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On the Rise: In Conversation with FAUZIA

2019 was a big year for FAUZIA. Since hitting the scene just a couple of years prior, her thoughtful selections and ability to glide between genres with ease has seen her go on to secure a monthly NTS radio slot, two Boiler Rooms under her belt and sell out shows as part of party starters 6 Figure Gang. The London local has DJ’d on lineups with artists like Dr. Rubinstein and Joy Orbison and is starting to take her sound outside of the UK, to venues like Amsterdam’s De School and New York’s Bossa Nova Civic Club.

This weekend FAUZIA is bringing her high-energy selections to Corsica for Ten Years of DBA, in celebration of a decade of Don’t Be Afraid Recordings. Ahead of the event, we had a chat with the rising selector about her connection with radio, transitioning into playing internationally and her most memorable moments from the past year.

Tickets to Ten Years of DBA here.

 

To get a bit of background, did you grow up in London and were you musical growing up?

I grew up in East London. I was always into music, but when I was growing up I was more of an instrumentalist. I played guitar and dabbled in drumming. Then when I went to college I got into music production, which led me to study it as a degree. Now I’m here!

And what sparked your interest in dance music – what was young Fauzia listening to when she first started going out? 

I used to go to a lot of squat raves actually which is where I first discovered Jungle. I was really amazed because I had never heard anything like that. A couple of years later I discovered DJ Rashad through Flylo FM on GTA V and that started my love of 160. So when I started DJing, that’s all I would play.

You’re a regular on radio, with your own monthly slot on NTS. How has that connection to radio impacted your club DJ sets and relationships with other DJs?

Radio is where I learned to DJ ‘properly’. I never used CDJs before that, so it really helped me grow my skills. NTS is a respected platform so I was able to invite guests on who I looked up to, and learned a lot from them as well! Every guest I’ve had on my show, has taught me something about music or DJing. It’s also a chance to try out new blends and explore without the pressures of having to impress a crowd.

Being on the radio, you need to have an intense passion towards music and its history, which it’s evident you do with your shows. Was music always something you would geek out over, or has radio led you to dig deeper into the sounds you love?

That’s actually really nice that you can gauge that from my shows! Yeah I’ve always been super into discovering new music and I’m glad I can share that on radio. I’ve also found that sometimes promoters will try and pigeonhole me, so radio is where I can break out of that mould.

How do your sets differ as FAUZIA, compared to radio or as part of 6 Figure Gang? Do you enjoy being able to explore your sound in these different contexts?

I feel with 6FG it’s very energy focused. We’re all bouncing off each other and it’s kind of like a party on stage. We’re always trying to see who can play the best bangers or get the most wheel-ups. However, with myself as an individual, I like to play music all over the spectrum and see how far I can go in regards to BPM.

Last year you played in a few European cities. How are you finding it, transitioning from playing locally to across Europe?

I’m only kind of getting used to it now! It was very scary at first as I realised the UK is its own entity for music and people may not necessarily like the ‘UK sound’ but it’s also taught me more about how to play to crowds and how to draw people into my sets.

Let’s chat about 6 Figure Gang. There are a lot of collectives in London, but I’ve gotta say having watched you play with members of 6FG or turn up to support each other’s Boiler Rooms, it’s so clear that your friendship is foremost and you’re truly enjoying yourselves behind the decks. How did you all link up and how does it feel to have the support of each other?

Yeah we get asked about this a lot! It’s kind of hard to explain as it’s so organic; it literally is just a group of good friends DJing together and that’s it! We all knew each other through the music scene. Sherelle was my mentor when I was learning to DJ and we would play a lot together on each others radio shows. L U C Y and Jossy Mitsu were the first people I booked for my party in Brighton and I now live with L U C Y. I knew Dobby from Reprezent through Sherelle and Yazzus and I became good friends through 6FG. It all came together at the Keep Hush L U C Y curated – now we’re here!

You’re also a promoter yourself through your Shook party. Is that a hat you enjoy wearing and what’s in store for Shook this year?  

Throwing parties is so stressful, but it’s really rewarding when it goes well. I’ve taken a break as I was putting on parties at my old work (The Yard). I would put together the lineup, set up the venue for the night and also DJ. It was hectic! But we’re gonna do some more parties this year so looking forward to that.

The last couple of years have been quite exciting for you. What have been your personal highlights and what are you excited about for 2020?

Personal highlights were getting to travel to DJ! I’ve met some amazing people and had really memorable times. New York, Bologna, Unsound Festival and our 6FG headline show were top moments. I have some cool shows lined up for 2020 but mostly I’m excited about joining the amazing roster at Discwoman. Hopefully will plan to do some US shows this year so we’ll see!

And lastly, what’s one track you’ve been vibing lately that you’ll definitely be playing at Corsica on the 7th of February?

Haha it’s actually ‘You Spin Me Round – Dead or Alive.’ I’ve been listening to so much synth pop at the moment I don’t know why.