Making cool sounds with attitude and style

   Interview with DJ Janette Slack

 

Hong Kong born Eurasian, DJ Janette Slack has been making music in London since 2003. She has now launched her own label Slack Trax and some really cool tunes she’s been crafting lately. As you’d expect, this is one lady with attitude. Her DJ-ing outfits are a mix of punk, hip hop, manga, latex and heavy make-up. Just before launching her label, I caught up with her to find out more about the East and West mix lady DJ who’s been jamming up the nights on the London club scene.

 

Tell us about your music, what makes it unique, what makes it different?

I’m not musically trained so it takes me a long time to write tracks. The only musical instrument I learnt how to play was drums for about a year. So I don’t know how to play any instrument at an amazing level but only enough so I can lay down ideas which make sound engineering and programming come in handy as you can programme it all and as long as it sounds clear and crisp then you don’t really need a band to rely on. I really enjoy programming drums and because I come from a more of a rock music background (my dad’s influence) I enjoy recording real bass guitars and real guitars. My music is a hybrid between rock and electronic music. I’m really inspired by bands like Hybrid, Nine Inch Nails, Dave Grohl from Foo Fighters, Underworld, Orbital, The Prodigy, Chemical Brothers, Basement Jaxx, all these amazing artists which are their own thing. You can hear they’ve got inspiration from something else and they’ve turned it into their own thing using electronica. So I collaborate sometimes with vocalists, it can be funk vocalists, a rapper, a singer, male or female, and it’s really nice to see what interesting layers they bring on top of my music.

 

 

What kind of clubs have you normally performed at, is there a particular scene you tend to stick to?

I’ve been kind of drifting, between all the scenes. When I first moved to London, because my passion was in break beat, I’ve played at various clubs and bars ranging from gay, straight and fetish. About 6 years ago I got my first warm up set at Torture Garden. I’ve now been a resident there for 6 years and it’s definitely not boring.

 

 

Have you got a signature look when you’re performing?

It took me a long time to find the image that was right for me. You just got to believe in whatever it is what you you’re wearing. But as long as you don’t get lazy and stay on top of your craft it doesn’t really matter what you wear. I generally tend to wear what I feel like. As a woman there are days when you want to wear trousers and days when you want to wear tights. It’s trying to keep a balance, dressing with a bit of attitude. And if there’s a theme like Halloween, hen dos etc… it helps you do your thinking about what clothes you’re going to wear. You end up wearing something you never thought of wearing before and the night gives you the option to. I am also becoming more open to things such as wearing body paint etc.  Sometimes I want to stand out and sometimes I don’t.

 

 

You’ve launched you own label. Tell us all about it.

I’ve launched my own label Slack Trax last year and it’s got its first release on 29th Oct with a track called ‘Girl in Black’. It’s the most ‘pop’ish, commercial track I’ve ever done. All my tracks have always been moody. The next single ‘You Can’t Stop This’ was released on the 4th of Dec. I’ve collaborated with Kickflip on that one and it’s more honest to what I play at Torture Garden and what I’m writing right now. It’s got guitars in it, real drums, vocals from Javone Prince (from Channel 4’s Phoneshop) and some really cool noises that make sense.

My album ‘Torture Garden Session’ got released in late January/ early February.  I have limited edition CDs that you can order on www.janetteslack.com . The album is available on all the digital shops such as iTunes, Trackitdown, Beatport, Juno, Amazon etc…. So far the label it’s been getting really good response. DJMag have shown lots of support, Mixmag have given Slack Trax 2 ‘Tune of the Month’ titles, and I just got interviewed by Time Magazine because of setting up the label.

 

What’s next?

I just want to keep writing and I just want to get better at everything I’m doing. One of the styles I play is progressive and electro and break beat and there’s a slower tempo called nu funk and glitch hop which is faster than hip hop but slower than electro and it’s a really sexy pace, there’s cool vocals, it really hits the spot for me. And that’s something I really want to explore more.

 

 

 

You can listen to some of Janette’s tracks here!

 

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The truth and the ineffable

 

 

I recently came accross a great post on Fashion Photography blog which attracted me because it was talking about two things I am really fascinated by: staying true to yourself whilst feeling no necessity in explaining that truth to anyone = the ineffability of being.

 

The truth

‘Shooting what I love and how I see fashion. My greatest wish for myself is that I can stick to this and not listen to people anymore telling me I must conform and change to shoot in a style that isn’t mine. I guess we’re all going to find out together if I can stick to my guns and stay true to my vision now’ are the words of the photographer, Ben Trovato. I like what he’s saying, it’s important not to conform and stay true to oneself, to ‘be at home’ no matter what you do.

 

 

Source: fashionphotographyblog.com via Iulia on Pinterest

 

 

 

 

The inefable

 

“All you can do is be confusing. Don’t ever empty the bucket of mystery. Never let people define what you do. It’s not about zigging when you should zag. It’s not about doing something unprecedented and unpredictable. It’s just about never being a word, or something that is not in the process of transformation.” – Marilyn Manson

 

 

Source: fashionphotographyblog.com via Iulia on Pinterest

 

You can read the whole post here.

 

 

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Scarf(e) Diem

There are many things I love about the warm season (amongst which picnics, Pimm’s, softball league, longer days, happier people, parks, blue sky, icecream, barbeques…) but, when it comes to fashion, what I really love is that it allows you to be versatile with your outfits in an inexpensive way.

Rather than buying new clothes each season to follow the trend wagon, best to buy a few cheap(ish) scarves and use them in various ways to update your style. They usually go great with plain vests and statement shades. And, if you feel a bit bolder than most, wear them on your head to emulate the 50′s or the 70′s power looks.

And because I am firm believer that the ‘Copacabana’ prints aren’t here to stay for longer than a season, I strongly recommend buying a tropical printed scarf instead of the hawaian shirt women’s magazines are raving about if you want to be part of the latest fashion craze. I personally really like the oversized scarfs from Primark – I have quite a collection at home and consider them wardrobe staples.

Source: Sartorialist.com

Source: Sartorialist.com

Source: French Connection

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A 60′s winter

What I really like about living in the 2010′s is that when in comes to fashion influences the rules no longer apply. I feel that trends and mini-trends change and overlap quicker than ever. These days anything goes: 20′s, 60′s, 90′s, you name it. There is a bit of everything everywhere. I wonder if it’s because we’re starting to get bored and swap influences way too often…

The 70′s may have stolen the limelight this autumn, but this winter it’s all about the understated 60′s with their geometric shapes, bold colours, clean lines, sleek hair and doll eyes make-up.

The 60′s kicked off modern fashion. They brought us the mini skirt,  the shift dress, the bell bottoms, the shorts, the go-go boots, the oversized sunglasses, the pixie, Twiggy and  a blooming Brigitte Bardot. Here are a few of my favourite 60′s looks:

Print clash and clean lines

 Source: reneerodriguez.typepad.com

Strong yellow and flattering A line dress

 Source: reneerodriguez.typepad.com

Baby blue, geometric shapes and the omnipresent wide rimmed hat

 Source: reneerodriguez.typepad.com

A fresh faced Brigitte Bardot - the quintessential 60's siren

Source last.fm

Black and white geometric clash

Source: decadesfeastivalcork.ie

The mini and the high boots are a 60's staple sported by the celebrities

Source: arees.glogster.com

The gamine look sported by the iconic Twiggy

Source: www.emilees87.blogspot.com

Back to the present though. You can find these 60′s influenced items in the shops for a Christmas update.

Cos Wool Dress available online on www.cosstores.com

Cos Merino Stripe dress available online on www.cosstores.com

Boiled Wool dress available on www.cosstores.com

Just match any of these minimal dresses with a pair of funky tights (think spots, stripes, pshychedelic prints), high leather boots and a dramatic make-up and you’re ready to rock the 60′s look!

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