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Our next lady up is Rachael E.C. Currently playing out regularly, we catch up with this DJ and Producer on what she is up to and upcoming gigs.
Thanks for your time Rachael! You have been a DJ now since the late 90’s. You started out in the Portsmouth area, how did that start and where did you go from there and where are you now?
You're welcome, its a pleasure and thanks for asking! Yeah, Pompey is where Djing began for me, I moved there in 1994 from Devon. I was already well into the music scene and had been to a few raves and free parties but when I got to Pompey it took over my life, there was so much going on and more access to record shops. I was out buying records every week from Withit in Portsmouth and Groovefinder Records in Southsea. All I wanted to do was get behind the decks and play my beloved records at a party! So I would go to all the free parties and house parties I could, and hang around all night with my records in the hope that I could jump on the decks; usually it was right at the end of the night/morning when all the other DJs were done in – then I'd get my chance. It was really male dominated then, there was only one other female DJ around at that time in the area, which was my mate Kate; so it was tough to get a set and I wasn't very confident at pushing myself, cos believe it or not I’m actually quite a shy person, but I persevered purely because of the love for the music and the vibe I feel while playing tunes I love, that’s what kept me going. Eventually, I made a bit of headway and people recognized me as a DJ, which led to my first gig, which was in 1996 at Harry Limes, Southsea, playing drum n bass. In 1998, I had my daughter, Tanitha, and then moved back down to Devon, I was still Djing then, and became resident for a promotion called Legend & Madhouse Mania where I played drum n bass in room 2 and House in the main room. In 2001, I moved to Spain and lived on the Costa Del Sol, where the scene was all about bar and beach parties! Which was great fun but a totally different vibe to the UK, they were into euro sounding beats and more on the house tip than dnb but I still enjoyed getting out and playing records to a good crowd, having fun, which is what its all about. I moved back to the UK in 2005 and eventually got in touch with my friend, Wayne Spuddy who had a night called Kaos. He gave me a residency there and I was back playing regularly again. Nowadays I live in Bristol.
You have a background of free parties and underground raves. Do you see a split within the scene at the moment with Commercial artists VS Underground parties?
I think there's always been a recognizable split. When I first was going out partying, there were the raves, free parties and house parties or the High Street Saturday night fever clubs (those ones I avoided like the plague!) Its different now because there are artists who started out on the Underground scene, like Andy C, Chase & Status, Sigma and High Contrast to name a few; who have now broken through into the mainstream but are still a huge part and influence on Underground music and some still play at raves. Radio 1 has had a part to play in this with playing up and coming artists' music on 1 Xtra and shows like Friction, Target support developing producers too. Even going to back to the days of One In The Jungle on a Friday night, Radio 1 and Fabio & Grooverider's show as well, which is sadly not running any longer, this commercial support in the mainstream has been a massive boost to the success of UK Underground music purely because of the huge audience it captures, bringing the music to people's homes and telling them about all these great artists they can follow. There is a definitive difference though between playing Underground music on a mainstream, commercial radio station and playing commercial music. For me, personally I prefer the underground sound.
Free parties or commercial super clubs?
Wow, these are at two polar ends! Free parties are so varied; they can be anything from a warehouse/disused building do, to a gathering in a field and everything in-between! I’ve been to/played some amazing ones and some disastrous ones. I can remember driving home from the best free party ever in Fareham back in the 90's which was in this huge mansion house on a hill. It had been raining so hard that we literally floated home – I couldn’t see the road at all, no idea how I made it back to Pompey that morning! Another free party memory from those days, somewhere in the woods in the Hampshire area – a travellers party, the police came and stopped the party, raided it, and took all the equipment, people were literally going mental, it was not cool. I’ve never been to a super club, so I cant really comment on them; but I would of course love to play in one, Privilege, Ibiza – this is one of my dreams! The biggest club in the world, it would be mind-blowing to play there. To play at Sunbeats, Ibiza is one of my goals for the future.
You ran nights in Southsea in the 90’s called Monday Madness. Do you think by promoting, it gave you an appreciation of what promoters go through, and makes your attitude as an artist more appreciative?
I’ve only got a bit of experience promoting having been involved with a few different events over the years but nothing huge. Monday Madness in Harry Limes, Southsea, used to get about 100 in the basement club; it was a sweaty mess party, great fun. I worked promoting Legend & Madhouse Mania back in the 90's, in Westward Ho!, Devon as well – that was at the legendary Kingsley club, usually around 1500 – 2000 there. I enjoyed the buzz of being part of the production crew, watching the night come together and everyone have a wicked time, we had some epic after parties back then too. It did get stressful when DJs were late, or messaged last minute to say they couldn’t get there – but we managed; it was a good crew of people involved.
Do you have any plans to do any more promoting?
Myself and Vinyl Junkie may possibly have something in the pipeline for Bristol – but nothing set in stone yet. We would like to do a jungle/dnb night in conjunction with Ghetto Dub and showcase some of our artists alongside some BIG names. We will be having a meeting with the venue soon so watch this space.
The ratio of men to women has improved over the years, but do you have anything to say about the ratio still of women on line ups?
There are many more female artists now than ever before. It’s great seeing hard-working female talent coming through and being taken seriously. At the end of the day, you get out what you put in and if you are good at what you do, work hard, know exactly what you want and focus on it, then it will come. I am a firm believer in the Law of Attraction, and positive thinking; we all have the power within ourselves to achieve our goals, its all about directing your energy in the right way, so it is productive, not destructive and not be held back by your own doubts and fears. Personally, I love a challenge – especially with something that I am passionate about; so when I first started mixing and bought a set of DLP 3's when I was 19 and people be like 'oh a girl DJ haha, can she even mix?' that just fuelled my desire even more to be a success and I used to practice for hours on end day and night to improve my mixing and learn – you never stop learning! Music was much more tangible then, record shopping was a ritual and part of my social life, every Saturday morning, straight down to Withit, Pompey to get the new releases and any promos that were put back from Friday. Groovefinder records on Albert Road, Southsea for all the pre-owned records, I found some gems in there and Terry, a Hip Hop DJ who ran the shop used to give me mixing lessons – doing table to table mixing with the makers on the records, it was a valuable experience and I love remembering those days. I admired DJ Rap and Dazee a bit like idols, and saw Rap play many times at World Dance and Helter Skelter. I remember watching Dazee play when she came down to Pompey to DJ @ Vurt back in the 90's and thinking 'Wow! I want to be as good as that!' She has been an inspiration to me and I have a lot of respect for her.
2011 saw you win the Fantazia DJ Competition. How did that boost your DJ career?
I didn’t expect to win, there were a lot of other DJs in the competition . It was a fantastic leap forward for me, a milestone in my DJ career and I’m forever grateful to the people who supported my music and voted for me; which put me through to the final stages and to the bosses at Fantazia who picked my mix as the winner. After winning the competition, a couple of days later, I was contacted by Voodoo Junky and asked to play at Fever, a jungle night in Southsea, alongside Tango & Ratty ,and some other great DJs, including my mate Alton X. Then, I landed a set in Bristol at a night called Re:Wired, and was introduced here to Jim Tang, who heard me play and then asked me on the night – during my set, if I wanted to play at Dreamscape. Of course I said yes! I played at Dreamscape in the VIP room, two sets, in November 2012. It went really well, and Jim then asked if I would like to play on the Main Stage at his summer 2013 event at The Roadmender, Northampton. It was a snowball effect! I got my name well established from winning the Fantazia competition and I have now played at Fantaiza 5 times, its a really well loved and supported brand event with an enigmatic history of greatness in the Rave scene.
You play as a resident for Dance Conspiracy in Gloucester. How long has that been running?
DC started in 2010 and was founded by Marcus Allen, who is the boss! And a great DJ. I love playing at Dance Con, the vibe there is top and the sound system down in the cellar is phat. It’s a lovely mixed crowd at DC and they're up for anything as long as it’s not dark or too hard.. I usually play a lively upbeat Jungle set there but have, in the past, played all sorts from House to Jungle Breaks and DnB. I’m also Resident @ Fusion and play in the Engine Rooms there.
You recently played at Glastonbury in the Cave. Were you nervous and how was your set?
Yes I was nervous – it was the first time Id played Glastonbury and it was packed in The Cave, which is an amazing venue. Its an overwhelming feeling, when you're just about to play a massive gig, a mixture of excitement, a bit like being a kid at Christmas, and apprehension that you're about to do something really important and it has to be 100% perfect! I had butterflies and couldn’t speak and I just wanted to get on with it; waiting to go on is the worst! My set went down really well, and I had Carasel repping me on the mic, which was brill; he hyped up the crowd and it all gelled together. I could hear the noise from the crowd when I was playing, they were loud! I remember smiling all the way through my set and one thing that stands out was when I put my hands up in the breakdown of our tune 'Cut it Loose' and loads of people in the crowd put their hands up too, then the tune dropped and it was bouncing in there! That was an amazing feeling, which I will remember forever. I cant wait to do it all again.
You’re producing now, what DAW are you on and what are your favourite plug in’s?
When it comes to engineering my own tunes I am a bit of a novice but I’ve already learnt quite a lot and am totally hooked! So far most of the production work I have done has been with Vinyl Junkie who has been producing almost 20 years and knows his stuff, so I leave all the button pressing and technical wizardry to him. We use Ableton in the early stages as its really good for throwing ideas together quickly. Once we’ve got a solid idea down we transfer the stems/midi parts to Logic X. We use lots of plug-ins but most recently we have been really impressed with the Vengeance bundles, which are really cool and really good value for money. So far we've made 2 tracks together that are completely finished and have loads of other in the pipelines. I see my role in the studio as an ideas person. I explain my ideas to John and he usually knows the best way to get them down. Ideas come to me at weird times, like randomly when I’m walking the dog or cooking dinner lol! I sometimes sing into my voice recorder on my phone to store the idea, or sing the bassline to John, things like that. Inspiration comes to me from emotion, how I’m feeling determines what kind of sound I want to hear; and certain experiences or memories can trigger inspiration to write music.
Tea or coffee in the studio?
COFFEE!!! Black, two sugars :)
What producers inspire you and why?
I’m into so many different sounds at the moment and could reel off a massive list of names of the producers who inspire me. But I shall name the 3 that are right at the top of the pile for me right now. DJ Chap: Deep rolling tunes with lots of sub and soulful vibes. Jaydan: Perfect combination of Jump Up party music but still has sub, real bass, that I find lacking in most jump up tunes now. I can mix and blend his tracks with Jungle and it works. He also uses great vocal samples, which I love. Tyke: Hard to describe his sound but its awesome and I always play his tunes.
Can I have your Top 5 tracks in your DJ bag at the moment?
Bun Ya Too : ft. Marcus Intalex, Chimpo, Fox, Skittles, Strategy and Rolla (Original Mix) All Crew : Jaydan Heavy Like Tank : Soultrain & Phantom Warrior Float Ya Boat : Voltage Lock Off VIP : Bladerunner
You started your label with Vinyl Junkie called Ghetto Dub. How that going and what are the plans for the future?
Yes me and John have recently set up our label, GHETTO DUB. It’s going really well… We have already picked up support from Dazee, Ray Keith, Grooverider, Kenny Ken, Ed Solo, Doc Scott, Billy Daniel Bunter & Freestylers and a whole host of others. We have recently put out our second release; The Dream Chaser EP by KAZAN. This 6 track EP is a mixture of Breaks, Jungle and Bass music spanning from 130/175 bpm. That’s really what the label is all about… It’s about releasing good quality underground bass driven music regardless of tempo or so-called genre. Its about breaking boundaries so, its about not focusing on any one particular genre like a lot of labels do. That’s not to say we release everything and anything… But we are very open minded so don’t be surprised to see Drum & Bass / Breaks / 140 Jungle Breaks / Dub / Reggae / Jungle / Dubstep and various other forms of bass. Possibly all on one release!! Its also about working with up & coming producers and we encourage them to be a bit experimental, We like to put them outside of their comfort zone to work on stuff that they usually wouldn't… and to think outside the box. John is a music production tutor and so he works a lot with artists of all levels, not just in showing them how to use the kit but in helping them to develop their sound. Plans for the future include a 4 track EP from Sound Shifter, another 4 track EP from KAZAN and then a colab I did with Mr. Vinyl Junkie himself. A track called Cut It Loose, which will be released with a remix from DJ Hybrid and possibly a few others. We also have releases planned from Sanxion, Galvatron, Joe Peng, and a few other really cool artists that i am quite excited about, but I cant really reveal who they are yet!! There’s lots of other cool stuff in the pipelines too... but like I said, I don’t want to let the cat out of the bag yet so make sure you follow GHETTO DUB on Soundcloud, Twitter and Facebook to keep up with what we are doing.
How did the work with ASBO come about?
I met Ras who owns ASBO a couple of years ago at a night in Swindon I was playing at called Luv Vibes. He's a really sound guy, very passionate about Jungle music and focused on developing his label and his artists. John (Vinyl Junkie) had already signed one tune to Asbo, a track he did with Sanxion with Bushman on vocals called “Talk Too Much” (which comes out soon on Vinyl & Digital). When VJ and myself made our track 'Fade Away' it originally had samples from an old reggae tune… We sent it to Ras who liked it and said we should get it voiced, he suggested we approach David Boomah. We told David we wanted it to have a specific positive message about humanity and how people need to be more grateful and giving in life. So David wrote the lyrics and performed the vocal. We we’re really happy with the final result and so was Ras, who has signed it to Asbo.
Can you tell us about “The Way We Lose Control?”
The idea for this track came from three of us; Robbie Dee, Shotty 4HF and myself. We'd been chatting and swapping ideas to make a dnb track together and planned a three day studio sesh and went up to Shotty's studio in Leicester. Shotty 4HF is an East Midlands producer and has had recent success with his track 'Saying Alright' Ft. Monique DLR, being played on BBC Radio1 airplay on Friday night by Huw Stephens's 'In New Music We Trust' . Shotty and myself hit it off straight away working in the studio together, the three of us totally vibed off each other, it was great fun and we got a lot done. Robbie performed his vocals on the track and when working on the bassline, I just came up with this 'yeah yeah' tune and started singing it and Shotty said jump on the mic and do it proper – so I did, and they loved it, so it was included into the track. That was my first introduction to working in the studio, and I loved it. Shotty and I will be working together in the near future, so look out for more tunes from us at some point. 'The Way We Lose Control' is on general release in Shotty's label 4HF.
What are your future projects & gigs coming up?
VJ and myself are working on some new projects in the studio, we have just compiled and mixed a double album called FESTIVAL JUNGLE. This will be released around Christmas time on a new label that John is launching with Billy ‘Daniel’ Bunter called “Music Junkie”. It’s basically a little selection of some of our favourite jungle tunes from the summer. Ghetto Dub has the next 2 releases ready to go. One from Sound Shifter and another from Kazan. Our track Cut It Loose is being remixed by a couple of different people including DJ Hybrid, which will be released early next year. Loads of other cool releases in the pipelines too. Forthcoming bookings: Rumble Inda Jungle Fusion , Bournemouth Bristek, Bristol Black Jack, Bristol Rough Tempo Radio, Essex If I saw you at the bar, what are you drinking? Gin n Tonic or Red Stripe.
Do you have any funny gig stories to tell? Ha! So many, but one that sticks out in my mind is from Robbie Dee's birthday bash a few years ago. Tim Ryan bought Robbie a tiger onesie that said 'I’m Sexy and I Know It' on the back of it. He refused to wear it so it was left behind the decks but in the morning when the party had finished and we were de-rigging and packing up, our mate Vern decided to put the onesie and jump up on stage , tiger hood up too, and started leaping around singing a 'Tigger' song … 'T-I-G-G-E-R' and bouncing about, he actually looked like Tigger lol – well, at the time it seemed that way! We were all literally crying, watching this adult person leaping about like a children's entertainer. I wish Id had the chance to record it :)
What websites do you frequent for music resourcing?
If I told you that I’d have to kill you! LOL only joking… I love Beatport, and use Juno a bit. I also go on Low Down Deep’s website and buy stuff. I also listen a lot to other artists' mixes, especially the Fabric ones, and I listen to radio shows , Ray Keith's 360 Dread show on Origin is excellent, and Liondub on Kool London. I am also on a few good promo lists now, which is great.
Can you nominate a Female DJ who we haven’t interviewed yet who you would like us to interview?
DJ Fallout. She is an amazing DJ and another great inspiration as she has been in the scene for a very long time and produced some excellent tracks like Storm Warning on Illegal Jungle 1994 and Positive Chaos (with Tango) in 1994. She is also a great person, I played at a wicked old skool party called Vodka n Vinyl with her, which was great fun. Her mixing is slick and she is a true vinylist, I really like her style, she deserves more recognition! Mrs. Magoo : Jungle DJ, ASBO.
Any shouts or thanks?
First of all I’d like to say a massive thank you to all the promoters that have ever booked me and to all the record labels and artists that send me their music but most of all to all the ravers that come and see me play or download my mixes or listen to my radio shows. Bless you all. xx There are so many people to say thank you to and my memory is terrible so please forgive me if I forget to mention anyone, but here’s just a few names of some of the great people that have helped, inspired or supported me along my musical journey. Vinyl Junkie, Alex & Stacey (Fantazia), Spuddy, John & Cath Nation, Dazee, Marcus & Katie Allen (Dance Con), Barry Mills, Ryan Ironzion, Phil and Si (Rejuvenation), Mike Picketts, Rob & Freddy (Universe), Shotty, Robbie Dee, Donavon Smith, DJ Hybrid, Ramjack, MC Hooligan, Jim & Laura (Dreamscape), Iain & Karen, Kickback, Sanxion, Alton X, Blitzy, Peachy, Timeless, Madcap, Terry & Mike (Sat In A Field), Ballbags, Carasel, Jamie Netcott, Aries, King Yoof, Billy ‘Daniel’ Bunter, Deany Rankin, Ras Sterlin, Ray Kieth, Joe Peng, Shaz, Alex Gold, Rob Hellier, Luke & Melly, The Wilkesy brothers, Rich Hopes, Adam Hampson, The Global DnB crew. And also a massive thank you to you, Missrepresent, for including me in this LADIES OF D&B showcase…. Blessed! Xx
Thanks for your time Rachael.
Your Welcome! RACHAEL E.C Soundcloud link: https://soundcloud.com/dj-rachael-e-c
Twitter link: https://twitter.com/DJRachEC
Facebook link: https://www.facebook.com/DJRachaelE.CJunglist
Mixcloud link: https://www.mixcloud.com/rachael-ec/
GHETTO DUB Soundcloud link: https://soundcloud.com/ghettodub_uk
Twitter link: https://twitter.com/ghettodub_uk
Facebook link: https://www.facebook.com/ghettodub
Beatport link: https://pro.beatport.com/label/ghetto-dub-recordings