Mala Herba: The ‘Shine A Light On’ Mix


Mala Herba is the moniker of producer, sound artist queer activist and Oramics collective member Zosia Hołubowska.

Influenced by traditional music, magic and the demonology of Eastern Europe, the Polish born, Vienna-based artist examines sex-positivity and queerness, using sound as the medium for these sonic explorations.

Equal parts haunting and enchanting, their compositions combine rumbling bass lines and metallic synth melodies with crackly static noise and commanding choral vocals that disorientate and hypnotise the senses.

These creations are explored further through their work as founder and curator of Sounds Queer?, a flying feminist synthesizer lab which hosts electronic music workshops and performances on “everything that’s odd, weird and queer.”

Their mix for us weaves together dramatic soundscapes, discordant textures and spellbinding darkwave — made up of predominantly original material, including live improvisations, sound design fragments and tracks from their forthcoming release on aufnahme+wiedergabe.

Please introduce yourself… Who are you, where are you and what are you

Hi! This is Mala Herba speaking. I am the stage persona of Zosia Hołubowska who is a music producer, sound artist, and queer activist, researcher, and curator, based in Vienna, Austria.

What does your music sound like? Can you draw what you think it sounds like for us (an image from the old internet is acceptable)?

Mala Herba sounds like a haunted Italo disco played at a witch sabbath.

Where was the mix recorded?

In my room. It’s a mixture of live improvisation, tracks that inspire me, fragments of sound design for various projects, and songs from my debut album.

What would be the ideal setting to listen to the mix?

A walk in a mysterious, misty forest.

What should we be wearing?

I’d say your sexiest most badass gear but it’s still so cold so a witch cloak will do.

What would be your dream setting to record a mix: Location/system/format?

I’d love to prepare a sound piece for a 4D sound system either in Monom, Berlin, or Spatial Sound Institute in Budapest.

Which track in the mix is your current favorite?

My current favorite tracks are not in the mix. My own tracks are not my favorite if it makes sense. I’ve been obsessed with traditional Azer and Armenian music recently.

What’s your favorite recorded mix of all time?

Aisha Devi live set for Boiler Room.

If you could go back to back with any DJ from throughout history, who would it be and why?

I’d love to improvise with Pauline Oliveros. Preferably in some sort of a huge cave. I’m not a DJ so I hope it’s ok I answer all these questions as a producer.

What was your first DJ set up at home and what is it now?

I started composing music with a Roland TR 707 and a Waldorf Striechfett. Now I mostly use Ableton Live, SuperCollider, and Digitakt. I recently got DDJ400 and I am learning how to mix and beat match so maybe I will do more djing in the future. 

What’s more important, the track you start on or the track you end on?

The track you end on. You have to know when to stop and leave people wanting more, not being sick of you.

What were the first and last records you bought?

I asked for a cassette of Backstreet boys and Metallica when I was 9. Does that count? The last record I bought was Spatial Spectre by Pauline Anna Strom, on Bandcamp.

If this mix was an edible thing, what would it taste like?

A very whimsy salad. Spicy, sweet, and sour with lots of odd textures. You’re not sure if it’s crazy or if it actually works. 

If it was an animal what would it be?

Deer mouse.

One record in your collection that is impossible to mix into anything?

I thought it was impossible to mix samples of traditional Polish instruments into darkwave and look at me now!

Upcoming in the world of …

Zosia: sound design for choreographic installation and a sci-fi dance ethnographic movie. Mala Herba will release a digital EP with two remixes from their debut record and two covers of their favorite songs. 24.02// aufnahme+wiedergabe

Anything else we need to discuss?

Thank you for the opportunity!

Mala Herba: Lipa [unpublished]
Mala Herba: Koza [unpublished]
Mala Herba: Do Ognia [unpublished]
Mala Herba: Zmiękczanie [Vienna Underground Trax VA]
Pauline Oliveros: Love Song [hat ART]
Mala Herba: Wstyd [unpublished]
Diamanda Gallas: The Litanies of Satan [Y]
Zosia Hołubowska: Las wygnanych [Śpiwając Warmię]
Zosia Hołubowska: Łyna [Śpiewając Warmię]
Mala Herba: Kupały [aufnahme+wiedergabe]
Mala Herba: Droga [aufnahme+wiedergabe]
Mala Herba: Szczodre Gody (Bad Romance remix) [aufnahme+wiedergabe]

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