HEX Interview: Rebekah (Elements), “Women are still under-represented as producers and ultimately under-valued still”

We had a chat with the leader of Elements before she arrives in Barcelona to co-host AlteratE’s opening party alongside the HEX family.

More than 20 years of experience behind the turntables endorse the career of an artist who has become a reference in the Techno genre. Rebekah comes from Birmingham, where she forged her passion for Rave music listening to references for her like Dave Clarke, Derrick Carter or Billy Nasty. From the UK, she has expanded her almost obsessive passion for revolutionising the dancefloors by delivering over-accelerated bpm rates and a raw and acid selection with no fear. Rebekah runs Elements, who, together with HEX, will be in charge of inaugurating the new conceptual AlteratE Club in Barcelona. This is what Rebekah tells us hours before landing in the Catalan capital.

 

Hello, Rebekah, and thank you for saving some time to answer to our questions before your gig in the new AlteratE Club together with the HEX crew and Remco Beekwilder. This is going to be the first official collaboration between HEX and Elements, and it will take place in a new conceptual and ephemeral club. What do you expect from it? Any special feeling or excitement?

From working with the HEX guys, I know and trust that they have picked the right venue for the music and visuals, and a new place for darker industrial Techno is always welcomed for us at Elements.

 

You’ve already played in Barcelona with HEX in the last years. How do you feel when coming? What’s the vibe you perceive from Barcelona’s Rave & Techno scene?

I am always excited to play in Barcelona as the clubbers are very welcoming and supportive. It’s been a long journey for people to understand the music and move away from tech house and minimal and get away from faster Techno having a bad reputation from the previous early 2000s when the sound was bigger in Spain. But I think now is a great moment for Techno on the whole.

 

Indeed, it’s a fact that this ravey, fast and accelerated Techno is being more and more accepted in the recent years. Regarding this, you said once that “the scene is going to be healthy for many years to come”. Why do you think is this happening and what do you mean exactly with that sentence?

Techno is having a huge revival and it is covering so many spheres within the scene, whatever your taste, bpm, flavour and groove are, you can find it within the genre, with certain DJs pushing and promoting your preferred sound. Does that make it commercial? Possibly!  But for me, now is the time to celebrate everything what is good with the genre and let the people rave.

 

What’s the environment nowadays, that it allows Techno to increase more and more its speed? And how’s the environment you like to be surrounded by when playing/performing? And when producing?

Music is always about the environment, and I can see this more apparently when I play big festival shows to a daytime open-air crowd. It feels like the vibe can almost get lost in a big open space. For me, personally, darker venues are always the right space for harder and faster sounds. It is almost keeping the energy contained within the walls and ceiling and then allowing the people to sweat more and really be able to let themselves go. Surely this is the ultimate.

 

You love to play “all night long” sets. What about the bpm in those cases? From how many to how many? Also, how do you prepare these extended sets in terms of musical selection and organization? Any trick you can tell us?

My preparation for an all night long is threefold. Firstly, I have prepared loosely, playlists for particular hours during the night. The start, middle, end and then may have some more specific ones like uplifting for the morning hours, trippy, bombs! Secondly, I make sure my fitness level of conditioning is good. I usually ramp up my cross-fit workouts and endurance sports to be able to facilitate playing 7-9 hours. Thirdly, I make sure I am fuelled correctly, so have some good food leading up to the gig and then some snacks for the duration. The hardest part is remembering to drink enough water!

HEX AlteratE Rebekah Remco Beekwilder Elements Barcelona

Where do you find your biggest inspirations to produce music?

Really, it’s from everything; a fun gig, other genres of music, films, art, surroundings… I have just got back from hiking in Colorado in-between a North America tour and I am already wanting to capture an essence of being alone in the wilderness surrounded by these cold and unforgiving mountains. What would they sound like? How does that translate to electronic music? I think always asking questions and searching for meaning within the artform keeps things interesting.

 

Let’s reveal to our audience just a taste of what we’ve been working on together during the past months: the new collection of clothes HEX x Elements that will be announced soon. What can you anticipate about this special collaboration?

This project and clothing collection are about celebrating clubbing and female empowerment in what has always been a male dominated genre. It’s about clubwear for those who want to get hot and sweaty but at least have their clothing comfortable and breathable, and there are some secret elements to be able to stash some money with the freedom to rave without a bag to lug around.

 

Coming back to the music: what music do you listen to in your free time, when travelling, etc.? Could you give us your 3 fav tracks of all time that you normally listen to, even if they’re not playable in one of your sets?

I listen to a lot of ambient and electronica when traveling alongside a lot of singer songwriter artists, something that helps to relax my weary and over stressed mind. I also listen to music from my youth, like Nirvana, Prodigy and Pink Floyd. It really depends on my mood. I also use this time to listen to music that has been recommended by my peers or their albums. My three picks:

Aphex Twin – Polynomial – C

Ben Howard – Diamonds

Hole – Doll Parts

 

Some people use to highlight that, nowadays, everybody wants to be a DJ, or a producer. You said once that, now, what we need is more women who feel brave enough to start doing it. Are you missing more women in the studios worldwide? What would you tell them?

Women are still under-represented as producers and ultimately under-valued still. I see too many still having ghost producers, wanting to cut corners and being rewarded heavily for this, so it’s no wonder there are so many producers who are frustrated out there, women and men. All I can say is that you have to stick to what’s authentically you, if you want full control and see your music as art and an expression of you as an artist, making music and taking the long route will be the most satisfying in the long run. If you just want to DJ and have no interest in producing music, but just want to get ahead, get paid and start playing the game, then having a ghost producer will help you achieve this. There is no right or wrong way to this, it’s just whatever sits right with the individual. Most recently, Denise Rabe’s latest EP on Stroboscopic has blown me away. The quality and level of production is outstanding, and she is a good example of someone who is just quietly grafting away and putting in the time, and now it’s really paying off, it shows.

 

Concluding and coming back to next week event… Our two visual artists, Acid Thermal (& KSB) and Malika Maria, will finally work together. How do you see this union? What can Barcelona’s ravers expect from this HEX x Elements showcase? Have you prepared something special for the occasion?

The Elements parties are always leaning towards the more industrial sounds and I feel I can express this at these parties. The visuals will be dark and intriguing and hopefully the whole night will allow people to have a sense of freedom.

 

HEX x Elements pres: Rebekah, Remco Beekwilder at AlteratE Club is tomorrow, Friday September 6th at the new AlteratE Club.

Interview by Paco Cavaller