Sweden’s first lady – A few words from Ida Engberg

Think Sweden and names like Beyer, Smith, Lekebusch and Dahlback probably spring to mind first. Which is understandable, given these men represent something of a backbone to their country’s ever-burgeoning scene. But as has been proven time and time again, the supply of talented producers with a penchant for solid, drummy four four rhythms from Scandinavia’s largest country is near impossible to exhaust.

Without question one of the characters that has been causing a stir in more recent times is Ida Engberg. A veritable femme fatale of the techno world, releases like Owl’s Nest mark her out as having a deft studio hand and impeccable sense of the rhythms that work a dancefloor, while her 2011 tour diary includes events ranging from South West Four in London and Awakenings in Amsterdam, to Ibiza’s Space, confirming her arrival in the world of sought after DJs.

After tracking this progression now seemed like a good time to fire over some questions. With fingers crossed we waited for a reply, which arrived, meaning it was possible to put this interview together for you. So, unabridged and almost unedited, here’s Engberg talking about Scandinavian weather, its influence on music, girls playing decks, and the newborn summer.


P&S: Hi Ida, how are you doing today? Been up to anything interesting?

IE: “Hi, I’m very good thanks. I’ve been enjoying the sun here in Stockholm the past few days. It’s so nice when the summer finally comes after a winter like the one we just had. And at this precise moment I’m trying to finalise my next EP, which is planned to come out on Truesoul very soon.

Speaking of Sweden, how is your country capable of providing such a stream of techno talent?

I think it’s a combination of long, cold and dark winters, and a good community for music producers. In the winter nobody wants to be outside in Stockholm so it’s great for being creative inside. Sweden has always been at the forefront of music so I guess it’s like a virus spreading from one friend to another.

In terms or your own position in the dance scene, was it difficult to establish yourself as a female DJ, within what is a relatively masculine niche?

No, I never felt it was difficult because I’m a girl. Female DJs and producers still have the advantage to stand out more. If you are a girl and know how to really rock it people will remember you. And there are so many female DJs popping up right now, which is a trend I definitely don’t think is turning, so maybe in 10 years there will be 50/50- who knows.

Why do you think there is such a dominance of men in the world of clubs and records?

As I said I think that trend is changing but I guess it’s been like that because it’s a technical job. Girls normally get scared just by looking at a mixer, so even if they really love the music they might not think of trying to mix it. At least that is how most of my girlfriends are. I tried to teach most of them how to DJ but they tend not to understand anything. The guys I have tried to teach picked up much faster, so maybe they have more technical skills in them already.

When you were first starting out you admittedly played anywhere you could, are you now finding you have more offers than can realistically be considered?

Yeah, in the beginning I was so excited to play that it didn’t matter so much where it was. And that’s how I learned too, I was never practising at home at all, I thought it was so much more fun to play for an audience.

Like that you learn fast from your mistakes too… It’s definitely not fun to empty a dancefloor. But I shouldn’t be complaining about the offers I get. If I look back on where I started and how fast I have got to this point I should only be grateful. But I’m always moving my goals forward and I still feel that I’m in the beginning of my career, hopefully I’ll be doing this for the rest of my life.”

What should people expect to see when you’re playing?

I like to think of DJing as if it was painting a picture. It’s not whole until the last track, and the longer I can play the more detailed it gets. I always improvise, so I don’t know myself where I will end up, which is what makes this job so amazing- it never gets boring.

Production wise, you’ve built up a reputation for solid kick drums and sweat-inducing dancefloor fare. Are they the main things you think of when making new music?

I think of myself as a DJ much more than a producer so when I’m in the studio I’m definitely aiming for music that I can play in my sets. It’s more or less like creating a tool.

What have you got lined up release wise at the moment? Any plans for an album?

I have been working on an EP that is almost good to go, so very excited about that. It will be a follow up for Truesoul and should be out this summer. I would love to make an album, and one day when I have more time I will try to make one that’s like the perfect journey, with amazing ambient tracks combined with full on dancefloor bombs. Maybe if this winter gets extra cold…

Finally, and also looking to the future, summer’s here, how will you be spending yours?

I will be touring through Germany, Holland, Italy, Spain, Croatia, Norway, UK, Belgium, Switzerland, and also to the States and Central America. Not much holiday for me, but I will extend my stays when I go to nice places like Ibiza.

Thanks very much for your time Ida, all the best for the future.

Thank you.