How do we love thee, coconut oil? Let Sky Deep count the ways… The Berlin-based American DJ and producer has created an incredibly danceable track naming everything she loves about the substance in all its forms. Over a funky ghetto house beat, Sky lists off her favorite uses of the versatile oil.
We’ve got the exclusive on the music video for “Coconut Oil,” starring a formidable cast of Sky Deep’s friends in the queer community, and directed by Julian Curico. “Coconut Oil” is just one cut from Sky’s latest EP, part two of her Time + Space album released earlier this year, exploring her black US heritage and philosophy through the sounds of house, breaks, and more.
Check out our premiere of her “Coconut Oil” video above, and read our interview with Sky Deep below, where we dig into her DJ beginnings, her time living in New York and LA, and her music curation through her label Reveller Records and at Berlin club SchwuZ and Reclaim the Beats Festival.
How did the video for “Coconut Oil” come about?
I knew I wanted to have a totally different feel for this video than my previous ones. When I first made the song, I was having a recurring vision in my head. It was really simple actually. A bunch of queers rubbing coconut oil on each other. I just couldn’t get the idea out of my head, so I contacted my friend Julian Curico because I saw a music video he did for Tami T and I appreciated his approach and how he was able to stretch budgets while keeping creativity alive. We’ve worked together in the past on independent film projects, so I knew we would also get along great. Fortunately, he was available and totally into the idea! He took the tiny seedling of my initial idea and developed the concept into what we see now. The lovely people in the video are friends of ours from our Berlin bubble.
What is your current favorite use for coconut oil?
I love to use coconut oil for making salty-sweet Popcorn at home and I continually use it as a quick summertime skin moisturizer and sometimes in my hair. It’s hard to choose a favorite. But to me, it’s all related to self-care.
Before making Berlin your home, you spent time in New York and Los Angeles. Is there anything you miss about those two cities or the U.S. in general?
Even though I quite love Berlin and don’t plan on moving back anytime soon, I had a chance to do a little touring this past summer in New York and California. All the juicy goodness came flowing back to me. I tried to do and eat ALL my favorite things in a very short time frame.
In NYC I took some nice long walks through familiar neighborhoods in Brooklyn like Clinton Hill, Fort Greene and Gowanus. I hung out near the waterside in DUMBO too. I also thoroughly miss bagels and the availability of NYC diner menus and soul food.
In LA, for me it’s all about tacos but I also managed to take a nostalgic walk past my VERY first solo apartment that I used to have on Whitely Ave in Hollywood. I also got to hang out and just chill on Venice beach for a bit. When I lived there, that’s something I used to do when I had free time. I would go there and dance in the drum circles on the beach.
Who are some up-and-coming DJs and producers that you’re into?
It’s so exciting to meet so many different artists during my work as a curator. I find myself geeking out over new names every month. I feel like everyone should know Mike Starr. I really have been loving his remixes, productions and DJ sets. He’s Berlin-based but originally from London. He’s got some releases on Bpitch Control, BioTop, Casual Lab, Defected and Reveller.
Do you remember the first party you DJ’d?
Ha! Yeah. I remember I was so excited to have my first go at it. It was in a small bar with tiny little dancing section. It was a hot summer evening at a non-smoking venue, so many people were in the garden trying to stay cool and smoking cigarettes. It was still cute though and as people came inside to use the bathroom, they bopped around a bit and occasionally stopped by the booth for a chat.
Tell us a bit about your new monthly lesbian party at Berlin’s SchwuZ. What exactly is the ethos or vibe of the event?
The name of the party is LETZ BE ON. If you say it really fast you’ll realize it’s a play on words. We’re on the first Fridays of each month, and SchwuZ is the perfect space. There are three dance floors in this magnificent venue. I’m excited to have such a rich lineup for our launch; we have Sea & Gunn (which includes The L Word actress Daniella Sea and Gunn Lundemo, a star DJ from Stockholm.) Also, Kiyomi Valentine will be our host for the night alongside DJ Mary Mac from NYC and notable local Berlin scene DJ’s such as Lennox, Marsmaedchen, DJ Vela and Pat Bernetti. We are fortunate to have London’s Michelle Manetti and DJ Holographic from Detroit Sound System.
It’s a space that is focused on celebration and acceptance for the glossy and not-so-glossy parts of ourselves. At LETZ BE ON we say, “Everybody’s a celesbian.” Guests can register to have us put on a special birthday party for them and their friends with free surprises. I’m a very shy person in big party atmospheres. I’ve always needed help with flirting and loosening up at parties. It always seemed really difficult to break the ice. Many Berlin people also seem a bit shy with flirting. I aim to change that. The desire is to create a special space where we can let go. It will feel almost like a massive interactive lesbian carnival with the international guests and sometimes acrobatic performances and theatrical GoGo crew called the Glossy Naughty Crew.
Were there any other club nights that inspired it?
After experiencing various lesbian and queer scenes in places that I’ve lived – like Los Angeles and NYC, I decided to create a special event that combines all my favorite party experiences into ONE. My inspiration also comes from women’s parties in several other EU/UK cities that I’ve had the chance to visit when on tour. I saw this as the perfect time to design a delicious buffet of fun stuff from the best women’s parties in the world.
What do you have planned for this year’s edition of Reclaim The Beats Festival in Berlin?
This year’s festival is packed with fun parties, concerts and workshops. In honoring music initiators who are POC and Queer, we will have special honors and introduction by Lakuti. There will be performances and DJ sets from amazing artists like Aérea Negrot, Bodycode, Ballroom scene icon— Kiddy Smile, Jenifa Mayanja, Mandel Turner, a live set from PHROND with genius techno sounds and so many more. The workshop program covers topics on body positivity, racism in club culture and door policies and more.
What’s next for Sky Deep and Reveller Records?
I will continue artistic directing and being resident at SchwuZ. I really love DJ’ing and will continue touring with that but will also continue producing music and building my live electronic performances.
As far as upcoming releases, I have a new soulful house track accompanied by a remix from Mike Starr that will come out on 12” in an ultra-limited edition, expected approximately in February. With Reveller Records, we are putting out our first vinyl very soon with a producer named 6zm with remixes from myself and Biblo, which will hopefully drop in March. I’m also working on some remixes for different artists and continuing to grow the label.
This year’s edition of Reclaim the Beats takes place October 5 to 14 in Berlin, click here for more information.
For more of our premieres, check out Afro B’s afrobeat stunner “Pull Up” right here.
- Photography: courtesy of Sky Deep