Under her alias Yushh, Jen Hartley has spent the past couple of years proving her chops amongst Bristol’s thriving underground. Alongside a busy DJing schedule in and around the city, she heads up the label Pressure Dome releasing music from fellow up and comers including Syz, Mish, Joe Craven and a whole host more. She’s part of the five strong crew behind Eminent, a collective throwing parties around Bristol and London and she’s showing no signs of slowing down!
If you needed any more reason to sit up and pay attention to Yushh, she’s just put together a slick, bass focused mix for us that travels across multiple BPM’s with a smooth flow, demonstrating the talents that have seen her planted firmly on our radar as one to watch. Read on for more and be sure to check out the mix at the below!
Hi! First of all, for anyone who doesn’t know you, could you briefly tell us who you are and what you do?
I’m Jen, I DJ and produce under Yushh and run a label called Pressure Dome. I also run Eminent with some friends, putting on parties mainly in Bristol but we’re starting to do more further afield; the next one is with Scuffed Recordings at Rye Wax, London on 8th Feb so I’m looking forward to that. I’m in my final year studying Music Production at BIMM and also work in label management part time.
You’ve now released on a couple of compilations as well as an EP for All Center. How do you approach making music? What is your set up like?
I love a happy accident and you get a lot of happy accidents by just experimenting, so I spend a lot of time just making sounds and not actually finishing any projects. Then I usually have a wave every few months when suddenly something clicks and I’ll make 5-6 tunes. It’s frustrating sometimes when there are opportunities in front of you but can’t achieve what you want creatively. I’ve had times where I’ve really wanted to make something for a specific label or a specific vibe but have never really been able to achieve quite what I wanted. Now I try and not think about it and just make what I feel like at the time.
I do a lot of production in the box but I do have a few bits of hardware. My set up is pretty basic, an ADS-7 Drum Machine (thank you Devon Analogue Studio), Korg Monologue, E-MU Proteus 2000 and an SM58 mic, all going through a Formula Sound FF6.2 mixer into Ableton/Logic depending on what I’m doing. I also use a Tascam for field recordings when I’m out and about.
You’ve managed to become quite a fixture DJing in and around Bristol. In a city like that with such a huge reputation in the scene, it must be quite competitive. Has it been difficult at all to stand out from the crowd and get noticed?
It’s hard to say really, when I moved to Bristol I’d only just taken up DJing again, I really didn’t think I’d be playing out for a while honestly, I’m so happy to have played so much over the last couple of years. I don’t feel like Bristol’s competitive as everyone knows each other and respects each other, but yeh, there are so many ridiculously good DJ’s here, I’m always chuffed to get bookings through. I also like going out and partying and you meet a lot of people on the dancefloor, making connections is important, plus radio, the label and working with Eminent has definitely helped I think.
How do you approach your DJ sets?
Usually pack lots of options as it’s always hard knowing what the gig is going to be like until you get there. There are always a few staples in my playlist/bag which are my get out of jail cards if I need to quickly change direction or tempo but I try and play new stuff each gig, especially as I’m playing a bit in Bristol so I want to try and keep things interesting.
With all the gigging you do, you must have your ear to the ground. Which artists/labels/crews should we be looking out for in 2020?
So many Bristol artists, everyone on the Pressure Dome releases are doing great bits. Syz has been smashing it recently, I’m super excited for his next few releases to come out. He also runs a night called Method Lab with some mates and their bookings are always on point. Mish has been getting a fair few gigs round the city, runs Boiling Point and is involved with Loose Knees in London, two great parties so worth checking out for sure. Also shouts to Cando, Henry Greenleaf, Josh Scott, Kilig and Sower, all lovely people making lovely music.
In terms of labels I’ve been digging recently; Control Freak Recordings smashed their first two releases so can’t I wait to hear what else they have on the way. Well Street Records; I got the promo for the next release and it’s so good, always amazing output from them, Trule and Bitterfeld are both on their 5th releases, all quality. Scuffed have had some great bits out recently… so many more I could mention.
Tell us about your label Pressure Dome? How did this project start?
I had a load of great tunes I’d been sent from friends and I started working in label management last year so it all just kind of fell into place. It took a while getting everything ready before the first release, maybe 6 months before it all came together as a fully formed idea but it’s had a really great response so far. I think the best thing about it is it doesn’t just feel like my thing. So many people have been involved, helping to get it to where it is, I feel very lucky to have such good people around me.
The label has so far put out three records. What’s your vision for its future?
I try and take each release as it comes and not plan too far in advance. There are a couple of releases in the pipelines and I’m looking at potentially doing another comp in the summer but haven’t got any firm dates yet. Overall, just want to keep pushing the stuff that you can’t put in a box.
Could you tell us about Eminent and your work with them?
I met the Eminent guys quite soon after moving to Bristol and they were the first people to book me to play one of their nights. Since then I’ve taken on more of a role with the parties plus hosting radio shows on 1020 and Noods. There are 5 of us who run it so there is always a bit of compromising but we’ve had a lot of fun over the last couple of years. Hywel runs the booking agency and has been building a healthy roster up over the last year but I stay out of that side of things.
You’ve kindly put together a mix for us, could you tell us a bit about it? Was there a particular energy you were trying to capture with it? How and when was it recorded?
I feel like mixes can often take quite a similar ramp up approach so I wanted to challenge that and challenge myself a bit and I’m NGL, most nervous I’ve been putting a mix out. I recently listened to a mix by Amazondotcom and it was mad (in a great way), all over the place with the pitch fader and with such confidence. I’m still working on my “big tempo change with the pitch fader confidence” so I wanted to see if I could achieve something by using beat-less moments, different time signatures and triplets to move between tempo instead. There are a couple of wonked out sections, but hopefully it’s still coherent. I think maybe it’s more a picture of the spectrum of stuff I’m into rather than a club mix even though there are some pretty heavy sections.
I recorded it at home last week. It’s got a few forthcoming bits from DJ Swagger, Karima F, Box 5ive, James Bangura, plus some of my faves from the last couple of years; Djrum, Piezo, Toma Kami, Simo Cell. I do find it hard getting in the zone at home on my own; have to fully psyche myself up to concentrate for that long! Playing out, even on the radio with bit more pressure, I find it much easier to get into it. My dog was there while I recorded keeping me in check.
Lastly, what have you got on the horizon for 2020?
I’m actually in my final year of uni at the minute so I’m trying to get that done and not get too distracted with everything else that’s going on but yeh, it’s not easy sometimes! I’ve got a couple of releases coming out on v/a’s first half of the year and a few Bristol and London gigs lined up and potentially some further afield. Working on more releases in the background and hoping to get my first vinyl EP out this year but trying not to put too much pressure on myself and just keep enjoying what I’m doing.
Follow Yushh here.
Follow Pressure Dome here.