Elif is an Istanbul-born highly acclaimed selector, DJ and producer. Her style blends modern electronica with beautiful, ethereal soundscapes, taking crowds through a range of emotions that stretch smoothly from profound psychedelia to potent heights. During lockdown she has written new material – her debut EP on A Tribe Called Kotori and the track ‘Entanglement’ soon to drop on Stil Vor Talent’s upcoming VA – and reached her listeners’ hearts with live streams that were both melodic and profound.
Already a familiar figure at festivals worldwide before lockdown, thanks to an incredible resume of experience and expertise, Elif had become a non-stop nomadic performer at the likes of Burning Man, The Monastery Festival, Anjunadeep Explorations, ADE, Kater Blau, The Gardens of Babylon, Flying Circus parties around the world and gigs in locations throughout the world such as Tulum, Montreal, Ukraine and Amsterdam.
Be it a dark club or a sunny beach, Elif brings heart, variety, passion and life-enhancing vibes to her listeners. She continues to do so today with a medium different than music, sharing how she coped with the Coronavirus lockdown months, and the lessons she learned from the experience.
I am a certified yoga teacher; I’m very interested in the big questions like why are we here, so that led to this spiritual path. I knew that regular meditation practice can work wonders on the human brain and emotions… Even though I enjoyed and benefited from meditation whenever I could, I wasn’t a regular meditation practitioner before the pandemic.
Having to stay at home for months and waking up in the same room, I started to build some habits. Luckily for me, morning meditation was one of them. It’s a very good way to deal with fear of uncertainty. I hope to keep this beautiful habit when I go back to my hectic life because I know how much I can benefit from it.
I already had a regular yoga practice and keeping up with it during quarantine was essential both for my physical and mental health. Sitting long hours in the chair, not being very active could take its toll if it wasn’t for yoga.
I started a 12-week program with a book called Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. It consists of techniques and exercises to help people in gaining self-confidence in harnessing their creative talents. After my meditation I usually sit down to write my “morning pages’ and do the exercises that are suggested in the book. I’m almost finished with the program but I intend to keep on writing the morning pages. It’s just 3 pages of free writing, a way to empty the clutter in the brain, the small daily stuff that accumulates there, before you get down to the creative work. I think along with meditation my morning pages helped me stay sane during lockdown.
Traveling non-stop for work for the past 10 years of my life I never really had a routine before quarantine. Always on the go I didn’t really know how to cook or any of these handy little kitchen hacks. Spending 4 months at home I learned how to cook and became a person who knows her way around the kitchen. Because of biased gender roles in the society I grew up in I was never interested in cooking but now with a new light and with motivations like eating clean and staying on budget I now really enjoy cooking. I love preparing healthy recipes and I sometimes even cook to relax!
Taking care of pets (let alone babies) is still out of the perceivable horizon for me but I can say that I am now the proud mama of some beautiful and happy house plants. Thanks to lockdown I could give extra attention and love to my beautiful ‘babies’ that turn my living and working space into a little cosy urban jungle. Now I have to think about who’s going to take care of them when I go back to touring but that should be easier than finding a babysitter…
I started DJing before making music and I learned production when I was already internationally touring around 1.5 years ago. To learn and actually make music I had to take small breaks from touring so that I could focus. After signing and releasing my first track on Anjunadeep (Random Act of Kindness, 2019) I spent a crazy busy summer where I did not open Ableton once. Through this mandatory break I decided to dedicate my time to producing music and catching up on some knowledge by watching tutorials, attending patreon and zoom classes, collaborating with more experienced producers… I feel like I’m getting more and more ‘fluent’ in production now. This was actually ideal timing as I was able to finish several tracks (including collaborations and remixes). My debut EP ‘Moonspell’ is out now on A Tribe Called Kotori (get it here), one of my tracks will be on Stil Vor Talent 15th Year Compilation and I’ve signed some other work on Kindisch, Iamher, Akasha Mix, Pipe and Pochet.
I also took online ukulele and music theory classes. Not being able to work was/is difficult for me but by learning more skills about my passion and job helped me cope with the anxiety and fear or uncertainty.
I wasn’t only feeling bad because I was out of job and lost income but also because I missed the pure joy of playing my favourite music for people and interacting with them. For this reason live streams were one of the highlights of my lockdown. Both watching other friends and inspirations or live streaming myself, attending Zoom parties or being present on Twitch or Facebook chat during a live stream really helped me deal with this situation.
It’s definitely not the same as a real gig but it’s something else and I loved this new thing. I stayed connected with people, I could play music, I could keep creating and connect with amazing people and creative minds all over the world. I did many live streams and connected with old and new fans. I am super grateful for the internet.
Lockdown taught me to slow down and realise it’s ok to take breaks and rest. I can get quite caught up in work (a bit of a workaholic), and that’s not always a good thing. Being home 24/7 without the distraction of friends or traveling I also had to learn how to pace myself; that my creativity wasn’t there all the time, that it came in waves, just like my mood and I had to learn how to surf those waves. I learned to allow myself to take breaks. I watched some amazing shows on Netflix, read great books and watched the beautiful sunset on my balcony every evening.
I think overall quarantine made me more resilient. Brought me closer to myself, gave me time and space to learn more about music and music production and made me appreciate things like traveling, festivals, raves and more.
I can’t wait to be back on the road again sharing my music, but I must say taking this mandatory break at the same time with everyone else in the world ended up being something amazing for me.
Elif Moonspell is Out Now on A Tribe Called Kotori. Get it here: https://lnk.to/Moonspell. Also watch out for her track ‘Entanglement’ with Sanoi, dropping on Stil Vor Talent on 21st August.