Dominating dance floors from London and Hong Kong to Berlin and Barcelona, this cerebral Techno favourite comes finely furnished with an infectious charisma and a vividly distinct, contagious sound.
Following huge support by HYTE heavyweights Pan-Pot, BEC is now a welcomed addition to the Second State label roster and considering she has not long arrived on the scene, we can expect her to be at the forefront for several years to come.
We recently caught up with Berlin-based DJ/Producer, BEC, and discussed how she incorporated her Graphic Design skills into a career within music, how she originally met Pan-Pot and her own concept called CURIOmusic.
First of all, how did you discover Techno music and who were your earliest influences behind the decks?
I was originally into House music and was collecting that genre of music since the age of 14 or 15. However, it was following a visit to Berlin that I really discovered Techno music when I was 18, and then I started getting more into Techno but I was into all of the Detroit stuff, when I was in the transition phase from House to Techno.
How would you compare your Detroit Techno influences to your Berlin Techno influences?
Detroit was definitely more House inspired and funkier with the likes of DJ Bone and Carl Craig. In Berlin, there is more of a raw, heavy sound. I think you have to experience it to actually understand it and people have these pre-conceptions about Berlin Techno being all about fast, heavy beats. But, until your actually in one of those renowned German clubs with those sound-systems, it doesn’t really make sense.
What was the very first record you purchased and what was your favourite aspect of it?
It was a record by Capricorn called ‘20Hz’. It actually caught my eye because of the name of the artist, I am a Capricorn and it sounds stupid, but when I listen to it, it was really, really different and includes a really unique track that is broken up into different sections, part of it is a really heavy, percussive tribal beat and then it progresses into this heavy ark. I played it a few times but it is quite a daring record to play so it has to be played at the right moment.
Prior to spinning behind the decks for a living, you were pursuing a career in Graphic Design. How did you incorporate such skills into your music career and how do you feel it has helped you progress?
It has definitely helped me and they go hand-in-hand as they are both on the same level of creativeness. One is audio and one is visual and sometimes the same words are used to describe both fields such as contrast and the colour of the sound and the colour of the visuals etc. It has helped me in terms of everything I have done with my DJ profile including my website which I have designed and built myself and even smaller things like photography and the new night that I have started called CURIOmusic. This means that I can design and conceptualise everything myself. This is cheaper for me and a lot more personal too.
When have you utilised your skills to benefit the career of another artist to receive favours back in return for the progression of your career?
Yes, that is actually how I started when playing for a friend in London. He said that he really wanted a website and he borrowed me a pair of Technics and a mixer in return for designing and building his website. That is how I first got my hands on a pair of decks.
We have read that your first gig payment was actually a pair of Pioneer HDJ2000 headphones. What did you appreciate the most about receiving this piece of equipment and why?
My first gig payment was from a friend who couldn’t pay me, but they gave me a pair of Pioneer HDJ2000 headphones which, having just graduated from university, I didn’t have much money at the time so couldn’t really afford these types of things so when I thought about trading my graphic design skills for all of this equipment, it really helped.
Talk us through your current studio set-up… what is your favourite piece of musical equipment and why?
I have a home studio currently; it doesn’t consist of lots of hardware. I have a Roland TR8, an M Audio keyboard, an Allen & Heath soundcard and a few others. I definitely have the aim of building up more hardware within my studio but during this transition period, I am renting a studio once or twice a month which is full of tonnes of gear. Once I have got my main ideas down, I will go and run everything through, all of my digital sounds, put them into the analog heat distortion unit, for example, or my favourite piece of kit which I use all of the time now, which is a Dave Smith tempest, which is always in that studio. It’s not the easiest piece of equipment to use but I find the sounds great. I don’t really like using standard 909 or 808 percussive sounds, I prefer to use a signature style when it come to percussion.
Last month saw the electronic music community gather under the global umbrella of Amsterdam Dance Event in the Dutch capital. You of course played for Second State at De Marktkantine – what was your biggest highlight of this particular showcase and why?
It was the first time I had played in front of a Dutch crowd, before this, I had only done online or live streams in Holland. It was my first proper gig with a Dutch audience, they were very similar to a Belgian crowd which is obviously right next door but the crowd was super energetic and happy. Whereas living in Germany, the crowd is more serious. I loved it, the energy was really high and the venue was amazing, both rooms were great, the sound-systems, the lighting… it was the best venue that I had been to in Amsterdam.
What else did you get up to during ADE last week? Did you check out any other showcases/conferences? We noticed you played a very special Second State after party in a crane of all places…
The crane was absolutely incredible, one of the top experiences I have ever had DJing. Also, most of the week during ADE, it rained, but that morning, it was actually clear skies and sunny so when the sun came up, the sky was completely bright red and pink. I almost forgot that I was in Amsterdam when looking at those skies and it was also Thomas from Pan-Pot’s birthday so there were a lot of close friends there with really cool vibes.
I also went to lots of showcases and meet and greets etc. I went to Dockyard Festival too, I didn’t expect it to be so big and it was a huge festival. I did Dystopian, Drumcode at Gashouder – the first time I had been to that venue too. I like how it was circular and all of the lights on the ceiling contained the dance floor, it was amazing. I did a lot of back to back meetings during the day as well with lots of interesting contacts. Everyone comes from around the world and it is a chance to meet with people you may never meet again until the next ADE or Sonar.
As previously mentioned, you appeared for Second State – the highly respected imprint of German double-act and HYTE favourites, Pan-Pot. How did you originally meet Pan-Pot? Do you take influence from their work at all?
I met them in London four years ago now, at a Krankbrother event at LWE and I instantly just got on with them, my friend introduced me to them. I started telling them about what I was doing and they told me to send them some music which I did the next day and they said that they liked it. They also said that they were setting up a label in Berlin and so the next time I was in Berlin, because I used to go over all of the time, I popped by their brand new office and they just said they liked what I was doing and they would like to have me on the label and keep sending them stuff. That was when the relationship started and then I decided to move to Berlin.
I definitely take influence from them a lot, maybe not so much musically right now, but they have been mentors and guiders for me from the beginning and I find their experience and knowledge invaluable and they are amazing people to ask questions to and get advice from.
Now you are based in Berlin, what else do you find advantageous about living in a city with such a thriving Techno scene?
I think it is a really special city because, whilst it’s not affordable, it is more affordable than London is and I think people really live their passions in Berlin because they pursue what they love and don’t get caught up in the daily grind like you do in London or Paris for example. It creates this community complete with other artists where you can get support and inspiration from tonnes of other artists and producers and if you want to borrow someone’s studio or show someone something, they are always just there.
Speaking of concepts, you recently hosted the very first edition of your own concept, CURIOmusic. Tell us more about CURIOmusic and what your visions are for it…
It is a night that I am doing with two friends who are running run Club Vaag in Antwerp. The idea was to not only to host headliners, but to also support up and coming artists who have the same sound that we are looking to portray in all of our showcases. I believe that sometimes it is very hard to break into that kind of platform to gain good exposure and get good showcases. So I aim to provide that for up and coming artists and friend who are around me and give them the same chance that I was given by Pan-Pot with this platform.
We are currently just in Belgium and had our second event recently which was incredible. We are planning to do it again next year and aim to expand to different countries like Italy and Germany next year and expand it further from a night to a label. That is something I would love to do in the future but not right now as there is so much to look after with the night itself.
Finally, with 2017 soon coming to a close, what are your forthcoming plans for the remainder of the year and what are you looking forward to the most about the New Year?
I have got two releases at the end of this year which is amazing! I’ve gone from just one this year in April to two right at the end. One of these was released on the 10th of this month on Second State called ‘Law of Attraction’. The next EP is out in December just before Christmas. I can’t reveal the name of that label just yet but it is an English label and one which I’ve been looking forward to for a while.
I also have my first gig in South America coming up in December and I may be starting off 2018 with a little tour of South America too. It is definitely a scene I’m looking into breaking into and I am really excited for that.