Since self-releasing her Mixtape 01 back in 2017, Bristol producer Lucy Helyer aka L U C Y has enjoyed a fast ascent towards the top of the underground music scene. Her genre-bending sound has already earned her a spot on some bucket-list lineups, with big support from Butterz, Bandulu and Swamp81, as well as B2Bs this summer with Pinch and Loefah.
support from Butterz, Bandulu and Swamp81
Lucy’s sound has always been difficult to categorise, with the dark and dubby influences often associated with Bristol producers from the school of Kahn and Neek, but also a distinctive experimental side across an abundance of sounds.
Although she has made a name on the 140 scene, over the years this experimentalism has only grown and Lucy believes she will never have a preferred genre or tempo.
‘I don’t think I have a definite sound; I’d say recently it’s gotten a lot darker and more club focused, but I don’t think I’ll ever find a genre or a preferred bpm. I could never make one genre as I don’t listen to one genre.’
I could never make one genre as I don’t listen to one genre
L U C Y dropped her new 7-track EP on 07/07, at the same time launching her band new record label SZNS7N. Titled S1N, the EP is a collection of ‘140-based, darker-influenced tunes’. The songs are shaped around the idea of inner demons and letting them go.
The songs are shaped around the idea of inner demons and letting them go
Those copping the EP on Bandcamp will also discover a couple of hidden bonus tracks with an experimental jazz and rave-influenced vibe, including a ‘very secret’ refit of Waifu Riddim.
As well as music production, Lucy is also blessed with mesmerising technical ability on the decks, and keeps all of her DJ sets unique and original. Some of her recent sets have featured a bouncy blend of grimy and melodic beats ranging from 100 to 160bpm. But although she has a love for both production and mixing, Lucy feels more comfortable in the studio.
There are no rules with production
‘There are no rules with production, it’s whatever is in your head and you get full control. DJing involves a little bit of playing to please the crowd – the ball is in everyone’s court, not just in yours.
‘DJing is like a social activity, I always connect with people at events and have met loads of cool people through it. I’ve definitely grown to see DJing as more of an art form, whereas before I found it more of a tool – mixes are definitely their own entity.’
At the beginning of this year, Lucy made her debut with the prestigious Boiler Room London, where she dropped a trademark mix of vibes that the crowd instantly took to.
‘I was so scared before – like having a borderline panic attack. I was practising the whole week before, I quit my job in order to have time to practise. It was the most stressed I’ve ever been, because I thought, “If I fuck this up, it’s going to be so detrimental; I won’t get bookings anymore.”
I quit my job in order to have time to practise
‘But I took some CBD oil for the first time and luckily that calmed me down a lot. I didn’t plan the set at all, which I now wish I did, as I regret a few of my song choices – although it was still really well received. I’m just so overly critical.’
Although still a regular on the Bristol scene, Lucy is now based in London, where she says the competitive nature of the capital draws quite a contrast with the close knit support of the Bristol music community. Lucy puts a lot of her success down to the people around her in Bristol in her early years.
‘From my lifelong friends, to the people I call my heroes giving me a co-sign, and my associate DJs, producers and artists all on the same grind who show me love when I am fortunate enough to visit, the love and support that Bristol holds is one of my favourite things in the world.’
the love and support that Bristol holds is one of my favourite things in the world
Although the support system offered by the Bristol music scene is regularly cited as its greatest strength, it has also led to some local artists including Jay0117 and Ace Brown describing Bristol as a ‘bubble’, where artists don’t often get to take their talents elsewhere.
‘It can be a bit of a bubble because everyone’s so lovely, you can think you’ve come so far and then when you go to London or elsewhere you realise that you are completely unheard of.
‘But I think it’s beautiful in that respect, because I wouldn’t want it to be as competitive as London. And I think the artists that do reach out of Bristol, Eva Lazarus for example, still stay authentic and don’t get caught up in the competitive savagery or lose their wholesome music focussed goals’.
In recent years, Lucy has found herself surrounded by a number of talented female artists, and has teamed up with Sherelle, Dobby, Fauzia, Jossy Mitsu and Yazzus to form all-female DJ collective 6 Figure Gang. Lucy recalls being surrounded by guys with ‘misogynistic takes on production’ during her university days, but believes that the recent rise in the number of female DJs and producers getting the attention and credit they deserve is a step in the right direction, although there are still wider inclusivity issues that still need to be addressed.
Referring to an interview with Nitelife a couple of years ago, Lucy says: ‘I’m super gassed, it’s honestly a dream come true, because back then, I was just surrounded by guys all the time.
I’ve come to realise that it’s not just about females. There’s a whole spectrum of other people that are missing out
‘Since then, I’ve come to realise that it’s not just about females. There’s a whole spectrum of other people that are missing out, such as LGBTQ people, and I feel that’s a much broader issue. It never really ends, so I think the best you can do is your own bit by being as supportive and inclusive as possible’.
Furthermore, she feels that the inclusiveness of females in the scene has only really taken hold in London at the minute, as other regions of the country are yet to see their female artists gain the right level of attention. Lucy wants to tackle this through working with females all over the UK –
it would be sad to think about the amount of music that wouldn’t be created
‘Me and a few other girls in the scene are looking to try to branch out further than London and see if we can do projects with more females across the UK. It’s very important for them to get their chance too, as it would be sad to think about the amount of music that wouldn’t be created just because the girls don’t believe in their ability.’
As part of 6 Figures Gang, what started off as ‘a fun, jokey group’ has morphed into regular Rinse FM appearances, and performances with Boiler Room across the country. The development of the group has felt ‘very natural’, according to Lucy, who has enjoyed the opportunity to work alongside some of her closest friends in the scene.
It’s escalated quite rapidly
‘It’s escalated quite rapidly. I think it’s because individually everyone in the group is doing so much and making waves, as a unit we’ve boosted each other.’
The gang boasts talented producers and DJs that span across a variety of genres from house and techno, to 140, footwork and jungle. And Lucy believes when they all come together it creates a perfect synergy.
While she is concerned with putting a strong female foot forward, what’s most important to Lucy as an artist is being viewed as just that – an artist in her own right. From the beginning, there’s been a level of mystery and anonymity surrounding L U C Y. Much thought goes into the artwork and imagery accompanying her projects, including the photos accompanying this interview, which have been hand painted over by Lucy.
there’s been a level of mystery and anonymity surrounding L U C Y
It’s difficult to believe that L U C Y is still only in the dawn of her career, but it’s evident that there is still so much more to come from this young producer. Expect her to continue putting her authentic Bristol stamp on everything she does, and hopefully inspire a new wave of talented producers – female or otherwise – to follow in her footsteps.