Ell Murphy: The ‘Shine A Light On’ Mix
Ell Murphy likes to bring a touch of the old school and the new school to her musical handiwork.
The London-based DJ, singer and songwriter has been flexing her fresh vocal take on the sounds of UK Garage and Jungle over the last few years.
Working with artists like LUXE, Giulia Tess and, most recently, Mani Festo, Ell’s tones have brought a sense of soul and celebration to these artist’s productions and have also led to a string of live sets in the capital and beyond.
On top of her vocal work, Ell’s is a nifty DJ. She explores similar styles to her own output, either through her residency on Balamii Radio or with her Team Woibey DJ crew – which involves Mixtress, fae and ohmydais – and when it comes to solo jaunts, she’s continuing that collaborative spirit as part of OBFC collective, a crew of rave-indebted DJs who lift one another up.
She added another string to her bow in 2020 with the launch of her label Jucey Tunes. A home for her own tunes, the platform has housed collaborations with the likes of Daffy, DJ Crisp, Stones Taro and as part of NITEWORK, her project alongside fellow SE London producer Medlar.
Until now she’s mainly been collaborating on the vocal front but, behind the scenes, she’s been working hard on finessing her own production skills, with the aim of releasing her first full solo release in the not-so-distant future.
We got her on board for this week’s mix so get stuck into an hour of sounds that have led Ell to where she is today.
Please introduce yourself… Who are you, where are you and what are you
I’m Ell Murphy and I’m a DJ, vocalist & songwriter. I’m sitting in my flat in Deptford (big up SE8) feeling a little hungover after Queen’s Yard yesterday, but full of bank holiday joy.
What does your music sound like? Can you draw what you think it sounds like for us (an image from the old internet is acceptable)?
My music sounds like an explosion of hearts and colours and butterflies and rockets flying through space (attached pic)
Where was the mix recorded?
I recorded this in my living room in Deptford.
What would be the ideal setting to listen to the mix?
I would say at a house party when you were transitioning from the early chilled vibes, going into a heavier evening of bouncy club pounders.
What should we be wearing?
A silk dressing gown.
What would be your dream setting to record a mix: Location/system/format?
I would love to record a mix on the Pembrokeshire coast in Wales, with all my mates on a massive funktion 1 right by the sea, just as the sun was rising – playing a mix full of old rave bangers on vinyl.
Which track in the mix is your current favourite?
I think it has to be Clapse by Rushmore – it’s such a disjointed, thudding pounder of a tune.
What’s your favourite recorded mix of all time?
That’s such a hard one as I tend to go through obsessive phases with different mixes depending on my mood or the season. I’ll listen to just one for a while when I’m walking about so certain mixes remind me of different points in my life, the same way songs do.
One mix that I’m loving right now is a recent one for Dummy from Giulia Tess – she is honestly one of the most incredible selectors, like she blows me away every time with her sets: the energy, the tunes, constantly inspiring me.
If you could go back to back with any DJ from throughout history, who would it be and why?
I would love to go back to the early 90s with Matt Jam Lamont and experience being in the crowds at the Sunday party at The Elephant And Castle in South London. I think that would’ve been incredible to witness and be a part of the birth of UKG, to literally see a new wave of dance music evolve right in front of you.
What was your first DJ set up at home and what is it now?
My first set up was a pair of Gemini turntables (got a pair for £60 on gumtree) and a DJM400 mixer in a make-shift wooden bar in our garden shed. I shared it with my best mate Dani, as we used to play together when I first started. I used to spend hours out in the shed learning to mix.
Now I still use the same DJM 400 mixer – kinda like a good luck charm – and a pair of XDJ-700s and Technics 1200s.
What’s more important, the track you start on or the track you end on?
Hmm that’s a tricky one, as I feel like they can both have equal importance in a mix, but I guess in this particular mix, I put more thought towards the opening track. I had to go through about four different songs to find the perfect one to follow it, as I was determined to have this beautiful, floaty one by Ishi Vu as the first track. I guess it’s like the opening of a musical conversation with your listener, so I always want to make sure I grab their attention and give them a reason to be drawn into the mix and keep on listening.
What were the first and last records you bought?
The first record I bought when I started DJing was Donald Byrd – Love Has Come Around. Still one of my favourite tunes – I used to rinse that in every set.
The last record I bought was a bumpy UKG record – Sometreat – Always with classic garage vocals from Tammy O’Brien.
If this mix was an edible thing, what would it taste like?
It would taste like sugary popping candy exploding in your mouth, filling you with sweetness and then going wild when you least expect it.
If it was an animal what would it be?
A bird of paradise flying through the jungle.
One record in your collection that is impossible to mix into anything?
I have one record from the Cobra Edit series No. 6 called Pow, and there’s something about the beat that’s a bit off/unsyncopated (the drums sound live) and it never quite perfectly mixes into anything, but I love the song so much.
Upcoming in the world of …
My new EP with Mani Festo is out 20th May on my Jucey Tunes label, with a launch party on 3rd June at Tola, Peckham. There’s also with loads of fun festival dates over the summer including Seaside Beano, Westival, Waterworks, and Outlook UK & Twisted with Team Woibey (me, mixtress, fae & ohmydais). I’m working on loads of new music – going back into the studio with LUXE and Giulia Tess.
I’m also trying to hone my production skills at the moment and slowly working towards a full EP produced and vocalled by myself.
Anything else we need to discuss?
The fact that there is such a lovely, friendly community in dance music at the moment in London and beyond. Really feel like this grew and evolved during lockdown and as a direct result of this so many friendships have blossomed.
Just wanna shout out all my amazing friends in the scene who constantly support, uplift and inspire me – especially my girl gang Team Woibey and the OBFC crew.