Roxxete Interview

Roxxete is young DJ based in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. Her style is very melodic, strongly rhythmic, with great attention to detail. With a strong curiosity for the spiritual side of music, she believes in sharing her feelings, moods and beliefs through sound.

How did you get into DJing and what was your first big gig?

I’ve been surrounded by DJs since my early teens. Already having built up a sizeable music collection, I got curious about blending these sound 11 years ago. When I was 18, a friend of mine suggested that I enter a DJ competition (TM DJ Challenge) that I later got selected for and so, that was the first time I got to play in front of a big crowd. I had loads of fun playing that set and I felt that this is something I should explore more. I only started my career some years later, after moving to Cluj-Napoca, attending university and hanging out with different local crews, getting some gigs in order to be heard and noticed. After a while I just sort of took on a path of my own, as I steadily dug deeper into the more underground side of things. My first big event was back in 2012 supporting Lenzman in Cluj-Napoca.

Why Drum & Bass?

You know… sometimes you can’t define love, it just enters your soul and surrounds you with its vibe. I remember Goldie’s Inner City Life getting played on MTV. For me, that was love at first sight.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

Since making a living out of being just a DJ is nearly impossible these days, I also have a day job. So the free time I have, I tend to dedicate to music. I also enjoy going out to parties and raves quite often, because the underground scene in Cluj-Napoca offers high quality events on a regular basis.

Does music influence your day to day life?

Music influences our being, consciously or subconsciously. For me, it’s like a tool that helps me get over any moody thoughts I might have and even lets me deepen those in order to reflect upon them. It also helps me live life with more optimism. Either way, for me, music’s
the only thing that is quite healthy to be addicted to — because it heals you, it enlightens you and loves you, all at the same time.

What’s your view on how Drum & Bass evolved over the years?

There are some fabulous Drum & Bass producers around at the moment and the overall sound seems to be very vibrant . I love it, the sound’s very diverse right now and there’s lots of great productions all across the spectrum. I find that the biggest evolution is the amount of producers (particularly in relation to listeners) so there is tons more music to go through to find gems. The production techniques have really improved overall and the sound is generally more polished and clean. Unfortunately, I don’t see a happy evolution in the Drum & Bass scene here in Romania. There are just a few crews that still run the movement at the moment, such as Freenetik Crew from Timisoara, Form Space Club in Cluj-Napoca and Arena DNB from Bucharest. I wish there was more balance between the Techno scene here, which is more popular, and the Drum & Bass movement or even other more niche genres. Overall, we have some big and cool festivals over the summer, like Electric Castle and
Untold, which seem to blend all these genres in a pretty balanced way. Also, thanks to some Techno DJs like Nastia and Carl Cox, that have also played Drum & Bass sets, even those that might never have come across our beloved Drum & Bass movement, could get a glimpse and listen in on something fresh and different for a change, haha.

What advice would you give to DJs that are just now getting started?

Honestly, do good, be different or stay home. DJing and music production shouldn’t be treated as a ‘cool’ thing. Also, being cool was never cool. Do it because you have to, do it because you need to. Always create from the heart and have that at the core. That should be the non-negotiable foundation of all your work.

What other genres do you like to listen to at home, besides Drum & Bass?

I am inclined towards the influences coming from Chicago, Detroit and Berlin House and Techno scenes. There are a few characteristics that I really love about this style, like its grittiness and human touch. I have some roots in Hip-Hop as well, so the progression towards black “house” culture came quite natural. Like with all DJs, the whole process of digging for new music employs different methods that produce a variety of different results. Influences are things that are quite organic for DJs. I believe that all sounds that I take notice of and enjoy, influence me in one way or another.

What inspires you when you plan on creating a new mix?

Most of the time it’s the need to blend the tracks that I like, in order to create special vibes. A story that I want to tell, a story that resembles myself and my being and to be a able materialise the vibe that I have going on inside my head.

Who would you like do DJ with, if you got the chance?

I hope I’ll get to have gigs alongside Hospital Records, Critical Music, Fokuz, Exit Records, Shogun Audio artists. But every party is wicked and I try to feel in my element next to any DJ I get to mix with.

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Is it hard for a girl to make a name for herself in Drum & Bass?

Obviously, this craft is dominated by the male presence, but I honestly don’t see any differences in the way that I am treated by promoters or fellow artists. This is what I like to believe anyway, haha. I feel that some people have the impression that it’s easier to get noticed if you are a female DJ and that promoters can get more people to come to their raves just because they book female DJs to perform. There truly are less female than men DJs around right now , probably because men are more ‘technical-inclined’ by default. It can sometimes come natural for a woman to underestimate her skills and value in the music industry and to feel inferior in a world dominated by men, but it definitely shouldn’t
be so and they should never get discouraged by this fact. Sometimes people will say you are very good… for a girl. How about you just say I’m very good all across the board? Haha. I don’t think it’s easier for a woman to build a reputation in this industry. If you don’t play a good set when you get booked, the result will not be gender-oriented, you still will just not get booked anymore, it’s really as simple as that. From my point of view, the easiest way to get people to like you through your journey to success is to treat people with respect, and recognise them in your efforts. As well, it is important to keep following and building on relationships with people within reach and the people they know. People are
more receptive to meeting someone introduced by a trusted friend or associate.

What future plans do you have as a DJ?

Big plans ahead. I am moving to the capital city of Drum & Bass, London in the near future. Also, I’m gonna keep on upping my production skills and try to allocate as much time as I can towards perfecting that. So, all you promotors from London, can’t wait to get to meet you and play at your nights sometime soon hopefully, haha.

You can follow Roxxete on:

Soundcloud : www.soundcloud.com/roxxete

Facebook : www.facebook.com/roxxetednb

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