Joining us for a chat this week, we have Birmingham-based jungle/dnb selector – Frenetic. Having played sets for the likes of Hospital and RAM Records and recently joining the Rumble in the Jungle DJ roster, we were certainly excited to hear what she has to say…
SSC: In your own words, who are you and what it is that you do?
F: My name’s Lottie. I DJ drum & bass and jungle under the name Frenetic. I’m originally from just north of Bristol, however, I’ve lived in Birmingham since 2013.
SSC: So, how was the journey? What started it all off and how did that lead you to where you are today?
I was first introduced to the sound of drum & bass in my early teens. I was lucky to live close to Bristol. This meant I could see this music live at Bristol Carling Academy (now known as 02 Academy). I remember my sister taking me to see Pendulum when I saw 12 and being absolutely blown away by how the music sounded live and from then on, I was hooked.
Being too young to go to the raves, I was only able to go to the live shows so I was mainly researching tunes on the internet with the odd gig every couple of months. My first festival was Boomtown in 2011 when I was 16 and that solidified my love for drum & bass and introduced me to a lot of jungle. I loved the atmosphere and especially the interactions with the MCs and crowd – something I had not really experienced before in any of the live shows I’d seen.
I started raving when I saw 17 and remember my first rave was Shit The Bed at Motion, seeing Dillinja, Hazard and Nu:tone B2B Logistics. Raving was a whole different intensity of sounds and energy and I loved it.
So I’ve been following this music for many years, and I actually wanted to learn to mix since I was 16, however, I never got a chance to have a go on a set of decks and I did give this idea up for some time (something I massively regret now!). When I started at Uni in Birmingham, I got involved in the drum & bass society and ended up president for a couple of years. The society meant I got more involved in the scene in Birmingham; I ended up doing loads of flyering and ticket selling as well as running DJ comps and room 2 takeovers. This turned out to be great networking for when I started DJing as I already knew the Birmingham promoters.
Just before I went on my year abroad in the south of France, I spent a large chunk of my ERASMUS grant on a set of CDJS (Pioneer CDJ 800s) and convinced my parents to drive me down with them to France. I spent a few months clanging in my bedroom then played my first set at a small bar in Aix-en-Provence. I remember being so terrified as even though it was a small night it meant a huge deal to me. I played a couple more sets in the South of France whilst on my year abroad but the scene is pretty small out there so it was when I got back to Birmingham things really kicked off.
My first set in the UK was Playaz at Rainbow where I warmed up room 2 for T>I, Serial Killaz and Kings of the Rollers. From then on, I was really lucky to have loads of bookings come in and I’ve basically stayed busy ever since. The last year particularly, I’ve been trying to keep my head down, take as many bookings/radio shows as I can physically manage as well as honing my mixing skills at home. It’s been an amazing journey so far and I’ve played some mad stages and picked up some fantastic residencies along the way. The people I’ve met and the support I’ve received has been lush and I’m just genuinely the happiest I’ve ever been pursuing this dream.
SSC: Who are the main influences for you, musically?
F: There are so many incredible DJs I look up to but my top 3 would have to be Randall, Mampi Swift and AMC. Randall‘s selection is just sublime and he’s the smoothest mixer going and then its the energy and the double/triple drops of Mampi and AMC which put them up there for me. I’ve always said the aim DJ-wise for me would be a Randall/Mampi hybrid with a sprinkle of AMC.
Sound-wise, there’s so much good music out there it’s so hard to pick who’s influenced me as so many artists have. I have tried to make an effort to get to know the backlog of certain labels and explore the foundations of jungle/drum & bass, so from that research, I’ve really developed a love for old skool jungle. I think my all-time favourite tune would be Meditation by DJ Crystyl which I think was originally released in 1993 (2 years before I was even born!). The track has this hauntingly beautiful sound which gives me instant goosebumps. Another old skool track I adore is Friday by Capone (Dillinja) which I play in 80% of my sets – how can a track stay so timeless? Moving on from the older tunes, artists whose tunes I play a lot of would be Bladerunner, Aries, T>I, Epicentre and S.P.Y.
SSC: What do you consider to be the highlight of your music career so far, and why?
F: That’s such a tough question! I’ve had so many moments in the past couple of years where I’ve had to pinch myself. Boomtown 2018 in the Hidden Woods is the one that springs to mind, as it meant so much to me to play at the festival which introduced me to so much amazing music plus I had never played to a crowd that size before. I absolutely thrive off nervous energy so playing to such a mammoth crowd was really rewarding.
Another highlight for me was gaining a residency at Broken Minds. Broken Minds is Birmingham’s oldest running drum & bass night (its currently celebrating 20 years) and is at the Hare & Hounds. This meant so much to me as I’ve always loved these nights and the crowd is generally a bit older and are proper heads, so it was nice to earn the respect of this crowd. I was also their first new resident in 13 years! I’m really happy with the progress I’ve made so far but altogether, I’m just really happy to have such regular bookings as its always the highlight of my week to play the music I love and get people dancing.
SSC: Any moments you’d rather forget?
F: I’m my own worst critic when it comes to sets so I’ve had plenty! Unfortunately, I’ll remember the worst mixes over the best mixes after a set which can be a real confidence killer. Everyone makes mistakes though and it’s just how you learn from them. The main things I’ve learnt so far are staying calm and focused when things fuck up, not drinking too much before a set and surrounding myself with people who support me and want to see me succeed.
SSC: You’ve played for some big names in the past. Probably most notably; Hospital Records & RAM Records. Mind sharing how these opportunities came about?
F: Yeah, I’ve been really lucky with some of the opportunities I’ve had! I first got involved with Hospitality back in February. They needed another DJ for S.P.Y‘s dubplate style room, so the local promoter put my name forward. Obviously they had never heard of me so I sent them in a mix and got an email from them the next day about press shots! When I turned up to the set, I met a couple of people who worked for Hospital and they watched my set – they must’ve liked it as they told the promoter they wanted me for all the Hospitality Birmingham shows. When they hit me up for Hospitality in the Park I was so over the moon as it’s my favourite day festival and I had made a joke with my friend last year that I would play it this year – it’s crazy how the universe can deliver your dreams sometimes!
I played on the RAM stage at MADE Festival last year which was really exciting as it was my first ever festival booking. I was booked through Weird Science (Birmingham’s leading drum & bass promoter) who have always booked me and pushed me as an artist – they were the ones to give me my first UK set at Playaz, so big respect to Luke and the team.
SSC: Anyone we should be keeping an eye on? Any particular artists/ DJs standing out to you right now?
F: Too many to name! There’s so much new talent out there at the moment, it’s nice to see the next generation of DJs and Producers coming through.
Production-wise, the up and comers I’m keeping my eye on would be: Gray, DJ GAW, Zoro, Disrupta, Nuvaman, Subcriminal and Kamoh. Also, special mention to K-Jah who is releasing his debut album soon on Natty Dub Recordings in a couple of months and what I’ve heard of it has been huge – could be a proper game changer! I don’t even know where to start with DJs and am worried I would miss names off my long list of who is smashing it at the moment so I won’t delve into that but there are loads. I’ve recently joined the Rumble In The Jungle DJ roster and there are some crazy talented DJs in there so I’m really honoured to be amongst them and hope to get some B2Bs on the go soon!
SSC: Other than jungle/dnb, are there any other genres or artists you are particularly fond of?
F: Another genre I listen to would be hip hop (mainly UK) with my favourite artist probably being either Edward Scissortongue or Jam Baxter – they released an album last year called ‘Laminated Cakes‘ which I can’t stop listening to. The lyrics are proper dark and I love the sampling in the beats (my favourite beat on the album is Gypsy Tart). Another artist that I love and will always make an effort to go and see is Bonobo – his live sets are breathtaking – if you ever get a chance to see him, go!
SSC: What’s on the horizon for Frenetic? Anything exciting coming up?
F: I’ve got some exciting sets and mixes in the pipeline though, unfortunately, not much has been announced yet so I can’t say a lot! This year has been really tough for me as I’ve been really busy with bookings alongside full-time work – I actually don’t understand how I’m still functioning sometimes. I’m really lucky to be in the position in my DJ career that I can now afford to cut my office job back to 4 days a week, which will be happening soon. I’m hoping this will free up time for me to take steps in getting my head around Ableton so I can start making my own music. Alongside this, it’s been a goal of mine to learn to mix vinyl, so I’ll be giving that a crack too!
SSC: And finally, if you could give one piece of advice for those wishing to follow in your path, what would it be?
F: Remember your roots and why you started on this path. I’ll always be a fan of the music and a raver before I’m an artist/DJ and I still love going raving and just experiencing the music. Its a privilege to be the person in charge of the tunes – remember to respect the crowd, the promoter and the scene in general – you wouldn’t be up there if it wasn’t for them.
Big thanks to Lottie for taking the time to speak with us. Keep up with all the things Frenetic via her Facebook page, here: https://www.facebook.com/freneticdnb/