First post back in the new year and happy introduce Detroit based DJ, producer, live performer and graphic designer Rebecca Goldberg. Coming from the birthplace of Techno she produces electronic music, releases records and travels the world as a DJ. She also hosts a radio show called ‘D-SCOVERY‘ every month on the London-based station Aaja, that showcases contemporary techno and house music from Detroit. While in the area and on tour, you can find her doing merch pop-ups with her art prints, stickers and apparel designs.
Rebecca is a wearer of many hats and a self identified multi-medium hustler! She says she feels very grateful that her hobbies and work are basically one and the same. “I’ve been able to keep a few things separate, in that, I am not necessarily selling them or depending on them for income, but they still contribute to my output as an artist.” In her free time she enjoys photography, reading and has been “training herself” to listen to audiobooks, “my mind wanders”. She loves the outdoors and with the beauty of Michigan is able to enjoy the Great Lakes often, but especially in the summer.
How did you get into your industry / What motivated you to get into it?
As a lifelong music lover, collector and devotee to culture, it only makes sense that I found my calling in the arts. From the feeling of waiting for release day to buy and unwrap a new record, to hearing a life-changing album for the first time, keeping a cherished gig poster ripped down from a street corner to dancing my ass off in a club all night, the way that the music experience has touched me throughout my life made it natural for me to want to contribute to it. I felt that I could add to the greater cultural archive via my own creative projects.
What is a day in the life like?
I would say that I don’t have a typical day, as it often depends on what projects or upcoming gigs I am thinking about. As consistently as possible, I prefer to wake up early and then incorporate some sort of exercise into my day. It might be walking to the post office to mail out record orders or going for a bike ride if the weather permits. Listening to music, visiting record shops, working admin on the computer, doing updates to a track I recorded can all be a part of my day. I manage posts for my social media accounts to promote new design work and DJ mixes. I am always working on something! I often have earbuds in playing some sort of music or listening to an audiobook. In between all of this I am sure to get something to eat, catch up with friends and family and try to fit in a little self-care too – Can’t forget about that.
In your opinion what has been your favorite / the coolest thing you’ve worked on?
I am grateful to have worked on so many things that I have enjoyed. I would say a couple recent highlights include releasing my most recent record, BUILDINGS. I think it is incredible to live in a time where I could collaborate with an artist that I never met in person, who lives 4,600 miles away. What a time!
My standout project of this year has been field recording work for the new BBC Radiophonic Workshop’s Travel Agency. The Radiophonic Workshop is now a virtual institution bringing together music composition, technology, and software design. Being interested in experimental and avant-garde music, including having used field recordings in much of my original work, my eyes got very wide when I saw an Electronic Sound article about the BBC Radiophonic Travel Agency calling for field recordists to submit their work to be included. I sent them a 5-minute audio sample from a trip to Lake Michigan and was over the moon to be asked to submit a full journey of sounds from Detroit and Michigan. My field recordings for this project range from various nature spots (including Lake Michigan, Turnip Rock, Tahquamenon Falls and more) to a historic farmers market and a paved pedestrian path in Detroit. The entire collection is to be released in the near future.
What has been / is the most difficult part of your job?
I think many creative people can agree with me that time management can absolutely be a struggle. Since I’m on my own for the majority of the work that I do, I have to try to prioritize what I’m spending my time on, often in real time. Admin type of work (email, texting, social media management, etc.) is important, but it’s also what I would like to spend the least amount of time on. The more emailing I’m doing, the less creating/ learning/ practicing I have time for. Saying no has gotten easier as time goes on, but as a freelance artist, I sometimes still question what to add or not to add to my plate.
What advice do you have for someone wanting to get into pursuing what you’re doing?
Outsource and collaborate if you can. Don’t put all the weight on your own shoulders, especially if you can work with someone that is more knowledgable than you about specific things. Never stop learning and make sure you absolutely love it, whatever your “it” is…
Are you a vinyl collector yourself? What drew you to it?
Absolutely a vinyl collector! I think vinyl is the perfect intersection of my loves for music, packaging, design and typography. I love creative record packaging. Vinyl records appeal to the senses of sight, sound, and touch. You can feel a record, hold in in your hands. It must be handled carefully as the record is easily scratched or can warp in the sun. Vinyl has a richness, depth, and warmth that digital media lacks. Am I the only person that thinks a new release right out of the shrink smells really good?
What types of things are happening in your industry / with vinyl that you’re excited or worried about?
Working in record shops, as well as via my own Bandcamp platform, I have definitely seen an interest in vinyl from younger fans. These are kids that grew up with music being accessible as digital technology at their fingertips. It’s very cool to see a fresh interest in the oldest physical music platform. Young people trying to start CD or VHS collections is pretty much unheard of (ha). I also feel that this generation is intentionally considerate about supporting artists directly. They are enthusiastic to buy from artists they love, music and merch alike, via the most direct ways possible. I’ve personally been messaged from strangers for direct-sales options to skip any middle/revenue cutting services. It’s a great shift in mindset, Napster was at its peak when I was in that age range!
During this time we’re currently in, what message do you have for music and vinyl fans? How can we support you, the industry?
For artists… keep creating, stay authentic, integrity over everything.
For fans and supporters, practice what you preach: Make it a point to become familiar with and use the platforms that artists benefit the most from. Engage in social media posts, tune in to independent radio shows, buy records from an independently owned shop. Go ahead and reach out to your favorite artists and ask them the best way to show your support. Play the music for yourself and then think about sharing it with a friend. “Word of mouth” is such a vital show of support and still one of the best marketing platforms there is.
Anything else you want to share? If not, tell me what you’re listening to:
I saw Khruangbin perform the other night. It was my first post-March 2020 concert experience. I was familiar with their releases from working at the record shop, but I must say that this is a band I am so glad to have really dived into for the first time live. Khruangbin is an incredible trio of musicians who are so knowledgeable and obviously passionate about diverse music and all of their influences. I cannot say enough positive things about them and highly recommended catching their live concert if you get the chance!
Great radio shows that I listen to from my area I’d love to recommend: Friday Night Groove, WDET The Progressive Underground, and Cristina Rocks.
**Rebecca has done something really awesome to share with you, and made an all vinyl mix for Women in Vinyl! Its live to coincide with her feature, be sure to check it out here:
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