Nigar Zeynep, AKA Zozo, is one of the trickiest DJs to pin down as having some sort of trademark sound. Having previously cited the late, great Andrew Weatherall – a man renowned for paying little attention to genre boundaries – as her ultimate pick for a dream B2B set, it’s of little surprise. Techno to lysergic oddities, you never can be quite sure what to expect when Zozo’s in the booth.
Zeynep gets her kicks from seeing long-forgotten and criminally under-appreciated music experience a new lease of life. Peppering mixes with the traditional sounds of her native Turkey, a Zozo blend almost always materialises as a symbiosis of forward-facing electronics, contemporary dance music and the diet of traditional music she grew up on. Unfortunately, however, the current landscape in Turkey is quite different to the halcyon days of Zeynep’s youth, and not for the better.
Witnessing Turkey President Erdoğan’s systematic erosion of certain values and dismantling of cultural institutions firsthand is undeniably disheartening, but as a mainstay of the Istanbul scene, it has only gone to strengthen Zeynep’s resolve. The same extends to her local peers: venues like Suma Beach, which counts Zozo among its regular DJs, opened in the wake of the 2016 coup. When you think about it, becoming a vital lynchpin of the Turkish scene was almost in an act of defiance to the ever-encroaching conservatism of Erdoğan’s regime in itself.
She keeps good company too. The likes of Tolouse Low Trax and Sacha Mambo are among those to have championed Zeynep’s musical endeavours, and she can count herself among the illustrious names to assume the title of Sameheads resident. In fact, Zeynep suggests that this mix could double as the warmup set to an imagined party at the Berlin venue.
Photo courtesy of Murat Kahya.