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Ida Engberg: "The dancefloor must be made safe for women"

We spoke to the Swedish techno star upon the release of her first EP in six years

  • Words: Patrick Hinton | Photo: DANIELLA MIDENGE
  • 10 December 2020

Ida Engberg is back with her first EP in six years, a transcendental five-track offering titled 'Return To Consciousness'.

In the time between her last release and now, she's been busy on many fronts inside and outside of music. Alongside touring globally as an in-demand DJ, she's an activist working towards a better future for the world. She was recently made a United Nations ambassador, and is committed to a number of important issues such as the environment, social justice, animal rights, and speaking out against abuse in the dance music industry.

We caught up with the Swedish techno star to talk music, activism, making dance music safer for women, and more. Read below and listen the premiere of her new EP's title-track.

‘Return to Consciousness’ is your first release in six years - why did the time feel right to put it out now?

Time flies when you have fun as they say! I’ve had so many elements in my life to balance and studio work just didn’t appeal. Moving to Ibiza, traveling and playing music, having a family and loads of animals kind of took up my time. I did realise I love it and hopefully it won’t be another six years again.

How did the release come together and what inspired your creative process in making it?

When it comes to the creative process, there is so much happening in the moment and it never ends up as you thought it would. Which of course is the beauty of it. My music reflects where I’m at mentally; plant medicine, inner healing work and of course the magical musical journey that spans over so many years. To me it’s a warm soulful release and I hope that translates.

How has living in Ibiza through a year without clubbing been?

Honestly clubbing is such a tiny part of why we live here. Maybe the reason we came here in the first place, but there is so much more to love. Nature, the light, the most amazing inspirational people from all over the world who moved here for various similar reasons. The spirit of this island is very creative. It’s a beautiful place to raise children. We also have many adopted animals. It never gets boring!

Read this next: Does hippy Ibiza actually still exist?

You’re an activist on a number of important issues and are now a United Nations ambassador, how did it feel to take up that role and what are you hoping to achieve?

We obviously live in times when a huge shift has to happen for humanity and all life on earth in order to have a chance to survive as a species. To me it’s the most important and beautiful movement to be part of. It gives life meaning to work for the greater good. Uniting people has never been more important. The work with UN is super-inspirational. I’m reading and educating myself a lot naturally and it’s more and more clear to me how crucial this moment in time is. For example Project Zero whom I just took on working with aims to protect 30% of our oceans and that’s of course a dream project to support. We all have a voice and we should really be using it wisely for what we truly believe in.

It’s been a trying and eventful year for dance music to say the least. How can the dancefloor be a safer place for women in the future? What are the positives you’re taking from 2020?

Ouf, that’s a good question. What’s been going on in our scene is sickening to learn about. Shameful and unacceptable. The stories we all heard about Erick Morillo shocked the whole dance music community and we still need to heal from that. It clearly needed to be brought up to the surface for discussion and I really don’t think it’s over yet. The job Rebekah is doing to truly try to push for real change is admirable. We should all be supporting her. We can only choose to take this as a lesson and become wiser and better. The dancefloor must be safe. Women must feel the support of the dance music community to dare to report sexual harassment, abuse and dare to speak up without fear of victim shaming and threats. We have so much to learn from what has happened. In my opinion no matter how painful it is, it’s only positive it’s surfacing. It’s a sign we are ready to heal and grow. This is one of the things our music should be standing for.

Read this next: We need to end sexism, misogyny and violence in dance music

Finally, what are your hopes for dance music and the world in 2021?

My biggest hope is that we can unite through music and dance together again soon. It’s incredibly powerful how music connects people and how it’s breaking down boundaries. If we can transform the festivals and clubs into sustainable ones it would be a dream. Little big steps like serving only vegan locally produced food would make a huge impact, plus supporting the local businesses instead of the global co-operations would be beautiful to see and truly inspire people. At the moment the festivals leave me with a bittersweet taste. We can improve a lot and I believe it would have massive support. No single use plastic, refillable water bottles, leave no trace policy etc. 2021 is the new start we needed and we have had enough time now to plan for the changes. I honestly feel more hopeful than ever for the future or our planet. Something that would be beautiful would be if the festivals could be combined with restoration, for example planting trees. One Tree Planted is a great organization that team with Zoo Project in Ibiza, for example. For every ticket sold one tree is planted. Imagine what a difference we could make as a community if that became the norm! All we need is passion and compassion.

Ida Engberg’s ‘Return to Consciousness’ is out worldwide on 11 December on Truesoul, get it here

Patrick Hinton is Mixmag's Digital Features Editor, follow him on Twitter

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