THE RISE OF HOLLIE PROFIT

By Cara Cassidy

At just 22 years old, Hollie Profit has quickly become one of the most prolific young DJ’s to come out of Wales.

Hollie has a passion for Disco, House and all things groovy as she successfully pursues her music career. With her charismatic energy and impressive technical ability, she is a dynamic artist that shows no signs of slowing down. Hollie has already established herself by playing some of the biggest club nights and festivals in the industry such as Cafe Mambo, Lost Village, Cirque Du Soul and Gottwood.

Hollie played Creamfields at just 18. “It was mad honestly! I can’t even tell you what the adrenaline rush was like and when I was telling people about it they wouldn’t believe me.” She has attended Creamfields since she was only 14.

“Me and my dad pretended to be a couple and walked in holding hands and they didn’t even ID us. We got straight in and I’ve been every year since.” With an undeniable love for music from an early age and a parent sound enough to sneak her into festivals, the foundation was laid. Hollie soon realised that DJ’ing was going to be more than just a hobby.

Impressively, Hollie taught herself how to mix but when she felt she couldn’t better herself anymore she attended a 12-week DJ’ing course at the Manchester MIDI school. Here, she broadened her horizons and refined her taste. This time allowed her to discover her own sound identity whilst pushing herself further as a technically skilled DJ.

Hollie’s innovative fusion of House and Disco have secured her a place in the industry, but her willingness to experiment with other genres in the future reveals that Miss Profit is one to watch. “I think maybe in the future if it ever came to it, I’d maybe do an alias just for a one-off event doing some darker Tech House, that would be an experience. But not at the moment, Ilike my disco.”

Hollie is an advocate for equality in the industry and was involved in the 2017 Smirnoff Equaliser Initiative, a platform that was striving for a 50/50 gender balance in artist’s streamed on Spotify by 2020. The programme was “one of the best platforms if not the best platform”she had ever seen and was such a great way for girls to get involved and potentially to be mentored by more established female artists. However, the initiative only lasted one year.

“If they had carried that on then I think there would be a lot more girls coming through now and it’s a real shame that they stopped it. it was just good content at the time everybody jumping on board. There are events that are genuinely like ‘we want girls’ and that’s great but so many have just jumped on the bandwagon to get more likes.”

There is still a long way to go for female DJ’s to experience true equality in the industry. Token gestures like these are a step in the right direction, but it’s not enough. Even the term ‘female DJ’ is problematic because really, why should it even matter?

“Can you just talk about me because I’m a DJ, not just because I’ve got a pair of tits please.” She has a good point. After all, promoters should be booking artists based on talent, regardless of their gender. Hollie was headlining at a club one night in 2019 where she was abruptly stopped by a male security guard.

He interjected and asked, ‘where are you going’ when she responded, ‘I’m DJ’ing’ she was hit with, ‘no you’re not, you’re a girl’. Situations like these are a reminder of the sexist attitude that lingers under the most ‘progressive and inclusive’ facades. However, the industry is becoming a lot more inclusive. There is an increasing number of women getting involved at all levels, diversifying the culture and establishing their position. Hollie is definitely one of them.

Hollie has already landed herself three residences. Playing for Cirque Du Soul, Disco touring brand Triple Cooked and Church Leeds, which sadly closed its doors in 2019. “It makes me sad even thinking about it, they turned it into a library. I’m dyslexic and I thought that was one of the harshest things that could happen. That was my place of worship, my church.”

“On my to do list was to get a second residency for 2019 and I got one one with Triple Cooked on day 5 of the year, it’s mad, so that’s how it all just snowballed. The Welsh DJ has supported a vast number of talented artists such as CC:DISCO!, Elliot Adamson, Romare, The Shapeshifters, Craig Charles and Horse Meat Disco.

She was also booked to sub-headline a sold-out event with Dimitri From Paris at Motion in Bristol which has sadly been cancelled due to Covid-19. “He is one of the reasons I got into disco so to sub headline below him was an absolute dream come true.” Safe to say she’s killing it.

Balancing work and partying can be tough for everyone at the best of times, but when you are a young successful DJ how far is too far? “It’s a very thin line I must say. If you are partying all the time, then you will burn out and I’ve learnt that the hard way.”

Hollie has recently signed to Penthaus Agency and hopes to release her first EP in late 2020. She is also rapidly expanding her brand Les Hoots and plans to launch a clothing brand inspired by Disco/House related graphics. On top of this she is starting a record label, podcast, touring brand and a festival all under the Les Hoots label.

With time to prepare, Hollie intends to hit the ground running as soon as dance floors reopen. Keep an eye out for Hollie’s debut EP and show it some love, because her future is looking very bright.

THE PHILANTHROPIST DINA CELINA

By Bill Rah

Get to know Dina Celina. The Nutritionist and DJ from Norway co-founded her own clothing brand. She is also one of the most charitable artists in Edinburgh.

Dina moved to Edinburgh six years ago to pursue a degree in Nutrition at Queen Margret University. She now has a new objective which is to establish herself as one of Scotland’s elite DJ’s. That isn’t her only goal as she is one of the most charitable artists in Scotland. “I’m very lucky with my life. There are so many people less fortunate. I think it’s really important. I believe in karma. What you give out, you will get back.”

Her beliefs are a reflection of her strong moral compass. She has goals and nothing can stop her from achieving them. She stands by her principles. “If I can DJ for a couple hours a week which will make me happy and it will also help someone else that’s a win win situation.” Her philanthropy is inspiring. In Edinburgh some DJ’s play for the money. Some play for the Instagram pictures. Few work in service of others.

Recently she co-founded a clothing brand called Sound Advice. The brands aim is to raise mental health awareness within the DJ’ing community. Somehow she has managed to combine music fashion and health. Not even Dina knows how she managed that. She collaborated with her fellow Scandinavian comrade Erik Stenersen. The duo rigorously brainstormed before forming the idea.

“I wanted something that was in your face.” This was a reference to her design “Don’t be a dick”. For some it’s human nature. Everyone has the potential to be good or bad. It’s a matter of ensuring the positive aspect of your character is on display more often than the negative. Dina has remained committed to her charity work just as relentlessly as her music career. Some of the proceeds from Sound Advice have been donated to the NHS. She laughed as she lamented that she has the longest CV out of anyone you know.

“Every time I tell people I’m a nutritionist and a DJ they say that’s the weirdest combination ever.” The unconventional combination gave her a unique outlook on life. With a strict diet, ensuring she receives all her nutrients and vitamins Dina has found a balance. “I don’t suffer from hangovers. I think I balance it quite well.” She manages multiple careers which is a testament towards her work ethic.

She isn’t just a DJ, nutritionist and entrepreneur. Dina is an activist. As a member of The Edinburgh Disco Lovers, she has established herself as a force to be reckoned with behind the decks. There is a false perception that Dina is a Disco DJ. “A lot of people see me as a Disco and House DJ but I’m not.” Immersing herself in a Melodic Techno sound. Dina wants to take her music in a underground direction. Rarely has she been able to play the sound she loves. Before the lockdown her last set in Sneaky Pete’s with Ryan Fyvie gave her the opportunity to explore melodic techno.

Despite only performing for two years music is embedded in her nature. As she plays the ukulele, clarinet, trombone. Throw in the guitar and keyboard as well. The first time she stepped behind the decks was an after party. A place where many vibrant careers started. She is still building her clothing brand as well as her music career. However this hasn’t been an easy journey for her. Like all stories there was inner conflict within her.

“I was diagnosed with depression when I was 15.” Her candid honesty conveyed her mental fortitude. Accepting and revealing her diagnosis to a stranger demonstrates her willingness to fight the stigma. She noted that in Norway, people are a lot more open to discuss mental health in comparison to Scotland. Although society has become more accepting there is still a stigma attached. There was one similarity between Norwegian and Scottish people. “We want to go out and get absolutely fucked up.”

Doing anything in excess can have a negative impact on our state of mind. Around two years ago Dina was simply unhappy with her life. As someone who has previously been diagnosed with depression she stated she was not depressed and was significantly unhappy. Too much partying. “There was a time 2 years ago I didn’t feel well at all. I wasn’t depressed but I was not happy and that was due to too much partying but now I’ve learned how to balance it.”

As she regained focus on her health, her happiness evolved. Although she still has a taste for fine wine she has discovered a way to keep herself in check by using music as an outlet for stress. During the lockdown she has released a healthy dose of live-streams, developed her brand and focused on nutrition. A diverse skill set. Diversity is important. There is not enough women resident DJ’s in Scotland. Something we as a community must address.

When pressed on the diversity of Edinburgh’s music scene she bluntly responded no. In response to questioning regarding if Edinburgh’s music culture was diverse enough. She feels that it has improved recently for women. “I think it’s getting better. When i first started DJ’ing I found it quite hard to get on the scene.”

Some people have to work for it. Not everyone can have a set handed to them like local Edinburgh spice boys. Dina found it difficult to get her name out there before she aligned herself with the disco lovers. However she has become more prominent in Edinburgh within the last year. With a diverse repertoire of track selections expect to see more of Dina Celina in 2021. Through her charity work she is more than a DJ, she is a philanthropist.

THE ESCAPADES OF THEO KOTTIS

By Bill Rah

 The London based DJ from Edinburgh is perfecting his craft in the studio preparing for another summer release on SKINT Records. On the dance floor Theo has been providing a unique Italo Disco sound.

The Scottish selector has a passionate flair for Italo Disco as he immerses himself in deep house and cosmic disco to soundtrack his sets. He has an upcoming Italo track on Munich based label Permanent Vacation which is coming this summer. “I’m really happy about it because I’ve wanted to do something for them since I first started producing. I sent it out to them, they got back to me straight away.” In his career Theo admits he has attended “too many afters” and reminisced about the greatest afterparty he ever attended

The wildest afterparty that Theo recalled was deep in a Mexican jungle. “One of the most surreal afterparties was when I played at BPM Festival. It was a half an hour car journey into the jungle. Turned up to this mud hut that could fit 150 people. No lights or nothing, all the stars were shining. I think DJ Tennis turned up, Gerd Janson was there. We danced all night. It was amazing.” The natural jungle environment was beautiful yet bouncing. You can imagine it was incredible. Being amongst a legend of Gerd Janson’s status makes it all the better. 

Theo shared one of his fondest dance floor memories from Sonar Festival, when he first heard Gerd Janson play his summer hit Turning Around. “First time I heard him play Turning Around was on the dance floor at Sonar last summer with my mates. I heard the kick drum come in straight away before everyone knew. I was shouting aw it’s my tune, it’s my tune.” When someone else plays your music it’s a unique feeling which is indescribable. “He didn’t even know I was there so I just ran to the front shouted at him.” Gerd supported his music by regularly playing his tracks and remixing Turning Around

Theo’s admiration and respect only grew after Gerd had taken the time out of his hectic schedule to produce a remix. “Respect to him for that. He’s a DJs DJ in my opinion. I absolutely love him. Now we’re working together, that’s class.” A similar incident occurred in February when they both played at Panorama Bar. “He played it again and he saw me on the dance floor and he came out of the booth to give me a cuddle on the dance floor. It’s been class. Him remixing me has been amazing.” Being championed by a DJ of Gerd Janson’s calibre is a reflection of Theo’s elite production and validates his status as one of Scotland’s premiere producers. 

Only upper echelon DJs receive invitations to spin track in Berlin’s prestigious Berghain and receive the honor of playing in the Panorama Bar. “Unbelievable, the atmosphere was amazing, it was packed. You just receive so much love from the crowd, super energetic.” Theo performed between 4am-8am at the renowned P Bar. “Probably my favorite gig I’ve played so far.” Theo spoke candidly about his love for Berlin. As the harsh reality sinks in that none of us will be dancing anytime soon, he discussed his lifestyle altering.

Every morning after Theo wakes up, he goes for a run then heads to the studio. “My lifestyle hasn’t drastically changed. My studio is at home now. I’m still in the same routine.” Despite the ongoing pandemic he has composed himself with a positive outlook throughout this turbulent time. “In a bad situation being self employed.” Theo has dealt with two tour cancellations in Australia and Asia. “It impacted my release on Beautiful Strangers because a lot of record shops are shut down so I’m just trying to stay positive. All my gigs have been wiped out.” 

Due to the current escalation of the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent government enforced shutdown many artists’ revenue has been impacted substantially. At times of turmoil it’s imperative to provide artistic support. “I don’t think a lot of people understand how important it is to support artists. A lot of people are illegally downloading which is fine, it helps promote you. At times like this it massively helps so keep streaming.” Due to being classified as self-employed it’s impacted him substantially. The devastating impact of coronavirus has left the music industry in a perilous position. 

However throughout this unprecedented situation we can still enjoy the little things. Such as new releases. Theo’s upcoming May release on SKINT Records is a follow up to Turning Around, a disco sample projecting summer vibes. “More of a festival track I would say, open air vibe.” Theo prefers not to play his music when he’s DJing however admits to dropping his upcoming material throughout his sets. “So that must be a good sign” as he laughed we discussed the direction he has taken. “Moving more towards that Italo sound. Very energetic, big snare drum, nice bass line.” In the wake of the lockdown we must do what we can to support artists.

Check out his latest EP Nothing to Lose

THE FRESH PRINCE OF SUB CLUB

By Bill Rah

Meet Joe Eke, the 18 year old fresher playing on behalf of RARE Wednesday @Sub Club providing provocative dirty disco and thumping Chicago house. Now he is Subby’s youngest resident in history

“The two nights I played at Sub Club were probably the best nights of my life.” Joe wasn’t anticipating to perform in Subby. He was working as a PR for RARE Wednesday, the city’s premier student parties. One day he sent a mix to RARE PR Guru and FUNKTION Manager Ross Kirkwood. He received positive feedback but was informed RARE weren’t looking for DJs. However FUNKTION, a new breed of student parties were interested in bringing him on. “Three days later I got a message that said are you free on Wednesday, I’m gonna get you in to play Subby.” It was difficult for him to describe how that felt and when pressed on that moment Joe was lost for words.

He discussed what it was like after playing as he managed to collect his thoughts and ecstatically proclaimed “Loved it, loved every moment of it.” On a chilly January evening outside Glasgow’s filthiest and most renowned basement Joe spoke about his relentless passion for music. “Surreal playing Sub Club at 18. When I got the call up first I couldn’t believe it.” You don’t get that call without perfecting the art and improving your skills every day. Everyone started somewhere and this is how Joe’s story began. In the town of Woking in South West London where he was born and raised, behind the decks where he spent most of his days.

When he was 15 his father purchased him the basic tools required to thrive in a cutthroat industry. He reflected upon the first set he ever witnessed and how that inspired him. “Seen Jamie XX when I was 15, me and my mate went with my dad because we weren’t old enough to get in on our own so my dad had to chaperone.” Although his father was in attendance Joe managed to find time to enjoy himself and embraced the experience with his auld da.

Photography by Clark James

“It was unreal going to a party with my dad, me and him do everything together he’s my best friend. He supports everything I do which is unreal. It’s so good having supportive parents.” It’s admirable to see a father so supportive of his child. Joe displayed genuine appreciation and affection for his father. Joe’s dream became a reality because of his father’s support. Little pushes like that in life can drastically alter an individual’s trajectory. 

“Since that night I said I wanted to be a DJ. I asked my dad around Christmas can you get me a proper shitty pair of decks.” That winter Santa delivered his Christmas wish. He was equipped with a £40 mixer and got to work. “I plugged it into my iPad it was that shit.” Joe eventually migrated to Glasgow to escape English tyranny. “I’ve been to a lot of clubs down London and I’m telling you Sub Club is the best in the world.” This statement holds more weight coming from a Londoner with a flair for disco.

“Glasgow is better, London there’s constantly so much going on. In Glasgow it’s a lot more locale. You bump into a few dickheads in London but in Glasgow I never really bump into anyone that isn’t sound.” There is a reason people make Glasgow. The fact Joe has built a connection to the city in such a short time proves his genuine love for the city’s rich history of music culture. “Sub Club is my favorite thing about Glasgow.”

Photography by Clark James

Although Joe didn’t just move to Glasgow to pursue a music career he began studying Philosophy, Sociology and Politics at Glasgow University in 2019. He reflected upon his course and how it has helped him shape his artistic ideology. “When I’m listening to music I respect that music more in a way as studying politics and sociology you learn a lot about social inequality. Therefore a lot of the time you do respect more underground music.” This highlights Joe’s appreciation for industrial cities such as Detroit and Glasgow where people come together to party and create extraordinary music.

Although he has been spinning tunes for three years he only recently started to experiment with production. “These days if you wanna properly get into DJing you need to stand out. You can’t become a big DJ without production apart from rare cases such as Jackmaster.” Joe has the potential to join the ranks of elite DJs if he fully embraces the rigors of production. He made a candid remark upon living in the moment. “I had a moment earlier where I had to take it all in half way through a tune I just stood still and watched the crowd. It’s just the best feeling in the world, nothing beats it. The atmosphere in Sub Club is the best in the world and it’s part of Scottish culture.”

For three years he was honing his craft as an exclusive bedroom DJ. Putting in the hours refining his mixing. His dedication towards music was reflected in his performance at Sub Club. That was one of the filthiest sets I’ve ever witnessed and a reminder that RARE Wednesday is the place to be every week during the academic year. Providing a platform for students to invest themselves in Glasgow’s vibrant music culture. Joe is now part of that culture. This man is fresher than your average fresher so check out his latest mix.

https://soundcloud.com/eeksdj/2-hour-mix