“Groove is in the heart”
shesaid.so speaks to producer, international touring DJ & Rinse FM resident, Joyce Muniz.
Joyce Muniz has been DJing for 18 years and producing for nearly 10, with releases on the likes of Exploited, International Deejay Gigolo Records and Gruuv. Originally from Brazil, she spent her adolescence in Vienna and moved to Berlin a couple of years ago. It’s been the most productive period of her life but it’s also been the toughest, she told Annabel Ross.
Joyce Muniz was 12 years old when her Austrian stepfather decided to move the family from Brazil to Vienna, believing they would have better opportunities there. For a 12-year-old girl who didn’t speak German at the time, it was a tough transition. “Kids are very mean sometimes, especially at that age, it was very hard times for me,” she says. But it was these very conditions that indirectly laid the foundations for Muniz’s career in music.
In Vienna, she befriended a couple of neighbours who had turntables. Going to parties was no fun because she couldn’t communicate with anyone; at her neighbours’ place she could just play music instead. “At the time, Vienna was a very important city for electronic music, downtempo, chillout, Kruder & Dorfmeister,” Muniz explains. “We had big names killing it internationally, people were looking to Vienna, it was easy to get in touch with electronic music.”
Her neighbours were into drum and bass so initially she gravitated towards that too, and by 17, a year after she bought her own turntables, she was playing at parties in Vienna at places such as Flex Club and Dub Club. “My record collection became super colourful,” says Muniz, who would often play a warm up set for visiting headliners. “Every Monday was a different act in the club, I was very connected to all kinds of styles.”
When she decided to start making her own music, she figured that house music would give her the most creative freedom. “I felt like, it’s so diverse — you can go deep, soulful, afro, techy,” she says. “You’re never really stuck on the one thing.”
It’s no surprise that in the years since Muniz’s output has been impressively varied, with nods to her Brazilian roots — “groove is in the heart,” she laughs — as well as the downtempo chillout music she grew up listening to in Vienna. “I feel like I definitely have a melancholy in my music as well,” she says. “It’s sensual and suspenseful, I would say.”
Since 2010 she’s released a near-constant stream of singles and EPs on labels such as Exploited, 20:20 Vision and International Deejay Gigolo Records as well as 46 remixes and in 2016, an LP, Made In Vienna. Her most prolific period to date, though, has been the past couple of years, since moving to Berlin.
She’s glad she moved there in her early 30s — “I would have never had the discipline back then that I do now,” she says — but there’s a reason she’s been spending so much time in the studio. In December 2017, she was diagnosed with uterus cancer and told her uterus would have to be removed. Recovering meant not travelling or touring for months. “I’m a very hyperactive person,” Muniz says. “This was big time.”
She got through it with the love and support of colleagues, family and friends, and like many people who experience serious illness, came out with a changed perspective on life (a couple of visits to a shaman back home in Brazil helped guide her spiritual journey). “Because of this I learned so much about myself, how to treat myself, how to love myself and how to go a little easier with things,” says Muniz, who urges women especially to have regular health checks. “It’s not about fame, it’s not about money, it’s about health.”
That goes for mental health, too. Muniz argues that the time we spend comparing ourselves to others on Instagram might be better spent sitting under a tree reading and appreciating the simple gifts of nature.
“I think it’s important to be happy for others and at the same time keep doing your thing, don’t copy people, find yourself, and all those things you can only do if you are connected to yourself,” she says. “The hardest thing is to make yourself different and unique and you can only do that if you really know yourself.”
Now that she’s recovered, Muniz has returned to touring and has a healthy amount of work on the go. She’s just released a new EP on International Deejay Gigolo Records, has a remix for Anabel Englund coming out on Percomaniacs and is currently working on her second album. “I’m going to bring some of my influences from back in the days, drum and bass, trip hop etc,” she says. “I don’t know when it’s going to be released but I’m very excited to be back in the vibe.”