From the country to the city, Bec Grenfell is renowned for her seamless DJ sets and unique blend of a much broader spectrum of electronic music. Over the last 6 years she has gained a huge amount of interest with many of the big players in Melbourne, subsequently scoring performances on Kiss Fm, several Chameleon events and the epic Beyond the Valley and Rainbow Serpent Festival; not to mention a slew of the city’s best clubs like Revolver, Circus, My Aeon and Brown Alley.
When it comes to passion for quality music, whether it be old or new, Bec Grenfell has it down to a fine art. Playing her own definition of a much broader spectrum of electronic music, Bec’s music is best described as a unique style of melodic ethereal undertones with heavy basslined house and techno. She loves less obvious or predictable sound landscapes as she believes the unknown is always more attractive. Bec’s passion for music delves deeply to a neuroscience level with her avid research on music’s powerful effects on the brain in neurological conditions and her Striatum Project, a non-for-profit rehabilitation group for people with cognitive and movement disorders.
Bec is constantly pushing the boundaries with her visionary sounds, paving the way for female artists in the underground scene. She lets her music knowledge and 6 years of experience in the scene do the talking. She really knows how to capture and excite an audience with her smoothly transitioned sets and individual groove which separates her from the numerous generic “techno” artists that are seen today. Her stage presence is second to none, bringing you a journey of euphoria and electricity, leaving you questioning what the hell you are listening to!
It’s pretty obvious to anyone that follows you on social media, that you are smart and super talented, especially in the area of creative arts. Have you had to work hard to achieve this, and what has been the driving force to achieve this level of skill in your life?
Thank you, that’s a very lovely compliment. However, I don’t believe I am anymore talented or smart than the person next to me. Everyone is – in their own unique way – it just comes down to finding something you are truly passionate about and then naturally the more time you invest into that the better you get at it. I am just blessed that there are so many things I am truly passionate about. I have a very keen interest in art, neurology, philosophy, poetry, music, psychology, and pretty much how they all interact.
I have always been intrigued by how the human body functions and the role creative arts plays within that. From a young age I was drawing to get an escape and a creative release. So I guess that’s where my driving force has developed from, now I can’t seem to get enough – it’s an essential part of my life. Yes, like anyone I have had to work hard to achieve my successes, but when it’s something you love, the time flies anyway. I won’t deny it’s bloody difficult to juggle things at times. Working full time as a physiotherapist, conducting research on the side and building a house keeps me very busy and can make it very difficult to fit in gigs and studio time. But I make it work because music is my release, and it happens to also be majority of my social life as well.
It’s certainly a double-edged sword. On the one hand it’s really nice to be able to be picky about the gigs that I do, to select the gigs that I’ll really enjoy, rather than the ones that’ll pay the bills. On the other hand, I do feel like I’m not able to invest as much time in either thing as I’d like to. Would I say I have worked hard with my music? Well not necessarily as most of my effort and hard work has come from juggling everything. To me DJing has always been an enjoyable hobby, so it’s hard for me to look back and reflect on the hard work because I don’t find it being hard work, it’s more just simply the time factor.
If you were told you were only allowed to play at a specific BPM for the rest of your DJ career, what speed would you choose and why?
This is a very challenging question! One could easily say around the 125-130 BPM mark, as this is the most common and universal of the house and techno genres. However, I feel there is never a situation where you will have to limit yourself to an exact or succinct BPM range, nor would I ever endeavour to. This is one of the best things about being a DJ, you have the control and and the flexibility with that. Whether you are opening up, playing the whole night, or coming in for a headlining set – you soak in the atmosphere and make a decision based on that.
It’s easy to get drawn into a faster BPM, using it as your driving force of energy, but in reality music is much more than BPM and you don’t need a faster bpm to create more energy. To me it’s about playing to a certain energy level with a degree of freedom from tempo, rather than using tempo to make something more energetic or less energetic. Tempo is simply one axis in the overall multi-dimensional space of music. There’s a lot of different melodic components that factor in as well, like density and sparsity. All of these things are directions that you can go in from a certain point.
The art to a good set, I believe, comes down to its dynamic and captivating nature; as a listener I want to be taken on a journey, so limiting yourself to one BPM gives you little room to move. Particularly as techno is gaining more traction in the past few years. There’s so much posturing within the scene. Not to throw shade, I love techno, but it’s really intense if you’re playing it nonstop for a few hours, it can be very monotonic. I don’t connect with that. I get more of a kick out of a very emotive breakdown, that’s where I get lost in the music.
Right now everybody can be a DJ, so it’s not a question of practice anymore it’s a question of taste and courage; that you can play and be confident in your taste and yet also challenge the audience. I mean, the relationship with the audience is crucial for a DJ, and yet it seems to be a fragile one. You need to find the perfect balance between giving the crowd what they want and treating them to something new. As long as you keep the flow and energy, I think people react better to a dynamic set. When music is stripped back, it challenges you to listen more attentively, I love that about music. It’s less “come watch me play heaving techno” than being a part of the broader thing. Its focusing on the emotive connection within music. The vibe is still there and I am always toying between elements of techno, house and electronica. There just aren’t rules. You don’t have to play this BPM or this type of music to be a good DJ. It comes from the soul, its organic. When you play from the soul, the audience gets that, they will connect with you, no matter the BPM or genre of music you are playing.
Growing up in the rural areas of Melbourne, what music inspiration did you have there, and how did you fall in love with electronic music?
That’s the marvellous thing about music – it’s universal – no matter the location of your upbringing. If you are in a westernised society, you could have grown up listening to the same vinyl or CD as Jo Blo over the other side of the world. So I don’t think growing up rurally affected me in that sense, I was always close enough to travel to Melbourne to attend music events as I pleased.
My earliest and biggest influences would have to be acquainted to my parents bringing me up listening to artists like INXS, Nirvana, Radiohead, R.E.M., The Smiths, The Cure, Depeche Mode, Pink Floyd ect. I guess that’s where my initial taste and love of strong drums and intense melodies came from. But there was a whole other side to me, my own influence. I can remember when I really young, like 8 or 9 years old, and I saved up to get one of the first ever mp3-players and I use to stay up well past my bedtime to listen to the late night rave sets on the radio and I was stoked when I could finally record them and play them back over and over.
It was full trance and very intense – nothing like I had heard before – and I fell in love with it. It filled me with energy and I felt like I was escaping to a whole other secret world because of its limited access. I would stay up late listening on the radio, imagining what it would be like to be actually at the event in the crowd. Then I would get up early to listen to rage with my sister. We would replay the prior night recordings, blasting heavy melodic trance music early in the mornings on the weekend, jumping around the lounge room together.
I loved connecting with my sister in how much we both enjoyed the music. They are some of my most fond childhood memories. So the passion for electronic music was clearly there from a young age. I fell in love with the escape music provided me, and the way it made me feel, then later the concept of music in all its connectedness.
Dreamy and spacious with lots of interesting basslines and chugging melodies, this exclusive Mini-Mix by Bec Grenfell will lead you into a beautiful and deep atmosphere. Ending up with darker sounds but still keeping the melodic elements as the main focus, Bec’s style and sonic vibe feels modern and fresh.
01. Ovend – Confidence
02. Modular Project – Caelum
03. Lower & OSp – Recycled
03. B.B.E. – Seven Days & One Week (Adwer Off Week Rework)
04. Somne – Triangle
05. Solee & Alyne – Neosensual
06. Aether – Beyond The Lights
07. Eric Prydz – Opus (Four Tet Remix)
KONTRAST is a collective of creative spirits who loves to combine raw sounds, dark, thumping beats and intense, edgy musical experiences with extraordinary visual elements in an experimental and innovative way. Our aim is to create something new, colourful and unforgettable and to explore how sounds, shapes and visual imprints together can create something bigger than ourselves, and a different state of mind. The ninth series of the KONTRAST mini-mix series will run from October 5th to 26th, and there will be an exclusive podcast from each artist with a short interview to get to know them better.
Mini-Mix Series #9: