EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Meet Stephani B: The Woman Bringing Live Drumming to Electronic Music Audiences.
When you watch the drum pad skills of Stephani B along with her half a million followers on TikTok, you’re transported straight to the dance floor.
Growing up playing in bands and studying at the prestigious UK music school, LIPA, it was the likes of Calvin Harris and Avicii that drew Stephani Binto the world of electronic music. A scene she fell in love with, Stephani wanted to bring something new to the table and that she did with her incredible drum skills and live sampling that she now brings to every DJ set.
Sponsored by Roland and with a multi-single deal with Perfect Havoc, Stephani B has stepped into the world production. Her debut is in collaboration with the quality producer Movadaand gives us a taste of what’s to come from Stephani B, an artist who is best described in these four words: a force of nature.
Here we got to meet the talent behind the drum sticks where Stephani talks about her drumming influencers, Manchester’s party scene and what’s in store for her set at Ministry of Sound later this month.
Hi Stephani, thanks for joining us. Where are you in the world today?
I am in Manchester in the UK in my home studio!
Let’s cut straight to it – where did you learn to drum like that?!
It all started in high school initially and because it was the only thing I was interested in and good at (haha), and it got me out of boring lessons in school. I spent every day perfecting my drumming skills and it’s at the heart of what I do today.
Drumming isn’t what most people associate with electronic music so we figure you must have played in a live band. How did you get into DJing and adding the drum pad side to it?
No, they definitely don’t! I was in bands for years, especially during school life. I was actually in girlband once until I was 18 – we did loads of cool shows but then I left for uni at LIPA (Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts) where I continued my own journey. I do believe playing in bands really helped develop me over the years.
DJing is always something I have been interested in since watching the likes of Avicii and Calvin Harris growing up. I wanted to bring something different to it though and bring something fresh to the table. Everyone moves to the groove, so I wanted to exaggerate my sets with some real drum beats and live mashups!
Congratulations on your record deal with Perfect Havoc – exciting times! Your debut single with Movada features a sample from Crystal Waters ‘Gypsy Woman’. How did you land on that track?
Thank you, I am so buzzing!! I absolutely love Crystal Water’s track Gypsy Woman, so it was a no brainer to try and re-create it in my own style and bring out something fresh! I listened to this track growing up and the melodies within are just iconic. It was a dream to be able to release Sober (La Da Dee) with this sample in.
You also feature on vocals. Is this something you’ve always done or has drumming and DJing always come first?
Drumming and DJing are a big part of what I do and are at the forefront of my act. However, people have always seemed to like my voice and it’s cool to be able to put my own vocals on tracks if I wish to do so. You might see more of this in the future from me, but I will be collaborating with other vocalists in some of my other material.
There are so few prominent female drummers. Who do you look up to?
I love Shelia E. Some of my inspiration actually comes from her and how she incorporated a lot of drums and percussion into her music productions. Buddy Rich was also a massive influence on my drumming skills – he was crazy!!! My grandad introduced me to him when I was very young, and I took so much inspiration.
You were the face for the launch of the new Roland SPD-SX PRO sampling pad last year. How did that come about and what opportunities opened upas a result?
This was a pinch me moment. It was a complete privilege to be a part of this and it was a dream to be asked. Roland was on my radar since I attended college and university and began getting into electronic drumming. Drummer for Elbow, Rick Jupp, thankfully put Roland on my radar and that led to them being aware of my work. Me and Roland now have a great relationship and I am so happy to have a brand like them on board with my work. They are so supportive, and I recently attended this year’s UK drum show in Liverpool as their artist for the weekend.
You’re playing at Ministry of Sound on 24th November as part of the Perfect Havoc takeover. What can people expect from your set?
They can expect a fun, loud and crazy set from me filled with original mixes and classics with some live heavy beats and samples.
Growing up in Manchester, UK must’ve been a fun place for a musician like yourself. Where did you go to get your music fix – where you more of a gig goer or clubber?
It was! When I was 18, my go to club was the Ritz for a good club night of music. I did also attend a lot of different kind of events though and loved the likes of Arctic Monkeys and The Stone Roses. I also loved going to festivals, one of my first was Parklife.
How about family life, did you grow up in a musical household?
My family love many different styles of music and have been very supportive of my passion which I am forever grateful for. However, none of them are musical themselves, which is quite surprising!
Best of luck for the future Stephani, we’re really excited to see what happens next.
Thank you so much.
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Stephani B x Movada’Sober (La Da Dee)’ is out now on Perfect Havoc.
Connect with Stephani B