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Following on from the introduction to the new ‘Diversity in Dubstep‘ series with a chat and guest mix from Poznan’s k.o, I’ve been working up a few subsequent instalments to keep things progressing. It’s been a pleasure getting to know the individuals featured in upcoming posts, and I’m hoping you enjoy meeting these talented people as much as I’ve enjoyed getting to know them!
If you missed the first DiD post, here’s a refresher of what I’m trying to do:
…”Moving forward, we’re collectively making a conscious effort to change that by highlighting talented individuals or collectives from broader/ diverse backgrounds – be that gender, sexuality, race and everything in-between. If you think that’s you, or someone you know, I’d love to hear from you. Give me a shout via email or on Twitter and let’s chat!”
The second DiD feature sees me sitting down with Manchester-based DJ Melissa. She’s been a regular on the airwaves (with sets on Subtle and Rinse FM), has played alongside some of the best upcoming names in 140bpm and has graced the Garden stage at Outlook, supporting our friends at DEEP MEDi.
Put simply, Melissa’s one of the selectors you need to know. We talked through what’s going on, how she’s coping with lockdown and a few things in-between. As always, we’ve also got an impeccable guest mix. Download, track list and everything else below…
Hey Melissa, how’s it going? How’s the lockdown going so far? Great thank you, I’m really enjoying lockdown. I’ve been working from home so I have lots to keep me busy, and it’s been a great opportunity to reconnect with people, relax and reflect.
For those who maybe don’t know you, can you give a quick introduction? Of course. My name is Melissa, and I also DJ by that name. I’m half-Turkish but I was born and raised in the UK, and I currently live in Manchester. I’ve been playing shows for a couple of years now and I mix predominantly dubstep and dub music.
How long have you been DJing and how did you get into it? I’ve been DJing for about 3 years now. I actually learned how to mix so that I could play 140 at afterparties, as most of my friends were mixing drum & bass or jungle. Once I’d taught myself the basics, I started playing live streams on Bloc2Bloc and then eventually began playing in clubs.
I’ve been following the 140 scene and attending soundsystem events for years, so it made sense for me to get involved and promote the sound that I love.
Talk us through a few of your highlights as a DJ. Supporting DEEP MEDi at The Garden Stage at Outlook Festival was definitely a highlight. I’ve been attending Outlook Festival for years, so it was an incredible experience. I remember feeling the stage vibrating during soundcheck – it was the first time I’d played through a soundsystem of that size!
Another highlight was supporting Egoless at a Hit & Run event in Hidden, Manchester. The room was at full capacity and the crowd had so much energy. It was also the first time some of my close friends had seen me play live.
Being invited down to London to play shows on Rinse FM and Subtle FM was also a blessing. Shout out to Marcus Nasty and Highlander for getting me involved.
Any lowlights? No lowlights.
Do you produce music, as well as DJ? Not at the moment. It’s something I’d be keen to get into eventually though.
Do you think it matters if you do one or the other? Not at all. I know lots of great DJs who don’t produce, and I know producers who don’t play gigs. As long you’re passionate and have a genuine appreciation for the music, I don’t think it should matter.
It’s been something I’ve struggled with over the years; how do you balance your day job (as a solicitor for Missguided) with the DJing/ music side of things? I just try to be as productive as possible in the time that I have during the week. For instance, I use any spare time I have during the day (e.g. my walk to work or my lunch break) to listen to music people have sent me or search for new music/artists.
If I have a gig mid-week, I make sure that I don’t stay out too late so that I’m not tired the next day. I specialise in commercial contracts and my job involves a lot of reading, so it’s important that I’m alert and focused. It definitely helps that my colleagues are supportive of my DJing.
Manchester’s always been a strong scene for independent music – how are things in the city right now? Which promoters/ venues/ tastemakers are you rating? Quiet during lockdown, as you can imagine. But there are a number of Manchester-based producers making movements at the moment, which is great to see.
Despite drum & bass nights often pulling in larger crowds in Manchester, there are some promoters who continue to push the 140 sound such as Hit & Run, The Wasted Kollective, Union Sound and Lucid Juice. Bloc2Bloc also encourages artists to showcase their talent, and Infernal Sounds and Strictly 140 provide great platforms for them to do so.
At the moment, I’d say that my favourite venues are Hidden because of the Void soundsystem, and Rebellion because of the club layout. It would be ideal if we had a venue like Leeds West Indian Centre!
How did the affiliation with DEEP MEDi come about? Do you work with any other labels? I’ve been a supporter of DEEP MEDi for a long time and have attended many of their shows in different cities and countries over the years. Mala has followed my journey from the start, and him and Steph have invited me to support a couple of the MEDi shows recently.
You’ve built a following with your mixes and the work you put into championing upcoming producers. Who are your top 5 musicians at the moment? I’ve been sent some great music by ALXZNDR, 11th Hour and Scarz recently. I’m also really rating Breez and Cartridge. It’s hard to choose just 5!
Where do you find the new tunes/ artists you support? Artists and labels tend to send me unreleased or forthcoming music via email or social media. When searching for new artists, I usually check Deep Tempo’s social pages as they release fresh content daily, and I review track lists for guest mixes. To keep up to date with recent releases, I check Juno, Bandcamp or Beatport.
Can you name one of your musical heroes? Who would your dream b2b be with? Khiva. I love her artistic flair, her energy during live sets and her production. I think she’d be so much fun to b2b with!
Any genre, but who would you say some of your favourite DJs are? What makes a good DJ for you? Breakfake, Killamanjaro and Mala are probably my favourite DJs to watch live. They all have great tune selection and great energy during their sets – two things which, for me, make a great DJ.
If you could give yourself some tips or advice about getting into DJing looking back since you started, what would you tell yourself? Be confident in your ability and try not to focus on other peoples’ mixing techniques too much. Everyone has their own individual style – own yours!
Where can people find you online – and any final words or shout outs?
I often get asked what “meltem” means in all of my social media handles – it’s my middle name and my Turkish first name.
Big shout out to FKOF!
Click to DOWNLOAD (154MB)
- Die By the Sword – Sands of Time [dub]
- Taiko – Slingshot Dub
- Cartridge – Brute [forthcoming Locus Sound]
- Proove – 8th Hour [dub]
- ALXZNDR – Golden Gate
- Gundam – Swordplay
- Dead Noise System – Paradox
- 11th Hour – Bravo Zulu
- Somah – How We Move
- Rockstone – Creation
- MCMM – Haven’t You [forthcoming BMB Recordings]
- Alix Perez – Ravana
- Loefah – Natural Charge
- ALXZNDR – M C W
- Teffa – Deep Meditation
- Scarz – Ouroboros [dub]
- Taiko – Giant Big Man
- Kontent – Corrupt Dub
- Khiva – Chuckles Revenge
- The Widdler – Mixtape Style
- Sepia – Think Fast [dub]
- Sempra – Ifritah [forthcoming Draconian Audio]
- ALXZNDR – Midnight in Mumbai [dub]