ELLA - Fraîche Talent DJ FF#19
Ella Hagi aka Ella has spent the better part of her adult life at one club or another, fine tuning her ear for house, techno, disco and all that comes between. Moving to London in 2010, she quickly found her way to the various TBA warehouses where she immersed herself in whatever music she could find. Later working at the intimate East London basement club Dance Tunnel, she really started to grow her knowledge of dance music. She was also schooled by curating the music programme at Ray’s Bar where she booked DJs like John Gomez, Horse Meat Disco’s Jim Stanton and secretsundaze’s Giles Smith for extended sets that dig deep. Since her debut at queer haven Dalston Superstore at the start of last year, she’s shared decks with London disco legend Nadia Ksaiba, Corsica Studios regulars OK Jones and Hollick, and warmed up for everyone from Smartbar’s Chrissy to DJ Harvey’s fave DJ Jaye Ward. She’s new but she knows what’s good.
We're delighted to have Ella as our Fèmmme Fraîche Fresh Talent for this months Fèmmme Fraîche Halloween spesh and as her music taste is so impeccable, we've also asked her to supply us with our third instalment of our 'Friday Feels' spotify playlists, perfect weekend listening fodder. Scroll down to the bottom for the playlist, but first check out our interview with Ella, to get the wherefores, why’s and woes of East London’s fave creative curator.
Hey Ella, thanks for having a little chat to us and for the Fab spotify playlist (below!) So first up, When did you first start DJing?
My first gig was at the start of last year — my good pals Christian and Dan were just launching their night Happy Endings, and they talked me into having my DJ debut. Dan showed me how decks worked a week or so before the night, and I just went through the set I wanted to play like six times. Technically, I probably peaked then tbqh.
So what inspired you to take to the decks?
I think it was partly just to prove myself I can. I really struggle doing things I’m not perfect at, so picking up this somewhat public hobby has been a fun way to learn how to chill out a bit. My technical skills are nowhere near perfect, and probably never will be, but I’m ok with that. Unless you’re a woman on Boiler Room, no one cares anyway. To me, it’s much more about good music and playing the right tracks. I really respect people whose mixing is flawless but I’ve only ever noticed bad mixing on a night out when the music’s been shit sooo…
Haha so shit mixing AND shit music, a shit DJ maketh right? So what's been your highlight gig until now?
I actually tend to have the most fun playing Disco Spritz at Superstore cause you get to really build it up and play *everything* — like you’d start off with something slower while people are still having their burgers and steadily build on it until you have someone someone dancing on top of the bar on a Tuesday night. I’m quite into the art of warming up.
That said, I did have the absolute best time playing in my hometown Tallinn this summer. I don’t really ever get the chance to go 130bpm and higher, but I did then and it was so much fun. It’s so much easier to play techno than disco, especially at 4am when people are trashed, so the pressure kinda goes down and meanwhile my mixing magically improves, which honestly feels like a big massive ego trip and I can’t lie, fully loved it.
130bpm pumpers all the way then yeah? So where would you like to see your DJ career take you?
I don’t really aspire to have a career in this if I’m honest. I work as a creative director at this young, amazing agency and I’m much more focussed on doing cool campaigns for good companies. This week, I was doing a shoot for an ethical, sustainable fashion brand together with a really cool model who’s in the process of setting up an ethical production agency in Australia — that’s the stuff I live for.
DJing is so, SO much fun but, at least for now, it’s more of a hobby (and an excuse to spend money on records I, come to think of it, only ever play at home). I really admire people who have the energy to pursue multiple things at once but a) I get a lot of creative satisfaction from my day job and b) perhaps just lack the balls to take DJing more seriously. I honestly can’t tell. Either way, it’s not currently getting the dedication it should get to be considered anything more than a hobby. Maybe one day.
Also, I’ve spent enough time waiting at airports for work so I don’t think I’d ever want to be a touring DJ, so really, I’m just holding myself back to avoid that..
haha, so no Ella international tour in the pipeline then? Ok coming back to your set for us this Saturday at our Fèmmme Fraîche Halloween spesh, what musical trick or treats do you have in store for us?
Well, I think I’ll be making my drag debut? So for starters, that! As for music, your guess is as good as mine. Fun and disco tinged, I suppose.
Ohhh disco dragtastic! we're very much looking forward to that! Not to be missed! So get your sassy asses to the mothership Superstore this Saturday for our Halloween spooktacular - you can catch Ella warming up the bar, upstairs from 9pm-10.30pm. Meanwhile Ella has supplied us with a fabulous Friday Feels spotify playlist to get you in the mood, you can listen to below - and don't forgot to support her by following her socials just below!