Boundless spirit

Born into a German-Brazilian musical family, Virginia discovered at a young age that she wanted to sing. The DJ, singer, songwriter, and producer has been involved in electronic music for over a decade now. Virginia has been a Panorama Bar resident since 2012 and her career took flight in the 90s, which she still feels nostalgic about. Get to know Virginia!

by Bo Hanna

You grew up in a musical family. How did that shape you as an artist?
“That’s right, my dad used to have a big music band, my brother is a music engineer, and my sister is a music publisher. I discovered at a young age that I wanted to sing and I took vocal and piano lessons. Because of my family, I also learned quickly how it works on stage and behind the stage. I’m grateful that I always had support from my family in going into music. My family came to support me when I played live in Berghain in 2016 with my Ostgut Ton album release.”

Which place(s) around the world would you consider home?
“I grew up in Munich, where I had my first DJ gig as well. Now, I have lived in Berlin for 17 years and at the same time, I’m starting to build up a life in the Portuguese capital Lisbon, where I partly live. I’m half Brazilian, but not fluent in (European-)Portuguese. These days I spend time on improving my European-Portuguese.”


Do you feel connected to Brazil?
My mother told me recently that we have Portuguese heritage as well and I clearly have a Brazilian look and temperament, but at the same time, I’m very European. Basically, I’m a Bavarian girl because I grew up in South Germany.”

Where do you like to play the most?
Well, I have to say I like playing at Panorama Bar, because I know the place very well and I know the crowd. At the same time, I love Ireland. Every time I play over there it’s fucking mental! I give the Irish credit; they are totally into the music and they know how to party. Recently, I played in both Graz and Vienna in Austria and I had a lot of fun as well. I have good memories from these places and I felt very welcome.”

And… you’re coming to Amsterdam soon!
Yeah, I love playing in Amsterdam! I have a big group of friends over there and I’m very connected to the Dutch electronic music scene. I’m very excited to play for Is Burning.”

How was your first time playing in Panorama Bar?
“I will never forget my first time in Panorama Bar, it was a fucking banger! I was nervous for a week… I was invited to play at Steffi’s first record release party in 2011 to perform a live track we worked on together for that album. I don’t want to sound arrogant, but people still talk about that night. Everything was perfect; the energy was right and we all went bananas!”

Do you consider yourself a queer DJ?
For me, personally, labels are not so important. I think it is important though to if we want to raise awareness and address certain issues. I happen to be queer and I’m proud to be part of the community, but does that make me a queer DJ? I guess the most important for me as a DJ is to create a great party with a good vibe where different kinds of people come together to party.”

What kind of atmosphere do you want to create on the dancefloor?
I would say that I never come unprepared. Most of the time, I come with a rough idea, but in the end, it also depends on the moment and vibe the dancers are creating on the dancefloor. I have an idea, but not a tracklist and you always try new stuff. It also depends on my mood, I have days where I feel funky or days where I feel more modern and contemporary. Thus, in the end, it’s a combination of what happens on the spot, my mood, and what I roughly planned for the night. I’m happy if the idea had matched the night, but you always aim for getting the best for your audience!”

You have a background in different music genres. What would you consider your turning point to electronic music?
“I was always amazed by new sounds and seeing DJ’s collecting records in the 90s when electronic wasn’t mainstream yet. I remember seeing a live band combined with electronic music and being amazed! It wasn’t just a track but it had an actual classic song structure.”

Do you think electronic music became mainstream nowadays?
“Yes, but everything has its pros and cons. I mean, the stuff we play might be more niche than EDM, but these days techno and house are big as well. I would say the term underground doesn’t add up anymore. Of course, there are still underground parties and off radar venues, but it’s not like before. Back in the 90s, a friend would drive me to a party in a crappy car and I wouldn’t be sure if I would be paid at the end of the night if the bar didn’t make enough money. These days flights and accommodations are sorted for DJs. Sometimes I miss that time, but I’m really happy to still be able to follow my passion and make a good living with my music and djing.”

Is the constant travelling something that inspires you as well?
“Yes, but I think it’s very subtle. When I go to a country for the first time and I pick up local things like new food or habits it will somehow shape me and my work. Maybe I see a local band playing abroad and get inspired because it’s new and awesome!”

How do you think about your music and the future?
“I like to challenge myself in new ways, I try to different things with singing, my sets, and finding new things to add. Maybe I will develop a new Virginia singing style. I’m working on a new project together with Steffi and I’m very excited about it... I consider it a 2.0 of our collaboration and I’m very excited about it!”

Carlos Valdes