The People of Prishtina: Maike Schmidt

Written on November 18, 2019 by

The People of Prishtina is a new series inspired from the capital city of Kosovo, showing its diverse citizens and people living there to make positive changes for all.

Born in the late 80’s, Maike Schmidt has been drawn to Berlin’s energy and cultural revolution going on since her early teenage years. She moved from home being only eighteen to a small city close to Luxemburg but didn’t quite feel its vibe. Prior to moving to Berlin, she staid in Japan for six months, and after that being 21 years old she found herself surrounded by what she got attracted by the most: open minded people, freedom to be herself, electronic music and the energy of techno behind the city of Berlin.

Present time and Maike works at a german office in Prishtina by day, but by night she is browsing her record collection at her home and supports the local electronic music scene when there are events happening in the country. Equipment-wise you can immediately see that she is doing it with passion. She does own two direct-drive turntables, one being Technics SL-1210 and the other one being Pioneer PLX-500 joined by an Allen & Heath Xone 23 mixer.

How did you get yourself in Prishtina?
Part of my job is moving to different countries and different embassies, so when I submitted the vacancies I prioritized Prishtina. I did not know anything about Kosovo, but I thought that Prishtina had the most adventure behind it.

How long are you here, and what were you impressed by the most?
I got here a year ago. The authenticity, Kosovo’s realness… because no one cares really? Kosovo isn’t a tourist country, so it doesn’t have to sell a version of itself. Its just the way it is, its real – I think. And the people are really friendly!
Since I came here, I had no expectations at all. People have treated me very well, and are very welcoming and authentic.

Kosovo and music, what do you think about that?
I didn’t know anything, but I did some research about the places before applying. No way I would go to a place with no clubs or anything. I just read some articles about Hapesira and it sounded promising. Kosovo from all countries in Europe has the youngest population of them all, it has a recent history that puts it in a place that needs the most change… wherest rest of Europe I know what’s going on. This is a place that needs techno. It reminds me of Berlin post wall. I just think the preconditions are perfect to be very fertile for techno.

People have been saying that you have one of the largest record collections around. How did this story start and where is it going?
My first record was given to me by my ex-boyfriend, so he was into collecting records. I started buying them, first one being in 2011, but its an expensive hobby and it goes slow. When I came here I had around 150, and now slowly but steadily I’ve reached 418.

Your favorite record?
Player – Three (2000, United Kingdom)
Then she pauses and asks if she can add one more to the list.
Vladimir Dubyshkin – For Various Reasons 2 (2016, Germany, Macro)

Anything you’d like to share with fellow Prishtina music lovers?
Trust your taste. Yeah, or play what you like. Stay true to what you are. I think it is the most important thing really… that people know what they like.

We are doing this interview while she plays the records and sorts them out. Inside that world there are records that have never seen the world of digitalization such as the internet, but are true gems and are worth very much when played at a proper time on a party. However it is very interesting that she does not consider herself a DJ. She does own more then 400 records and two turntables which are suitable perfectly for DJing, but it is not the general point with her.

So Maike, why not the DJ route?
I don’t have the skills or the patience. Not everyone needs to classify himself as a DJ. Not everyone has to be a DJ, not everyone has to be a producer… I am a raver, I am a music listener. At the end if everyones a DJ, who’s gonna dance?
Keep your truth sharp and precise, said DJ Stingray. There is nothing in my collection I do not completely enjoy, I love sorting my records and discovering new music on B-sides some times.