Ahead of their return to Scotland for Glasgow’s Riverside Festival, Kenza Marland catches up with Canadian producer and DJ Jayda G and Doncaster-raised, techno producer Ryan Aitchison – more commonly known as
Mella Dee – about their musical roots and relationship with Scotland
Jayda G Mella Dee
Jayda G brings energy and joy to the dance music world. Having released her debut album, Signiﬁ cant Changes, on label heavyweights Ninja Tune just a few years ago, the Canadian producer and DJ exudes both a quiet conﬁ dence and intelligent optimism; which makes sense, as when it comes to the electronic music scene, she is absolutely smashing it. Calling London home these days, Jayda’s musical beginnings couldn’t have been further from the cultural hotpot she’s rooted herself in. ‘The music world in British Columbia was very different to what I was in to. I grew up in a really small town, and I really didn’t relate to most of my peers in terms of the kind of music that I was listening to. So music was very much a solitary thing for me growing up. I didn’t really have opportunities to go to clubs or see live music.
‘London is literally the opposite side of the spectrum. That’s a huge reason why I moved here: I actually have a musical community that I can relate to. There’s so many different areas of music here in London and while obviously I’m part of the dance music scene, I can and while obviously I’m part of the dance music scene, I can still go to live shows and something concerts – I It’s exciting!’ Having completed
a in environmental PhD Jayda’s toxicology, album explores debut crisis-relationship our the environment. with When asked whether art has a role to play in the climate crisis, Jayda the climate crisis, Jayda doesn’t hesitate. ‘100% ‘100% doesn’t hesitate. yes. know, yes. know, anything happens anything happens in our world politically, in our world politically, environmentally, racially environmentally, racially and in gender are all and in gender are all things that have to do with things that have to do with what’s happening in our what’s happening in our society. Art will always society. Art will always play a role because art is play a role because art is the commentary of what is the commentary of what is happening in our society happening in our society today.’ You You
Initially set for release Initially set for release on Ninja Tune sub-label on Ninja Tune sub-label Technicolour, Jayda Technicolour, Jayda describes their subsequent describes their subsequent decision to move to major- decision to move to major- label release as ‘a great label release as ‘a great honour and huge surprise.’ honour and huge surprise.’ But her relationship with But her relationship with Scotland began a wee bit before this career turning point. ‘I love Scotland . . . I actually looked at Scotland when I was trying to ﬁ gure out where I wanted to move! Mainly, because it was one of the ﬁ rst places that I deejayed internationally, so my fanbase kind of started there – as well as London and Ireland. I love the culture and the nature, I feel really at home. It is always a really big highlight in my calendar.’ And that highlight is soon approaching, as Jayda joins the line-up for Glasgow’s Riverside Festival 2020. ‘I’m super excited. I think it is going to be a fantastic time. The whole line-up is fantastic.’ Finally, ever-diplomatic, Jayda deftly side steps our attempts to stir up some rivalry. ‘Sneaky Pete’s or Sub Club!?! Oh gosh, this is a difﬁ cult one haha . . . I am not going to choose, because I have had an equal, amazing time at both those clubs. I’m sorry – I can’t make a distinction. Both of those clubs I have a huge love for.’
Doncaster-raised techno producer Ryan Aitchison – more commonly known as Mella Dee – will be returning to Scotland very soon to join an impressive line-up at Glasgow’s Riverside Festival, including Fatima Yamaha, Floating Points and Jayda G.
Mella Dee is a familiar face on Scotland’s thriving electronic music scene, having played multiple big bills, including a ten hour back-to- back set with Denis Sulta, at FLY Open Air festival in Edinburgh’s Princes Street Gardens last summer. Ahead of this upcoming semi-homecoming, Mella Dee says he’s looking forward to playing in Glasgow again. ‘I love Scotland. Everyone in Scotland has been really supportive of me since I started. I did my Boiler Room for FLY in Edinburgh and I love playing Glasgow as well. Everyone’s just up for it in Scotland you know? It’s a proper boot off.’ Since the explosion of his 2017 release, ‘Techno Disco Tool’, which hit number one in BBC Radio 1’s dance music chart, Mella Dee has shot to success, and in 2018 he to success, and in 2018 he was named one of was named one of Mixmag’s Stars of the Year.
‘With ‘With “Techno Disco “Techno Disco Tool” it all just went double Tool” it all just went double mental, and it meant that I mental, and it meant that I was everywhere – it meant was everywhere – it meant that I had busier shows, that I had busier shows, and more shows. But I and more shows. But I had already been around had already been around DJing so I kinda had an DJing so I kinda had an understanding of it. You just understanding of it. You just take it all as it comes. It is all take it all as it comes. It is all a progression.’
Mella Dee straddles the worlds of DJing and the worlds of DJing and production, seems production, seems to relish both. ‘They’re to relish both. ‘They’re both very different. My both very different. My preference these days is preference these days is probably production, but probably production, but mainly that’s because of mainly that’s because of me being a bit reclusive; me being a bit reclusive; I just enjoy being in the I just enjoy being in the studio making noise. I get to just make music and not to just make music and not worry about other people’s opinions too much; I can just sit down and do my own art essentially. But I’ve always loved DJing and I always will do.’
Creating his trademark to the worlds of house, jungle and hardcore, Mella the worlds of house, jungle and hardcore, Mella Dee exists ﬁ rmly within the electronic dance music industry – which, like many other musical communities, is facing up to a much needed discussion around gender equality that has been a long time coming. techno with nods
‘There is of course more that needs to be done. It’s a matter of booking the line-ups to represent everybody, and making sure it’s fair and even. My wife’s my manager and I work with an all-female team; we’re always trying to make sure that the things I’m involved in represent a cross section of people.’ Mella Dee plans a return to more all-night shows later in the year, and a tour is in the pipeline. And in terms of new music? ‘There’s plenty of stuff coming,’ he promises.
Riverside Festival, Glasgow, has been postponed to Sat 12 & Sun 13 Sep due to COVID-19 virus.
1 Apr–31 May 2020 THE LIST 27