TASHA's extensive measure of talent comes spread across a multitude of engagement within music that dedicates itself to make people dance. Since first coming through in the Drum & Bass scene via DJ Storm (!) - TASHA has made a name for herself internationally as a DJ, promoter and label head. Her dedication to being a platform for DJ's and producers focused on club-ready tracks has seen her Neighbourhood label run music from Randomer, Cadans, Kamikaze Space Programme and Forest Drive West. Similarly, Neighbourhood's physical club space has been a host to performances to names such as Tessela, A Made Up Sound, Ben Sims, Stenny, Paleman (to name a few).
With her diary currently filled with radio and performances at venues such as fabric, FOLD, Corsica, Phonox, Griessmuehle and ://about blank, Raw Addictions is massively excited to hear her sound fill Rough Trade's space.
It’s known that you’re from a drum and bass background, and in your interview for Truancy you mention a few other notable names in the techno community that also came from drum and bass. Sometimes I think it’s easy to think that the two sounds are worlds apart. What is it do you think that appeals to people about this sort of music that come from that background? What appeals to you personally and what connections (if any) does it have with drum + bass?
There is a different twist to the sound and the production. I feel the production can be more sophisticated because producing drum & bass is much more precise and clean and lets face it, more difficult! Also the arrangement can be very different and less loopy I guess. The sounds used are very different as well. I love all the techno I play by producers from all different backgrounds but I also find it quite refreshing. I just collaborated with one of the producers on my label and our tune definitely has some drum & bass sounds, we created ourselves, i guess it's our roots and what we like. The best music takes inspiration from all different genres and sounds.
You’ve just released a track on long-time player Ben Sims’ label. Talk us through that. How do you approach your time in the studio at the moment?
Ben hit me up and asked if I had any tunes to send him for the compilation. I was very touched indeed. I was working on a new idea that I thought would work and he was feeling it. I was actually spending my summer in Berlin at the time so I spent everyday working on it and was actually really inspired through going out a lot and listening to sets. But Freddy K’s closing at Berghain was one I came back from and was inspired massively more as a DJ but also I got home and cracked on with the tune. I spent a lot of time on the mixdown on that one as well. At the moment I have very small windows of time to get in the studio but it is a good thing as I don't have much time to think too much about what i'm going to create, I just create whatever i'm feeling in that moment of time.
Can you describe your first DJing experience?
My first DJing experience, proper one was playing at the drum & bass party ‘Presha’ (which I later was promoter of) at my university - Surrey. I was nervous as hell but just went for it! I was dying to start playing out and this was a perfect kind of safe space to cut my teeth, and all my friends were always there and to be honest, even now I am always much more nervous when all my friends are going to be at one of my gigs than when they're not!!
Your style seems quite technical in terms of phrase/beatmatching and layering/blending. Would you agree/disgaree? How do you approach your DJ sets and radio these days?
I guess so! Phrases are quite a big thing when mixing drum & bass, and I apply that to techno! I like to do long mixes as well, not all the time, but as you say in terms of the layering and blending - I get a lot of enjoyment out of doing that! I don’t like to plan too much. In fact I don’t ever really. I know roughly what I want to play, I have to be completely in the moment when I play out. For radio it’s the opposite, I will plan my show, the sections of the show and what I want to play and talk about, where I will interview and play a guest mix. So my approach to radio is very different. For the last Rinse show I did in November, I created a playlist of everything i wanted to play in the hour I had.
When you’re DJing, how often are you thinking about the crowd and how often are you thinking about your own personal exploration and enjoyment of the music that you’re playing? Is there something you’re looking to achieve specifically when playing?
It’s a combination of the two really. I have played sets where I was totally feeding off the crowds energy as it was so electric, I guess they were feeding off what I was playing so it was kind of a give and take thing. But also sometimes you can feel, particularly if I’m banging it out hard and that’s going off, then I want to chill it out a bit and take it a bit deeper, and have a breather, if you focus too much on what they crowd are thinking rather than taking them with you on the journey and them sticking with you it can go a bit tits up! I don’t like to play just one style of techno I like to take it up and down and all around. So if they stay with me and get it that’s fantastic but it’s also important to see what they are vibing off and keep them with you but not be afraid to take it in different directions! If i'm not personally enjoying the music, how are the crowd going to!!
You seem to be quite active in Germany/Berlin at the moment (and further afield). I noticed you played Griessmuehle on NYE - how did that go?
I love playing in Berlin, the promoters programme well, according to what we all play rather than how well known we are, which I love. Griessmuehle was so sick, I was very relaxed and in the zone and I came on after my friend Willow who had it bubbling nicely with some old Klockworks and Paul Woolford. The 3 hours flew by and the vibe was wicked, I thoroughly enjoyed it!
Do you approach these bookings any differently than when you’re on home turf (at Neighbourhood, for example). If so, how?
I might pack a different bag of records to what i play at Neighbourhood, particularly if i'm warming up at Neighbourhood and playing at 6am in Berlin or wherever else. It will also depend on who else is playing on the line up, what kind of set i am going to be coming on after and before... So it doesn't matter if i'm on home turf or not really.
Any tips for what 2019 might bring for you as a DJ or any artists you’re backing at the moment to keep an eye on?
I have a lot of bookings in the diary, which I am excited about and I am excited to explore more dance floors in the UK! Particularly excited about playing for you guys and my first time in Sheffield at Hope Works in March. I am very much into Forest Drive West and have just released his music on Neighbourhood. My friend introduced me to Cocktail Party Effect's music the other day, which i was pretty blown away by so i'm intrigued to hear more.