SOPHIA Essél hails from Liverpool, England a city world renowned for its musical heritage. Many have tried and failed to become the next breakout music talent from such an esteemed city but the few who do succeed are made of something special, Sophia Essél is just that.
Despite only deciding to pursue a career as an artist 18-months ago, Sophia has already made incredible strides having had releases on respected house labels Swerve Digital and DJ S.K.T’s Stashed Music in 2018. Early in 2019 she shows no signs of easing up, landing releases on heavyweight labels Toolroom Records and Underground Audio, it is easy to see why the demand for Sophia is constantly rising at a rate of knots. This has seen her perform DJ sets at some of the best clubs in the UK and Europe for some of the world’s most respected dance music brands; Hush, Ibiza, Jacked, Lincoln to a sold-out crowd, playing a main-room slots for Steel Yard, London, Liverpool Pride as well as holding residencies at Sankeys Ibiza, Eden, Ibiza Rocks Hotel and Es Paradis in 2018 playing alongside some of the most respected names in house music from Josh Butler to Pirupa.
We caught up with Sophia to discuss how she started out in the industry, and her recent release The Franchise on Toolroom. Plus listen to an exclusive mix from Sophia on The Night Bazaar Sessions below.
When did you decide you wanted to work in electronic music and why?
The idea of involving myself in dance music was as a result of coming from a background of being a dancer for ten years in which I would do the mixing for shows via an audio editor called ‘Wavepad’. In January 2017 I decided to book my first holiday to Ibiza to see DJ’ing was what I wanted to do. That being said I already knew the answer I just wanted a holiday ! 🙂
Other interviews mention that you have only been a DJ/producer for a few years so it is very impressive that you are due to go and play yet another season in Ibiza- what reasons do you think lay behind such a rapid rise to success?
I’m a firm believer in the law of attraction – what you put out you attract good or bad. I also have ADHD and was overthinking madly into negative thoughts, one day I was thinking and said to myself ‘what if I overthink in a positive way’ so I trained myself to overthink positively and this led to an increased flow of creative energy. Whatever I put my mind to I will succeed at. This positive mindset has created a clearer creative flow and thought process leading me to my most productive phase of my life.
You hail from Liverpool in Northern England, which is renowned for giving rise to bands such as The Beatles when they played the Cavern Club but what clubs did you first start playing in?
The Beatles are such legends here and all over the world – I feel blessed to be from such a great city. I have been blessed to play at one of the most iconic venues of the Liverpool nightlife scene GBar and I’m thankful for that as I now get to play annually at Liverpool Gay Pride which is a massive honour.
How do you hunt for tunes when creating the perfect Ibiza set playlists?
When I’m in the gym I’ll put on Spotify and let it run off it’s own accord and then any tracks that stand out I add to a playlist. Other ways I like to find music is listening to Mark Knight’s Toolroom Radio and also attending events in the UK and Ibiza. I use my trusty little sidekick Shazam too, it’s a bit of a life saver.
You do a lot of things within music but do you have a preference to one thing? For example, DJ’ing, radio-hosting or producing?
I do have a preference and that’s DJing, there’s no better feeling than getting to show your favourite tracks to thousands of people and to get the thumbs up at the end of the set. The vibe at an event is untouchable and I live for that feeling every day.
You have recently released The Franchise on Toolroom, a tech house banger with incredible production value- how long did it take to create? Was there anything that inspired you to make it?
I made ‘The Franchise’ in four hours, one of those tracks where the flow was very much organic and why it ended up being what it is. In fact I also made another in the same day, both equally as poppin’ however I sent ‘The Franchise’ in to Toolroom’s A&R the feedback was just insane which led to them signing it. As far as inspiration for making it, I imagined thousands of people stood in a warehouse with their hands up, red strobes and fully got in the vibe and the track needed to match that especially the breakdown with the fog horns, imagine that last drop with CO2 cannons. I live for that feeling and my tracks reflect that.
Is there anyone we might know repping the tune in their sets at the moment?
The Toolroom lot are supporting it massively, Mark Knight has been dropping it, Siege and Wheats. I’m sure many more but as it has only been out a couple of weeks I’m just looking forward to getting the videos back to see the damage it’s been doing in the clubs.
Are you working on any other releases at the moment? If so, what is their schedule for release?
I am always working on releases, I have three tracks lined up however all are in the process of being signed but let me tell you – 2019 is going to be a big one for me and these tracks will mirror that, Positive vibes all year 🙂
What label/ release can you currently not stop listening to?
This will blow your minds – Flume – Voices. I listen to Flume everyday and I know it’s not what you may think considering what I put out but I live for music and Flume just takes me beyond. The best producer I have ever come across hands down next level inspiration.
Some people work better at night in a studio, others on an early morning flight to their next gig. Can you describe the best place and any rituals you have to get into the perfect headspace?
It used to be night time but as I started to work on my well-being and state of mind I found sleep was a struggle so I have a cut off time of 11pm 12 MAX! this has helped me massively and what I do now is walk in to my studio, whack an incense stick on usually either a mediation one or energising one, put my salt lamp on, grab my citrine crystal to help with creativity and I’m off for the next 10 hours easy.
How do you like to unwind after a busy weekend DJ’ing?
Some may say this is cliche howeverI actually unwind in the studio. I have a saying …’DJ’ing is my drug and production is my meditation’. This describes music well for me. I live by the motto ‘build a life you don’t need a vacation from’ and that’s what is in the making for me.