When Bashkka released her debut EP Maktub at the start of the year, the DJ/producer could never have envisioned becoming a festival circuit staple within a few months.
“The project is an idiosyncratic love letter to myself, my heritage and my community,” she says from a recording studio, aka Bashkka’s “sacred space”. Maktub (an Arabic word which translates to “it is written”) is filled with slamming, pulsating techno, blending elements of ghettotech, house and ballroom to head-thumping effect.
“I want it to make people feel euphoric, sexy, ancestral – the magnitude of what it means to be unapologetically you.”
At once ethereal and uncompromising, the EP reflects the last couple of years in Bashkka’s life, “a sort of expedition up until now and all the emotions I gave myself space and fortitude to deal with, but also relish in,” she adds. “It’s like an echo of my feelings.”
Born in Munich, Bashkka was raised there by a working-class Turkish family before moving to New York, where she became immersed in the city’s ballroom scene and trans community. “I always say I was only partially raised in Munich, because what I believe to be more significant in my development was living in New York for 11 years,” Bashkka continues. “Now, I’m back in Munich, but I’ve been searching for my musical identity for a long time. I think I’ve finally found it.”
Bashkka has been an unstoppable force this year. She’s played Berghain’s Panorama Bar, “which had me sobbing afterwards”, and her set closer at Glastonbury’s Genosys stage was hand-picked by Resident Advisor as one of the festival’s key performances this summer. That set “really shifted things into a different gear,” Bashkka says.
Her stand-out performance, though, was at Tilburg’s Draaimolen festival, where she played a pulverising set in early September.
“It was truly a mind-shifting experience which exceeded all my expectations,” she says. “I played the Tunnel stage. It was curated by UMAY, the label I released my EP on, which I think had the best crowd and light installations. The vibe was so infectious.”
Emboldened by Maktub’s warm reception, Bashkka’s now prepping for the release of a remix EP, Maktub Reloaded, and features on cult Berlin club night Mala Junta’s new compilation, Amniote Editions II, with her celestial track Amor Extraterrestre.
Below, Bashkka gives us 100%.
10% What kind of emotions and experience influence your work?
Everyday life, whether that’s my own or someone else’s. I soak up everything that’s going on around me like fertiliser. I’m also inspired by space and fashion, which fascinate me. In a different world, I might have become a designer or an astrophysicist.
20% If you were cooking to impress someone, what would you make?
Breakfast, which is my favourite meal of the day. I can whip up a vicious Turkish breakfast you’ll never forget. Be my guest!
30% What’s a bad habit you wish you could kick?
Hmm… How much time do we have?
40% What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Step your pussy up! I vicariously live through the words of a Black trans woman called TS Madison. Even Beyoncé sampled her on Renaissance.
50% If you ruled the world for a day, what would go down?
I wouldn’t. That would be way, way too stressful.
60% Dream holiday destination?
70% Weirdest DM you’ve ever received?
Usually the ones from complete strangers asking for guestlist, but with the most bizarre and cringy explanations.
80% If you could travel back in time to watch an iconic music act perform, who would it be?
I must say I am very lucky to have seen some incredible artists who are no longer with us, like Prince, Amy Winehouse, even Whitney Houston when she toured her album My Love is Your Love – rest in power. But if I could travel back in time even further, I’d love to experience the legendary Gazino Nights of the ’60s and ’70s in Istanbul, to watch singers like Zeki Müren or Bülent Ersoy. This was a time where Turkey and the entire Middle Eastern diaspora was very different to what it is today. Also Donna Summer performing Impromptu at Paradise Garage in New York would have been such a gag to see live.
90% What can artists do to help save the world?
I’m afraid that saving the world at this point is not possible, unless a far more developed civilisation beyond our galaxy is coming to the rescue. If I can inspire or make a difference in one person’s world with my music or my existence while this little planet lasts, I think I’ve done a pretty good job.
100% If an alien fell down from the sky, how would you describe your music to them?
I’d just play my upcoming track, Amor Extraterrestre.