Bournemouth-born Flava D’s melodies reach beyond Garage, Hip Hop, Grime, and House. When it is about her musical career, her life looks like one-dimensional. She wanted to create music, always, that was the one thing she was confident about as a kid. Flava D was signed to Butterz in early 2013 and has released two critically acclaimed records for the label: ‘Hold On’ and ‘On My Mind’, a collaboration with Royal-T since then. She has also delivered a club smash ‘In The Dance’ for Formula Records in 2014. It has widened the scope for her as she explored her creative side to the fullest in the making of FABRICLIVE 88 in a matter of just six years. Flava D shared a fun fact that before she was even producing, she was a keen breakdancer in her teenage years. “My friends came up with the name ‘Flava’ and then added on the D, which stands for my name Flava D,” she states.
While growing up she was listening to music that was different from her friends. “I was never into mainstream radio, I was into underground music. My aunt played a big part in my introduction to UKG & dance music. She was always playing tape packs from the likes of DJ EZ, Tuff Jam, MJ Cole etc. It was from then onwards that I found myself gravitating towards that sound,” says Flava D who has established herself as a player serving in that furtive field where garage, grime and bassline music pass across. Music Plus caught up with her and over the electronic communication, she spoke about the incorporation of her music, being the core part of Butterz label, future projects, her upcoming debut in India and a lot more.
Tell us more about your sound and your production method? Does your production depend on your varying mood or it is just as calculative as it could be?
My current sound process is more versatile than ever. It really depends on what imaginative mood I am in at the time, and what type of environment I see myself playing it in. Usually, I’ll hear a melody in my head and then I’ll try and pencil it in on Ableton before it leaves my head. Often I’ll hum something into my phone if I can’t access my laptop, and go back to it later. Generally, I’ll start with melodies, then the drums and everything else follows.
My production style really does depend on the mood I am in. I don’t believe in forcing ideas. I think if you make an honest piece of work, you can connect with the listeners more. Sometimes, I will make a tune of a specific vibe to fit in a peak time set. Other times I might make a tune with more emotion that you can listen to whilst you’re driving next to a sunset.
You have put out releases across labels such as Butterz, Local Action, and Formula Records too in the past. How does it feel being on the label? Anything exciting in the pipeline?
My first release was with Butterz, with Hold on/Home. It was a really proud and educational moment in my career. It began a professional relationship with all of the guys I currently work with. As the years have gone by we have grown more into a family. Which has been really nice for me to have that security network and a crew of real friends where we look out for one another.
I am currently working on some of my most exciting projects yet! I am constructing my debut album, which I am really stoked about. It’s going to be more vocal based on a mixture of styles. There will be something on there for everyone. I have a huge announcement dropping this month too, so keep an eye out on my socials for that one!
Though electronic music has the biggest market in the global music scene right now. What was the idea behind choosing UK garage/grime? Do you think these genres can be the next big thing?
Right now in the English dance music scene, it seems garage and bassline are more popular than ever. If you look at the lineups on the festivals this year, you’ll notice there is a portion of bass music with a whole heap of acts from our scene. It’s great to see a lot of up comers getting recognition and the opportunities to play at big events. It maintains to show that there is definitely a high demand for this sound right now.
How apprehensive are you about your India debut? How do think the audience will grab your music in India?
I’m really stoked to be coming to India for my first time! I’ve always wanted to play here. From what I’ve gathered, I have a few fans that are into a mixture of my old and new music. I am going to try and fit in as much Flava D material into my sets as I can. I’m going to give the audience a mixture of everything in all things UKG & bass so they can experience that real British sound.
Name one record/album that changed your life radically?
One album that really changed my life is So Solid Crew – They Don’t Know. I bought it and fell in love with it. This album played a huge part in my early days of production, one particular track that has a special place in my heart is The Streets – Has It Come To This. I was always into soulful hip-hop that incorporated chopped up pianos. So, when I heard this track it felt like the best of both worlds all in one. I still find that tune therapeutic to this day.
Having played at some of the biggest festivals in the world such as Outlook Festival (Croatia), Glastonbury Festival (UK), Amsterdam Open Air, Arcadia Festival (UK) among others, Flava D likes to chill out as much as she can when she is not on tour. To finish our small yet considerable talks, we asked her what she likes to do most when she is not behind the turntables or producing. “Traveling as a DJ can be hectic at times and it’s easy to forget to look after yourself. I find that spending time with family, playing video games, cooking, skateboarding & meditating helps keep me balanced,” she goes offline.
Last but not the least, big ups to Mixtape for bringing her down for the multi-city tour in India. Flava D will spin at Summer House Cafe Delhi, as a part of #BoxoutWednesdays on 30 May, followed by the second leg in Mumbai on 1 June at Khar Social (Supported by EZ Riser), and the journey will end in Bengaluru at Fandom At Gilly’s Redefined on 2 June ( Supported by Oceantied).
Get amazed by Flava D’s mixing skills in this Boiler Room video where the queen of bass makes her first solo appearance.