Before the onset of the pandemic, Perel was leading the vagabond life, splitting her time between Los Angeles, Amsterdam, and Berlin — though nowhere for too long.
“I was constantly on the road, traveling internationally, and everything I owned was in storage,” Perel says. “Then the pandemic happened and I had to pick a place.”
These days, New York City is home for the German DJ/producer — at least for now.
Originally from Thalheim, a small town in Saxony, Perel (AKA Annegret Fiedler) sang in church choirs, learned to play the flute, and somehow discovered R&B from all the way across the Atlantic.
“Thalheim isn’t just Saxony. It’s deep Saxony,” Perel says. “But with the church background in there, everyone was just compelled to play music.”
Those different musical influences obviously came into play for her 2018 debut album, Hermetica, released through DFA Records. The album, which was named after a mysterious collection of philosophical texts dating back to the Hellenistic period, sounds like Aphex Twin in one moment and Blondie in the next.
“Hermetica is actually pre-religious,” Perel explains. “I think that regardless of faith, we all share a common sense of classic wisdom.”
This all may sound ostentatious, but Perel makes a point to mention her love for Destiny’s Child and punk rock in the same breath. Somehow, all of this is present, stacked together seamlessly, in her music.
In May, Perel plans to release her new EP, Star, on Running Back Records. But before that, she’ll be performing at ATV Records for her first live event since the start of the pandemic.
“The show at ATV will be like a test for the new material,” Perel says. “The EP is called Star after the main single. I wrote the song last year when I was missing my friends and family.”
The title track opens with a single note on a noisy synth pad. It’s the kind of note that lingers, builds dread. The dread, however, is cut off suddenly by a high-tempo, four-on-the-floor beat, along with a bassline that could fit right in on a Best of the '80s compilation. Perel’s voice creeps into the mix, standing out just enough to provide necessary, though not overwhelming, human sweetness to a metronomic instrumental. The song’s ability to put forth soul while maintaining a beat appropriate for a club night clarifies why Perel got involved with DFA, a label that’s home to genre-defying acts like the Rapture and LCD Soundsystem.
“'Star' is a fusion of '80s, '90s, and contemporary sounds,” Perel says. “It’s also special because it’s the first time I’m releasing a song in English.”
Perel is no stranger to Miami. She played here for the first time back in 2018 at Rakastella on Virginia Key. Less than a year later, she performed at the Electric Pickle, and just a few months after that, she had a show with Michael Mayer at Club Space.
“People in Miami are so open-minded,” Perel says. “I still have fans who saw me for the first time when I played in 2018, and now they follow me with everything I’m doing. I just feel a lot of support.”
Perel’s upcoming show is being staged by Jezebel, a new Miami arts collective run by three childhood friends and Miami natives: Jan Anthony, Milo Ziro, and Luis Yepez. These guys are young — none older than 23, actually. They all work in restaurants and recently moved out of their respective parents’ homes into a shared apartment in Coconut Grove. Now they’re looking to take the Miami club scene by storm.
“A big goal of ours is community building,” Yepez says. “It’s not just about going out and listening to music, but it’s also about seeing familiar faces, making friends, interacting with the other local art we have at our shows.”
Though the three have lofty expectations for their project, Jezebel got going only a few months ago. Originally, the group just wanted to throw a birthday party for a friend. Yepez, who waits tables at Melinda’s, asked his boss if he could use the attached ATV Records on a Tuesday night. This led to a monthly party series, with Anthony and Ziro serving as resident DJs.
“We’re versatile DJs," Anthony adds. “We could play a disco boogie set, or we could play hard techno in a warehouse. But at the end of the day, we’re trying to give people the deep cuts, the music they haven’t heard before.”
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