This week we have Tampa based Dj/producer, Bella Bass. Bella has released records on numerous labels including Keith MacKenzie’s Illeven Eleven Records, Afterdark, Digital Records and many more. She also has a brand new album coming out in March of 2016. Below is the interview we did with Bella. Check it out.
How did you first begin DJing/Producing?
I started playing guest DJ spots at a little Italian restaurant called “Two Guys from Italy,” near Ocala, Florida in 2004 – 3 years after playing numerous house parties and getting that bedroom action in before you have the balls to play in front of a crowd (LOL). I was getting paid $75 and a free bar tab each night- not to mention, I brought in my tables and hauled my records in every Thursday, Friday and Saturday. I got noticed by more promoters, radio stations, etc. and started dj’ing all around Florida. I moved to Tampa as it was a hub for breaks and got a ton of support from other DJ’s and producers who guided my way into mainstream breaks. I started producing in 2006, working with Agent K and branching out as the NuSkool era was coming to an end. My first single and vinyl release was a remix Agent K and I did together of “Have A Nice Day,” by Keith MacKenzie and DJ Fixx feat. MC Flipside on Illeven Eleven Recordings. Later that year, I was asked to join the Afterdark Records crew where I got a lot of experience composing in the digital platform. In 2007, I started Digital Records with Agent K and have been producing ever since. In 2011, I went on a surge of redefining my roots in the name and for the love of hip-hop, Miami Bass and Freestyle as it applies to breaks- I had five top selling bass beat booty breaks tracks. It was definitely an accomplishment I’m proud of. On November 1, 2014, I started my own label, Stately Sounds and I’m currently working on a solo production of Baltimore and Jersey style influenced breaks which will be an all original composition. I’m so stoked.. I’ve never worked so hard on a project before and it’s put me under the radar for a bit but it’s gonna be hot- it will reflect how I got here today and the original vocalists are helping me tell my story while keeping the bass kick and hearts glowing on the dance floor. Boom.
Who is your biggest influence(s)?
Where do I begin? Manny Fresh, Dr. Dre, Timbaland, Skrillex, Agent K, Pharrell Williams and more recently accredited producers like Mike Will Made-It and DJ Mustard. The list goes on but it’s important to remember they influence my bass beat / booty breaks sound. I also have to give love to DJ Sasha of Sasha and Digweed and Baby Anne – she’s always been someone I looked up to. I find a lot of inspiration in music outside of the electronic scene. I’m way into Indie music like that of White Lies, Walk The Moon, Young The Giant, Foster The People and Cage The Elephant- my influences are always changing and always in the moment.
What’s your favorite record of all time?
I have so many- this is probably the hardest question! Here are a few and some albums I love:
BT- Fibonacci Sequence
Prodigy- No Good
Outkast- Speakerboxx / The Love Below
ASAP Rocky- LONG LIVE ASAP
Uncle Luke- Luke
Sasha – Global Underground 013 Ibiza
Agent K – Start The Panic!
DJ Icey – Flash The Message
Death Row’s Greatest Hits
Notorious BIG- Life After Death
I’m pretty ghetto though, you’d be surprised if you saw my playlist.
What was your favorite party of all time that you have played?
2009, Get Freaky hosted by the amazing V2 Presents crew out of Salt Lake City. 8K people and amazing energy! It was insane and kept me on my toes the entire time! My Dad was there so that made it especially cool.
Who do you want to collaborate with in the future?
Right now, I’d love to collaborate with MightyMark! out of Baltimore, TT the Artist (Baltimore), The Crystal Method and Baby Anne (she’s always been a great driving force in the world of breaks and someone I looked up to for a long time).
What’s the most embarrassing thing thats happened to you at a show?
Hitting the cue button on the wrong deck and being like “FUCK!!!” all up in your head. But after years and years you grow out of those mistakes. I love to dance while I play, and I remember shaking my ass so hard the needle skipped. That was pretty embarrassing especially considering that I don’t have a big luscious booty to throw around. It really screamed “she a white girl” after that happened.
What do you like to do when you’re not working on music/DJing?
Hiking, traveling, fishing, shopping, knitting/crocheting, working on motion, graphics and writing. I love to swim and get exercise. I take classes online a lot and always like to learn new things. Oh yes… And hip hop dancing. I even took a few twerking lessons… That shit is hard!
What is your opinion on the current EDM scene?
Festivals hit their peak and studies are showing a decline in attendance at nightclubs all around- especially when speaking of the millennials who attend. Like everything in business, peaks and valleys are normal, but I think the wave of a multi-faceted generation is coming to light. All genres are crossing over and it’s quite nice in my opinion because it’s breaking down the walls of stereotyping the EDM industry as a whole. I mean, you’ll see ASAP Rocky and Jack Ü on the same lineup these days… And that’s a good thing in my opinion. As far as breaks are concerned, it’s isolated itself in a capsule with lots of room for growth if it starts to position itself “in the now”… Who cares if you just call it bass music, it’s still breaks! It just needs to grow. People are dropping breaks in all their sets (Skrillex, A- Trak, Wuki, etc) but the new generation calls it something else. I want to spearhead what I can and help lead the way for it. For me, it’s starting with this album.
What do you think will be the next big thing in EDM?
Harmonics and sharing the story. People want to feel a purpose again and in my opinion, the emergence of the “Future” sound (e.g Future House) was an attempt to get there- it was a need- people want melody and they want to share your story. I think in the next year or so we’ll see a lot more melodic breakdowns and integration of natural instruments. Whereas EDM was leading the way in production, Main Stream air play is guiding direction now. In terms of delivery and sales, streaming is where it’s at.
What do you think about all these “frauds” in the EDM scene using ghost producers, buying likes and purchasing their own tracks on Beatport?
I think it’s bullshit. Ghostwriting is always going to exist but it has its purpose- producers are not always the best DJ’s and vice versa. I think if there’s honesty behind it who gives a shit. I can say that I write my own music, I have help but I work hard and when you have an idea it comes easy and naturally. So when it comes to other up and comers who get pissed about it because they put countless hours in to learn new skills- I get it. These days, however, you have to do it all or create your own path of how to get where you want to be. Working with other people isn’t a bad thing and if a record label or artist/DJ can work together to make something happen- fucking do it. Everyone has the same goal… Let’s put on a good show and play music people will love. Now… About buying your own tracks— ohhhhh Nelly. That’s some whack shit right there. Kerry (Agent K) and I have NEVER purchased our own tracks and we never will. How will you ever know if you’re that good when you buy your own shit? Plus you’re frontin’ and that shit shines through in the end. Does it work for some? Yup, but I feel good going to sleep at night knowing that every #1 song I’ve ever had was done proper and that people purchased my tune or listened to it because they loved it. Soundcloud buys are just a joke. It makes you look like a cheap asshole. I totally understand the perception value there for marketing purposes, but do it for a boost and not quick wins that end in epic fails. There will always be those that are successful with it, like if a promo firm is behind them but they are few and far between. If you have good music, you have good music- period.
Is there any upcoming releases/shows we should keep an eye out for?
I have an album that is coming out March 2016- all original booty bass music- with some harmonic vocal flare and a taste of my infatuation with Jersey Club and Baltimore styles the past two years. I’m waiting until it’s done to name it, but it’s all original and the entire production is being documented in the studio and between sessions. Agent K (my husband, label partner and best friend) is also working on an album to be released at or around the same time. He’s got a fresh new take on breaks and electronic music as a whole. The albums will be all original, and solid compositions about 30 minutes in length. We’re taking a new approach to the definition of a “mix”. A slew of individual releases and tracks will be released post the album releases reflecting the new sounds. We may be releasing it as a two-disc/ double album release as the styles will be two completely different sounds. They’re definitely the biggest projects we’ve ever worked on individually as artists, so we just might bring them together. Either way… My new album will be out in March ’16 right before MMW! Boomx2.
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