Clair Stirling, aka Eclair Fifi, is best known as a DJ who can effortlessly blend dance music history with cutting-edge styles. As well as spinning, though, she’s also a pro-illustrator and designer. All of this is now coming together on a new series of unearthed vocal dance music classics, each of which Clair has licensed, had remixed and created a portrait of their singers for.
“I grew up on these records,” she explains. “My mum and dad constantly played tapes from Pure [Edinburgh rave night run by JD Twitch, now of Optimo]; I wouldn’t know what the songs were, but I absorbed them.” As a DJ from her teens, on the Scottish scene where generations still rave together, she quickly soaked up the history, and now sees this project as a chance to highlight – and pay – some great talents. “It shocked me just how much people had been ripped off by labels back then,” she says, meaning that the process requires not just detective work, but winning each artist’s trust, too.
The first fruit of this is 1988’s glorious ‘Never Let Go’ by Mickey Oliver of radio DJ team Hot Mix 5 (recently honoured by the city of Chicago for their part in the birth of house) and Shanna Jae (later known as Paris Grey of Inner City). “It’s not about being retro, though,” says Clair. “These are all signature records from my sets, and I know that they work for club crowds right now.”
The ‘Never Let Go’ reissue series, plus remixes, is out now on LuckyMe