At home with Nocturnal Femme

Interview by Angela Donskaia
Photo shot by Annabel van Royen in Amsterdam

Nocturnal Femme is going to skyrocket in the Amsterdam music scene. Sanae, the woman behind the mysterious moniker, is a DJ and co-founder of the X3 collective. With her chimerical sets, she effortlessly takes the audience on a melancholic trip. We visited her at home and talked about night space, online communities and therapeutic writing. 

Hey Sanae, thanks for having us over in your crib! Have you always lived in Amsterdam?

Yes, born and raised! It’s funny to grow up here. When I was a kid, I used to hang out at squats all the time, and I went to puppet shows at OCCII. Now I go out there. Amsterdam is my home, but it’s intense.

X3 is queer but in the broadest sense of the word. It’s an inclusive mindset. 

Do you feel the pressure to go out here and do a lot?

I’ve got this theory that it’s good we all die one day. Otherwise, we wouldn’t be so eager to make the most of it. So yes, I’m always doing something.

You also co-founded X3, organising events with a safe space policy. What was the trigger to launch this?

We definitely felt the need for more safe spaces. I would say X3 is queer but in the broadest sense of the word. It’s an inclusive mindset. People who feel different can go out in a safe place where they are respected without worrying about being too extra or too naked. 

Did you also start DJing through X3?

Yes! It was handy for me to play the opening set at our parties. We always felt bad for booking DJs at time slots when the venue was still empty. Now I also play sets outside X3, which is super exciting.

Do you make a lot of music in your room?

In the evenings I’m at home a lot. That’s when I prepare my sets. I also write a lot and really like ambient and nature sounds. So my goal for this summer would be to produce an ambient track featuring my voice and lyrics.

Everyone cares about success, but not internally.

Cool! And what do you write?

Poetry, or potential poetry and autobiographical stories. It’s my creative outlet to reflect upon everything. I’ve always loved music and singing, but when I write I have so many epiphanies. Or, I can suddenly burst into tears. Writing is so therapeutic.

Should people write more?

I think a lot of people don’t even know how nice it is. Everyone cares about success, but not internally. Rather financial and status- related. Social etiquette keeps people from doing what they really enjoy.

The power of the communities lies in creating your own new families … actually, I feel a lot safer at a safe space party than at school.

You love nature sounds. Do you spend a lot of time outdoors?

Walking in nature is the best thing for me to calm down. When I’m alone I have the tendency to really overthink. I live next to a lake and a park, so I’ve got quite some options around me.

I’ve also spotted a David Lynch biography in your room?

Yes, I really recognise myself in him. As a kid, he used to be super anxious, and now he’s this amazing multidisciplinary artist. He’s also quite melancholic, so I can really relate. I’m a winter child, you know what they say.

So what inspires you on the internet right now?

This experimental clubscene on Soundcloud, with cyborg-inspired identities. They all organise their own parties and make crazy shit, like the festival Creepy Teepee. It’s hedonistic and a bit communistic.

Do you feel like there is a strong need for online and offline communities?

I feel like in this generation, there isn’t such a strong focus on connecting with your family. Sometimes friends share the same space in people’s lives as relatives. Or even more. The power of the communities lies in creating your own new families.

What’s your other favourite item in your room?

My beamer, best buy ever. I love making crazy compilations with visuals and music. Seeing that on my wall is amazing. I Love creating a nice atmosphere in my room. Now I’m finally at peace.

Your moniker being ‘Nocturnal Femme’, what do you love about nighttime?

I like the night space. It’s when I feel the community the strongest. And actually, I feel a lot safer at a safe space party than at school. At home, I also have a lot of coloured lights and candles, for the cosiness. And after sunset, my inspiration usually comes in.

Nocturnal Femme plays 12 April at Strange Days – Know V.A. release party, Garage Noord, Amsterdam and 19 April during Horses in the Void at OT301, Amsterdam. Free for Subbacultcha members.