Chances are, you’ve probably seen the name Dutchie plastered on a lineup poster down Stokes Croft, or caught a DJ set from Dutchie herself at one of Bristol’s community-based Revinyl Sessions. But with her new EP Dutchie & Friends dropping on 1 May (listen in full below), you’re about to hear this name a whole lot more.
The Devon-born, Bristol-based DJ, producer and singer-songwriter is currently taking Bristol by storm. If she’s not on the lineup for some local event, she’s helping curate the fortnightly Revinyl Sessions events – vinyl DJs’ answer to an open mic night, with a headline artist or two thrown in for good measure.
Nitelife sat down with Dutchie AKA Ellie Holland, to talk about her musical influences, her involvement within Bristol’s music scene and to celebrate the release of her new collaborative EP, Dutchie & Friends. The six-track digital EP draws inspiration from Bristol’s beautifully varied music scene, from latin dancehall to dubstep – with a strong jazz and blues influence – and features some Bristol favourites, as well as a few artists from further afield.
‘I’ve been writing music from a young age,’ Dutchie explains as we sit down for a drink. ‘I used to play around with a lot of instruments and play a lot of classical music and jazz with my dad when I was growing up. But then I fell into the production side of music and that opened up a whole can of worms that’s continuing to spill out.
I fell into the production side of music and that opened up a whole can of worms that’s continuing to spill out
‘I was listening to a lot of Bonobo and DJ Shadow when I first started producing, so naturally I ended up making a lot of instrumental music. I’ve always had a taste for jungle as well, so people like Boxcutter and Aphrodite have been a huge influence, along with the reggae and sound system culture.’
Since moving to Bristol three years ago, Dutchie has successfully managed to plant some roots within the city’s vibrant music scene, whilst appreciating the continuous string of new projects to spring out of the city.
‘Down in Devon there isn’t really much of a music scene. In Bristol I’m finding there’s a huge, diverse range of different things going on all the time. There’s a big interconnected network of people who all love what they’re doing and all encourage each other.
People’s attitude tends to be “fuck it, let’s just do it”
‘There’s always new events and projects coming out of the woodworks. People’s attitude tends to be “fuck it, let’s just do it”. There’s a really good amount of enthusiasm from everyone and it’s contagious.
‘When I was younger everyone told me the music industry was cutthroat, but in my experience of living in Bristol, it hasn’t been like that at all. It’s more of a shared project from a wider community.’
One of the biggest turning points for Dutchie since moving to Bristol has been becoming director of the fortnightly, strictly-vinyl Revinyl Sessions. Recognised as one of the best nights in Bristol for people just starting out behind the decks, Revinyl encourages DJs of all capabilities to have a go at mixing their favourite wax, including Dutchie herself.
‘I actually played my first DJ set at Revinyl Sessions. My friend Jono started Revinyl and I signed up to one on a whim and went down on my own. I had never played a vinyl set up until that point, but after that, I got infected by the good communal vibes and now they are all my best friends and I’ve been helping them run the nights ever since.’
Not only is Dutchie heavily involved in the local vinyl spinning night, but she is also signed to Bristol-born, roots-inspired Hold Tight Records, releasing her debut EP Easy through the label last year.
‘Easy was actually the first bit of music I’d ever put out, even though I had already been producing music for seven years. I was just building up a steady collection of various beats for years, but didn’t feel like they were quite ready for release.
It took some time for me to reach a point where I actually felt confident enough to put my music out there and sell it to people
‘It took some time for me to reach a point where I actually felt confident enough to put my music out there and sell it to people. Hold Tight Records were really encouraging though, so when I finally came around to releasing my EP, they were really helpful and supportive throughout the whole process.’
Looking forward, Dutchie is excited to unveil her latest self-release collaborative EP, Dutchie & Friends on Bandcamp this May. The multi-skilled DJ and producer explains how her new EP first came about:
‘I was feeling inspired by the diverse music scenes in Bristol and the range of different people working together on various stuff, so I wanted to create something that was a reflection of that, with all the genres loosely included in the EP that are known to be popular in Bristol.
I was feeling inspired by the diverse music scenes in Bristol and the range of different people working together on various stuff, so I wanted to create something that was a reflection of that
‘The collaboration side of things was important because I wanted to do a lot of recording for it and you can’t really be an engineer and a musician at the same time! It’s very hard to record yourself properly. I am not a drummer and I’m not a bassist, so I naturally got other people involved.
‘Most of the people I worked with on this release I kind of already knew. I just put a shout out on social media and I ended up having way too many responses. It was quite hard actually – I might have to make another one with the people I didn’t get chance to collaborate with the first-time round.
‘I already had a rough idea of what the tracks were going to be, so I chose people I thought would work well with that idea.
‘One of the producers I’ve collaborated with on the EP is Charla Green from Sheffield who makes a lot of old school jungle. I wanted to do this 140bpm jungle remix of one of my dad’s tunes, so I sent her the original song and asked her if she wanted to make a 140 jungle version and she was super up for it.
‘I’ve also worked with quite a few musicians on this EP too. The track Shadow Boss is completely live, for instance. I wrote the vocals for it over a year ago and I was really keen to make a live recorded version of it. I ended up having the likes of Josh Dean from The Inexplicables come down to play bass on the track. He plays perfect fretless bass in a Bonobo-esque, slide guitar style. I’m really looking forward to people hearing that one.’
Despite sounding very much like a woman with a plan, Dutchie says she doesn’t have a particular ‘formula’ to follow when it comes to making new beats.
‘I’m still trying to work out the best way to produce on each track I make. It depends on what the track is. For Shadow Boss I wrote the vocals first, played guitar after and built the rest of the track around that. Some other tracks started with just a sample that I chopped up and put everything else on top.
‘I kind of wish I had a writing formula I could follow each time though, only because it can be a bit tricky sometimes – especially when you don’t know what to do next or what to to do first.’
As we wrap up the interview, Dutchie talks us through what she’s got up her sleeve for the rest of the year on top of her EP release.
‘I’ve recently worked on a vocal feature with Bukkha and Subtle Mind on their upcoming EP that’ll be released on vinyl later this year. I’ve not had a vinyl release before, so this will be the first vocal of mine cut to vinyl. It’s pretty exciting.
I’ve also got a couple of DJ sets coming up too, including Loves Saves the Day’s Hold Tight Records takeover on the Brouhaha Stage
‘I’ve also got a couple of DJ sets coming up too, including Loves Saves the Day’s Hold Tight Records takeover on the Brouhaha Stage, with Indra MC on the mic. Indra actually features on my new EP too, so we will definitely be doing that track live.
‘After that we’ve got the festival season, so you’ll find me in various fields across the summer DJing and sound engineering. I’ve even got my first international booking at a festival in Italy to look forward to.’
Be sure to grab your copy of Dutchie’s latest EP Dutchie & Friends on Bandcamp from 1 May over on dutchiebristol.bandcamp.com.
Words by Abi Lewis
Photos by Dominika Scheibinger
26 & 27 May – Love Saves the Day 2018, Eastville Park