After hearing Pendulum’s classic track ‘Hold Your Colour’ at the age of 13, C:rcle was immediately hooked on drum and bass, further feeding this addiction by diving head first into UKF’s YouTube channel. Fast forward to today, the 26-year-old’s debut track ‘Love Survives’ premieres on the very same channel, a product of her mentorship with esteemed label Korsakov Music. From immersing herself in Slovakia’s thriving drum and bass scene, to playing venues right across Europe – including supporting Dimension at London’s legendary Printworks – C:rcle talks about her DJ experiences, musical influences and what fans can expect from her production journey.
Hello C:rcle! Thanks for taking the time to chat! Firstly, how is everything going in your camp?
I’m doing great! This period has felt like the ‘calm before the storm’ as I was preparing to release my first track, working on my production, as well as other projects connected to C:rcle. With all this going on I’ve had butterflies in my stomach, but it has been an amazing time and I am looking forward to what’s coming next!
I bet! So let’s dive straight into hearing about the C:rcle story, how did you first get into drum & bass?
So when I was around 13, I was hanging out with my friends and we were transferring tracks to each other via Bluetooth – a huge throwback! My friend sent me Pendulum’s ‘Hold Your Colour’. I started to listen to it on my headphones and I thought ‘wow, this is so energetic, what is this genre?’. From there I actually started to explore on the UKF YouTube channel, and from there I got deeper and deeper into the music.
Well I’m sure many people will agree that ‘Hold Your Colour’ is a banger, that’s a good song to introduce you to drum & bass?
Absolutely, I listen to it all the time and still play it in my sets. I mean all of Pendulum’s tracks are amazing! But it wasn’t just drum and bass that I was discovering, through UKF I also got into dubstep. I went through phases. One stage was dubstep, then I came back to drum and bass and realised that was the one for me. I still listen to dubstep, I mix it into my sets as well, but drum and bass is my one true love!
Then after discovering the music, how did you first get into DJing?
So in Slovakia in 2016, I went to my first festival. I made so many friends and we became a solid group who would go to every drum and bass party possible! It was an awesome period of my life, during that time it was like an addiction for me! But after a while I started thinking ‘this was not enough’. Whenever I was out with my friends I was always the one on the speaker, or controlling the music in the car. At these parties, I was always admiring the DJs – they have the power to choose the tracks, mix and blend them together. Seeing this, I thought I would like to do it too. I wanted to learn to mix just to make music for myself and for my friends. In 2016 and 2017, there weren’t too many DJs in Slovakia playing mainstream, dancefloor drum and bass. Most DJs were playing neurofunk, jump up, a bit of liquid as well. So I saw a gap in the market and thought I would like to do that.
I went to my friend’s studio – he said I could practise DJing there to see how I felt about it. Immediately I wanted to throw myself straight into the deep end, I’m very impatient! But I was hooked from the start. I first started practising in 2017 – for the first few months I didn’t tell anyone. I wanted to keep it quiet until I was good enough, and comfortable to share it with people. After I got to a certain level, I managed to spark the attention of some promoters who were at the studio. They were like ‘we have seen you working hard and we want to book you’. I was shocked! I played to an empty club, there were only a few people. But then my friends surprised me and it was an amazing night! From that I just couldn’t stop DJing.
What is the drum and bass scene like in Slovakia?
So when I started DJing in 2017 the scene was enormous, in Bratislava and the main cities there were like five parties on the same night and everything was sold out. People loved drum and bass so much and I loved being a part of these people. I think the pandemic knocked the scene a little bit, people cut down on their raving. But it is still one of the most popular genres in Slovakia. In the country hip-hop is very popular, and techno too as techno parties are getting more successful. But after that I think it’s drum and bass. EDM is also popular. But the drum and bass scene is great – I’ve made so many friends through this scene, there are so many amazing clubs that are successful through drum and bass nights. It’s thriving.
And in your time DJing, you haven’t just stayed in Slovakia. You’ve had the opportunity to play in various countries?
Yes, I have been lucky enough to have a lot of international bookings – Hungary, Austria and since working with Korsakov I have played several of their international events. I also played a party with Dimension and Culture Shock in Bratislava, which was a huge moment for me as I love both of their music. Not long after I was booked to play Dimension’s live show at Printworks, I was blown away.
I was hyped for the three months in the build up to the show. I was very tense, I felt a lot of pressure in the build up. But being behind the decks staring out into the crowd, all the anxiety just went away. I was just happy and enjoyed my set, I was so grateful I had the opportunity to do it. It will always be one of my best memories that I will cherish forever.
And through all of this, who would you say have been your favourite artists and biggest influences?
Definitely Netsky, I remember being addicted to his music. Memory Lane will always be one of my favourite tracks. When first getting into drum and bass there was Sub Focus, Culture Shock, Cyantific. At first it was definitely more of the mainstream stuff. After that I was listening to more neurofunk when I was around 20 years old. But then I came back to dancefloor – the melodies, and when you can sing along and find yourself in the music, that is my favourite. I’m heavily influenced by the Worship Artists – Dimension, Sub Focus, Culture Shock, 1991. Wilkinson, Metrik, A.M.C, Muzz too. There’s so many!
Of course there are a lot of female DJs that inspire me – Harriext Jaxxon, Flava D, Something Something, Koven, Mel, Siren. They are all huge names in the scene and artists I look up to. Other females outside of drum and bass too, Peggy Gou, Amelie Lens, Lily Palmer.
All huge names! Alongside those artists who don’t play drum & bass, who else do you listen to?
I listen to a lot of Apashe. I grew up listening to a lot of classical music, as my dad plays in an orchestra. I was often going to concerts with my family and still do now. I love classical music, and I feel Apashe is the perfect combination of classical and electronic. As I said earlier I was exploring artists on UKF, so I listened to a lot of deadmau5, Skrillex, Axel Boy, Flume too.
And some of these artists have also influenced you in your production? When did you first start producing?
So it was around the start of the pandemic. I had a lot of bookings to my name by that point and I felt the next step was to start producing, but I was quite anxious about it. Before the pandemic started I actually moved back to my parent’s house, as I quit a job I hated! As everybody was locked down I had plenty of time on my hands, so I threw myself into learning to produce. All my friends and family were supporting me which gave me a huge boost.
Then from this you started doing a mentorship with Korsakov?
Yes, it was about a year into my production journey. They reached out to me after seeing my DJ sets, and said they saw a lot of potential in me! I was really honoured.They wanted to help me build my career, and found me a mentor to help me with my production. At that point I was stuck at a certain level and didn’t know which way to go. The label found me a manager, Arthur, who is really great. Korsakov helped navigate my career and put me in touch with the right people. They really made me believe in myself, which I didn’t at times. Their motivation is what I needed to hear and gave me a huge push for my career. I am truly grateful for everything they have done.
And how long have you been doing the mentorship?
We started communication in December 2021. I kept it quiet at first, as I wanted to surprise everyone. Of course I told my friends and family immediately, but for listeners and fans of my music I didn’t announce it right away! But since then the mentorship has been amazing, working with Korsakov has gone very smoothly. I am a perfectionist, so if it’s a part of a track, or artwork, I will change it a hundred times until it is perfect! But they were always patient with me – they understood my vision and did everything to help make it happen. It has been such an honour working with them and I will be forever grateful for the opportunity they have given me.
And from this mentorship you released your debut track ‘Love Survives’. Can we hear more about this track?
So ‘Love Survives’ is an energetic track, with a powerful drop. My favourite songs have always been ones that you can relate to in the lyrics, or if the song has a story. I think they are special and I wanted to reflect that in my own music. Love Survives sends a message that even if you are not fitting into a crowd, you are still in a crowd with us. If you love drum and bass, and good music, then you are part of one family. This song is all about love and good music! When you listen to the vocals and the drop comes, it is like a burst of energy. I just hope people will like it, and feel the same as I do about this track.
So when you first got into the scene you were exploring UKF’s YouTube. Now your debut track premiers on the channel! How does that feel?
When I found out, I was screaming! It’s just a dream come true. Since I was a teenager I loved UKF, every phase of my life I was listening to their music. Now my track is there. I’ve got butterflies thinking about it. Seeing the picture of the green UKF circle with my face makes me so happy. So thank you to UKF, as well as every person in my career who has supported me to get to this point.
Then alongside your debut track, what else can fans expect from C:rcle?
I have another track that will be out soon, and a handful of others that are almost done. I’ve been working on music really hard, and I want to keep that momentum going throughout the winter. I want to be playing more sets, I’ve got shows lined up in Slovakia and Czech Republic until the end of the year which are very exciting. Also in the past I have done special visuals, so I would like to do more of that with the team.
Looking more long term, I hope for more bookings across the world – I want to bring my music to every country possible, to show my skills and party with people! I would also like to include more classically inspired music in my production, so I am going to work on that.
I also hope to inspire more women in D&B, and every genre in fact. I want to send a message that all women can do it, that they are all welcome in the scene and there is space for everyone. But overall I just want to make good music, meet new people, and enjoy it!