For the next instalment of Frequent Players Guest mix we bring to you DJ Tess.
We asked Tess to spend some time with us and take to the decks in preparation for part 2 of Footpatrol x Mantra’s night at Phonox, Brixton. Collaborating with people such as Logan and Femme Culture Label, Tess has an individual sound like no other ranging from Dancehall to Bass music.
Since moving to London Tess has made a name for herself within the music scene and has no intentions of slowing down, producing her own individualistic tracks and mixes across London and Europe.
Before she laid down her mix, we asked Tess to sit with us to talk more about herself and how she got to where she is now.
Footpatrol: Tell us about a bit about your journey, how did Tess become DJ Tess?
DJ Tess: So, the journey started when I was a kid, I used to mess around with my sisters cassettes and CD’s, and then growing up I started buying dedicated music magazines and listening to more music. When I was 17 I learnt to play the drums meanwhile, I was going clubbing and I was collecting the mixtapes that where been given away at parties. I remember that I was particularly fascinated by the transition between songs and by the ability of the dj to drive you somewhere with their selection. I decided to do my first mixes starting with a free dj software and ending buying a pair of turntables after 2 months.
FP: You have a really diverse way of implementing multiple genres into your mixes which is refreshing to hear these days. How would you describe your sound to those who aren’t familiar with your music?
DJ Tess: Thank you. In my mixes I try to lead the listener into different states of mind and feelings closer to mine. The music that I listen to gives me a lot of different emotions, so I tend to create mixes that can be felt and that also don’t necessarily stick to a specific genre but more to a similar mood. Regarding music genres I represent these music pathways with UK bass music,with grime, dancehall influences and techno.
FP: Where and/or how do you draw your inspiration from when curating a mix or working on production?
DJ Tess: I get inspired by concrete things that happen in my life or abstract such as self reflections, discussions with people and then I try to translate them into music, as well as the pursuit to create a specific sound that is often influenced by my state of mind and mood. Sometimes I also take inspiration from songs that I like.
FP: Being from Italy, what made you want to come over to the UK? Italy is known for having such a huge music scene, is there much difference between there and here?
DJ Tess: Definitely, the very first need was experiencing the music scene and breathing the culture of the music that I was in love with. Other reasons are to have more artistic opportunities and to improve my English. I agree that in Italy there is a huge community around the electronic music and is crawling with talented musicians. But the main difference is that in the UK is easier to find more varied music genre and almost every big or small scenes tend to speak about social and political issues. Meanwhile in Italy, seems that those topics are not of interest for artists or taking a position is not so common, the smaller underground scene is quite often not in the same city so is still an internet community sometimes
FP: It’s not uncommon that once you get into the music industry the influences that you have around you can sometimes help shape your own style. Do you think that is the case for yourself?
DJ Tess: Absolutely yes. I had my own style from before but I have to recognize that going out to listen some artists that I admire, playing in London radio stations, clubs and keep constantly meeting so many talented and inspiring musicians has shaped my style in a darker and more creative way. I would say also that has given me the ability to be less attached to the musical dojo rules and to dare more.
FP: Bringing it back to something we like to ask our Frequent Players artists. Has there been any producers or DJs who have caught your eye this year you’re excited to hear more form in 2020?
DJ Tess: Oh, there are so many lol. I’m very excited to hear the first official release of AGOSTINO who is a visual artist and musician that I collaborate with on my side project Mala Femmina. Very shortly we are making pieces inspired by our Southern Italian music tradition. I’m also looking forward to hear new music from Nan Kolè, Ehua and Violet, I’ve literally played every tune from them this year and also, I can’t wait for the new Deena Abdelwahed’s album to drop early in 2020.
FP: Well Tess, thank you for spending some time with us. Before you go though, is there anything on the way from DJ Tess that people should start getting excited about?
DJ Tess: Of course! The Mantra X Footpatrol party which I’m playing on the 28th at Phonox in Brixton and definitely some more music to come out in 2020. The first one on the way is my collaborative EP with Nan Kolè out very soon. Thank you guys for inviting me over for a good chat and a mix, Peace!