Belle and Bex are the DJ duo you’ll be queueing round the block for, with their ethnic influences (Belle is Puerto Rican, Bex is French and Sri Lankan), fresh remixes and surprising songs to end the night. After working in nightclubs way back in the early 2000s, the pair took to the decks themselves and have proved seriously popular with East London crowds, with a residency at Zombie Soundsystem and an EP due any day now. We caught up with Belle ahead of their much anticipated set at InStylerama, our night of food, fashion and free beauty treatments (you’re going to want to buy your tickets here now, trust us). Here’s what they had to say about summer bangers, slow jams and what it’s like to be a female behind the decks.
How did Belle and Bex come about?
We both used to work in clubs around London, which is actually how we met in 2005. After work we would catch up on the dancefloor, and eventually we both had our eye on the DJ booth. We put some practice in and threw ourselves out there.
So what makes you different from other DJ duos?
The combination of our origins is pretty unique for starters, I am Puerto Rican and Bex is French/Sri-Lankan...and though we both grew up on different sides of the world we were doing similar things - when we met in London our partnership formed very naturally. There is always an ethnic feel in our sets, too.
What’s it like breaking into the UK DJ scene?
It’s more competitive here because so many people come to try and make it. England is the home of so many iconic clubs, promoters and artists, and UK clubbers really know their stuff!
Is it harder being female?
To be honest, we can’t complain or truly say we have had any bad experiences. There’s no denying the industry is male dominated, but we don’t really ever see it being an issue. I think that if you play good music and have good skills people eventually stop looking at you as being female but first and foremost a good DJ.
So what’s the best song to kick off a night?
At the moment we love Alright (Doorly Remix) by Fear of Dawn ft. Boswell, it goes down really well no matter when you play it.
And to finish?
Ooooh we can’t reveal – it’s a surprise to us as much as the crowd! You can find out when we play Instylerama, or Ministry of Sound for their Halloween special.
What’s been your song of the summer?
That’s a hard one! There have been a few. We’ve had Closed Eyes by Alex Bizzaro on repeat, which came out on Zombie Soundsystem. Dave Seaman’s Dancing in Tongues is definitely one we also love.
What are your feelings on slow jams?
In the right moment a slow song can really enhance the night. For example, we love 58 BMP by Tensnake ft. Fiora that we’ll definitely drop if it flows into our set. If the crowd see that you love it, they’ll love it too.
Any tips for putting together the perfect playlist?
It depends on what mood you’re trying to create but telling a story with the track selection is always really special. Gradually building the energy is also a good way to go.
You’ve got your own DJ agency, too?
It’s called The Other Agency founded in 2014, and it’s our baby. We are loving working with other artists, many of which are playing at Instylerama too, and working with high-end clients around London. It’s mainly female for now, but we have plans to add some guys too.
Which upcoming female DJs do you recommend we keep an eye out for?
On the underground scene, we’d say Nastia. She’s a cool Ukranian chick who’s been around for a while with her radio show. Deniz Kurtel from GEIST agency is another one that we love, her style is so distinct with dubby techy beats, and we can’t forget Berlin based, Japanese vinyl lover Hito. Becky Tong, Pete Tong’s daughter, is pretty hot right now too. From our agency, Jasmin is one to look out for, definitely.
Catch Belle and Bex at InStylerama, where they will be playing alongside some of their Other Agency signings; the Stockhold raised Malin, who recently played for Dior and Mr Porter, Australian Jamielisa with a residency at Eclipse in Chelsea, lounge, chill and house fan Anell who switched from vocal performances to spinning the decks, and finally Laura Essence, who has played for the likes of Armani and landed headline slots at Ministry Of Sound. So…see you there? You can get your tickets for InStylerama here - they cost just £15, which includes two free drinks, a fashion sample sale, heaps of free beauty treatments and DIY masterclasses. What more could you want?!