Celebrating 20 plus years since she first stood behind the turntables, Rebekah has established herself as one of the leading exponents of techno currently operating on the global circuit. Her love affair with the harder sounds stretches back to the legendary Que Club in her hometown of Birmingham where she drew influence from the likes of Dave Clarke, Derrick Carter, Richie Hawtin and Billy Nasty.
Every artist, regardless of their discipline, needs to evolve. In fact, it is something inherent within creatives. The need to push the envelope, have new experiences, and share new impulses is deep-rooted, and yearns to be nurtured. That is the position Rebekah found herself in during the early stages of 2016, fast forward to the end of 2018 and we see her busier than after having launched her label/event brand called Elements, debuted her Live show at ADE and continued to tour relentlessly playing both solo and on carefully selected back-to-back performances with Paula Temple.
This weekend Rebekah returns to the United States for three back-to-back dates that will see her perform in Minneapolis on Thursday, November 29th, followed by San Francisco for Robot Ears on Friday, November 30th and finally with WORK by 6AM and Synthetik Minds in Los Angeles on Saturday, December 1st
To believe in Rebekah’s music is to believe in the harder, raw side of techno, and that is sound very dear to our heart. It is with this in mind that we took the opportunity to not only bring her back to Los Angeles but also to have a chat ahead of her upcoming U.S. gigs.
Hello Rebekah, thank you for taking the time to chat with us ahead of your return to the States! I know it’s been a very busy year for you with so many different projects you’re involved in! What have been some of your highlights from this busy 2018?
The craziest gig this year was playing B2B with Paula Temple at Dour Festival in Belgium… people were climbing up the rigging, the security was raving alongside the crowd, it was just insane! Playing all of my all-night-long sets this year have also been highlights as I love playing longer sets, really getting into a groove and getting to play all of my favourite records. Playing fully live at ADE this year was also stand out for me on a personal level. At the time I was nervous as hell, it was like the first time I DJ’ed and I had anxiety, but once it was over it was another challenge and goal I had overcome.
Congratulations on everything that is happening with Elements! Taking on this project must have added a lot of workload on your plate. Can you tell us a little bit about how the idea fo Elements was first born and how you feel the project is coming along thus far?
Elements started out as a label just for my own music but it has grown into a label to also showcase new up and coming talent and other producers who I respect and fit the Elements ethos. It’s also more than just a label by bringing in another art form through Malika Maria Atw0rk’s visual art. She films all her own material and it’s another area that the concept was built around. For me, it’s the parties where everything comes together. Its how we envision a techno party to be – what makes the experience of techno and visuals there are in contrast to any other dance music genre.
Elements is a project that combines music releases, events and a radio show. That is on top of your own production and touring schedule and, of course, personal life. How do you keep track of everything you have going on? Any tricks and advice you could share with us on how you remain focused?
Coffee! I think the biggest thing is to have two or three things on the go but no more, things will suffer or just take longer if there is more than that. I still don’t have management so a lot of the ideas are my own – which is something that I thoroughly enjoy and find empowering to be able to do and create – but sometimes it would be easier if I had someone helping me manage everything, or at least to keep me organised on my deadlines.
What have been some of the challenges you have faced with the Elements project and how have you worked to overcome them thus far?
Mainly it’s having the time to get the releases ready to put out whilst I have all my other projects on the go… I wish I had more time!
You launched your Live show at ADE this year, which follows from the hybrid set-up you had also used in the past. What does your live set-up consist of right now?
I’m using a MacBook Pro and Ableton Live with an Akai APC 40MK2, a 6U Modular system with Arturia’s Beatstep Pro, Roland VTR, Shure SM-58, Boss Reverb R6 peddle, RME UCX sound card. It’s the most compact set up I could chose, but I still have to bring in a hardware compressor for the master out for shows next year and I’m interested in swapping the laptop for Dave Smith’s Toriaz.
Musically, what can fans expect from your live sets versus your regular sets?
It’s actually not as hard musically as my DJ sets due to the fact that my productions aren’t as hard and I wanted to reflect that within my Live set. I hardly play any of my own music in a DJ set, partly due to being sick of the track after spending hours mixing it down. The live is a way to play all my own music but to also remix it in a way that I get to enjoy it and break down the structures that I know so well, which has given the tracks a second life for me.
Is there another live techno act that inspired you in particular to launch this live set project?
Ansome has been my biggest inspiration. I love how he works his modular setup, he makes it look very easy, and his performance is really punk too. I knew my sound would be different to his as we create different styles of techno, but the modular is limitless in what you want to get out of it and how you tailor make your instrument to suit your specific needs.
Your back-to-back sets with Paula Temple have also been getting a lot of praise. I had the pleasure to witness the one at Awakenings HARD night during ADE, which was killer. I am sure a lot of people will agree that you two have fantastic chemistry behind the decks. What about Paula makes her the ideal partner for this b2b relationship behind the decks?
Paula is just an amazing person, she’s grounded, passionate and very playful when approaching her DJ sets and I think the listener can connect with that. This was a time for us to enjoy the sets together and share music with one another.
Are there any other artists you see yourself playing b2b with in the future?
Ansome and I are in talks about playing fully live together for some shows next year, not strictly a B2B but we know what we want to do and what we will bring with the concept of ‘four hands are better than two’ when playing live!
Let’s talk about the upcoming gigs you will be playing in the States. Are you looking forward to being back?
Of course! The three cities I’m visiting I really enjoy for different reasons. It’s great to meet people again after a few years and also to see how things have progressed with the scene.
You’ve been playing the States for quite some time now. Do you feel the techno scene has progressed during this time? How so?
Yes for sure. There are more cities that I am playing at that are really grasping vibe of the harder sounds and I always think the history is there for techno, but as the generations change there can be a few years where the younger generations just isn’t into it as much. I am seeing more techno lineups at the bigger festivals and not just the usual big names – festivals are taking chances on the more underground DJs. This is usually a good indicator.
Other than the parties themselves, what else do you look forward to when coming back to the States and from these upcoming gigs in particular?
I love coming to the US, I think its something to do with how much American culture I was exposed to during my childhood and early teens. I would read a lot of Point Horror and Stephen King books, and they were always set in the US. My favourite TV shows would be American. I pretty much wanted to be American when I was young… (laughs) I was always trying to escape from being myself! When I come to visit I love to go and soak up the energy, to walk around the cities, to try new vegan places to eat, tracking down some supplements at Whole Foods… this is usually my standard trip protocol!
I love that you’re very health-conscious, which is important in our industry and with a touring lifestyle. How do you keep in shape and healthy while on the road?
A few years back I was doing a lot of CrossFit and eating mainly a plant-based diet. I had already stopped drinking and partying, so even cutting down on that has kept me fairly healthy. 18 months ago I got injured, or rather CrossFit accelerated an underlying condition with my right hip, so had to step back from CrossFit. Nowadays I am going to the gym, watching what I eat to lean out a little and working on getting my hip pain free.
You’re an outspoken vegan so I have to ask you this: what’s your favourite vegan dish?
Unfortunately, I am still a vegetarian. I was vegan for 3 years and then went back to being vegetarian, no reasons other than being selfish as I wanted to see how my body responded to dairy protein, and from then its been in and out of being vegan again. My favourite vegan dish currently is the Beyond Burger which I have only just tried, I was crazy for them for a few weeks but now have limited myself to a couple per week!
I also saw you’ve been on an impossible burger hunt recently. Where have you had your favorite impossible burger so far?
I’ve only tried this once, the last time I was in Brooklyn I found a place that did the burger and I was blown away with the taste and texture… it’s so close to meat! I will be aiming to have a few of these this coming weekend!
Alright, we’ll let you go and look forward to having you here in Los Angeles with us. Any last message for your California fans ahead of the SF and LA gigs?
Just that I’m looking forward to playing and raving with everyone!