Bristol’s a small city. But ask any underground electronic music fan about the scene there, and they’ll be able to list a number of great Bristol records off the top of their head. The city’s compact geography, laidback culture and cheap(er) living costs make it an encouraging place for DJs, producers and regular ravers. Londoners can be a bit snooty about Bristol, but they could learn a lot from its less ego-driven club scene.
Danielle got to know Bristol after her dad moved there in 2011, and she decided to move permanently in 2014. A passionate raver and former Phonica employee, she took to DJing and quickly became a respected selector in the Bristol scene. Year on year, Danielle’s tour schedule gets bigger and more international. Check out her Bristol tips and story so far, below.
When did you discover your passion for raving?
I guess it was the same time as most people, so between the ages of 18 – 21 was when I went out most weekends. 2009 – 2012 I was really into dubstep and bass music and I was just really eager to attend all the events I could that showcased those sorts of sounds. A lot of the Fabriclive events during those years in London were some of the most memorable I have. Then, in Bristol, the Crazlegs events were really exciting and I remember this as a time where I was making some of my first friendships outside of education and it was so great that the thing we had in common was our taste in music. When you look back now at some of the lineups they had it’s actually crazy! I also remember going to what was The Croft and [dubstep night] Subloaded at The Black Swan and having some of the best nights ever.
When did you start taking DJing seriously?
I guess it’s something I’ve slowly built towards but worked quite hard at in some way or another over the last six years. It’s definitely been on my mind for the last 10, though! I started working at Phonica in 2009, but it took a good few years of me collecting and buying records before I started to learn how to mix or DJ outside of my bedroom. I had my first proper gig in 2013, after uploading a mix series onto Mixcloud where I made mixes using all my dad’s records. Actually, Omar [McCutcheon, aka Batu – producer and Timedance label owner], Sam [Ploy] and Larry [Bruce] used to run a night together in Bath called Recall, and they were the first people to ask me to play a proper club gig. After graduating in 2014, I started to play Phonica events and stuff like that. But it wasn’t until 2016 that I thought I wanted to do it more professionally, and towards the end of that year I started as a resident at the BRSTL nights in Bristol alongside [Idle Hands shop/label owner] Chris Farrell and Daisy Moon, and that gave me a taste of what it was like to play regularly in clubs. Once I got my NTS show in 2017, I knew for sure it was something I wanted to pursue more seriously and I have been getting busier and busier since then, especially after joining Odd Fantastic agency last year.
If someone is visiting Bristol for a weekend, where do you recommend they go?
For club nights, there are a few places I go to regularly and it’s the same for all my pals. Cosies if you want a more intimate night out. The Exchange is good for more alternative events – the Young Echo guys do their parties there. The Island is always good fun, that’s where some of the bigger promoters such as PPG and Goodness run their parties, and it used to be where Timedance did theirs. The sound system that gets hired in always sounds impressive in that space. The Loco Klub is a space I’m quite new to attending, but Room 237 do some wicked parties there. I would also suggest going to The Black Swan, Arnolfini for Housework and The Love Inn for the Livity Sound events.
If you could change one thing about the scene in Bristol, what would it be?
I know I’ve mentioned a few venues above, but to be honest there aren’t many more than that. Lots of good club spaces have been and are being shut down in Bristol over the last few years, so it’s vital that new spaces can pop up to replace what we’ve lost. Strange Brew – the new venture form the crew who do the Dirtytalk parties – are somewhat helping with that! I also think it would be good if we could get some later licenses. You don’t realise how early things shut here until you go to other cities in Europe.
Any other DJs, producers, promoters or performers from the scene that you’d like to shout out?