Spurred on by frenzied rhythms in house, disco and hip-hop, Tereza’s musical range has seen her become a regular on Worldwide FM, HÖR and The Lot, alongside a long-time residency at Berlin’s Paloma, which spawned a 2019 compilation of cross-sectional club sounds.
For the seventh mix of our series, ‘Tereza Home Alone’ channels that Kevin McAllister energy to embody her optimum and carefree state of being. Tracks from Sister Sledge, Teddy Pendergrass and DJ Technics can be heard alongside a Q&A that unpacks how she balances her love of dance music with her rational nature.
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First off, a huge thank you for donating your time to the TRTD Mix series. Why is The Right To Dance and War Child something you want to lend your support to?
Thank you for having me! It is an honour to contribute to such an important cause. Growing up in a protected environment with a certain access to education and other resources shouldn’t depend on the place and time children are born into, but let’s face the reality: it still does. And in my opinion, The Right To Dance and War Child do an important job to fight this inequity by creating spaces for three of my favourite activities in the world: laughing, dancing and playing. To me, these are sources of creativity and the latter is very much needed to tackle all the problems we are facing right now and even more so in the future.
Throughout history, people have fought for the right to dance for a variety of reasons, from the personal to communal. Why is dancing and, more broadly, dance music such an important part of your life?
In general, I tend to be a rational and quite a pragmatic person: I enjoyed science subjects in school, I studied mathematics. I love numbers and graphs—logical consistency gives me joy. However, music helps me to get in touch with my own feelings, let them out in the first place and to accept the fact that I can't grasp everything with my brain only. Quite the opposite actually, we have to learn to listen more to our body and trust our gut feeling. So on the inside, music, and dance music especially helps me to discover myself (as cheesy as it sounds!) and on the outside it has allowed me to build connections with a lot of people from all over the world, some of whom I can still call my friends now.
Could you tell us why you chose to theme your mix ‘Tereza Home Alone’, and how does your mix represent your theme?
It’s the end of the year and I have been DJing and travelling so much that I wanted to create a soundtrack for some “me-time”: an energetic mix that I’d want to listen to when I am home alone with songs that make me dance with my eyes closed. Something fun and light with lots of vocals, new discoveries as well as a good portion of classic songs, with different rhythms that get my body moving automatically right from the start. A journey through different genres, ups and downs, with a track list that doesn’t necessarily have to work in a club environment. Think of the “Kevin Home Alone” scene with me dancing in front of the mirror singing into a hair brush.
Are there any particular tracks from the mix you’d like to highlight?
Quite naturally I was drawn to some songs that I have made special memories with over the course of this year. For example, when I played “A Minute Too Late” at an open-air event in summer, rain started pouring and people were squeezing under the tent where I was DJing. The whole party turned into a very intimate and intense one which I’ll never forget. “Get Lifted” will always remind me of my Paris and Helsinki debut and how happy I was to be in these places. The prize for “goosebump moments” goes to “Satisfaktion", whilst “Oyelo” has been a go-to song to get comfortable and settled in at the beginning of my sets. So I guess this mix is a melting pot of a lot of emotions and memories which I was lucky enough to make in 2022.
Taking a step back, how has "Tereza Home Alone" been important to your journey in music?
I have been DJing and performing in front of people for a good while now but I still get super nervous—especially when I DJ in a club I haven't been to before. The only thing that helps me deal with that is to imagine I’m DJing at home just for myself. Trying to zone out for the first couple of minutes is enough to decompress, get comfortable and then reconnect with the crowd. Plus playing and listening to music at home just by myself is so much fun and important for what I do—I experiment, play around and you can hear the most exciting bits of that at my DJ shows.
Are there communities or moments within dance music culture that have felt unifying to you?
Definitely—in various situations with different crowds, sometimes in places I would have never expected it. In fact, every night has the potential for me to experience this unique spark and togetherness with the crowd. As a DJ, I try my best to create the best possible point of departure for that and if everything falls into place, it feels truly magical.
If you could go back to any dance floor in history, what would it be and why?
It’s a bit weird to say because this was way before I was born, but I think deep down I am a 70s baby. Especially the lesser known high energy disco stuff that came out in the late 70s is my thing. Also that transition from disco to so called "progressive" music and witnessing DJs like David Mancuso or Larry Levan writing history must have been mind-blowing and super exciting. So yeah—maybe a classic one like The Loft or Paradise Garage, or even a random intimate dance floor in the States in that era would be my destination if I could travel back in time.
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