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Who The Hell Is Frenetic?

| August 10, 2021

Here is an authentic drum and bass fairy tale. From ticket seller and flyer girl to resident DJ for some of Birmingham’s biggest events, Frenetic has worked her way from the bottom to achieve the dream of playing to crowds of ravers every weekend. With clubs finally flinging their doors open after a tough 18 months, you best believe that Lottie Frenetic is making the absolute most of it – jumping from club to club and delivering the hottest triple drops of the night.

After years of attending live shows as a young teen, she flew the Bristol nest to the second city with a pair of cheap Pioneers and a hunger to become the absolute best at mixing drum and bass. This razor-sharp selector has spent the opening weeks of freedom at the top of her game with her amazing energy and enthusiasm almost as infectious as her dancing behind the decks.

Following on from our Ones to Watch list at the start of 2021, where she was deservedly highlighted for her uprising in the scene, we caught up with Frenetic in between her busy schedule of freedom celebrations to discuss her journey from French student to well-loved drum and bass DJ.

Let’s go all the way back – how long have you been DJing and what got you into it?

I’ve been DJing for about four years now. I actually wanted to learn to mix since I was about 16 but I didn’t have any mates with decks and this was back way before there was Pirate Studios or anything like that, so I just gave up on the idea for a while. I have been listening to drum and bass since I was about thirteen. I grew up near Bristol so I went to a lot of gigs that had a bit of crossover, so I remember seeing Pendulum when I was about thirteen. I saw Chase & Status, Sub Focus, but all as live versions because I was too young to go to any of the raves! That’s where it started.

I left home when I was 18 and went to uni in Birmingham and I joined my uni’s drum and bass society, which I ended up running, and through that I met all the promoters in Birmingham and networked with them all. I used to ticket sell for them, flyer for them.  I did a year abroad in my third year of uni because I did a French degree and you get a grant to do the year abroad, so I spent quite a hefty amount of that on a set of CDJs and then convinced my parents to drive me to France so that I could take my decks with me. They were a pair of Pioneer 800 mark 2’s so they were really crap, proper CD ones, and I just taught myself to mix while I was out there. I played a couple of nights in bars out there and then September 2017 I came back and obviously knew all the promoters, and they had seen that I had been doing a bit of mixing in France – I got a load of bookings. I started off doing the 10-11 room two sets and then just slowly worked my way up from there really.

A proper journey from the bottom then, it must feel like you’ve come a long way in a relatively short space of time?

It’s been really nice because before COVID it felt like everything was going really nicely and it was quite an authentic way of coming through. I wasn’t doing loads of livestreams or anything, it was literally just me playing out somewhere and someone would see me play and like what I was doing, then they’d book me and it was quite word-of-mouth. There was a lot of face-to-face networking and that’s why COVID was so confusing for me because I was suddenly adjusting to the internet. The whole journey has been amazing – I have tried to savour every single little milestone so much because it’s been such a fun journey.

Growing up around Bristol must’ve helped start that journey given how big the scene is there?

Definitely, it was really handy. I lived in a little village about 25 minutes away but it was just a matter of jumping on the bus, going to the O2 academy back when it was called the Carling academy and then experiencing loads of amazing music. I remember the support act at a Chase and Status show being Redlight and thinking ‘oh my god I’ve never heard of this DJ before, they’re amazing’ and it expanded so much musical knowledge for me.

Then onto Birmingham, which also has a  great scene – was there a club or event that you had your eye on when moving to the second city?

I did a lot of research before I came because I was mad keen to go to as many raves as possible. I remember my first big warehouse rave was a Seedy Sonics, they used to do loads of multi-genre student raves with like garage and house in the main room and room two was the garden of Rainbow at the time and that would always be drum and bass. I remember seeing a Critical takeover there and thinking it was amazing. They were some of the first people I used to ticket sell for and one of the promoters then started Weird Science, who now run all the big drum and bass nights. I’m a resident for them and that relationship has always remained, which is really nice – they were the first people to ever book me in the UK, so that has been a really nice full circle thing that they were my first proper rave in Brum and now I’m working with them loads and they have supported me so much.

The first time I went to PST that blew my head off because I just thought that was such a cool little jungle club, almost like a festival in there – I loved it. I was definitely part of the furniture there for quite some time because it was such a nice vibe. The Q club was another one – I only got to go there twice before it closed down, but I have never walked into the main room of a venue before and been so gobsmacked. It was just like a giant church.

It must be a massive weight off your shoulders to be back in clubs?

It’s been so dreamy. The first week back was just mental. I ended up with like seven bookings all over the place. It was really nice because I had a couple of new bookings with promoters I had never worked with before that had sort of discovered me through live streams and stuff, but the majority of them were from promoters that I have worked with previously and are part of the drum and bass family so it was nice to see the promoters, the people on the door, all the people I have grown up around. Just to see everyone again was so lovely and it meant the world to be back.

I danced around like an idiot even at sit-down events, so it’s really nice to have that energy reciprocated again because the sit-down ones can definitely feel awkward sometimes when I’m up there dancing my heart out and everyone is sat down just giving me a little gun finger when they can. Making people dance is my source of happiness so it’s definitely been a special time. I did have a little cry when I played the main room at The Mill and handed over to Zinc and Eksman. I think I dropped a tune in E minor and was just like oh god! It’s been so nice to be so busy again. I’ve been absolutely exhausted because I’ve still been working full time, but it’s been great.

Have you found it difficult trying to occupy your mixing urges and stay busy without shows?

The livestreams to start with were definitely a saving grace. I said to my friends, imagine if we had lockdown like five or ten years ago, DJs wouldn’t have known what to do! The livestreams were fun for a while but after a while it’s just not the same DJing into a camera versus real human beings. I started a mix video series about two months before COVID hit called Triple Drop Tuesdays where I was trying to experiment and push myself to come up with one mix per week using three CDJs – usually a triple drop or a weird switch – basically something technical and nerdy. That was quite a good one to keep doing during lockdown.

It’s amazing now that I’m back into the real world how many people have approached me and said they loved Triple Drop Tuesdays or had seen lots of my livestreams. It’s nice to know that I was still getting noticed and could provide a bit of drum and bass happiness somehow, even if it wasn’t the same as normal. I’m much happier to be back doing things in person again.

That live reaction must be half the thrill of the job! How do you go about selecting the best trio of tracks for a triple drop?

It actually normally takes me absolutely ages. Some weeks I have nothing and I have got to the stage where, if I can’t find something good, I won’t put anything out. I don’t want to put out rubbish because there is nothing worse than a DJ just slamming three tunes in the mix just for the sake of having three tunes in the mix – it just sounds awful.

It really just depends. It’s been a lot more fun now that I’ve got four decks because I’ve been experimenting with switching between triple drops and playing around with more of the flow of keeping three tunes in and messing around like that. I generally do it so all the tunes are in key because it sounds a bit nicer. Sometimes I’ll start with a vocal tune but generally I’ll just start having a mix and find a double drop I really like that sounds like it has room for something else, and then I’ll just sort of build on that. I have no idea how I come up with them sometimes.

Was there a specific tune or blend that you were excited to play when you first played a set?

My first set I opened with a really fun triple drop which was the Bish, Jappa and Zoro’s tune LSD into the Dimension remix of Timewarp into Fixate -Ripgroove. I was really looking forward to playing that out, but there were so many tunes in general. I made a proper effort when I was prepping my sets for the first week back to try and include loads of bangers from 2020 that never got a chance to be played. I think nowadays our culture is so quick to get new tunes and forget old tunes – I’m terrible for it myself and I know most DJs are. I wanted to make sure that I played a load of tunes that hadn’t been played on a dancefloor yet.

Has there been a specific moment since your return to clubs that has been particularly special?

I think the Saturday of opening week was such a special one because I played two sets at The Mill, which is Birmingham’s best warehouse and first big dnb night back, and it was just a special one because I got to do the main room 11-12 for Weird Science, who were the first people to ever book me, then I played in room two for Born On Road, which is another brand that has supported me from very early on and have shown me a lot of love. I then went to headline at PST which is my favourite small venue in Birmingham, which was mental. I was running around like a headless chicken but it was amazing. It was all in Brum which is where I cut my teeth as a DJ and I saw so many heads out.

You must still be recovering now?

Yeah! I had given myself half an hour to get from The Mill to PST and I had to run to PST because I couldn’t get a taxi in time. I had to literally sprint to the venue, but it worked!

That adrenaline rush must be a warm and familiar feeling though?

Definitely. Before lockdown I was so busy and everything was going so well. I’m used to being really busy. When we got the announcement that everything was going to open back up I was worried about whether I was going to get any bookings, and I think every DJ had that same fear, so it was so nice when they all started to come through. I was so happy to be running around again.

Has anything felt different or is it just like before?

I think performing-wise it has been no different – it feels like I’ve never left. I probably appreciate it more at the moment because we have had that break.

The one thing I would say is from a raver’s perspective, because I always would normally go a bit earlier or hang about a bit so I could catch some other DJs, particularly if they’re local because I think that’s really important. I would always go out and have a dance and mingle, but because of COVID I have been really anxious not to catch anything and then miss my next weeks’ worth of bookings. I have been a lot more in-and-out which really isn’t me – I love to go and rave as much as I love to DJ so that I can have a proper dance and check out new music and artists. That has been a bit weird because I just haven’t felt comfortable enough to go out and get involved because I can’t risk mingling loads and then catching COVID and then missing bookings because of isolation. That’s definitely been the difference.

When we highlighted you as One to Watch for 2021 earlier this year, there was a subtle suggestion of some production on the horizon… any updates?

I have been getting one-to-one tuition and I am slowly getting there but I’m just not in a rush to put anything out that I’m not 100% happy with. I am a realist and I know that I have a very long way to go before I’ll make anything worth playing out, let alone a tune that I’m happy with. I feel like as a DJ, a lot of new artists get pressured into bringing out a tune. There’s this weird thing that you won’t have a certain level of respect until you have a tune of your own, and I do hear that from a lot of people!

At the end of the day, I genuinely spend hours on the decks most days and I’m probably putting in very similar hours to producers on the decks. I love mixing and playing around – I will spend hours trying to do some weird loopy beat juggling sequence, just nerding out by myself. It will come one day and I can’t wait to share some music that I have made myself, but I am just enjoying the moment and enjoying the mixing side of things, just following what I love.

Once things stabilise a bit more with the events and I can cut my hours at work, I’ll probably have more time where I can take a day to sit on Ableton, but right now I would rather do a bit of production but mainly focus on becoming as good of a DJ as possible. I got a fourth CDJ back in April and I have put out a four deck mix, and I genuinely got so excited because I do not think I have scratched the surface with the sorts of mixes that I can do with four decks – I’m so excited about that right now!

There’s definitely a  pressure on DJs to learn to produce, whether it’s said out loud or not.

I completely understand peoples point because, at the end of the day, to get a beginner to the stage where they can play an hours set out of two CDJs compared to how long it takes for a beginner to bring out a tune which is worthy of playing out is hugely different. It will happen one day, I’m just in no rush and enjoying what I’m doing. I hope that people will understand that and respect how much time and effort I put into DJing by the mixes that I can do now.

What’s next for Frenetic – where can we catch you?

I’m playing in Bristol and Birmingham a lot. I’m at WooTown, Audio Farm and MADE festival, plus a lot of other things I can’t announce yet. I’m coming to a rave near you basically!

Follow Frenetic: Facebook / Instagram

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