Sappho first stepped into our awareness as a DJ in Bellingham, which makes this connection extra special. Since relocating to Portland however, Sappho has become a dance music aficionado, curating a wide range of sounds through sets suited for the many dance floors across Portland, as well as through her new label Koritsi Komma Records.
Furthermore, Andricos has become an important player in diversifying the city's dance music scene through events such as last weekend's XXXtraterrestrial party, brought to the people by Holocene and Opal Underground, which will featured a highly anticipated lineup centered on Portland's Queer community.
It's a pleasure and an honor to have Sappho on the show!
Having recently relocated to Portland from Bellingham, I've noticed a deep connection between these two cities and the communities within. Can you speak to what drew you to Portland, and the greater community it is connected to?
Well, what drew me to Portland, this is a story…I actually was drawn to Portland because it was the city in the Pacific Northwest that was close to San Francisco. Upon graduating from college, I went to Western Washington University based in Bellingham, my eyes were set on living in the Bay Area. But my pocket book was like “you're not going to do that.” And so I did not want to leave the West Coast. And having been Bellingham based for eight years for my college years, and where my family is, I made the jump to Portland, Oregon because it was closer to San Francisco. Really, that was the big thing that brought me here.
Plus, Portland I feel is just overall a good fit for me and the place I love to call home.
Since relocating, you've become incredibly involved in the Portland music scene, from Opal Underground to your residency at new club NoRequests. Can you describe your experience with organizing events in Portland, and what insight you've gained on the scene?
Well, I've been in Portland now for almost 19 years, so it's been a joy to watch the growth of the scene, from its essentially infancy, or toddler stage, to where it is now. There have been lots of bumps and growing pains along the way but me, along with everyone else creating in this city, are dedicated to our community people here in Portland. We have kept things going because we love the music as a community of night lifers. We know how to hustle. And we know how to work together, we know how to support each other, we know how to show up and come through. It has not always been that way but I have a good hunch and I so hope that we will continue that path as we go into the future. And that's yeah, it's like a long history, but it is my truth.
Just in the last several weeks you've selected tracks for Portland dance floors including flavors of indie dance, deep house, disco, techno, and more. What drives and influences the diversity of your curation?
I'm very much the DJ that plays to my dance floor. I believe that a DJ is there to be the vehicle to provide a good time and curate the music to have people connect to. So, if I don’t play music that people don't feel a connection with, they're not going to be enjoying themselves and no one's going to have fun and that's not what I want to do. So I do have a diverse sound because of that, because I want to connect and feel connected also more than anything else as a dj. Honestly, I want for the people at an event I am DJing to have to feel and have fun. And if it's within my wheelhouse, we'll make it happen.
Adding to your contributions to the Portland dance music community, you launched Koritsi Komma Records (Greek for "Party Girl" Records) just last year in collaboration with fellow Portlander Damon Butcher, focusing on uplifting Queer dance music visibility in the community. With a debut split LP on the horizon, following stellar digital releases, what has your experience with the label been so far?
So for Koritsi Komma Records, it's always been a dream of mine to be able to launch a label to put music out of my community. With everything that happened in the past two years with nightlife essentially halting the idea of launching a label became more of a forefront of thought because I started really examining ways about how can I better support the community that I live in and get the artists and musicians who are very talented a platform to get more people to listen to them using the network I have been creating for over the past two decades. In some ways it is a natural progression. Getting the label from a very loose idea to now with actually having Koritsi Komma putting out music really all came to fruition because Damon Boucher, who is my partner on the label, and I were working on our LP, The Desire Suite. We had finished our album and we weren't sure how to proceed with getting it released and in my email box a grant opportunity popped up and we applied for a grant from the Regional Arts and Culture Council and when we got funded that was what was really the catalyst to be like this is no longer an idea and made it into the thing it is becoming. My experience has been mostly all positive other than the fact that due to just all types of stuff from a global pandemic to supply chain issue to just overall demand for vinyl music records, vinyl pressing plants are all very backed up. Koristi Komma Records was expecting that the debut of our first vinyl LP release would be completed and released in February 2022. No the release date is October 2022. I think the most stress is just like trying to navigate how to get the physical copies of music done in a timely manner and I don't know if that will be fixed. Are we just gonna have to start playing cassette tapes again? There does not seem to be a problem getting music out on that format without much of a wait. The future might be tapes y’all.
Stream The Desire Suite LP by Sappho and Damon Butcher.
What went into your curation for this mix?
Well, I'm coming out of the last two years where we haven't had dance floors to connect us. It's been a very interesting sort of time that was very interesting listening to music. I'd tried to think about dance music, about having an active dance floor and nightlife and it was kind of a mess. But for the past few months, you know, things are starting to open up and I'm connecting again with people dancing and having a good time. And so this mix was curated as a reconnection of myself to that aspect. Lot of the songs featured in the curation of this mix are love songs and I am very fortunate to have love in my life and I wanted to also reflect that.
And, I'm not gonna lie, I also had a little bit of help by thinking of my four year old nephew, Conrad, who lives in Bellingham Washington who absolutely loves Crazy Frog, which was known as the Annoying Thing and is a Swedish CGI-animated character and musician created in 2003 by actor and playwright Erik Wernquist and is very high energy and pays homage to the more commercial side of dance music with a “Ding-Ding” added in just to really appeal to kids lol . I wanted to create a mix that when my mom plays this on the radio, he might actually want to dance to. So thank you, Conrad.