After moving from Greece, Elena Ice – besides studying for a Chemistry degree - has made her mark as an upcoming influence on Bristol’s drum and bass scene, having DJ'd at some of the cities' biggest rave spots. Can’t wait until the weekend for some rolling, low-frequency dnb? Look no further: feast your ears on Elena's murky tribal sounds now:
What do you study and what do you like doing?
I’m 2nd-year Chemistry. I cook a lot – a mixture of Greek and English food. I play volleyball for the university, but most of my time is taken up by DJing.
You mentioned that you’re from Greece?
My mum is Greek, and my Dad’s from here. I was born in Greece, came here, but then went back for a while. I started DJing in Greece, in little bars and cafes near the beach mostly. Influences there were more chilled – to have a cocktail or a drink. But then after coming here, ‘cause there’s no rave culture in Greece – (it’s more low-key) – seeing Motion, Lakota, and all the proper raves – that’s what got me started.
What were you playing before before moving here?
Techno, tech-house, funk-house and a bit of electro swing.
I went to Motion for RUN - completely sober - and I was there for seven hours – completely sweating, my back hurt – I was like ‘this is what truly makes me happy.’
What are you currently working on?
I’m in the middle of writing my first jump-up drum and bass track.
How would you describe your sound?
I would describe it as kind of tribal - deep drum and bass. It has a tribal-dub dark rhythm behind, but it’s also high-pitched at some points. Its been hard to use the funk influences in drum and bass for me – so I mostly use techno…dark synths from behind and incorporate only that from the other stuff.
Was there a specific point in which you decided drum and bass would be the genre to focus on?
So, there was a fire alarm in Hiatt Baker in the middle of the night, and I’d just got back from Bunker, and everyone was in their dressing gowns at 6 am. After that, I went back into the kitchen with my flatmate and he said ‘I’m going to Motion, you should come, there’s this night called RUN, it’s huge,’ and I asked what type of music it would be. He said it would be drum and bass, but I had no idea, and asked if he could tell me some artists. I took out a napkin and started writing some tracks; went back into my room, listened to it, and I was shocked. I went to Motion for RUN - completely sober - and I was there for seven hours – completely sweating, my back hurt – I was like ‘this is what truly makes me happy.’
Do you find that any stereotypes have been applied to you? Are people shocked when you tell them what music you play?
People are like ‘that’s really cool, we don’t see many women Djs’ – as it’s boys usually. People are interested in how I started and how I got into it, because it’s very niche. Many people start it but only do house parties, but after DJing at Motion and Lakota - when dropping those big names - they take you seriously after saying that.
Because there are not many female DJs – if you go into a club and see a lineup of about 20 male DJs on the board – there’s no inspiration for you to get into it.
Cool! Tell me more about playing at these venues. How did it start
So, last year there were events promoters in Bristol called Dazed, and they did nights every Tuesday. I was a regular, and at one point I just thought I should message the guy who was responsible for it and send him a few mixes. He was like ‘yeah i'll keep in touch’ – the usual – you don’t get definite answers about this stuff. And then he came back this year - so a year after - saying that he had a spot for Lakota main room for a very big event – and asked me if I wanted it last minute. I was like ‘yeah, of course, I want it.’ So that’s how that came about. And afterward, because they thought I was pretty good, they gave me another slot at Lakota. The same guys just did their first night at Motion for Valentine’s Day, and they asked me to play for that as well. If you get the ball rolling, that’s how it comes about.
Do you think women struggle in the industry?
Because there are not many female DJs – if you go into a club and see a lineup of about 20 male DJs on the board – there’s no inspiration for you to get into it. But now’s there’s been a bit of opening up of the scene with more DJs and MCs. I think that if someone has the love for the music, they won’t really care that much if there are girls or not. Everyone is usually very friendly – I haven’t had anything sexist or racist when I’ve been preparing for the clubs. I’m sure it does happen. Bristol’s quite liberal and stuff, so many in other places.
What are some of the things you love about Bristol’s scene?
There’s no pretentiousness in the raves. I’ve seen in forums that in contrast to London, people are a bit more – they don’t want to let go so much in raves. They won’t go all out and dance or do their thing so much. They want to keep their profile. Whereas in Bristol, everyone doesn’t really care. Everyone is doing their own thing; it’s quite alternative in a real way. The venues are really good. I’ve been to other places, and they’re much smaller - sound systems aren't that good either.
And anything you dislike?
I thought that what Dazed did last year was really good, in terms of having a weekly, accessible drum and bass night in Blue Mountain – which is quite small compared to Lakota and Motion. But this year, this hasn’t continued. So, for people who just want to go out on a Tuesday or a Wednesday to a good drum and bass night there's not that much choice anymore.
Who do you admire most musically?
I’d say DJ Spy. He’s from Latin-America. His sound is very dark, twisted, tribal, rolling and has really good vocals. He incorporates some Latin-American sounds as well – but he’s edited them so you can barely understand.
I haven’t got anything booked at the moment, but I’m focused on finishing this track because it takes a lot of time to equalize it. My next goal is to play Motion’s main room. I might be playing Cardiff soon as well, for a label called A Different Vibe. I’ll wait and see – these things come up very spontaneously.
Featured image: Facebool / DAZED
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