Emerencz Merkle’s passion to grow as an artist is driving her move to Berlin

 Produced by Ali Hardstaff

Emerencz Merkle, also known as “Four Eyes” is a 23-year-old who is investing all of her extra time and energy into DJing. Despite her love for the Calgary electronic music scene, she says the city is no longer fully inspiring her artistic passion.

“Music is beyond passion, it’s a way of life. When I DJ, it’s more than an expression, it’s what I am and what feel. A lot of the music that you play, it reflects what you’re going through in your life, so people can feel that.”

Her trip to Germany, she hopes, will immerse her in a culture that is even more engaged in electronic music than what she has experienced in Calgary the last several years.

Merkle’s love for electronic music was sparked just out of high school after she attended a music festival in B.C. called Shambhala.

“That definitely changed the way I looked at music, and I didn’t necessarily want to be a listener. I wanted to make music for people and do what the DJs did,” she says. “I wanted to lead a little bit more.”

So, she bought her own equipment, and taught herself. As time passed, her skill grew and so did her reputation. She played to the public for the first time at a show in 2011 put on by record label Modern Math.

She has been DJing on a regular basis ever since. By day, she works as a manager at a men’s fashion store. By night, she can often be found performing at any number of clubs in the city, such as Habitat Living Sound, Hifi or Republik. She says at times, the pace is non-stop.

“You have to make time for [music]. Because otherwise you can fall behind,” she says. “And it’s important, it’s what makes me happy. When you’ve had a long day, it’s helpful to just go and DJ and let it out after a crazy long day.”

Her favourite moment so far in her music-making journey happened at Habitat Living Sound — the club that she says is like a family, gave her opportunities and pushed her beyond her capabilities.

She recalls the whole room was filled. She says never before had she experienced that much cheering for her.

“It was just like ‘Holy shit, this is amazing. This is why I do it.’ Like that was what it was all about. All these people, the entire room enjoying it as much as me. That is absolutely what makes me do what I do,” she says.

Friend and fellow DJ, “Powershark” Russell Hillman attended a more recent Habitat show. He calls Merkle one of the most talented producers he knows.

“I honestly think her track selection is top notch, best in the city. Amazing, amazing.”

Despite her local success, Merkle says something is missing. She says she needs daily inspiration and that Calgary is no longer providing that.

“Not to say that there isn’t great music scenes. It’s more so the fact that the city doesn’t have a push for it, you know,” she says. “There’s no want for it, and I want to be somewhere where there is. For a little bit of time at least.”

Merkle says she’s packing her bags and moving to Berlin in early 2015. She travelled there three years ago, and fell in love with the history and music scene, and feels that it will be a good place to spend a year.

“I’m coming back! I am definitely coming back. I just need some time to get away and feel something different. Doing the same thing everyday is not inspiring.”

Before Merkle leaves, she says she will concentrate on her latest project called Next Gen, which she describes as a showcase for many up-and-coming local DJs. Merkle says the event will be held on Jan. 9, 2015, though the public will have to stay tuned for more information, because of the events secrecy.

It will be different because it will give artists a chance to work together instead of separating them within a competitive, money-driven atmosphere.

“I really dislike that part of it, and for me DJing is a passion, it’s beyond making money. We could bring everyone together to support one another,” she says.

Merkle says the event will encourage artists to be themselves rather than focus on impressing people, making money and playing tracks just to get a foot in the door.

“Kind of defeat this whole politics thing. It is going to be filmed and streamed live so people can watch on YouTube.”

“You have to stick to what you love and what you do,” says Merkle.

ahardstaff-gajda@cjournal.ca