The latest in female house music doyennes to join the Fèmmme Fraîche headliner hall of fame is London based DJ, producer and festival-head Ceri! Her rising reputation has seen her grace the decks at parties as far flung as Back To Basics in Leeds, DC10 in Ibiza, La Santanera in Mexico and Ipse in Berlin and beyond. She will be taking the helm for the twelfth instalment of East London’s fraîchest lez fest this Saturday, with her signature selection of deep and moody, atmospheric grooves, heavyweight peak time house fodder and psychotropic techno abstractions. We caught up with her to chat festival tales, women in music, and plans for Fèmmme Fraîche!
Hi Ceri! We’re so excited to have you join us soon for Fèmmme Fraîche!
Aw thank you. I'm really looking forward to partying with you lovelies, and I love that sweaty basement at Dalston Superstore, so can't wait!
Can you tell us a bit about Jaded, the Sunday morning afterparty rave at Corsica where you played as a resident?
I first played for them in 2011, at Cable, which was a real dream come true for me. I first experienced Jaded when it was at The End /AKA which was a huge clubbing inspiration for me, alongside Fabric and T Bar. I was a massive raver and used to end up at Jaded most weeks. They had such an amazing music policy, with the best names in house and techno often turning up to play unannounced.
When I first met the promoter Krista I didn't tell her I was a DJ, but then I ended up giving Ray - their longest running resident - a lift in my car, and I had one of my mixes on because I was secretly wanting to hear what he thought of it without him knowing it was me! He actually asked me whose mix it was and when I told him it was mine he didn't believe me. He told Krista and a few months later, after seeing I was getting some other gigs around London they booked me to play for them for the first time.
I was so happy and continued playing for them as a guest for a few years until they asked me to be a resident in 2014 / 2015. Initially it was supposed to be for one year but it went on for longer.
I loved being able to play nine hour sets in the second room at Corsica. It's not often as a DJ these days you get to play that long. So I am really thankful for them believing in me and giving me the chance to go on long journeys with their crowd, who were really receptive.
When it comes to making your own music, can you tell us a bit about your production process?
It's really random. Some tracks can take a few days, others a few months! Usually I am inspired by something specific; a mood, a sample or a vocal, and I start from there and build around it. I usually play the bass on my Sub 37 because I love bass, and for me bass is the most important part of the track, followed by the drums. I like to use a combination of drum machines - an XBase 09 and sampled 808 and 909 hits that I programme in. I have some other equipment I use for synths too and usually do the high end last.
I use a combination of logic and Ableton. If I am feeling uninspired, I will just play around with a few samples I've 'stolen' or recordings I've made and play around with them until I feel an idea coming on.
When I am in the zone it literally just flows out of me without me even knowing what's happening, I wish I knew how to make it happen more often!
Favourite track of 2017?
I couldn't choose one! Totally dependent on where I am, who I'm with etc...
You’ve been involved in Redbull’s Normal Not Novelty campaign – can you tell us a bit about why the project is important to you?
It's a good way of inspiring and educating people about our industry. I like to teach the younger generation about where house music came from and why it's so important politically and sociologically. A lot of people who claim to be into the music have no idea about how it evolved and it's history of bringing people together and breaking down barriers in society. So I think it's as important to spread that message as well as teach people about music production processes and how to get inspiration and creative ideas etc.
You’ve played quite a few festivals over the years, from Secret Garden Party to Lovebox and even Burning Man! What’s your craziest festival story?
I have so many it's hard to choose one. The one most people think is funny and/or gross is how I got my Burning Man name 'Kevin the Dancing Poo'. Which involved magic mushrooms and a portaloo.
Haha! We won't ask...
If you could change one thing about London’s club culture, what would it be?
If you had a time machine and could go dancing anywhere/anywhen, where would you go?
Either to Paradise Garage in New York in the 80s, or to an early 19th century ballroom dance.
We hear you have a new label dropping soon, can you tell us a bit about it?
It's called 'Find Your Own' records and the first release is out in October featuring two tracks from me and a Fred P Reshape. The label is primarily for me to release my own music. I want each release to be three tracks that suit different environments. It will still be house and techno, but different shades of it that work in different situations. I prefer EPs that have variety, rather than three tracks that are really similar.
I am really happy to have Fred P involved with the first release because I have loved his music for many years and respect him hugely not just musically but also personally. Moving forwards I want to involved more people who have been inspiring to me or who I believe are making music that will stand the test of time.
Who's tunes will you be unleashing on the Superstore lazerpit?
I usually throw in some K-Hand or Mr G at least once in most of my sets, I love everything they do. Tomoki Tamura is another favourite, and D'Julz. They are all amazing at making classic sounding house and techno that is timeless and works on the dancefloor.
Catch Ceri at Fèmmme Fraîche this Saturday 9 September from 9pm-3am at Dalston Superstore!