DJ, illustrator, designer, mentor and all round creative Danielle made Bristol her home following a move in 2014. Originally from London, she got the music bug early on via way of her Dad’s expansive record collection. Teaching herself to DJ, it wasn’t long before she found herself behind the counter of Phonica Records, learning the tricks of the trade and building on a style that pulls from bass-driven rhythms and the deepest corners of underground dance music.
As well as hosting her regular NTS show, Danielle frequently lends her skills to the Bristol community – a mentor at the popular Bristol-based DJ workshop Mix Nights and illustrator for outfits like Timedance, Room 4 Resistance and Livity Sound.
Catching up with her shortly before she’s due to head to London’s FOLD for Secretsundaze alongside Carista and Roi Perez, Danielle gives us the lowdown on the current Bristol scene and why 2019 has been has been a year to remember.
So you’re from London originally, but you’re based in Bristol now. How has the Bristol scene shaped the artist you have become?
It’s a great city to live in as a creative – it’s cheap enough to live in without having a 9-5. I have a lot of friends who are in a similar position to me so I can often meet up with them during daytime’s and weekdays and not feel like I’m the only one without a ‘normal’ job. Everything is within walking distance or a short drive, and there’s lots going on all the time so you don’t become lazy, it actually encourages you to get out and about. When I lived in London I often couldn’t be bothered to go somewhere because it might take too long on public transport, but in Bristol you don’t have that as an excuse, and you end up saying yes to a lot more stuff which is super beneficial in the long term. You can meet loads of different people this way and relationships grow quite quickly and organically. I guess musically, having a lot of friends in Bristol who also DJ or make music rubs off on you in one way or another. I am surrounded by peers who are doing things which have a darker or more UK techno sound and that has rubbed off on me over the years. It was something I always had an affinity towards and living here has just enabled me to develop that side of things a bit more
You featured in the ‘Keep Bristol Weird’ documentary for Boiler Room which we were huge fans of here at Hyponik. Why do you think ‘keeping things weird’ is so important for Bristol and for the artists there?
I think everyone here is very focused on trying to do their own thing so that they aren’t all tainted with the same ‘Bristol sound’ brush. I think that documentary quite accurately portrays how different the sounds coming out of Bristol are which is why it’s a success. But I think that striving to do something unique and different in turn keeps things quite fresh and ‘weird’.
You recently released the lineup for your Palette residency at The Love Inn, which kicks off in October. What did you want the night to represent when programming it?
I really just wanted to invite some of my favourite DJ’s down, it’s as simple as that! They all have their own ‘sounds’ which was something I was conscious of. I didn’t wan’t to book 4 DJ’s who all did the same thing. Solid Blake is someone whose taste in electro is almost unrivaled. Mor Elian and re:ni are friends of mine and I don’t get to play on lineups very often with them, so I thought this was a good opportunity. They are both incredible DJ’s too, and I have always had such a good time when I’ve seen them play or listened to their mixes. Oceanic is on my roster at Odd Fantastic and unbelievably has never had a gig in Bristol before so I wanted to invite him down so that I could host his debut gig. I am a big fan of his mixes but never seen him DJ in person, so I am very excited for that.
2019 seems to have been crazy for you; a Boiler Room set, an Ibiza show, your own residency whilst still doing your NTS show. How have you found the lifestyle change, is there anything you’ve had to adapt to suit this?
This lifestyle change is actually something I’ve worked really hard towards, so I am just embracing it to be honest! Before I began dj’ing regularly, I was always working somewhere at weekends, so in that respect the lifestyle isn’t too different. I love travelling and am no stranger to late nights so I am taking it all in my stride. Also its still fairly early days for me so some months are crazy and others are more quiet, so I have quite a good balance of it all right now. I have more free time during the week which is nice but takes some getting used to as I am quite useless when I don’t have anything to do. At the moment on my days off I am trying to be really on top with all the new music coming out and trying to keep up my work as an illustrator.
There’s the Secretsundaze night at FOLD at the end of the month that you’re a part of. Carista and Roi Perez are also guest DJs on the night. With, arguably, a few different styles on display here, how would you approach a set on a lineup like this. How do you make sure you’re keeping the flow of night consistent but also showing off your own sound?
I love that they have programmed a more varied night like this, I think it makes a refreshing change, and keeps the night exciting. I have the closing set at this event so I am really looking forward to playing some of the stuff I don’t get to include in my more common warm up sets. I will be able to play faster and heavier than usual, but will also keep things more fun and less dark than I would normally what with playing after Carista. I have been to many Secretsundaze parties so hopefully I will know the vibe 😉
With things just getting started for you, have you experienced anything ‘career defining’ so far?
Getting an *official* monthly residency on NTS has been one of the biggest things for me. I had been doing occasional shows for two and a half years, so to be asked to do it monthly was a big deal for me. Doing this radio show has really helped me to develop my sound and enabled me to get used to doing live recorded sets which in turn has helped me to become a better DJ, so I owe a lot to them for giving me the opportunity! Joining my wonderful agency Odd Fantastic was also a defining moment in my career, and is the main reason that 2019 has been such a big year for me so far!
I’m sure you’ve got a busy year ahead, can you shed some light on what you’ve got coming up?
Well, as mentioned I am doing my residency at The Love Inn in October, so that will take up every Friday of the month. I have also got the chance to play at the amazing Kalt club alongside Dr Rubinstein which I can’t wait for! November will be the busiest month of my career so far- including doing my first Red Light Radio slot, my first time a The Warehouse Project, two supporting dates for Midland, and some gigs alongside absolute hereos of mine including Lena Willikens and Dj Stingray. And between now and the end of 2019 I’ll be heading to Leeds, London, Strasbourg, Sheffield, Birmingham, Netherlands, Amsterdam, Paris, Cardiff, Belfast, Manchester, Edinburgh and Barcelona for various gigs and radio shows.
Catch Danielle at FOLD alongside Carista and Roi Perez on Saturday 28th September.
Words: George Hancock
Featured Image: Lauren Maccabee