Interview with Techno powerhouse Rebekah

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Rebekah is a techno powerhouse, let’s just put it that way. DJ & Producer from Birmingham in the UK, you can expect the tougher edge of techno with a lot of emphasis on the distorted kicks and a transfer of energy. She aims to capture and share with her DJ sets with a modern techno, reminiscent 90’s feel.

In the next few months she has her second EP on Cult Figures coming out. Also due for release is her second EP on CLR, a remix on Sleaze due out next month and a track which is part of a compilation for Coincidence Records where she already has two EP's on – 2014 looks bright for this Lady of Techno. She catches up with Meoko on what more she plans to bring to the table this year.

What are you working on for us this year?

My biggest project that I am currently working on is a mix compilation for CLR, which will feature exclusive tracks from the likes of Pfirter and Perc, some of the recent CLR tracks and some gems that I have been playing in my sets.

Realistically I try to adopt a "see what happens" mentality, plans can change and expectations can be too high so this is a nicer approach to music, which of course is ever changing. 

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Dating John from Chopstick & JohnJon who has played on occasion for a few years in South Africa, she understands that there is a huge stronghold for quality house music, with Black Coffee heading up this scene. According to her research on the South African techno side of things, she admits to having found small pockets of promoters and DJ's creating their own parties with this more European style of techno. 

Who are top 3 favourite techno artists at the moment?

Luke Slater who also produces as Planetary Assault Systems/L.B.Dub Corp, seems to be a firm favourite, from my first purchase of his album Freek Funk on Novamute, he consistently produces amazing music and his live set’s as PAS are mind blowing. 

Blawan has been a newer addition to the list, he is so talented and young and has this raw punk attitude towards his productions, he co-produces with Pariah as Karenn. His music has influenced me a lot. 

Pfirter, amazing in the studio his music is always well balanced and killer on the dance floor. 

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Where do you think music is going in terms of artists' not making money off tracks because of the digital age? What is the next big thing for music in your opinion?

Realistically there are artists making money from their music and it will always be the cream that rises to the top and this has always been the way, even within the boom of the dance music vinyl age there would of been releases that didn't sell so much with money being lost. What is apparent is that many more people are making music through easier access to technology so on average more people will be seen to not be making money from their music but I still think the laws of averages apply today as it did back in the boom era. Not sure what the next big thing for music will be but I am hearing more about the profitability from streaming your music and selling direct through sites as other ways to make money. 

Being in a male dominated industry, do you think this male/female 'brand' separates you from the guys? Or do you think people view you differently? Do you think female artists' get more exposure because there are less female DJ's?

I believe I will be answering these questions when I'm in my 90's! Female DJ/Producers are in a minority that is for sure. What has happened in the past is that they have been marketed slightly different i.e. "the sexiest dj" etc…which has been allowed and in return has shown women to lose credibility as really it is just about the music. On the whole there is no difference in the job that both men and women do on the decks and in the studio. There are more women getting in to production but I feel they were a little later, from my own experience the technology scared me a little until I finally jumped in feet first to a production course, as the time changed from just being a good DJ to having to be able to make tracks and produce well. You are now seeing more females that are coming through in all genres. As for exposure, I still think it’s the music that people will gravitate too in the long run. 

What is your current set up when you play? Does it vary? I see you bought a Koas Pad, has this become apart of your set up?

I play on Traktor with two Native Instruments X1 controllers and a Native Instruments F1. The Kaos pad was a bit of an impulse purchase, which I realised pretty quickly. It was not that good for what I wanted to use it for. Instead I mapped the F1 to the Traktor FX, which has more impact. There is still room for the Mikro Maschine to come into the set up, I try to introduce new things in stages. I attempted it a while back but needed to do some more work with beat gridding my entire library, which is now almost complete.

For me this set up is the most exciting as I can juggle 3/4 decks, create more energy with the music and is just way more flexible than my previous mediums. But in the last year I have returned to the ethos of finding amazing records that can be played alone with little editing and enhancements from loops, this still hasn't spurred me to return to two turntables though, flexibility is key. 

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What are you currently doing to enhance your productions as an artist?

In the studio it is including more analogue hardware, this can only be done personally piece by piece. There is only so much a mouse can do and I felt after five years of doing things in the box it was time to get both hands working. With so many inexpensive synths and modulators the world is now the bedroom producers oyster. My weakest point within production is melody, I am not trained in piano and I play by ear so I have a new toy that helps with this. So I am hoping within the next year the missing elements to my music will come together. Let's see! 

Signed with CLR? How is this going for you?

Things are great and couldn't ask for a better bunch of people to work with. Chris is a lovely person and is all about the creativity and passion of doing something you love and his encouragement as an artist is overwhelming at times. Since joining the label/roster back in October 2011 things have just progressed organically. 

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What's proper techno to you?

Proper techno is techno that’s is inspired from the early roots of techno, the feel and groove of the music is more straight but it is and can be a lot of variants, there is definitely a "club" techno. I try to move away from this. 

Would we catch you after partying with us in South Africa or not so much?

I love to dance and recently haven't had much chance :( So hopefully with some relax time in SA there will be more energy for this. 

If you could throw the ultimate party, what would it be like? Who would be on the line-up, where would it be?

New York in a blacked out warehouse, minimal red lights, smoke, a strobe and some fucked up visuals, Planetary Assault Systems, Surgeon and Karenn (see above!) This would be monstrous! 

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What is your musical background and how did you get into DJing/Producing?

I was a musical genius in the womb I played up to grade 8 piano before I was even born! Ha. No, I was ok at music at school, I played flute up to Grade 3 and Music Theory alongside it and does this have any influence on my productions? Not at all!

At the age of 16 I got into DJing, after a few nights out in Birmingham. I kinda fell in love with the music the scene and really the escape it proposed to me. Production came later at the age of 28, it was time to start out on my own creative path, I had worked with engineers and other producers but felt I couldn't get my ideas across so this was the only way to move forward. After a year of messing around with Logic I hit a wall and decided to go and study which I did at Access to Music in Birmingham. This was a wonderful period as it instilled new skills and freedom of creativity, a newfound confidence. You are always learning though and your ears adjust over time, the old cliché of progress not perfection keeps me grounded and the more you produce on a regular basis the better you become. 

Catch Rebekah at Tomorrowland, AudioRiver and Mayday for festivals this summer. Rebekah heads up her first South African tour and will be playing at TOY TOY in Johannesburg and Republic in Cape Town on the weekend of the 14th of Feb.

More info on these gigs HERE     

Hayley Illing

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