With jungle, breaks, drum & bass and ambient, Gladee’s sound definitely stands for music far away from the mainstream. The DJ has been part of the Closed collective since last year and is also a co-organizer and booker at the Fluid Festival. Time for a spot on – including a mix by Gladee.
Get started straight away: In 2019 Stella, alias Gladee, stood behind a controller for the first time, at that time at house parties in Lüneburg, where the native of Hamburg studied. When the city was swept empty in 2020 due to covid, Stella moved to Leipzig for an internship and has “stuck here” ever since, she says.
Stella particularly likes the connections that the people of Leipzig have through music. Where circles of friends form in other cities in a different way, in Leipzig she sees many more groups that find each other through their “music lover”, as she puts it.
“Simply because Leipzig likes to party and there is a shared feeling for lifestyle, you already have groups that are so influenced by music. And that’s what makes interesting things happen […]. Since there are really many very inspiring people and different personalities, you don’t have the feeling that one mentality determines everything.”
Part of Closed
Stella was quickly taken under the wing of Closed in Leipzig through mutual friends. The DJ also had her first club gig in autumn 2021 in the Kulturlounge via the collective.
“It was so exciting to play something like this with people I haven’t known that long, but who I all really liked. In any case, they pushed me really hard, I owe my access to the scene to them.”
A year later she officially became part of the collective, where she was able to try out a lot and record new mixes in their studio. The studio was an important point of access, especially for people without their own equipment and a flint*. Gigs at Mjut soon followed or Institut für Zukunft, and bookings in Berlin were not long in coming.
Thanks to the new opportunities, Stella was also able to discover new sounds and develop further in her music. There is one style in particular that the DJ can’t get out of her head: During lockdown she discovered jungle for herself and was fascinated by it from the start – and so she says with a laugh:
“Dude, that sound was completely missing from my life.”
Here, Stella again showed connections to more spherical drum & bass, which she heard a lot in her youth. Stella is also following the revival of jungle and D&B in recent years and tries to combine these danceable sounds with ambient in her sets. Currently there is more and more music that creates interfaces between these different genres, she says.
“It can sometimes be super ravy, but sometimes it can also be rather driving. This is a genre that fascinates me because it can really be a pool for all feelings and vibes. From completely caustic to super cute and playful. You can always find yourself there.”
While the DJ for podcasts and mixes is more in the ambient and jungle area and likes to combine music that otherwise finds little space, she rages at club gigs with drum & bass, classic jungle, sometimes techno, trance and especially breaks from which it can get really bass-heavy. Music, “which is coming up a lot in Leipzig right now, where it’s about clever bass lines, about a great sound that really penetrates you”is how Stella describes it.
The DJ gets her inspiration from the Berlin label Infinite Drift, whose founder Mathis Ruffing and producer Lukas Oppenheimer aka Windowseeker producing exactly what Stella likes to party to: “Complex tracks […]which have whole worlds within them, but still really go forward”so Stella.
Labels like Transatlantic and Charm Link from the ambient area or musicians like the Canadian DJ Bambi also inspire Stella in her music, the latter not only through her DJ skills, but above all through her public debate and criticism of the worldwide club culture, which is strong characterized by white and patriarchal structures.
Part of Fluid Festival
Even before she came to Leipzig, Stella ended up in the Fluid Festival team via connections, which ultimately also enabled her to connect to Leipzig to Closed. The festival took place in Niedergörsdorf in Brandenburg for the first time last year, after both Corona and African swine fever thwarted the organizers in the previous years.
The idea for their own festival came about at the time in the Lüneburg collective Flugmodus, to which Stella had connections across corners. Despite the pandemic, we planned diligently, which benefited the organizers:
“The fact that we work like this at all, even though we all live in different cities, only came about because of Corona. At the point when it started, in spring 2020, and we actually tried to organize a festival, you had to use online tools.”
After two years of planning and a number of obstacles, the first Fluid Festival was finally able to get off the ground in 2022. Unfortunately, this year has to be paused again because no suitable site was found, but the two-year cycle is a good opportunity for the team to continue their education in order to be able to continue to meet their own requirements, for example with regard to awareness structures, says Stella. “We quickly realized that a year is relatively short for this, because you’ll already be back in production in the fall.”
In production, Stella was previously responsible for design and is now also part of the booking team. A task that she enjoys immensely, but the initial process was not easy for her. Because even if the gender distribution in the teams is becoming more and more balanced, this area is still very male-dominated – Stella, as a Flinta* person, had an incredible amount of respect for getting involved in the booking team, as the existing skills of the other (mainly male) members set high standards.
“Even though we’re all cool with each other and there’s flat hierarchies, sometimes you still realize that certain barriers still exist due to the patriarchal structures that have influenced you all your life. How to communicate, what space you can and want to occupy, how to stand up when there are different opinions and how to stand up for your opinion and your taste. Super super tricky.”
The next Fluid Festival is slated for summer 2024, until then you can dance to Stella on the second-row floor as she makes her Tarmac debut.
In the mix
Gladee recorded an exclusive mix for our spot on performance. Thank you Stella!
Finally, a warm hello and thanks to Toto for the great photos for this spot on. This is Toto’s photo premiere at gladfroh – and we are super happy with it.
“Hi, I’m Toto. I ended up at gladfroh through an open call and I’m super happy that I can now get to know so many new people and music. For the artist portraits, it is important to me that I deal with the music of the respective person and that we work out the vibe of the photos together, often conceptually as well. I love music and I’m also a very visual person, which is why my goal in the shoots is always to create visual context to the music.„
„Stella and I talked a lot about the vision we had for the shoot of her interview. We got into sci-fi pretty quickly as she’s also a huge sci-fi fan. The whole thing then evolved into a trashy morning-after-party vibe on the spot with pretty edgy make-up, which we both found pretty funny. She was super nice and we tried everything. I really appreciated that Stella trusted me so much and was open to all ideas.„