ESSEL Scores Her First Beatport Number 1 with “Sweat”

We catch up with UK producer and DJ Sophia Essel (aka ESSEL) whose new track “Sweat” marks her first time at the top of the Beatport charts.

6 min
Essel Beatport Number 1 1536x715
May 16, 2023
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By
Heiko Hoffmann

Hello Sophia, Congratulations on your first Beatport number 1. How are you?

Thank you so much. It means a lot to see how people are supporting my music. When “Lennon” got to number three, I was so hyped, but I wanted to push myself even more and fortunately, “Sweat” connected just the way I intended it to. To be in the top 10 with the likes of Four Tet, Fred Again, Skrillex, Vintage Culture, and Chris Lake is hugely rewarding for me and shows all the hard work is paying off. Big ups to everyone who bought the record!

“Sweat” is quite unusual as a top track on the Beatport chart. It’s very tough sounding and doesn’t rely on prominent samples. How did the track come about?

I wanted to do something different, something that connects with everyone and seeing as it’s festival season, there’s going to be a lot of stories being shared about how people have had the best night out of their lives, and I wanted to soundtrack that memory for them, you know make one of them tracks that they will always have a good memory to. It’s got potential to be played at small intimate clubs (where the inspiration really comes from) and bigger festivals as well. So I hope it does what it was designed to do!

Your vocals are based on the theme of getting lost at a night out. Has this been sparked by any particular experience?

I held a residency at Sankeys Ibiza, which was a summer to remember and really stands out as a moment for me in my DJing career. That main room was one of the best clubs on the island for me – ‘ black walls, low ceilings, strobe lights, everything was hazy’….

So I decided to record myself saying just that and here we are. It’s the first time I’ve used my own vocals on one of my own tracks. Buzzing, it happens to be the record that got to number 1.

One thing that stands out about the production is just how heavy the bass hits on “Sweat.” Can you give some tips for emerging producers on how to achieve this?

Solo your kick and sub and get them working together in harmony. If they’re not fighting, giving space to one another, and groove along without any other elements, then you’re halfway there! Serum is my go-to VST for bass — loads of character and attitude can be brought out, which cuts through the mix. If you’re layering up a lead bass line, make sure it’s responsive to the sub. Play around with call and response between the bass elements until you can’t stop dancing in your studio, basically!

The release is out on Toolroom, a label that you’ve been working with for the last couple of years. How did you end up on this iconic label?

And hopefully, many more years to come. I was a massive fan of Toolroom because of Weiss. He helped me curate some of my earlier sounds.

Along the way, Toolroom also set up its #WeAreListening platform to discover and nurture more female talent through the label. I attended the events that they held literally at their office and started to build a rapport with all the mental lot there (they know who I’m referencing haha).

This then developed into me doing releases and getting signed for management. Toolroom paved the way for female producers to become united and heard — fact. They’re 20 years old this year as well — give them a round of applause!

You are from Liverpool. Are there any local clubs or promoters that you can recommend?

Absolutely yes! Camp and Furnace, Kitchen Street, WAV, the old tunnels, the docks – these iconic venues are keeping the rave alive. The North is way more fun than the south. That’s a fact :p.

“Sweat” is out via Toolroom. Buy it on Beatport.

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