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In Conversation with… BEC

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Brighton-born BEC stands as one of the most exciting UK components on the current techno circuit, championing a strong female perspective with unbounded creativity and scope. Entering the next phase of her meteoric rise, BEC takes on The Course’s debut 1997 single ‘Ready Or Not’, which sampled the truly iconic 1996 original by the Fugees. Delivering two stylish interpretations in the form of a ‘High Vibration’ and ‘Rave’ remix, BEC provides a fresh listening experience for the modern audience — out now via the original Dutch label Altra Moda Music

Dubbed a ‘Rave Remix’, the first is a raw and rave-edged Techno cut with an outstanding piano stab present during and after the first drop. The high-impact hats and heavy kicks deliver unrelenting propulsion, allowing a free melodic space for the iconic bass riff to ring out. The second edit has many influences from the UK Jungle and Breakbeat spectrums. BEC uses the vocal sample for almost the entire duration of the remix with the help of filters to blend it to the fullest, in addition to her acid-breeding synthwork; a nod to her rooted techno sound palette. The tracks differ radically but are tied together with a sense of embedded excitement within their polyrhythmic drum patterns and dynamic arrangement. 

BEC has already proven herself to be a rich contributor to techno’s vibrant culture, courtesy of her all-too-recognisable heady and hypnotic productions, we caught up with her to discuss the release, her recent US Tour and some of the challenges artists are currently facing.

Hey BEC, thanks so much for chatting with us today. To kick things off, let’s touch on your return to performing. You’ve just completed your US tour – tell us how it felt to be back after a long break from touring.

It. felt. AMAZING! I didn’t know what to expect about how gigs would return towards the end of the pandemic – but I was so so grateful that it launched right into the busiest period ever for me!

What are some of the challenges that artists are currently facing with the return to shows and touring?

The lifestyle when touring really is so tough. I had 15 shows in 15 different cities, in three countries during 4 weeks (some artists do way more even – I’m not sure how!). Usually my set time is from around 2 or 3am until 5 or 6am. Which means that luscious deep REM sleep is just never caught up on. Jet lag plus irregular sleeping times really really causes havoc! Instead of getting over jet lag in a few days, it takes a week or sometimes even two, until I feel I can have a normal body clock and rhythm. It can also be super lonely! Tiredness enhances all emotions, and there are definitely lots of extreme low moments, but counteracted with extreme highs – when I’m actually playing and the crowd is loving it. Also, I’m a vegetarian, and eat a very healthy balanced diet when back in Berlin, but that was almost impossible at some points in certain countries, especially Colombia.

BEC

You collaborated with Mercedes at the tail-end of last year, composing the music for, and starring in their latest advert. I know you’ve worked on demos and product videos for the likes of Roland and Novation in the past but this must have been an entirely new experience – tell us how the project came about.

Yes! It was an incredible experience, I was really happy. The producer contacted my agent and we got started from there. It was one full day of filming in Berlin and then the film crew drove the car all the way to Belgium to follow me to a gig, where I played in Ghent. I also got to drive a brand-new Mercedes S class, which was a super nice experience in itself.

Your new 2-track remix EP for The Course’s 1997 single ‘Ready or Not’ was just released on the original label Altra Moda Music. How does it feel to be asked to put your stamp on such an iconic record?

Again, really special! I was born in 1991, so when The Course – ‘Ready Or Not’ came out I was a young child, but in my very first clubbing years as a teenager, or as a cheekily underage clubber, I remember this track being played a lot. I love the vocals, the original is sampled from The Fugees. I find it really hypnotic. I never usually work with vocals, but I was excited to see what I could do with this. I decided to make two versions, one more experimental / breakbeat which uses the full vocal. And the other would be my regular techno, “rave” inspired sound.

There have been quite a few remixes of classic tracks coming out recently, do you think it’s important to update these cardinal cuts for the modern audience?

True, there have been! I personally think remixing is very artistic, and shares creativity. It’s not only super interesting to remix a track but to see another artist remix yours is so nice. It’s fascinating to see how they’ll reinterpret the original, what spin they’ll put on it using their own artistic impression. And especially when remixing older tracks, sound has changed since then and technically we are able to create louder and louder music. Plus, it is great to refresh classic tracks slightly in your own sound!

On one of the remixes you explore a Breakbeat sound with influences from the UK Jungle scene. Is this a style that’s been in your repertoire for a while or something you are just beginning to hone in on?

I’ve got tonnes of breakbeat style tracks that I’ve produced sitting in my hard drive, but never seen a good fit or label to release them on yet! This will be something that you’ll hear more of coming from me! Being English, I grew up in the jungle, drum n bass, and even the dubstep scenes and this is the music I fell in love with, before my love progressed to techno. I used to go to illegal raves around Brighton, and this was mainly jungle music. The good old days!!!

Reading past interviews, it’s clear that you are a very spiritual person and utilise that part of yourself to expand your creativity. Have there been times where you get a creative block in the studio and if so, how do you overcome it?

Of course. Just like there’d be no rainy days without sun, no happy moments without sadness, no ying without yang! It’s all natural and in total harmony with life. I’ve learnt to deal with blocks better as I’ve become a more grounded, peaceful person (and as I’ve gotten older!). I don’t push it in the studio these days. If I’m not feeling it, I either do some mundane organisational tasks on my laptop, organising sample banks or sounds. Sometimes I just randomly record synths and save these for when I may be feeling more inspired. If nothing is working at all, I just leave! Get out and go into nature, which always brings me back to myself and inspires me.

You’ve come a long way in the 6 years you’ve been active in the industry. What were the biggest turning points in your career?

Hmm! Well, I’d say all the releases I’ve done have all been turning points in their own way. Some are bigger than others. A few of my successful EPs on Second State, including my “No Regrets” EP and “Pleasure Seeker”, where Pan-Pot did a remix themselves. My “Psilocybin Therapy” EP that I released on Monika Kruse’s label Terminal M on my 30th birthday in January got to number 4 in the Beatport charts, which is the highest I’ve been (so far!) Still aiming for that no.1 spot of course. I’ve had some amazing tours which have been turning points in themselves too. The first time I toured South America I played a few really great festivals in Colombia, for the Baum guys. These performances really broke me into the continent, and have allowed me to come back year after year!

Perhaps you could provide a couple of pointers for those of our readers who are just starting out in the industry?

Sure. Always stay true to yourself and your sound. Never try to copy another person or go with what’s fashionable, because people can always tell. Authenticity is power! Be yourself, and never stop believing in yourself – this is the key to success within the music industry. There’ll be 20 “No’s” for one “Yes”. It’s how you react to those “no’s” that determine how successful you will be in the end. Make music, if you already are a producer then just make even more music – step it up! If you don’t know how to make music yet, learn. It will always pay off.

Finally, what can we expect from you going forward? Any more tours or new music that our readers should look out for?

More music coming this year, an EP on my own label pretty soon, and my first appearance on Alan Fitzpatrick’s We Are The Brave in November! There’’ll be tours coming up for sure, probably back in the US. Australia and India whenever the pandemic allows this, and a return to South America for sure. I’m more excited for the future than ever before!

BEC’s DELIVERS STUNNING REMIX EP FOR THE COURSE’S ICONIC SINGLE ‘READY OR NOT’ STREAM/PURCHASE

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Grahame Farmer

Grahame Farmer’s love affair with electronic music goes back to the mid-90s when he first began to venture into the UK’s beloved rave culture, finding himself interlaced with some of the country’s most seminal club spaces. A trip to dance music’s anointed holy ground of Ibiza in 1997 then cemented his sense of purpose and laid the foundations for what was to come over the next few decades of his marriage to the music industry.

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