On this episode of Seratocast we have Long Beach resident Bella Fiasco. Listen to her smooth mix filled with funk, soul, hip-hop and RnB edits from the Mixcloud link. Also, peep the little interview with Bella below.
How would you describe your style of djing?
I wish “open format” wasn’t thrown around so loosely these days. I typed a long description of my style so I didn’t have to give you that boring answer, but it really just comes down to “playing everything that sounds good- to a good pair of ears.” I’ve dedicatedly stuck to a wide range of selection throughout my years of DJ’ing, I play everything across the board as long as it’s got rhythm, soul, filth, and bass. My style has no boundaries- I like weaving the unexpected together. I just have fun with it.
When you make a mix, what's your process for choosing songs?
I always start off with the easiest part- throwing in the “musts” which are usually 3-5 songs that are in my top played from the last decade/s. From there, sequencing- the most important HEART of the mix. That’s when you really get to nudge your creativity. I like to pretend I’m walking into a live band playing a set, it helps me sort out which songs go together fluidly from a musician’s ear. My approach is it doesn’t have to make sense- it just has to sound clean and dope. I’ve learned not to be too technical; sometimes I get sucked into making sure every transition is in key, or pitch is matching, or genres are coordinating, etc. - what's the fun in that? The last part of the process is reminding myself that there are no rules to sounding good, just trust your ears- they know your style!
What were some of the first mixtapes you heard that inspired you to DJ and make mixes?
We used to live next door to a strip club DJ and he would give us his mixes- I always looked forward to them. I was around 13 at the time, wasn’t even familiar with “mixtapes” but I grew a knack for soundtracking and curating playlists. I used to burn my playlists onto CDs and pass them out to my friends in middle school. I’d even label them with ridiculous DJ names, and sometimes I got paid to make personalized ones. Fast forward to the time I started to learn how to DJ, my early influences in mixtape direction were A-trak, DJ Fuze, and my neighbor Justyle. Their mixes taught me to be bold, original, and clean.
I saw you recently did a tour with your father who plays Bass guitar, tell us about that and how you and your Dad work together musically.
My dad and I have always spent our quality time together “jamming.” He taught me how to play the drums when I was 14, a few years later he inspired me to learn how to DJ. I grew up around instruments and music my entire life, so we just always found ways to jam in the house. Definitely never thought people would take interest in it and give us opportunities to take it on the road. It all just happened organically; if people asked us to play together we’d just be like- “ok sure, why not!” Ultimately that’s all we did it for- a good time. I think people loved it because it was authentic, it’s where I came from. It’s such a pleasure to work with my dad, but believe it or not it’s not as easy as we make it look on stage. As technically coordinated we are in skill, we also butt heads on ideas a lot. We are each other’s biggest critics. Nonetheless, the experience feeds my passion and inspiration. Shouts to Papa Fiasco!
Do you prefer LPs or 12" singles and why?
12” singles- they’re a lot more useful for DJ purposes. You get the single, its instrumentals, acapella, remix / extended mixes, sometimes even bonus tracks. But for collection purposes, I have LPs on vinyl lying around the house too.