Brighton Mixtapes 007: Dance Upon A Time with Helpmeimblonde
Updated: Feb 6
Since the success of our beloved Berlin Mixtapes Series, which has featured awesome guests so far, we felt there was a real gap in terms of showcasing the amazing talent within our own home city right here in Brighton. We have a wide spectrum of artists that span across many genres therefore we decided we would create the 'Brighton Mixtapes' Series, so that we can not only showcase established artists but also feature up and coming musicians that would like a platform to be heard.
Equally, whilst our focus at Berlin has always been somewhere between Deep House and Techno we can now open up and extend a wider reach into other genres that Brighton has to offer. Also each artist will be subject to a series of one answer quick-fire questions to accompany each guest mix to give readers a quirky insight into the artists' likes and dislikes.
Next up we bring you a real raw up and coming talent. Helpmeimblonde AKA Paula López moved to Brighton two years ago to initially improve her English after completing her music degrees and it didn't take long for her to fall in love with our city. A self-confessed former metal head and classically trained in piano as well as being pretty fly jamming on guitars, Paula discovered electronic music rather late but found her calling and hasn't looked back since. Paula is making great progress in our scene and has already played at a number of venues across the city as well as starting her own female lead DJ collective 'Dance Upon A Time'. Not only that, Paula has completed our latest Brighton Mixtapes Episode 007 - A truly gutsy and impressive collection of tracks, utilising the full two hours and transitioning through a multitude of genres from Deep House, House, Techno to Psytrance. We love artists who push themselves and Helpmeimblonde certainly delivers a solid boundary pushing episode. So let's meet her and find out more.
Hi Paula, how are you and what have you been up to this week?
Hello! I'm all good! This week it has been a bit crazy. I'm currently working in three different places, so you can imagine. Also I've been disconnecting a bit from the real world, reseting a bit. So very busy but I'm really happy and very excited about this. I've alwayd wanted to have the opportunity to play techno in Brighton so this means a lot to me.
How long have you been DJing?
I've been a bedroom DJ for years until I came to Brighton and decided to kickstart my DJ career.
I've been studying music since I was 8, I attended a professional music school and I learnt to play the piano, then the guitar. After that I studied a BA in Music before completing a Musicology University Degree. I wasn't into electronic music much until I went to University. Then everything changed.
I was studying music for more than 10 years, and everything was completely different with electronic music. I was very curious about the genre and about production as well as the chance to play all the instruments you want to, without the need to spend all your life learning how to play just one.
Also, by that time I was a metal head, I've always loved heavy, fast and overwhelming sounds, especially bass sounds. So you can imagine my face the first time I listened to Drum & Bass!
What was it about Brighton that made you make the move here?
When I decided to come to the UK it was because of the need to speak English properly. I finished my Masters, so I decided to travel and live the experience of living in another country whilst I was improving my English skills.
As a Spanish person, the most comfortable option was Brighton, you know, the weather, the sun, the beach. It's such a good spot.
Then I came and I fell in love with the vibe of the city, the constant randomness, the freedom, the live music, the street art.... Everything is so cool here.
You recently started a new project in Brighton called 'Dance Upon A Time' - Tell us more
Oh yes! That's my little baby project! I've always been a tomboy since I was a kid, I never liked what society was telling me to like just because I was a girl. I never understood why your gender has to define you, so I've always been an active person fighting for equality between men and women.
All these cultural issues are really linked with every little thing in our lives, so unfortunately music too, the number of women in the music industry is terrible. I think women need references, they need to see they can do what they want to do. It's time to empower ourselves.
I think it's still very deep in the society subconscious to look at women expecting something beautiful or delicate, it's all about beauty, it's all about pleasing everyone over our own interests. That's over! It's not about that for me, it's about being powerful, it's about knowing what we want and about reaching our dreams, but the most important thing is to stay together to make it possible supporting each other.
So that's why I met Sanja and Dori, my partners in crime for this wonderful project. We created this collective willing to create a space to support women in the music industry.
Dance Upon a Time is a feminist DJ collective where we play house and techno promoting underground, conscious and compassionate clubbing.
We promote solidarity and encourage people to join us on the dance floor without having to get wasted or using the phone constantly, thereby not respecting the vibe and the privacy of the people going to the club.
We also are committed to create a vibe where everyone feels welcome and cared for regardless of their age, gender, abilities, nationality, race, marital status or their salary. As long as you enjoy the vibe, the space and the company of others in a respectful way.
We have been receiving some bad feedback on social media just because we openly say we are a feminist collective and we look forward to bringing opportunities to women. So loads of people were telling us we were discriminating against men. We are not. We have nothing against men, we love men, and as feminists we need men here too. We are trying to fix an unequal situation that affects half of the population but we also need the other half to fix this together, hand in hand.
To do that, we are creating spaces for everyone where women have a preference before men (due to the unequal music industry situation) to bring them the opportunity to meet people with the same interests, bring about opportunities, have the chance to play in public using professional equipment, to learn, to improve and to help each other.
We want to create a space of support, a space to "fight for our right to party".
When is the next event and what have you got planned?
The next event will take place at The Richmond, on 12th of December, but to be honest, we are still deciding if we definitely will host it there again. Unfortunately at our last event there, the pitch control was broken on one of the decks, and they didn't tell us about it! So, personally I was struggling massively for two hours and I'd prefer to not repeat that experience again. Everyone had loads of fun but I was a bit frustrated.
With the DUT Collective, we normally organise the events from 21:00-02:00 so everyone can manage to attend without been destroyed the next day. Personally, I like to hang out after the gigs and keep going with the dancing vibe around Brighton.
We usually have three slots at every gig, around 1.5 hrs each but we are willing to contact more people and open shorter slots, to bring about more opportunities.
Where was your first gig in Brighton?
My first gig in Brighton was at the Latest Music Bar for International Women's Day. After months of trying to get a gig and having no luck at all, this was the first time I finally had the chance to play.
I was closing the event and I was supposed to play 1 hour from 1:00 until 2:00. When I got there at 23:30 no one was there. I waited there for my turn, 5 minutes before my slot they told me I was just allowed to play 20 min because the room was empty and the staff wanted to go home. Then I thought, you know what? I'm sorry but I don't care. I don't do this for the money, I don't do this for the people, I do this for the love of music. Some friends came, I played until they cut the sound off!
Are there any standout nights you just can't miss?
Berlin, no doubt. I'm a techno fan and I was so sad to see that there weren't many techno nights going on in Brighton.
I think the Brighton underground music scene is amazing. I love the drum & bass culture here, but I would love to see more techno nights going on. Over the last few months I also discovered Size and got to see Bushwacka, which I loved!
Where's your favourite place to just to kick back and chill in Brighton?
The beach. I've always felt a feeling of belonging when I'm close to the see. It always reminds me of my childhood and makes me feel at home and at peace with myself.
Which other DJs or producers are you liking right now?
Probably my top three at the moment would be Amelie Lens, Enrico Sangiuliano and Regal.
In the local Brighton scene, for me, Equus or Cybor Heresy are literally smashing it. Sick DJ's and even better producers! I've been to a couple of their gigs and honestly, they are from another world!
What are your go-to labels?
I really love the Drumcode sound, it's probably my favourite record label. Also Lenske, it's banging. I don't care when people say it's not underground enough. I have no problems with commercial techno (except "Losing it" from Fisher, I can't handle that tune).
But speaking about small local labels, I love the fresh Deep Groove label sound. Sometimes for me it's difficult to enjoy tech-house because I like banging sounds but that record label always has that groovy touch that makes your feet move by themselves. Love it.
You have compiled our latest Brighton Mixtapes Series Episode 007 - Tell us more about your mix.
Well, I was so happy to have the chance to play whatever I want. That's not very common, unfortunately. So I tried to play all of my range of music.
I love banging techno but at the same time I feel really touched by chill, ambient, melodic and atmospheric tunes. Psytrance is another one of my favourite genres, so I thought, why not, let's just go with the flow.
I really enjoyed it while I was recording it. It's so good to just have the freedom to play whatever you want, without labels, just playing what you feel like. Artistically, it's very important and valuable as a DJ. Sometimes it's difficult to find people who will have faith in you and your music taste, so thanks for that.
What else can we expect from you soon? What's next on the horizon for DJ gigs, where can people see you next?
You will hear me on Trickstar Radio in the coming weeks on the House Session Show on Friday night or maybe on a Saturday night too.
Also I collaborate DJing along with the Ecstatic Dance Project that takes place in the Caxton Arms pub. It's a one hour session where people liberate themselves through dance. Don't hesitate to come and give it a try! Free yourself!
Hopefully I'm going to be involved in some projects to make techno more accessible to the people in Brighton. To create a stronger scene and of course I will keep trying hard with the feminist collective, as those two are my main music aims here in Brighton. These are the reasons why I'm living in Brighton at the moment. Such great motivation.
Great news, it's been an absolute pleasure as always talking with you Paula but before we go is there anything else you'd like to add?
Just to say, thanks a lot for this opportunity it really means the world to me. And to send a big shout out to all the people who have been supporting me from the beginning. Love you guys.
Exciting stuff! It's been an absolute pleasure as always talking with you Paula. Next up here's the Quickfire Round:
Genre: T E C H N O. The harder the better.
Favourite Colour: Black, like my soul.
Where in Brighton are you: 7 Dials area. Very nice, but too quiet.
What do you put on your chips? BBQ sauce and cheeeeeeese
Apple or Android: Android
Pioneer or Denon: Pioneer
Ableton or Logic: Ableton
Can you juggle: Oh yes! I'm currently juggling 3 different jobs. Pure fun!
Weirdest/Coolest Item of clothing: 27 year old Hawaiian shirt my father bought on his honeymoon in Cuba. Still like brand new.
First record ever bought: Blink 182, Enema of the State. Teenager, they were hard times.
Favourite place to hang out in Brighton: No shame, the Volks!
Favourite Pub: The Gladstone.
Favourite place to eat: Doughlover. Absolutely no doubt.
Best club: Personally, Door 77 now Zahara.
Who does the best roast: I'm Vegetarian, so probably the Vegan roast at Cowley Club.
Coffee or Tea: Coffeeeee but I have a special love for Moroccan tea.
Have you swam in the sea: My Spanish ass can't handle that.
Favourite Footy Team: Rayo Vallecano
Favourite Track right now: Territory (The Blaze) or One Night in Hackney (Dave The Drummer & Chris Liberator)
View on Seagulls: Chavvy af birds
View on Oysters: Underwater aliens
Favourite word: Hummus
3 words to describe your mix: Wanna die dancing?
To find out more and listen to Helpmeimblonde's music catch her on these socials:
Paul McCartney & Wings Vs Timo Maas & James Teej - Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Five (Tim Green Remix)
Folamour - Ya Just Need 2 Believe in Yaself
Tube & Berger - Set free
Mauro Picotto - Ayala
Nicone - Caje
Damian Lazarus and the Ancient Moons - I Found
French 79 - Hush Hush
Ron Flatter - Desert (Traum 182)
Ramon Tapia - Yellow Submarine
Christoph - Genesis
Stephan Bodzin - Blue Giant
Ejeca - Jalek
Victor Ruiz - Interestellar
Marc Romboy & Stephan Bodzin - Atlas (Adriatique Remix)
Pan -Pot ft. G-Tech - Gravity
Eats everything ft. Tiga - Dancing (Again!)
Klangkarussell - Sternenkinder
Koen Groeneveld - One Hundred
Adam Beyer & Mark Reeve - Nine of You
FJAAK - Gewerbe 15
SRVD - The Yard Man
SAMA - Element – SAMA
Patrik Berg - Galactica
A*S*Y*S - The Acid
David Temessi - The Seventh
CJ Bolland & The Advent - Camargue (Enrico Sangiuliano Remix)
Spektre - The Dreamer
Amelie Lens - Drift
Matrixxman - Arrival
Johannes Heil - B2 EXILE007
SHDW & OBSCURE SHAPE - Gesang der Toten Dinge
Viers - Let my mind Breath
Bjarki - This 5321
Klanglos - Buddha on acid
I Hate Models - Eternal loneliness
Liquid Soul - Adrenaline (Zen Mechanics Remix)
Alpha Portal - Creatures
Graviity - The Passenger
Astrix - Coolio