more out of the scene and find out how the music works. It’s so nice to dig deeper into what you’re partying to.” – Lara aka DJ Fairytail
Bored with the industrial techno of the last few years, she discovers trance for herself. She bumps into labels like Ute.Rec, Crude, Underzone Records and Speedmaster Records. And very often it’s Scandinavian acts that inspire her – especially from Copenhagen: Marilao, Alda Vain, Maurinstarr, Matriark and Malik Fields. “Everything they produce themselves is insane. Every single track is a blatant work. For me, there is more heart in it than in classic techno,” says Lara.
But why this trance hype? For them, music is like fashion. Everything comes back eventually. And young artists naturally have the right to do something that cannot be experienced everywhere at the moment – and that’s where people look back. She did the same thing and skipped through trance tracks of the 1990s. Of course, there were numerous references to today’s sound. A lot builds on the beginnings – but she can hardly play the originals in the club because they are so “shitty mastered”, says Lara.
Corona may also have a share in the clubs’ harmony turn:
“I actually discovered trance in the Corona period. That really helped me and gave me positive feelings that I could let go of. This music caught me a lot – and I think I’m not the only one. Especially in summer, trance can totally pull you in emotionally – that’s why more and more DJs are maybe incorporating it. Just to have more fun.” – DJ Fairytail
Later, however, more labels such as In Orbit, Vile Immerse, Sunthoid, Elysium or Morph were influential for the development of their current DJ Fairytail sound. With dark, hypnotically driving hard and psy trance tracks and tribal elements. This sound is anything but easy for DJing, she says:
“With trance it’s not so easy to find good matches because it’s very melodic and the tracks have a lot of elements. It can quickly become very overloaded and requires more preparation. The environment for DJing is really good for newcomers in Leipzig. It’s small, so you have a good chance of playing in a club yourself. And apart from that – at open air events or in studios – there are many opportunities to try yourself as a DJ. I also have the feeling that the audience is more open than in Berlin.” – DJ Fairytail
__DJ-Start in Highspeed
With DJ Fairytail, however, things happened really quickly: On New Year’s Eve 22/23 she had her first club gig at Mjut, where she also works at the bar. This was followed within three months by appearances at Elipamanoke and the Institute for the Future. A catalyst was definitely their inclusion in the Exil Kollektiv, which has made a name for itself in the last 3.5 years for hard, fast and dark techno as well as artistically elaborate party decorations and a friendly togetherness. The crew just recently broke the all-time attendance record at Elipamanoke, Lara says happily. The collective also became aware of them through two friends.
“I was first asked by Exil for a podcast and then invited to a party as a DJ. And then came the request to participate. I was very surprised that it went so quickly. But the vibe was right for us and I think the crew also wanted to expand musically.” – DJ Fairytail
As a FLINTA* person, she has additional opportunities in Leipzig to quickly reach an audience – here, many clubs are aware of various line-ups. “Quite the opposite of other cities – that’s what I really appreciate about Leipzig,” says Lara.
However, she does not look at the local scene entirely without criticism either: in the meantime, G consumption is also more widespread in the club culture here, which is becoming a problem especially for FLINTA* people. Because the complex work of the clubs to create special safe spaces is endangered by the sedating and repeatedly abused drug. And the staging of a techno lifestyle driven by TikTok can also be felt here more and more frequently. “A lot of people don’t give a fuck about the no-photo policy and hardly appreciate the music anymore – it’s more about posing and consuming. It seems to me that people’s heads are always somewhere else – especially at techno parties,” says Lara.
She is all the more happy about crowds that want to get involved with new sounds and discover alternative genres. Anyone who likes to experience DJ Fairytail should keep an eye on the Mjut and Exile line-ups for the next few months. In addition, she is planning a small festival with friends in the Leipzig area. Incidentally, Lara does not see being a DJ as a career option:
“I’ve seen people lose themselves as they get better known as a DJ. In the end, hanging up isn’t a big deal either. I’m more about the fun and you sure lose that when you have a gig every weekend.” – DJ Faiin the morning
Thank you Lara Also for the exclusive spot-on mix – it once again documents the set of their DJ debut at the Institut fuer Zukunft:
We are very happy that Johanna Fazekaš will support us with photographs from now on – the pictures of this portrait also come from her. And this is how it works:
“Hi, I’m Hanni. The aesthetic ideas of my analogue and digital photographic work are reflected in teasing play of colors, great closeness to details and exciting moods. At gladfroh, I would like to accompany artists and their respective styles with my photography.”