Interview with the Queen of Progressive House: Dinka

by on October 22, 2012


Queen of ­Progressive House


The queen of Progressive House; the pioneer of ­summery beach anthems; a multi talent on the modern dance ­music horizon.

“Tamara Hunkeler”, known as “Dinka”, has a love for the uplifting side of EDM. Tamara brought a breath of fresh air into the house music scene and quickly gained a fan base for her music all around the globe. As she says, “I always attempt to create a musical journey for every listener, and therefore melodies  are the most efficient message to join forces and bring out the most touchy songs to the people!”


Hi Tamara! It’s an absolute pleasure to be interviewing you and welcome to Euphoric Mag! It was your birthday on the 24th of June; how did you celebrate it? Friends, family, a bit of both?

Seems to be the most important thing right? My birthday is the one day of the year where I like to do whatever I feel like without having to get something done – even though there’s always something! This year I spent it at the bottom of a mountain. It was amazing.

From listening to Pink Floyd in your early years to getting into Trance in your teenage years, to DJing to producing. Give us the Tamara Hunkeler story and tell us how you became who you really are today?

I don’t think we ever get to know who we really are to tell you the truth. As a matter of fact, I’m still searching for more. Born into a decent family in a beautiful country – as I’ve discovered by now – I found it very hard to life up to certain society rules. I forced myself into some proper studies at the beginning but then followed my guts and it turned out to be the right thing to do. It all led me to where I am now and there is more to come which I am very curious to discover.

With a heavyweight discography of originals and remixes on massive record labels like ‘Anjunabeats’ and ‘A State of Trance’, what are your musical targets for 2012?

Well, there isn’t anything specific that I could tell you right here, but there is surely plenty for you to expect.

Christian Hirt, one half of the Chris Reece duo and your partner in crime. Together, you’ve created magical music that has hearts melting worldwide. Can you explain your symbiotic relationship with him as a DJ/Producer?

Well, it is as you say – symbiotic – it’s a constant give and take. It starts by sharing thoughts and ideas and builds up to carry the message out to the crowd.

The name ‘Dinka’, is related to the African culture, coming from the name of an African tribal group in Southern Sudan. How did you come across the name and why did you decide to keep your stage name that?

I’ve been amazed by their story of fighting for their culture. And it seemed to be the right start to connect continents. I want people to be aware of everything happening on this planet. And on a second level to accept and share similarities rather than go crazy about differences.

From tracks like ‘The Sin’ in 2007, ­‘Wildfire’ in 2008, ‘Canonball’ in 2009, ‘Some People Will Never Learn’ in 2010, ‘On the beach’ in 2011 and now tracks like ‘Purple EP’ and ‘Innocence EP’ (a personal favourite) in 2012. Do you think your music has evolved over a period of time? If so, how?

Yes, for sure. That’s the big catch. We’re all constantly evolving. But sometimes people have expectations and there we have to make compromises. But at the end of the day – DINKA sound is set and the characteristics will always tell you that you are actually listening to a DINKA track.

“The Helvetic Nerds’, including Dinka, EDX, Leventina, Chris Reece, Daniel ­Portman came together not too long ago and created the Swiss Dance ­Music ­movement. How did this project ­originate? Do you meet in person or mainly ­collaborate over the web?

We try to meet up at least once a month unless we have studio work that requires us to work together. Generally most of the information goes through the net but it’s certainly nice to have people around that are going through the same daily issues as you do.

You were first signed onto S2 records in 2008. While considering joining a record label, what aspects or services that they provide are the most important to you?

In my opinion, the most important thing to do is find a label that’s good on the promotion side and is well-known, so you can also grow on the fan base they offer. I’m not so much into label “hopping”, which means I release often on the same few labels. As I know what I can expect, I know how they work and can be sure they do a good job.

I attended your gig in Delhi last year on the festival of Holi and let me just say, it was mind blowing! Is a progressive house show more about the energy or the mood? How is that generally developed with the crowd?

The way I see it mostly moods are affecting the crowd immediately after I hit the play button. It’s in my hands to lead the crowd to go off, or to calm the crowd down and let the energy flow. I guess this is the main part of being a DJ – to catch the crowd and take them through the night so they have fun and can enjoy the sounds.

The last couple of years have seen an explosive wave of EDM across America and Asia. Did it surprise you or did you always see it coming?

It had to happen at one point and I’m happy it is now.

How has DJing been for you so far this year? Any upcoming gigs that you’re really looking forward to? What is the one festival you would suggest an avid progressive house lover to go to?

Attend Creamfields in Argentinia!

“Temptation”, “Hotel Summerville” and “Tales Of The Sun”, the 3 albums you’ve released so far, are constantly on repeat at the Euphoric HQ. How do you balance out releasing albums vis-à-vis releasing single tracks and remixes? Where do you draw your inspiration from?

Sports. And I do yoga for the balancing.

You have close to 26,000 fans on ­Facebook now and about 5,000 on Twitter. How important do you think social media is for upcoming producers and artists? Does a DJ getting booked for shows depend on the popularity gained through social media?

Yes and yes, it is important.

How is life in Switzerland? What other activities do you take part in when you’re taking it easy?

It’s a bit hectic if you hang out in zurich, but the countryside is inspiring in many ways and nature is extremely beautiful no matter what season. Reading books is what I do on the go and another passion is movies – I have to have seen them all!

Lastly, where can we catch you touring for the rest of the year, more festivals or clubs? When can we expect a much-­anticipated return from you to India? Any words for the followers of Euphoric Magazine?

Thanks a lot for the interest in DINKA. There will be gigs in India over the summer – but nothing confirmed yet. But if there will be something it usually goes very fast so be sure to check my social media regularly.



Interviewed by Jaivir Hans. You can Follow him on twitter here: @JaivirH


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