Back at the start of February in 2012, I had been officially introduced to DJ Siobhan Bell (by way of London) at a Nail Porn party that we both attended at BUMP in Brixton. Fast forward to my wanderlust trip to New York in February of 2013, Bell had also been in attendance as a guest DJ for what I recall as Bible Study at the former If Mom Only Knew in the Lower East Side. As you can imagine, the coincidence became robust. I couldn’t get over the allure of all the odds during each winter. T’was real cooooool. *bad winter pun* and now she’s doing me the honor of a SS14 interview. Join in on our girl talk as Bell shares her bits about groupies, chicken wings, and spinning for Nasir Mazhar in 3, 2, 1…
Isis Nicole: Can we start with two truths and a lie?
Siobhan Bell: I have 23 tattoos, so far… I sew in my own weave, and I own a Jeep [which is] not really a lie just hasn’t happened yet!
IN: How do you make the most out of London?
SB: Have lots and lots of money.
IN: What’s your dream job?
SB: To own a hot wing truck with seven different hot wing varieties.
IN: Who’s your current crush?
SB: Just a little one on Rejji Snow.
IN: Which girl group would you have most likely been in, Cleopatra or 3LW?
SB: This is tough. I do love Cleopatra but defo I would have joined 3LW.
IN: What’s your favorite Favorite American food?
SB: Wingstop in New York!
IN: What’s your favorite thing to do in NYC besides eating Crown chicken and drinking Strawberita’s?
SB: [Chuckles.] That’s all I do, eat as much chicken and pizza… its hard not too. I’ve never seen so many options of fast food joints so I need to try everything.
IN: Worst party experience ever?
SB: When there’s a really shitty DJ [it] really hurts my vibe.
IN: Do lady DJ’s have groupies?
SB: Hell yes.
IN: Have you ever hooked up with one?
IN: Have you tried any dating apps like Tinder?
SB: [Laughs.] Yeah I actually signed up to Tinder when I was in New York just for jokes, then I came back to London had to delete it ‘cause I kept seeing people I knew on there. Too embarrassing.
IN: Can you describe your most humble moment?
SB: I’m always humble.
IN: What’s considerably the biggest misconception about DJ’s?
SB: ‘Cause I’m a girl, that I can’t DJ. [Laughs] I can very well better then some men.
IN: What is your background?
SB: I started off studying Law and just couldn’t concentrate. I knew I was meant to be something else so I went into PR, as I’m a social butterfly, and was really good at networking. I interned at public relation companies and Atlantic Records [but] I still didn’t feel a connection. While I was figuring out what I actually wanted to do and be I took on DJing as a hobby. My first public DJ set was every Sunday at Niketown, and from there things just kept coming. I loved it!
IN: How did you get introduced to Niketown?
SB: I literally just walked in the store and asked to DJ simple as that!
IN: Your frequent commute goes from London to NYC. What’s it like DJing in both the USA and the UK?
SB: I’ve only visited New York and Washington D.C. so I haven’t really explored enough, but New York is amazing with its cultures within different parts. London is of course my home. I love the diverse music we have such as Grime, House, Jungle, Garage and Drum and Bass.
IN: Have you performed in other places like Paris or Berlin?
SB: So far I have DJ’d in Dubai, Amsterdam, Paris and of course NY but I will definitely be traveling more. I really want to go to Atlanta.
IN: Do you prefer playing at a lowkey party or a fashion show?
SB: I like both. Fashion stuff are really cute but I can turn up properly at a party and make people twerk.
IN: What was it like spinning for fashion designer Nasir Mazhar?
SB: It was really amazing, I love Nasir! I was excited and nervous when he asked. I actually thought I would just be DJing in the background somewhere but I was put in the show and in his clothing.
IN: Are you a designer for Cat Footwear?
SB: I’m not a designer no, but I did submit a design and they show me lots of love by providing me with boots.
IN: And lastly, what is your definition of success?
SB: To have patience because if you’re working hard it will come back to you sooner or later.
Without any official approach but in a momentous way, an artist and her craft dawns on me. DJ, video producer, and music journalist, Dreea Pavel. I was lurking on BUMP (kind of missing the party scene in London) when I saw they posted this video of a beautiful brown face adorned in a gold headpiece. I was like, ‘who dat?!” The Romani wonder who’s now a Berlin babe, took some time out to introduce herself to me via the Internet. She talks about her position with VICE x adidas Originals, the importance of building a brand, DJing for Zebra Katz, how her home is her sanctuary, and so so more after the jump!
Name Dreea Pavel Hometown Berlin
Most Known For My writing and my skill to connect the right people.
Unknown For My mean cooking. Currently on your playlist Burial, Shlohmo, and Death Grips amongst many other.
Weirdest thing that’s ever happened to you ? So so many [for example] talking to a random dude in my friends kitchen in L.E.S. and remembering that he was the waiter that served me a slice of pizza and a glass of red wine on Brunswick Street in Melbourne, Australia in 2005.
Least favorite trend(s)? The rainbow hair era was kind of corny to me. Other than that, I don’t really care as long as people look authentic. If you follow a trend just to look like any other girl on Tumblr, you really don’t get what expression is about. Whatever you do, make sure you are not a copycat and if you must be, remember to give credit.
Claim To Fame (Laughs) I am not famous. I just do my work the best way I can. I work very hard on myself every day, and I came a long way.
I actually learned about you through BUMP. When did you discover your passion for both journalism and music? Well, shout out to BUMP and my man Mani! Every single person in my family is a musician. I spent my childhood between my parents’ tours and shows, running around backstage trying on their dancers’ clothes, sleeping and drooling on a dancer’s lap while my mom was still singing.
I am of Romani descent and music just runs through our veins. We are an opressed people with a strong urge to express ourselves. I never really went to Kindergarden like that, but my dad was teaching me reading and writing by making me learn poems by heart. I discovered rap when I was like six or seven and became obsessed with it because of my love for poetry. Ask any of my friends, I know the lyrics to many, many rap songs!
My parents never wanted me to be an artist because they knew the hardships of it but I also always really loved writing so I became a music journalist. It was satisfying my thirst for knowledge and it was still within music so I had all I needed around me. My first interview was with the late G.U.R.U. of Gangstarr when I was 15. I also have a degree in Translation and tried to work as an English teacher before but it was the most unnatural thing I have ever done. I felt like I was suffocating my passions so I quit and did my own thing. Now I am observing how success leads me towards my future. The first time I DJ’ed was when I opened up for Jesse Boykins III in Berlin, next thing you know I’m on stage as the DJ support for Zebra Katz.
What do you do for adidas and Vice? I am a contributor for their blog News For Original Girls where I interview artists I find interesting and that fit within the adidas Originals marketing target. Me and my girls who are both called Michal, among many others, work on this blog and also run a website founded by my homegirls Mayra Fateh and Michal Tesler called Eve Without Adam which is a pretty big lifestyle platform based in Berlin. I also work as a copywriter for another adidas campaign called #represent. Vice won the pitch and executes these projects.
How essential is something like creating a foundation and brand in a time where everything is diy, instant, and virtual? Honestly, I believe that once you start doing your own thing, you form a brand/foundation regardless. It is in the nature of every artistic thinking mind to create. It certainly is essential because people need to know what you stand for and where you’re trying to go with what you create. It is like a new company asking investors to fund their ideas - you MUST have a concept, just that in these days your portfolio grows publicly. In a blog, on your Facebook, [by] word of mouth and so on. Branding is almost everything.
There’s tons of little celebrities out there that have no actual skills, but they know how to dress their a** off or they know how to be in the right place at the right time or they can be used well for other brands’ marketing. You have to have something going for you. Realize your craft and set it free. That is what my older brothers and sisters told me and what worked best for me so far.
40oz VAN once tweeted: If you’re not digitally hustling and taking advantage of all online social networks available, you shouldn’t be allowed Internet.” This was written in general, but do you think there’s some truth to this chirp for cyber obsessive youth? 40oz Van (Joel Fuller) definitely built his own empire, I witnessed it personally. That entire scene created a movement including many artists that are really big today. Joel created a buzz in the city and used online platforms to enhance his situation. He blew up partly because of the nude ladies on his blog.
There certainly is a lot of truth behind this statement. Without the internet you would have maybe never found a way to interview me, you know? I just think that there should be balance. The internet is a tool that you should know how to use. It should never use you. It is virtual and this adjective “virtual” was created to distinguish it from everything that is real. It is not real and people need to understand that. The Cyber obsessive youth is the biggest miracle, ever. My generation was not raised with internet or cellphones. I come from a different era. We had to learn how to use the internet whereas the youth now just thinks that it is normal to have it and use it nonstop. I believe it lead people way too far away from the roots of being human and caused an unbridgeable gap between the generations.
The internet fools the youth and makes them believe it is all about getting famous. It is an illusion. You will be very lost out there if you don’t have real intelligence as opposed to acquired knowledge. So to sum this up, I will say this: You can hustle digitally, be social online as much as you want to, but there better be fire behind all that smoke. I mean, a lot of people know my face for various reasons but I really feel kind of defeated when they ask me what I actually do. That’s wack. People should know me for my professional skills and nothing else. The internet is a giant promo-monster but unlike the beliefs of many, I DO think there is such thing as bad PR. Not all PR is good PR and that is where you have to be really careful with the internet.
I checked out your collective Bone Sauvage mix SAUVAGΞ2DABONΞ and “Shot Caller” played! I still love that song. Are you a shot caller? And do you and Jazmin DJ together? Thanks for checking us out. Jazmin is my sistah for life. I learned so much from her. We shoot videos together, we started Djing together, we’re a real money team. She moved back home to the Bay though. Bone Sauvage went international. She is doing her thing in Cali and I hold it down over here but we still use the same name, of course. As far as being a shot caller…I don’t know. (Laughs!) I am who I am. I am Dreea and some people happen to find me inspiring which I really appreciate. Just like I appreciate all the people that inspire me every day.
How do you make the most out of living in Berlin? Life here is sweet now. I used to hate Berlin when I first moved out here in 2006. I thought everybody was cold and ugly. I constantly went back to New York but Berlin changed so much. I can get a good burrito here now! This city is really green and has beautiful, magical spots. It is filled with interesting people and is almost bulls***-free. I take a lot of trips to all the pretty lakes around the city or to the Peacock Island. I love my hood. 44 stand up! I ride my bike around here, shop at all the arabic stores, have dinner parties. Life here is laid back, man. Don’t get me wrong, we all hustle hard but when we do take some time off, we know how to live the good life.
Where is your favorite place to go for peace of mind? My house. Me and Jazmin shot the video to a song called "Kleinigkeiten" for my friends and German Pop Stars Chima & Lary in this room, Melo X produced the "Love Triangle" in here. I produced Jesse Boykins III video to "Zoner" here and the list goes on. It is a place with a lot of history but it is super chill. In the summertime I hang out on my roof terrace. It is quiet and pretty out there with all the plants and the special person that is taking care of them. My house is my spiritual sanctuary.
What has been the most rewarding/challenging experience in your career? The most rewarding part of my career? Phew.. I am not at all where I want to be yet. The experiences I have had so far with all the people I met in the industry or in private are my rewards and my biggest challenges at the same time. Balancing out professional and private matters and the things I’ve learned doing, that was my biggest challenge. I have definitely learned to not mix these two. Even though I’ve always known that and also stuck to it, I slipped once and that was not a good look for me. It was one tough challenge. Still is.
The industry is really disgusting in many ways. You will need thick skin. People will do the most to get you out the way, even when you are not even aiming for the pole position. My career made me grow and sent me all around the world which is a reward but the challenge was definitely all the snakes and fake phonies. And living with very little money at times.
Would you rather your hair be made of diamonds or your hands be made of gold? Neither. My hair is made of snakes (laughs!) It has a life of its own.
Who’s the last person/or people you made an impact on? I made an impact on myself! I changed a lot into a direction that I really enjoy and love. Also on all the artists I worked with, am or was friends with. I have definitely contributed to the way some people talk, walk and dress. I also seem to have some crazy effect on my ex-boyfriends. They all become really good, successful men. I want to leave a legacy though. Not an impact.
What do you want to be remembered for this year and in the future? For this year, I want to be remembered as that one woman with the movement on her shoulders. For the future, I just want people to remember me as a unique mind. People can talk all the s*** they want about me, really, they don’t have to understand me they can judge me, it’s whatever really but I want the world to acknowledge me for my inimitability.
Since I like to call Suki Bedeauxmy aunt she insists on calling me nephew due to her liking of Snoop Dogg. But this interview isn’t really about that part of our acquaintance. This interview is about how Suki got into becoming a DJ, modeling for Meat, making a diss track to her ex, and squirting glitter. She was apart of THE REAL HEAT, back when Myspace was poppin!! AND up on that GIF ish when they were still titled ‘gifts’?!! She’s also been rocking the locks and bangs since before Rih Rih did. But anyway, see what the lovely lady who gets the London parties started had to share with the world after the jump!
Most Known For Being in The Real Heat, producing & DJing.
Unknown For Baking Cakes.
Sexiest thing ever done for you The sexiest thing someone has ever done for me so far was when when my friend Nick whipped off his top while playing a fantastic guitar solo on my new single “Him & Me”. My ex used to dance around in his underpants for me as well. That was sexy!
Devices you must have I couldn’t choose one. All the devices I use are essential to my life, from my studio equipment to my Blackberry.
Currently on your playlist I’m listening to Akon Konkrete Jungle Mixtape while I’m answering these questions and I just got Simian Mobile Disco You’re Love Ain’t Fair EP. Santigold’s new album is sick as well; Mr. Mitch, DOK, Medicine8, and Bonde Do Role are rocking my DJ box right now too.
Weirdest thing that’s ever happened to you Isn’t life just weird (laughs.)
Favorite place(s) to hangout My favorite places are home in the studio or in a good night club.
Least favorite trend(s) Hmm I dunno. I don’t really keep up with trends.
I was first introduced to you in Myspace days as a member of The Real Heat. As you already know, “Come We Go” was my jam and I was amazed by the ladypat visuals. Now your doing your thing as a DJ. What inspired you to do so? I always loved playing music and started out playing at friends parties. I got my first DJ residency in a strip club and me and my sister Zaza started Real Hot DJs as an off shoot of The Real Heat. Then I started doing it on my own, getting more gigs, and now I’m playing every Wednesday 10pm - 12am GMT on Nasty Fm.
What was it like crossing over from girl group to becoming a solo artist, a DJ in fact? I love singing with my sisters but it’s fun to do my own thing too. When the band took a break I had all this time on my hands. When I started Djing I was already in the band so I put more energy into DJing and producing my own music. I’ve put out a mixtape a few months ago which can be downloaded for free from my website, and my first single is coming out soon. We just shot the video. It’s all really exciting!
How do you determine what your going to mix? What inspires your art? I tend to go with my mood and tell a story with my selections. When I’m in the clubs I just read the crowd and love getting people dancing.
Okay, so I don’t know if this is too personal or if it’s uncomfortable, just ignore the question if you don’t want to answer but what was the whole Bitch Boy thing you were flooding Twitter about? It’s okay I put it out there so I don’t mind talking about it. “Bitch Boy” is basically a diss track to my ex boyfriend. It was about a week after I’d dumped him for some wasteman behavior. Tictac had witnessed it all and channelled my anger that day and came with some fire lyrics and we cut the track. He’s put a hole in my heart so I just wanted to bruise his ego a little to tell the truth. It felt right at the time..I’ve spoken to him since and he’s got the message. We’re both over it now.
What’s the most annoying thing(s) people do to DJ’s? Asking questions when I blatantly can’t hear them over the music. A lot of DJ’s find requests annoying but I don’t mind. If I got it, I’ll play it.
Would you rather sexually squirt glitter or diamonds? (Laughs!) Omg you’re a joker! Glitter all the way!
You also dabble in modeling! Catwalk for Meat?! Being photographed by Alis Pelleschi?! Tell me more! Ahh yes they’re both amazing to work with! Modeling for Meat was my first catwalk. It was such a fun day! I got oiled up by two girls and they slid me into my costume. Modeling is great fun.
Do you get your nailsdid or have any favorite nail artist(s)? I’ve had my nails did a couple of times but it gets in the way of playing the piano and djing and the patterns get chipped and all sorts. I just paint them myself to keep them looking pretty and presentable.
What would you say has been your biggest challenge this far, and what are you doing to overcome it? My biggest challenge has been to quit smoking..and I haven’t done anything about it (hangs head in shame).
How do you make the most out of living in London and how would you describe its scene(s)? Being a musician it’s perfect to live in london ‘cos this is where its at! There’s so many scenes and cultures and it’s not about how you fit in it’s how you stand out!
What do you want to be remembered for this year and in the future? I want to be remembered for the music I put out there, keeping it real, and staying true to who I am and what I believe in. [Also for] spreading love and making people dance with happy faces and saving the planet from bullshit.