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Weaponised Dancefloors ™

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WORKWEAR

Our next guest on Bleached Club is house producer WORKWEAR. After several years playing in bands, gigging around the south and getting involved in various creative projects across London, Beth is now fine tuning her production skills into house music. We asked her about what makes dance music so special ahead of her guest appearance next Monday.
April 21, 2021
Chickie

Brighton-born WORKWEAR has had music pulsating through her bones quite literally since the womb: ‘as a baby my mum used to play me classical music, but my dad was a massive 90s raver,’ she tells me. ‘He would play trance music to me inside my mum’s tummy!’ Beth channelled this into whatever she could at school, despite the fact that she could never read music. ‘It just doesn't go in my brain,’ she laughs. ‘My piano teacher got so frustrated that he refused to teach me anymore, so I took the drums up instead.’ She was introduced to production early on, too: ‘Our school happened to have this guy that taught music tech so he offered to teach me and my mate Charlie, like really old school Logic. We must’ve been about thirteen, fourteen.’ Even after spending the following years playing guitar and drums with her former band, Gospel, Beth’s love for electronic music has never faded. ‘When I listen to 90s house and like trance music I feel really – I feel at home with it.’

For WORKWEAR, it’s the community aspect of electronic music that sets it apart from her other musical endeavours. ‘Electronic music, there’s… something about it.  Some of it's so simple yet it's almost addictive, it's really weird. It just doesn't age like some bands and stuff, it’s sort of a separate thing that’s more like a community, a feeling …’ Of course, the past year has compromised that communal aspect of music we all love, turning it into a much more solitary experience. ‘It has been difficult,’ she says. ‘I normally go to loads festivals and stuff like that in the community. Enjoying music with other people, I miss that.’ Discovering new producers and DJs has been different due to the fact that we’ve had no dancefloors: ‘It’s different when you're listening to it in your flat, on your headphones. There are so many artists where we'd probably see them at festival or a at a night but instead, you’re not experiencing their music in the way it is on the dancefloors. It's almost tribal; you’re on your own but you're also part of something far bigger, which is so…’ she struggles for the right words: ‘I think it’s fucking beautiful,’ she laughs. ‘Electronic music, what does it do to you?! I’m getting emotional!’

Her most recent track, ‘People Together’, which premiered on Les Yeux Orange in September, is clearly an ode to those pre-pandemic nights she so misses. A dreamy house track, its warm basslines are immersive and otherworldly, like a luxurious soundtrack to some cosmic paradise. Her next track ‘Where Did They Go?’, premiering on Clandestino on 30th April, is even more dreamy, featuring glistening hi-hats and some shimmering melodies. ‘They came together in an afternoon,’ she tells me. ‘They're the two tracks that I’ve entirely mixed myself and stuff. So it feels more like, my baby.’ The track titles indicate a lust for community during these isolating times. Yet ironically, the lockdown itself has given Beth the time to work on her own production style and develop her sound. ‘I wrote loads of songs cause we literally couldn’t do anything and I was at home in the middle of the countryside,’ she recalls. ‘I had all my gear set up there, so in the evenings I would just go upstairs and just make music for the weekend.’ As a result, WORKWEAR has a lot of diverse material awaiting release.

Of course isolation hasn’t been easy for everyone, but Beth has maintained a practical and curious approach of her own. ‘Every time you create something you learn more stuff,’ she tells me. ‘I like to throw myself in at the deep end and work out how to do things. That’s how I approached a lot of it [at the start] – I just bought myself some DJ gear and I commit to something and work out how to do it [sic].’ Her impressive DIY-attitude means that alongside her other musical talents, she has multiple strings to her bow, having studied graphics at university, and taught herself mixing and mastering. In a scene which is so male-dominated, her confident mentality is indispensable, something which she is all about sharing. ‘There’s some cool stuff at the moment, like there's women's producers groups where they’ve got a discord and anybody can join, you know if you're a DJ or whatever,’ she says. ‘It’s a safe space and I think people are quite [isolated] so it's actually creating these communities of women where people are sharing and supporting one another without necessarily any male input or whatever. Everything has more power in a bigger group of people, right?’

Even outside of music, Beth collaborates with those across the creative industries in her projects. ‘I've collaborated with friends who are designers, like one of my mates did some sewing and stitched my logo and scanned it in and created artwork from it,’ she says. ‘We’re all collaborating with people who do creative stuff, building a wider community and supporting each other.’ Being a keen ‘playlister’ (‘I make a LOT of Spotify playlists’), she is also constantly sharing music with friends outside of her creative networks. ‘I always send stuff to my mates for feedback, because I want people who will just be a listener,’ she says. ‘It’s important ask from someone who isn’t in design or music to actually get an honest, sort of more raw opinion.’

On Monday, we can expect to hear some of WORKWEAR’s more funky and upbeat house selections as she joins us live on our next episode of Bleached Club. In the meantime, check out her guest mix for SUPER Bleached series. ‘Where Did They Go?’ is premiering on Clandestino (via Soundcloud) on 30th April.

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