Bristol-based Dutchie rolls through SSC HQ to talk to us about her experiences as a DJ, getting flashed at Boomtown, and what music she’s currently feeling. Read on below…
SSC: In your own words, who are you and what it is that you do?
D: My name is Dutchie. I am a producer, DJ, sound engineer and vocalist.
SSC: So, how was the journey? What started it all off and how did that lead you to where you are today?
D: To be honest, the journey feels like it’s only just beginning, despite having put years into music already. My father is a musician and encouraged me to play instruments from a young age. Picture an 8-year-old Dutchie playing Mozart from sheet music and improvising over her Dad’s guitar playing, on saxophone and clarinet, and that’s the kinda vibe haha.
Since I started producing (around 15) the focus has shifted slightly away from playing instruments and more towards writing arrangements and experimenting with sampling, synthesis, sound design, etc. I started by making super basic hip hop beats, sampling bits of vinyl and stuff, then once I moved to Bristol around 4 years ago I started playing around with 140 dub styles. Soon after I moved here, I met the Hold Tight Records crew, and not long after I released my debut EP ‘Easy’ with them (2 original tracks with my vocals and production, and 2 heavy remixes from Halcyonic and Bukkha).
I played my first ever public DJ set at a Revinyl Session and then started getting invited to Hold Tight room takeovers. Since then, the bookings have kind of just kept rolling in, and over a few years have eventually started coming from some fairly high calibre promoters and venues/ festivals. I’m super grateful for the sets I’ve had this year.
SSC: Who are the main influences for you, musically?
D: Musical influence is a funny one because I’m never really thinking about who I want my tracks to sound like when I’m working on them, and it’s often hard to pin down the correlation between what I listen to and what I make. I kind of have to just let whatever wants to come out, come out, then it might end up sounding kinda like XYZ artist that I listen to loads of, or it might sound nothing like anything I listen to
In my youth, I listened to a lot of hip hop, world music, reggae, tech house, fidget (Devon party scene was rife haha). During my hip hop production phase Dorothy Ashby for her incredible harp playing, charity shops for their random sample-able record collections, and Split Prophets / High Focus probably gave me the hip hop bug.
More recently: Egoless, Ago, everything off ZamZam and Moonshine, DJ Madd, Akcept, Mungo’s Hifi, and the first jungle record I owned was by Aphrodite, which was a pretty big moment… I’ve also been loving everything off Tumble Audio and artists like LMajor, Special Request, Murder He Wrote.
SSC: What do you consider to be the highlight of your career so far, and why?
D: Tricky one! Definitely needs to be more than one moment in here… Trinity Garden Party in May this year was incredible, playing to over 1,000 people outside the most majestic church in blazing sunshine with my good friend Indra MC on the mic. Later that month, I went to the US to play in Portland, which although was a small gig, felt like a massive milestone (and I got to link up with the lovely people that run ZamZam).
At Boomtown this year, I played the last set of the festival on my friend Jake’s brand new stage, ‘Sub Lab‘… I have never been that exhausted and un-ready for a gig in my life. I had just worked 8 12+ hour days in a row as a sound engineer and was curled up behind the stage 10 minutes before the set wondering how I was going to manage standing up for another hour! Soon as I entered the venue and played the first tune, the energy from the crowd was unreal, and with the last-minute addition of Killa P on the mic (!!) the whole set was just ridiculous. It was so humbling to see a crowd enjoying my selections that much, Firmly Rooted Soundsystem sounded absolutely monstrous, and I got at least 15 high fives when I finished. One girl just didn’t know what else to do with herself so she got her boobs out!! Hahaha. Amazing what you can do with your reserve tanks.
SSC: Any moments you’d rather forget?
D: Definitely. I played in Cardiff once, and before the night had even begun I was plugging in my siren and delay unit (that I built) and some guy comes up to me like ‘sure you know what you’re doing love?’ and ‘so how did you get into this music thing?!’… I didn’t really know what to reply with, mumbled some kind of lame response and just kind of let it lie.
Another time this summer, when I was working at Shambala as a sound tech, I was mixing a band’s monitors and the bass player rushes over like ‘DON’T JUST THROW ANYTHING ANYWHERE!!’, as if I had no idea what I was doing… he then ignored me for most of their set (when I was making adjustments, on request, for the other band members), then as soon as my male colleague walked around the corner he literally leant right over me, to ask him to make changes to his monitor mix… like I was some invisible ghost.
Luckily I haven’t had many negative experiences with DJing itself, and a vast majority of the guys I work with are super encouraging and sound. There’s just always going to be that occasional dude that thinks he knows better than you.
SSC: As well as your own music career, I think I’m right that you’ve been running Revinyl Sessions in Bristol for a while now? Can you tell us a bit about that?
D: Yes yes, I came into the Revinyl picture (as mentioned above) by signing up to play a set. Fast forward 4 years and it is officially a Community Interest Company of which I am one of 4 Co-Directors. We have put on over 70 events that have all been free entry, open deck and vinyl only, around a few different venues in Bristol, and have had some crazy special guests come and play (shouts to Neffa-T, Stryda, Hi5Ghost, RSD, Borai, Aries, to mention just a few!!). We are also community partners with the University of the West of England, who we provide 4 week DJ courses for, and are currently planning a run of masterclasses for next year that anyone will be able to attend. It’s basically a music focussed community project, with which we hope to provide not only a platform for performance, but education, for the next generation of vinyl DJs, selectors, MCs and musicians.
We have a huge amount of audio archives from previous sessions that have been beautifully levelled and mastered, which will begin to be uploaded soon. Keep your ears out for that!!
SSC: Anyone we should be keeping an eye on? Any particular artists/ DJs standing out to you right now?
D: Well well, L U C Y is just killing it at the moment with her brand new label SZNS7N and proper varied DJ sets. Charla Green from Sheffield is also smashing it (she’s just put out a wicked EP on Peachy, boss gal Tino‘s label). Doctor Jeep and Blackwax are two artists that I literally can’t stop including in my sets… they’ve been making really sick Grimey 140 / Jungle crossover bits that I can’t get enough of!
SSC: Other than sound system music, are there any other genres or artists you are particularly fond of?
D: If you like your rocksteady reggae vibes, The Co-Operators are a brand new band that have just put out an incredible album that’s definitely worth checking out, it’s rare to hear such a new project sounding instantly classic!! I may also be involved in their live shows in future but you’ll have to wait to hear more about that.
Lately, I’ve been veering slightly away from the dub area people seem to know me for and have been all consumed by the UK funky / Grime / Jungle vortex. Bashy, funky, heavy party music that blends really nicely with breaks… definitely going to be playing more of that stuff in my sets!
SSC: What’s on the horizon for Dutchie? Anything exciting coming up?
D: I’ve got a few tunes that are almost finished, which are just waiting for some vocal features to be recorded. Not sure where yet, but they will be coming out at some point. Got a few pretty exciting gig offers recently but you will have to wait for more info on them! In the immediate future, 26th October I will be closing down the Mungo’s Hifi room at Highrise in Bristol, which should be a good session, and on 30th November I’m going up to Cumbria to play at a castle party for Border Sound Collective, which should be really fun!
SSC: And finally, if you could give one piece of advice for those wishing to follow in your path, what would it be?
Patience! Nothing happens instantly, even if some things do happen quickly. Work hard, but not so hard that you stress yourself out to the point where you aren’t enjoying it (I’ve done that a few times). Take time to think carefully about your next steps and what you would like to achieve. Write lists, day to day lists and seemingly crazy ‘this is what I would like to happen in the future’ lists. You will be surprised what ends up being ticked off.
Massive thanks to Dutchie for rolling through! Keep up to date with her socials, here: https://www.facebook.com/dutchiebristol/