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Drum ‘n’ bass is entering a new era and Charlie Tee is in the thick of the action.
Coming off the back of a summer performing at festivals such as Glastonbury and Boomtown, the DJ, broadcaster and journalist recently became the first permanent female host of BBC Radio 1’s Drum & Bass Show. Taking over the prime time slot of 11:PM on Saturday night, she will showcase the most exciting and innovative sounds d’n’b has to offer across the genre’s full spectrum.
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Charlie Tee is committed to making dance music a safer and more diverse space – a topic she has written on previously for Mixmag – and this mindset prevails in her focus on unearthing new talents from underrepresented communities, whether that’s showcasing them in her sets, shows, or working with organisations such as Lady Of The House.
Her in-depth knowledge of a range of dance music sounds shone through in the seven-and-a-half years she spent holding down a Friday night residency on Kiss FM, and she’s also keeping that work going with the launch of her new multi-genre label Total.
We spoke to Charlie Tee and she curated us a playlist featuring the new stars of drum ‘n’ bass. Read and listen below..
How does it feel to have started your drum ‘n’ bass show on BBC Radio 1?
I felt such an array of emotions starting the show: ecstatic, as my incredible team (Grape) and I have been putting it together for months now, so it was great to finally get going. And a bit nervous..as we’re steering the show in a new direction, live in a prime time slot on Radio 1 on Saturday nights.
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What are you aiming to showcase with the show?
Sonically speaking, the full 360 spectrum of drum ‘n’ bass is what we’re showcasing and we’ve got SO many exciting new features to aid this: in addition to the D&B Mix & DNB 60 mix series, which we’ve kept, we now have Radio 1’s chilled drum ‘n’ bass mix.
We’ve also got four new features on rotation:
The 60 Second Send It – A 60 second freestyle challenge where we invite MCs, vocalists & artists to showcase their sound.
The Radio 1 Remix – where we ask an artist to do a d’n’b remix of a track that’s popping off.
6DNB’s of Separation – We give an artist the first and last tracks and they have to fill in the gaps, explaining their selections.
Double Drop – Pretty self explanatory, an artist comes to the studio and shows us their favourite double.
Drum ‘n’ bass has often been viewed as a boys’ club, but there’s a huge wave of women getting due recognition within the genre now, including yourself becoming the first female host of a d’n’b show on Radio 1. Are you excited about how the d’n’b scene is progressing at the moment?
I feel excited that we’re headed in the right direction for sure! But there’s no doubt we still have a lot of work to do. Representation is such an integral stage of progression and I feel we all have a responsibility to support and elevate artists from under represented groups. It’s something I’m really passionate about and will endeavour to use my platforms as much as I can to help this.
Read this next: Drum ‘n’ bass has a gender problem. Who’s going to fix it?
You’ve also launched your own label Total, what can you tell us about your plans for that?
I have! So Total is a multi-genre imprint, putting out feeling-focused records for the club. When I say feeling-focused, I don’t just mean downtempo, emotive stuff — think stand out records that grab your attention. Our most recent release was Matt Guy’s ‘Krupa’, which is a real high energy record and has had such a strong reaction in my sets this summer. We’re always looking for demos, so if you think your stuff fits the bill, send to email@example.com.
Can you tell us about the playlist you’ve put together?
We’ve got this incredible new wave of artists in the scene right now, all pushing the boundaries of the sound and it’s evolution. I feel like d’n’b’s got its raw, unpredictable culture back, and this playlist celebrates some of these artists. You’ll hear tracks from Nia Archives, A Little Sound, Bou, Bru-C, Vibe Chemistry, and more.
Tune into Charlie Tee on BBC Radio 1 every Saturday at 11:PM
Patrick Hinton is Mixmag’s Editor & Digital Director, follow him on Twitter
Written by: Tim Hopkins