Tue 3 May 2022 •
Interview with Lens (Hospital Records)
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The summer’s just around the corner and in less than 3 months from now, the thing we’ve been waiting for is finally about to go down. Let It Roll 2022! Hospitality will be taking over our brand new Eve’s Sanctum stage on Thursday and we’ve managed to talk to one of the hottest names of the moment, a stellar DJ and an up and coming producer at the same time, Lens.
Hi Ellen, we hope you’re well and thanks for taking the time to talk to us! How are you?
Feeling good, thanks, very excited for the summer. Thanks for having me!
You’re having quite a year thus far, as it’s been just a couple of weeks from releasing your first track “Love The Way” with Lally as well as putting together your very own Hospital Mixtape! How does it feel to have such a body of work out with your name next to it, let alone backed by one of the biggest Drum & Bass imprints?
It’s honestly been wild. I’m still in disbelief that it’s all happened. I’m extremely grateful to Hospital for giving me the opportunity, something I’d never think I’d get to do in a million years. Especially being such a fan of S.P.Y’s mixtape back in 2016.
It was such buzz to release amazing music from so many talented up and coming artists and for the mixtape to be a home for the Fade Black remix of Loa.
And of course having my first release on there shared with Lally, it’s a moment I’ll never forget.
You’ve started more or less the usual way, in your hometown, as a resident DJ at Volks, Brighton. What would you say was the most important lesson from that era that you’ve learned and helped you with your progress?
The main thing I’ve learnt is to be persistent. From a really young age I’ve been driven by dance music, I’ve always had a side hustle like joining the local radio station which kick started my love for finding new music. Since then I’ve never stopped.
I’ve fully immersed myself in drum and bass, I genuinely live and breathe it. I was constantly pushing myself to get involved in the scene, networking, going to raves, working on the door at events and learning as much as I could about mixing / producing. And slowly everything has started to come together.
Can you tell us more about your experience of hosting the Hospital Records’ infamous Rinse FM show?
Rinse was one of the stations I used to listen to growing up as a teen. It introduced me to Swamp 81. The different underground flavours and passion from the presenters used to be such an inspiration, so when Hospital asked me to host I was mad excited. Presenting definitely doesn’t come naturally to me, at the start I’d have to pop to the pub for a few pre-show beverages for some liquid courage haha. But I’ve found my groove and having the opportunity to share my love of finding new music is so much fun.
Having recorded quite a few guest mixes for the respected brands like Red Bull or Radio 1 to name but a few, you’ve definitely proven yourself as a great DJ, you’ve been also touring as Degs’ DJ for his live show. What’s the thing that gives you the biggest buzz when it comes to DJing and what’s inspiring you the most when you’re putting the mixes together?
It’s all about the vibe in the room. When the crowd reciprocates your energy the feeling is magical. That’s why I’m a huge fan of the smaller intimate venues. Sweaty raves are the best raves!
The majority of events I’ve played at have been amazing but there’s always those select few that are unforgettable, when you get the vibe right as a DJ, and take the crowd on a journey with you it’s the biggest buzz.
I get inspiration from listening back to old mixtapes or sets from the 90s. I’ve been listening to a lot of breaks and hardcore sets recently. There’s so much new music being released now which is amazing but the roots of dnb is where my inspiration lies.
During the pandemic, you’ve embraced regular live streams to keep in touch with people when live shows weren’t an option anymore. Is there anything new you would say you’ve learned during those times? And maybe anything in particular you prefer about streaming to actually playing out live?
Live streaming is what’s taught me to get really creative with my mixing.
I want my mixes to be unexpected and exciting and most importantly I want to surprise myself and keep it a challenge. So I spend countless hours listening and digging for tunes, burning old CDs, trailing and testing tunes together in different ways.
I think without livestreaming I may not have figured that out so soon as it’s very pressurising knowing your mix is going to be on the internet forever, so you want it to be great. Live streaming put me outside my comfort zone.
I can’t really say there’s anything I enjoy more about streaming than playing out live, but it sure was a life saver in lockdown, a good excuse to have a little rave up at home.
We’ve already touched upon the subject of your first release, that being said, is there more music we can expect from you in the foreseeable future?
I may or may not have something dropping in June…
If we’re not mistaken, this is going to be your first time coming to Let It Roll. What do you expect the festival to be and is there anything special you’re planning for your performance with Degs?
Yes, I’m a Let it Roll virgin! I’m buzzing to play at a festival I’ve heard such amazing things about. The set will be special for sure, we have a handful of exclusives to play from the both of us, but our best sets are where we wing it and go with the vibe.
That brings us to another, kind of obvious, question, but have you ever been to the Czech Republic before?
I’ve been to Prague twice before and absolutely loved it. I went with my boyfriend at the time when I was 18, we went to the legendary Storm club to see Mefjus and the next time we saw Teddy Killerz at Roxy. The scene out there is wicked, I’ve never actually played in the Czech Republic before so I’m buzzing for it.
Last, but not least, let’s have a quick shootout! Clubs or festivals?
Daytime or nighttime events?
Daytime events that go into the night.. Does that count?
90’s or 00’s Drum & Bass?
Mountains or beaches?
I’ve always been all about beaches but after going to Snowboxx and Snowbombing this year, I’ve been converted. I’m on the fence for this one!
Cats or dogs?
And that’s it, thanks again for your time and we can’t wait to see you on the festival in 3 months from now!