In a testing and turbulent year, Birmingham native Rebekah now lives in Berlin, taking with her plenty of UK influence from its longstanding techno artisans such as Regis and Surgeon.
Her label Elements has released sparsely since launching in 2014, dropping only its sixth EP recently called Ghost Stories and will see a return to Scottish giant Slam’s Soma Records with The Bitter Boys Club coming at the end of this month.
A love for tougher, industrial productions seems to be the future focus, but she can also be found DJing the latest intense techno weaponry around the world for leading organisers like Mixmag, DJ Mag, Boiler Room and Awakening amongst others…
> Nice to be in touch you, and great to see have a few forthcoming gigs, how does it feel to be playing out again?
Thanks for inviting me for the interview :) I’ve had three gigs since everything was cancelled back in March. To be honest the first was pretty harsh as I played straight after discovering my tour van had been broken in to, so it was difficult to connect, play and let go.
The second was really nice, it felt like I had a purpose again and really enjoyed the travel and hotel process, the only issue was I was a bit rusty with my set, found it hard to keep the energy and pace, usually when you play all the time its something that is with you naturally.
For the third gig I decided to prepare a lot more, practice and build my stamina back up, this time it was way more enjoyable. It’s easy to let things slip when you have weeks or months between gigs but I know now that I have to put in the work.
> What has kept you busy in the down time of these last months of uncertainty, and how has it changed your perspective on life?
It’s weird as the whole process has been such a rollercoaster, it was relief to get some time off, I had some underlying health issues I needed to tend to, it really felt like I was burning out, and what I have subsequently found out is that I have food intolerances which give symptoms of burn out. It’s such a relief to find this out as I now know its not me falling out of love with DJing, it’s just a chemical reaction in my body making me feel that way. In the past few weeks my strength and energy has restored tremendously and I’m back to loving life. And seriously ready to get back to DJing more but you know, things are still uncertain.
In the meantime I have put the feelers out to take on some mentees, to help them with their productions. I had a crazy amount of people apply so been working through a long list of chosen applicants, as well as coming up with some nice ideas to help maybe a larger amount of producers, more will be revealed in the next months on the projects but it’s super exciting to be in a place to give back a little and take the focus off of myself. When you are DJing every weekend it becomes all about you, you can get really self obsessed, so it’s nice to have time to let this go and see what others are doing and creating, really listen to different music. I am way less stressed out now!
> Do you still feel inspired to make new tracks and search out new music when you are not playing gigs or does one feed the other?
Inspiration is still there to be in the studio and I will continue to make music regardless of gigs or not. Searching for new music does revolve around podcasts, streams and gigs. Unfortunately I have always been single minded so I’m all in on one project or not at all. I have trouble balancing everything but I find making lists and dividing my days helps.
> Elements is your label and events brand, where do you see it going next, and what is already booked in?
Nothing is planned right now. It’s such a transitional period that I am more in an observing period, so for now the label will just release my own music until I know that I can offer other artists a better platform.
> It seems like you have helped lead a wave of heavy, industrial sounds these last years. How much of that was influenced by the Birmingham scene, as in addition to the city’s House Of God events, it’s also been home to the likes of Regis, Female and Surgeon?
I love BMB and their take on industrial, I enjoyed learning about what influenced their music and learning more about the roots of industrial techno. I am unsure my music is a direct influence of that, as I think I am more influenced by my grunge teenage years, I still love the energy from live bands that have a punk attitude, the energy is incredible and I want to try and capture that, not always to great success, but it’s probably my biggest challenge. I still feel like I don’t create the music I play, it always feels my DJing is always one step ahead in selection rather than what my productions are saying.
> Self-evolution is a quality you seem to cherish, are you already thinking of a new sound to pursue or for now are you quite settled?
I’ve been making more breakbeat tracks and looking back into this genre more and more. I think it’s the “ying” to the hard and straight techno sound “yang” that has been about for the recent years. I have always had one or two in my sets but now its just giving me life when I listen to this music. I think we will start hearing more and more of this sound within techno in the next months.
> As we know there are sometimes long waits for releases to come out, have you lots of music in the pipeline and which labels do you most want to release on?
My next EP is due on Soma at the end of October and then a third EP on Elements is planned in the New Year, hopefully showcasing more of the breakbeat sounds I am working on. As for other labels I am happy right now with Soma and Elements.
> What have you yet to achieve in your life, do you have goals outside of a career in music?
I really wanted to start working up to climbing big mountains and mountaineering, but now that seems a bit frivolous! My longer term projects is to get more in to coaching and take on some extra courses that would facilitate that. I really do love helping people, in a selfish way it helps me keep my sanity.
> Right now, there is a big push for equality in electronic music that is building towards gender/social equality. What positive changes have you noticed over the last couple of years?
It has slowly been improving but I would say in the past three weeks with a certain DJ passing away I have seen a real divide and some true colours have been shown by the industry. To say I’m hacked off is an understatement. The response has been completely divided and I am hoping that we can start some real talk about the treatment of women in the scene and how we can end the culture of silence within our scene. But on a positive note there are so many women across the industry in all different positions, it really has changed for the better. We still have some areas to look at for POC and how they can have a better platform, and to support and showcase their music and integrate this in to equal opportunities and diversity.
> We wish you all the best in your future endeavours, is there anything you would like to mention or champion before we bring this chat to a close?
Thank you! I would just like to say be nice to one another, so much crazy shit is happening right now in the world, so much bullshit and fake press that we have become divided in all areas through mass hysteria and fear, but when the future seems uncertain the one thing that has always kept me sane is music, so let’s all at least agree on that. Looking forward to seeing everyone on the dance floor!