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Push it: Barely Legal

Chloé Robinson is a bomb-dropping selector loved by dancefloors

  • Words: Kamila Rymajdo | Photos: Shez Imanezi & Jody Hartley
  • 2 February 2017

“Giant rock star in a small body” is how Big Narstie describes Barely Legal ahead of her show at Manchester’s Warehouse Project, where she’s about to play two sets for the Kurupt FM-curated Champagne Steam Rooms. Perched on a fire escape at the back of the club, trying to keep her bare legs warm, she looks even smaller than usual in her big puffa jacket. Outwardly there isn’t anything too outrageous about Chloé Robinson. She’s actually unflinchingly focused. Every time someone barges in or recognises her, she politely asks them to wait until she finishes our interview.

“It’s a bit of a long story,” she confesses when pressed about how she got her DJ name. Playing out for a solid six years, the 25-year-old is now somewhat of a WHP veteran, doing several shows for the third year running. Hailing from Birmingham, Robinson is revered for her genre-twisting approach, mixing everything from grime and hip hop to dubstep, drum ’n’ bass and jungle. She got her break on MistaJam’s show after sending in the first mix she ever recorded aged 19. Since then she’s done Fabric, Boiler Room, played countless festivals across the globe, had a year’s residency on 1Xtra’s Daily Dose and even started her own label, Pretty Weird Records.

Thanks to her mum’s taste for UKG, Barely Legal’s early sets were imbued with a nostalgia at odds with her then young age, evident in backstage interviews at Croatian festivals where she exuded the kind of enthusiasm you’d expect from someone embarking on their first 18–30’s holiday. Robinson isn’t a classic tale of a pushy mother living her dreams out vicariously through her daughter, though. Before she even became a DJ, Chloé made it her business to learn about every genre of music, even taking a solitary trip to Outlook fresh out of school.

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