Something happens to the floor every time Rénata is mixing. Her surgical precision and elegant transitions offer to the dancing crowd sonic mutations that seem to take shape by design and spontaneously at the same time. Anyone could immediately recognize that immense talent and genuine dedication are in the work. I witnessed several of her sets in different styles and they always seem to oscillate gracefully between the urgencies of the political techno and a “concerto approach” to what a party can be.

Q: It is clear for anyone listening and watching your live sets that you have a great deal of technical control in your mixing and a wide range of sounds guiding your flow. I would like to know about your process in preparing a set, where do you start?

A: The first thing I think about is the mood of my set, which depends on the timing and idea behind it. I then move to the track selection process, which sometimes gets up to a ridiculous amount of tracks from various genres and nature (samples, tools, etc.) but knowing that I have a lot to play which ignites my creativity. I also have different moods within each set of selections, which helps me direct my set depending on the crowd.

Q: So you have a lot of space to improvise? I always thought you have a very prepared and strict set again because of your control on it, how do you manage that?

A: The only thing I strictly prepare is the intro. I like when intros are well thought of – it sets the tone of the set, and for me personally it is where I get initial control. The rest of the set is improvised depending on what’s happening – actually ‘semi-improvised’. I have these ‘reference tracks’ I set my mind on to play and work towards that in a way, giving myself room for a sort of ‘controlled’ improvisation.

Q: What is the most important thing you need to achieve this? And how do you treat your tracks and sound?

A: It’s all about perception here. I use tracks as musical samples instead of full tracks. It is not the full track that counts anymore but the collision between two different tracks, and more than that – using all technical possibilities on CDJs to multiply and sample tracks to get what I want out of the whole thing. I loop, stretch or shorten parts, moving away from bpm and style tyranny – to break from the constant flow of energy and create waves. The key is to know your tracks well and trust your skills, and the rest will come out naturally – I started creating my own breakdowns and learned that the drop doesn’t matter anymore. I don’t like intense buildups; I personally like it when things are subtle so that’s what leads to messing with tracks and creating my own.

Q: But you haven’t had this approach when you started DJing, right?

A: No, actually. I used to like to have a constant flow, sticking to all-vinyl sets for a while. I still always play records, but I like to mix it up with CDJs now to make use of everything that is around to make the best out of it, so my favourite setup would be 2 turntables and 3 CDJs – not that I am always using them at the same time, but to have the option. But I also still like this approach, especially when I’m playing opening sets, which require more of a flow – you can always experiment and mix it up but just not as much. I learned to play different styles of sets, at any time of a night, and in different settings, especially during my residencies in London and this helps in knowing what and how to play each set.

Q: On another note, your use of industrial sounds and Detroit Acid makes me think that it is not only sounds that you enjoy, but as if there is a political and social content behind it.

A: It’s interesting that you ask about this. As you know, I always used to play different styles of electronic music, especially during my time in London where I think it was the sounds and the vibe of the set that drove me instead of a message-lead set. But I feel as though I was naturally attracted to music that has a direction towards political and social content, however I wouldn’t want to narrow my style to these two sub-genres but to rather discuss an industrial approach instead. And by ‘industrial’, I mean to deconstruct. Deconstructing sounds, as well as messages, going into creating on the go and create a space and platform for other possibilities. I have a theme-based set most of the time, especially when I play at Frequent Defect, which has a theme for every installment.