B.Traits is known for her production skills and broadcasting her talent through DJ sets and her residency on BBC radio 1. We caught up with her at ADE for a quick chat about how she juggles her busy schedule and her hometown in Canada.
Q. Having come all the way from British Columbia Canada to Europe. What was the scene like over there?
A: The scene over there is pretty good in my opinion. It’s where it all started for me, I actually started to get quite popular as a DJ in Vancouver at some point, you just can’t compare it to London though. In London, dance music is a constantly evolving thing, it’s where all trends come from and that’s why I wanted to be in that place.
Q. Why did you come to London out of all places?
A: I think it was because it was a place I had visited before so there was a sense of familiarity and at the time the scene there was even bigger than it is right now. There were so many legendary venues that I wanted to immerse myself in. When I first moved there I went out every night of the week to listen to new music and take in everything that London had to offer. All of these new experiences inspired me in my production process a lot too.
Q. ‘Fever’ was a massive track that broke the crossover barrier in the UK single charts. What doors did this track open for you after the release?
A: Fever is a track that I’d written when I first moved to London, it didn’t actually come out until two years later but it was a track that payed homage to the sound that I first discovered as a kid. It was that sound that got me into electronic music in the first place so I wrote the track with that in mind. After I signed it with Polydor it shot to top 40 and that’s what got me noticed by the BBC and the booking agents, it all really took off from there.
Q. You are seen as one of the first radio 1 presenters to showcase the deeper and darker side of house and techno music, something that was never really done before. Has this been somewhat educational towards your musical knowledge?
A: Yeah definitely, I’ve always been into experimental and underground dance music. I think that in previous years I just didn’t have the right platform to really showcase it. When the BBC gave me the Friday night they told me I could play whatever I felt passionate about so that’s exactly what I’m doing. I’m very picky about the artists and music that I feature in the show nowadays.
Q. I remember watching the ‘How Safe Are My Drugs’ documentary for BBC 3. In my eyes you were the perfect person to be involved with the documentary. How much of an influence do you feel drugs have on Dance Music culture?
A: I think that recreational drugs have a massive hand in it, drugs kind of go with all kinds of music, especially with dance music because of the whole feel good vibe and the unity factor. I think that it’s always something we’ll see in dance music where people come together to celebrate, feel good and express themselves. That’s the reason way I made the documentary, which was more focused towards legal highs and what you can get on the market now, but my other work with drug awareness is just about making our dancefloors a little bit safer.
Q. Some people may or may not know this but Radio is a completely different ball game altogether that’s involved in the scene. Can you explain what your routine is and how you prepare yourself before you go on air?
A: In my show I try to play 80% brand new music every single week, so you’ll hear music that you’ve never heard before every single week. Preferably by artists you’ve never heard of before as well. I mostly prepare by doing a lot of digging myself, I listen to a ton of dj mixes by other artists and try to pick tracks that stand out to me. Often I’ll find that they’re by these completely unknown artists so I email them personally and ask them if I can get play the music.
Q. Would you say that your background living in Canada and London has an influence on you musical productions?
A: I don’t think so really. I’ve been obsessed with music ever since I can remember and as soon as I heard UK dance music it kind of clicked for me. No one in my hometown was really into it so there was a very small group of us that were into the same music.
Q. How did you even come across someone like ‘The Prodigy’ in your hometown?
A: It was all through ‘Much Music’, which is basically the Canadian equivalent of MTV. I’d never watch Saturday morning cartoons, I’d watch the music channels. They had a midnight show and they played videos by The Prodigy in there and as soon as I saw those I realized that I wanted to do something similar, I became obsessed with it. There was only one record store back in Nelson so I’d get them to order compilations from Ministry of Sound and fabric and that’s how I first got acquainted with the music.
Q. You live such a hectic lifestyle with being an in demand DJ, a producer and a radio presenter, how do you balance everything out?
A: I feel like after a long time I’ve finally found the right balance. It’s taken a while because the radioshow took a lot of work to get it where it is right now. At first I was juggling a lot with the show, producing and dj’ing but I’ve been able to get some more structure in my life and that’s helped massively with finding the right balance as well.