Intriguing Berlin-based filmmaker, activist, producer and DJ Sky Deep, premieres this lush video for ‘Swerve’, featuring skate dancers in urban U.S. roller rinks.
Tell us everything we should know about your new track Swerve
Right before I made ‘Swerve’, I was in the middle of a creative block and in the process of changing my whole music production workflow. I was rebuilding whilst seeking inner inspiration. Luckily for me, I’ve got some really loving and generous friends in music.One in particular, let me borrow her SE-02 while she went on tour. I spent a couple of weeks learning the new machine and created kicks, snares, hi-hats and basslines for my sound library. Later, I borrowed another friend’s OB-6 to finish the rest of the track. I was inspired by good times and I remembered back in the day roller skating to the basslines of 90’s Californian hip-hop. That’s what inspired me to connect further with my dear family friend and roller skate enthusiast on the artwork, music video and Swerve T-shirts.
How important to you is it to run your own label?
Deciding to run my own label is one of the most important things I’ve chosen to do in my lifetime. I absolutely LOVE people in general and I’m always trying to think of how I can support their dreams or create opportunities. The cool thing about running a label is that I get to discover new music, plus cool new people and I get to live my passion for community. I don’t have all the answers to the problems in the world but I can use my professional skills and music selections to sprinkle the earth with some new flavours. When creating teams with other artists, this is our chance to discover ourselves and feel strong.
Where is home to you? And why?
Many times I find myself homesick. I think that’s because I have different versions of home as I’ve lived a very nomadic life. Right now, my home centre is indeed in Berlin where I live with my partner. We are building our home environment together and it’s a place that I cherish and feel utterly safe in. This little fairy tale love affair we have going on is magical and helps me cope with how much I miss my blood family in both California and New Jersey. My babe has lived her whole life in Germany and is very sensitive and aware of the challenges I face as a migrant. This is also helping me gradually get a better grip on the language and cultural differences here. So yes, Berlin is home but even when we’re on the road together, in different cities or on airplanes, it still feels like home.
Following the success of ‘Enactone’, when are we going to see your next movie?
I’m in the process of writing the sequel to Enactone. Otherwise, I am thrilled that I was cast as an actor in a new film directed by Shu Lea Cheang, which is set to show sometime in February on 4:3, the new Boiler Room film platform. I think it’s still a bit hush hush so I can’t share specific details but for those that know the work of Shu Lea, get ready because you’re in for a treat! This is the first time I’ve chosen to do this type of performance for a film that was not my own project.
It was a really glitzy night at the PorYes awards. It all felt a bit surreal to me that a project that I initiate purely for self-enjoyment, empowerment liberation, adventure andcommunity connection would lead me to receive awards and touring with the film. It was whilst sitting in that beautiful auditorium in Kreuzberg with a packed house of people waiting to see me and other feminist porn colleagues that I further realized the impact it’s possible for us to make when we’re being our authentic selves. It was such an honour to be amongst a host of ethical adult industry pro’s as a newcomer. I felt inspired and encouraged to do more good work and to further shake the taboo that is often cast upon people who work in this part of the entertainment field.
Tell us everything we should know about your experience at the PorYes – Feminist Porn awards and also about your workshop on ‘identity politics and self-therapy through filmmaking’.
About my workshop on identity politics and self-therapy through filmmaking, I facilitated this workshop during my trip to Glasgow for SQIFF (Scottish Queer International Film Festival). It was a joy to share about my growth process and approach towards making the film as a guerrilla filmmaker. I went further into depth about how I started using my own likeness in music videos before moving on to create the 56-minute long Enactone. I shared about the self-discovery process in my work as a black queer woman not conforming to oppressive standards of beauty and sexuality. The goal was to help participants identify their own personal weak points, weigh the risk and rewards of tackling those things and designing methods for how to tell their own story in a way that is satisfying, challenging and freeing.
When is the next Reclaim the Beats Festival in Berlin?
For now, I see Reclaim the Beats Festival as an ongoing concept to follow through within every aspect of work that I do. This includes my work with the label, in education and every time I can find a chance to create opportunities or empowerment for the underrepresented. Running a larger event like this is a hefty task and requires sufficient funding to support the workload and the workers/artists. I will continue to collaborate with various promoters and festivals to bring Reclaim the Beats stages to various places around the world. We had multi-day festivals in 2016 & 2017 in Berlin, then in 2018, we were invited to curate a stage in Los Angeles for a festival by Goethe Institute. Also in 2018, I collaborated with DICE Festival to have a Reclaim the Beats segment in their discussion program. I am looking for more situations like that where I can curate within the infrastructure of larger festivals.
What’s next for you?
I’m excited about growing the label in its new more focussed direction. I’m working closely with i-Wonder (aka Joel Holmes) to carve out the vibey, funky and chunky sound of Reveller. I’m really feeling a lot of the new demos that have been showing up in my inbox. I personally have got a lot of new music on the way. Plus I’m excited about my new collaborations with visuals artists for artistic videos and I’m looking to tour a lot with my live sets and DJ’ing more in the upcoming festival season. I am continually falling deeper in love with my synths, instruments and machines while making new music. I will also continue documenting parts of my process and skill sharing with my fellow YouTubers.