For almost two decades DJ, promoter, producer and vocalist Michelle Manetti has been an active and respected voice in East London's queer scene, pushing for representation for marginalised artists through her regular parties and her now defunct Lipstick Disco blog.
A mainstay at Dalston Superstore, her Fèmmme Fraîche parties - launched in 2015 alongside Sandra Le - have become a bi-monthly fixture, and have helped to spotlight emerging female, female-identifying and non-binary DJs, as well as hosting bigger names like Honey Dijon, Rroxymore and Nightwave.
Sonically driven by jackin' house beats, trippy acid, dynamic techno and more recently proto, Italo and breaks, her sets are as electic as they are energetic. True to form, she brings that relentless energy on her 'Ransom Note' mix, which is a ride through raunchy Italo, driving synths and hypnotic acid...
Please introduce yourself… Who are you, where are you and what are you
Hi, I’m Michelle Manetti, based in East London, but from a galaxy far far away. Once upon a time, pre C-19 I was a DJ, club promoter and vocalist... waiting patiently for the return.
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)?
I’ve always been a straight up Jackin’ house and Techno kinda girl, but of late it’s definitely becoming more trippy, moving away from the straight 4/4 to more breakbeat, leftfield, acid, proto and italo, with lots of weird and wonderful sounds.
Where was the mix recorded?
In the comfort of my living room.
What would be the ideal setting to listen to the mix?
Somewhere that allows a little time for self-reflection and a moment to just loose yourself in the sounds, have a dance, go on, treat yourself!
What should we be wearing?
I’m envisioning some kind of 80s jumpsuit, in yellow.
What would be your dream setting to record a mix: Location/system/format?
I actually really enjoy recording my mixes at home, It's more chill than being on location, far less stressful, so I can just sit back and enjoy the process, although I wish I had some 2000’s, a DJM 900 and some 1210s, but my set-up isn’t too bad.
Which track in the mix is your current favourite?
I just recently discovered David Koch's track 'Pop Shock', which came out in March last year, as soon as I heard it I I was like ‘oooooooh what’s this’ chuggy bass and this infectious staccato synth top line, that’s literally been going round my head since I heard it. Proper cheeky choon.
What’s your favourite recorded mix of all time?
If you’re asking about my own, probably the last set I played before the first lockdown, back in March last year. I was playing Adonis at The Cause in the femme room, which I’m resident, It was international Women’s day, and Threads FM recorded and livestreamed the room for the whole night.
We had Natalie Sandi on warm-up, then RUTH then me and RUTH did a b2b, before I went solo til the end. It really went off and I ended up playing til about 8.30am I think, we were supposed to close our room at 7. I might even go so far as to say it was one of the best sets I’ve ever played, little did I know that would be the last time I played in a club to an un-socially distanced crowd of sweaty clubbers… Oh the glory days, good to go out on a bang though and I’m so glad it was recorded. It’s on my Soundcloud for those wanting some pumpers.
If you could go back to back with any DJ from throughout history, who would it be and why?
I’d probably say Louie and Kenny aka Masters At Work, they were my first introduction to House Music and DJ-ing, I had a few of their mixes on CD on repeat in my late teens and they inspired me to first start playing. Their early productions, especially the classics are timeless and flawless and the boys really are Masters on the wheels of steel.
What was your first DJ set up at home and what is it now?
Back in 1990-something, I bought myself a second hand ‘DJ in a Box’ set by Numark, for about £100 which came with two shoddy direct drive turntables, a crappy little mixer, two shonky speakers, some headphones and slipmatts, I bought it off some lad on ebay, met him in a car-park in Southampton and he threw in a handful of vinyl too.
I still have those shoddy little turntables and slipmatts, but I since upgraded everything else. I’d love some 1210’s but equally for nostalgia sake, I quite like my little dodgy numarks. I don’t really play vinyl these days tho, especially not out, I’m a USB user. I did have some CDJ-800’s for a while, but sold them and sadly I can’t afford the USB upgrades, but at the start of the first lockdown a friend kindly loaned me her Pioneer DDJ-1000, which is basically the equivalent of 2x 2000’s and a DJM-900 only it's not USB, you have to use it via Rekordbox DJ as a controller, but works pretty much the same including all the FX and stuff, so I’m using that for mixes and messing around at home.
What’s more important, the track you start on or the track you end on?
It depends where in the line-up you’re playing, I’d probably have to say the end…. leave a lasting impression.
What were the first and last records you bought?
If we’re talking vinyl, the first records I bought were technically the one’s I got from that lad in my little DJ-in-a-box set, I def know there were a couple of early Defected tracks in there, including Cleptomaniacs - 'All I Do'. The last vinyl I bought… Hmmmmmm I don’t buy much vinyl these days, except bits I can’t get digitally, but a little search on my Discogs tells me my last purchase was Rhythm Quest - The Dreams EP, which is an absolute Rave banger.
If this mix was an edible thing, what would it taste like?
A packet of Black Jacks and Fruit Salads.
If it was an animal what would it be?
One record in your collection that is impossible to mix into anything?
‘The Black Madonna - He Is The Voice I Hear’ it’s a 10 min masterpiece. I guess If you cut the piano intro you could mix it in, but it’s just so delicious and epic it would be sacrilege.
Anything else we need to discuss?
Not really much to report atm, Tier 4 scuppering everyone’s plans, so all my gigs are on hold. At the end of last year I finally put my first production out into the Ether ‘Cabin Fever’ which came out on Superdrama’s ‘Family Drama’ compilation. So now, I’m just using the lockdown to beaver away in the Studio, so look out for some choons from me!
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