The Mix 007: Beatrice M. - Music - Mixmag

The Mix 007: Beatrice M.

Paris-based bass devotee Beatrice M. lures us across a 'tightrope walk' of a mix and speaks to Tibor Heskett about making dubstep more inclusive, their distinct mixing style, and London slang

  • Words: Tibor Heskett | Photos: Gabriel Sauvageot
  • 3 April 2024

Beatrice M. webs eerie and ever-shifting soundscapes over uncompromising low-end pressure. The selector's ascendency, which is set to continue on the festival stages of Nuits Sonores, Le Bon Air and Waterworks this summer, has been characterised by their conviction and meticulous approach to “walking the tightrope” between psychedelic techno, bass and dubstep.

It is no surprise that the young Paris-based producer, real name Beatrice Masters, is adept at moulding different ideas and sounds together at breakneck speed given they have spent their life “living between two cultures”. Born in France to English parents, the Rinse France DJ says that the countries on either side of the Channel are “not that different, but they are.”

The BAIT label head’s musical upbringing was informed by both their mother’s long-standing relationship with the rave and their father’s affection for punk, ska and reggae-influenced acts like The Clash. Beatrice M.’s introduction to the world of DJing, however, was the direct result of their disenchantment with illustration.

“I was bored of drawing and wanted to do something more immaterial and abstract,” explains Masters. “It was kind of by accident that I got into music.”

During their time at art school, a fascination with the glitchy and whirring experimental sounds of artists such as Actress and Lee Gamble grew into a curiosity with DJing following their attendance at raves organised by fellow students.

“I remember mixing on my computer with a mouse at one of the art school parties in one of my first sets, playing loads of shit like jungle, house, Simo Cell and LSDXOXO,” they recall.

This curiosity amped up into a full-on obsession with the craftsmanship and artistry of DJing during COVID, which broke out only a few months after Beatrice’s first set. As they became more immersed with their sound, a sense of alienation took hol: in Masters’ words, “there aren’t many non-dudes pushing 140 in France.”

This lack of representation and diversity within the local 140 scene and beyond is addressed by one of the main values of their nascent BAIT label: “let’s do dubstep, but make it inclusive.”

Since January 2023, the imprint has been flying the flag for “dubtech” – a term Masters uses to describe the meeting point between “snare-heavy bass-music and immersive techno.” In its five releases so far, the output has been as visually striking as it has been gun-finger-inspiring, with the head honcho harking back to their art school days in order to create bespoke, handmade artwork for all of BAIT’s gig and release artwork.

Outside of the Paris-based label, Beatrice M. has established their signature blend of hypnotising, bass-focused sonics through releases on the likes of Egregore, Krakzh and Pressure Dome, and performances across some of the finest clubs in Europe.

We spoke to the French-English creative about their specific approach to mixing, their label BAIT and what it means in London slang.

I'd love to hear more about how you approach your sets as I've heard your preparation is very in depth.

I never go to a set with a bunch of stuff on my USB thinking “let’s see what happens”, I always prepare. I don’t really look at crowds and try to read or adapt to them. I know that’s not what a DJ is supposed to do, but my sets always have an idea and I trust it.

This may sound corny but what excites me most about DJing is building stories. I like to roll up my sleeves and concentrate on finding the glue between deep, syncopated techno and dubstep. There’s these tracks, like Azu Tiwaline and Tammo Hesselink’s recent releases, that are just perfect for bridging the gap between bass and techno.

Sometimes you’ll hear sets where DJs play hipster bass music, club tools and then an OG dubstep track will come up and it feels like you’ve gone from one sound to another. I've been on dancefloors where that happens and it doesn't work for me. I love both tracks, but the way they’ve been connected just loses me because there was no intermediate.

I’m also guilty of this myself when DJing as sometimes I'll try going from deep, syncopated techno into dubstep that references techno and I'll be like “that was a bad choice.” Like, it didn't work, but bringing all these different sounds together is a skill that you develop over time and I'm really excited because I've still got so much to learn. I'm happy that I'm not satisfied, I want to keep trying and trying.

Having three decks is also really important. If I play a 2-step track, I can layer it so I'll just have the snare, but with the texture and the sound design of minimal techno track made by someone like Mike Parker, and then another thing so it all sounds fluid. If you just left the 2-step track on its own, it wouldn't be solid enough in the context of my set.

I have a tendency to only leave tracks to play for a minute-and-a-half, which isn’t actually very compatible with psychedelic things, but when I'm playing vinyl it's a whole different approach. I have to leave the tracks longer because I don't have a big enough vinyl collection, but also when you’re pulling out records from a sleeve the crowd becomes a lot more indulgent of longer, selector vibes than quicker transitions, which I like too. Also, I’ll play different stuff on vinyl as I don’t have a whole catalogue of digis to choose from. Basically, what I’m saying is that I might play some garage and you’re going to have to suck it up.

It’s almost a year since you started your label, what was the reason behind its inception?

There’s lots of people in France who get it, but I don’t really know any non-dudes really pushing 140. I mean proper dubstep heads, there are a lot of girls who play some 140 in their sets. It can be a bit lonely, I love the sound but I don’t really find myself in terms of representation or diversity.

The idea to start BAIT came about because of that but also because I had an itch that I needed to scratch. I’ve always liked bass, but I'm not really into bangers. I like the subtle and minimal side of that stuff. I also love the hypnotising side of deep techno.

I thought to myself that there really must be a line between the two, and that's what we’re going to push with the label.

There's a lot of people that are hungry for this at the moment, it's kind of in vogue. But of course, I'm not doing things because they're fashionable. Why does anything become fashionable? People want it for some reason. That's why the label’s called BAIT, because it'll lure people in who are hungry for something.

I also know it can be pejorative to say something is bait, some English friends taught me that after I'd named the label, they were like “do you know what it means when you say something is bait?”

It's such a massive word in UK vocabulary now. I grew up in South London and I’d hear it every day at school.


Yeah, if something’s bait then it’s either obvious, conspicuous or both.

Could you give an example of a sentence in which you use it?

If someone played a tune that everyone's been rinsing in the club, you’d be like “that’s a bit bait.”

That's hilarious.

Do you run the label on your own?

I run it on my own because, if I'm being honest, I'm very impulsive and very stubborn. It just works better if I'm making all the decisions and I don't have to consult anyone.

There's so many artists in my surroundings that I want to work with, everything that happens with the label comes about really naturally and now I've got releases lined up for the next year and a half.

People just send stuff and I've got this friend in Paris who does all the mastering for me. We’ve got a clear idea of how we want BAIT to sound.

Often before a gig. I'll be like “hey, I've got some new BAIT stuff, can you please master it really quickly, like in two days, because I want to play it out. I don't even know when they are going to be released yet, but I want to start playing them already to get them born into the clubs so that they exist on dancefloors."

That's the objective of the label, it’s to make a certain sound exist in clubs.

Aside from how it sounds, you can always tell when a track is off a BAIT record from its unique graphic identity.

All the artwork and gig posters are handmade. These days, everyone is making posters or visuals that are very synthetic and computer made, you could say it's bait. I'm just using a pen and paper, which is the opposite. I also do collages, all the recent visuals and the ones coming come from a magazine selling musical equipment and instruments. I just cut out everything I liked, stuck them together and scanned them. It's really simple. I just thought I'd do them myself to save money.

In the past 12 months or so we've seen you play festivals like Horst and gigs across Europe. How have you found DJing over that time period?

I still can't believe it. I want to cry. Like, it's my dream job. Sometimes it’s hard when you’re playing two or three gigs in a weekend and you suffer from fatigue but on the whole I really enjoy it. I'm also really happy that I'm not bored of it, I was worried I would but it's just always fun. The secret is to always have new tracks. I rarely play a song more than three times, otherwise I get fed up.

Have there been any influential people that you consider key to your journey so far?

I have to say Quentin, sleek fata, who runs Comic Sans Records with gboi. He booked me for one of my first big gigs in a proper club, and that was only a year ago. He wrote me a message asking if I wanted to play and I was like “oh my god this is so cool, thank you so much.”

He told me that he believed in me and that 2023 was going be a big year for me. I don't know where that came from. He also helped me when I told him I was going to start a label.

Another person that comes to mind is Trois-Quarts Taxi System. I moved to Paris a year ago and pretty early on he asked me if I wanted to do a guest mix on his show. He brought over a controller to my place and we just bonded over this desire to make more hybrid music. He’s a genius, so young and so humble, and I’m really grateful that he’s around the same community as me. He’s released on BAIT and there’s plans to do more together too.

Finally, Luc, the founder of zest radio in Strasbourg, was another important figure to me. He got me to do some programming for the station and also took me to London in 2020, where I went to this Keep Hush party that was nothing like what I had experienced in France. No one parties like that over here, everyone was really together, hands over each other's shoulders and everyone talking to each other on the dancefloor. Also just the UK music, I was like “What is this? Do they all get it here?”

He got me into listening to NTS and ‘It's a London thing’ by Scott Garcia, it's basic shit but I do owe him a lot. He's also got me a radio show.

When did you start producing yourself?

It was around 2021. I'd had Ableton for ages, but at that point I started to approach it with the idea that I wanted to make stuff that I could release. My first release, in May 2022, was on an ambient label based in France called Hyperlink, run by a woman called Fanny. It was a fem-run label and I thought that maybe she'd have empathy for me because I was pretty early on in my production career, so I sent it to her and she was like “oh, yeah, cool.”

Now you’re performing a live set at Nuits Sonores this summer.

Yeah, I’m on after Om Unit’s Acid Dub Studies set which is a bit stressful! At least he’s a really nice guy and gave me some tips. He told me to just put saturation and compression on everything and it’ll be fine.

I see it as more of a sketch of a moment than a finished product. I’m 23 and I’m learning so much so it doesn’t have to be perfect, but I’m also really hard on myself and a bit of a perfectionist. It’s a bit stressful!

What have you got on the horizon that you’re excited about?

Finishing the live set!

Jokes aside, I'm opening Waterworks at midday. A lot of people don’t like playing early but, honestly, I'm happy to. I can play more weird and minimal stuff, which is what I like to do.

After Waterworks I’m planning to be in the UK until October 18, where I’ll try and play some gigs in the UK and link with like-minded people. I'm really happy that I've been able to do that a bit already this year with Yushh, Kincaid or ex.sess for example. It's nice to make this bridge between England and France.

I'm also looking forward to releasing more music, but I'm trying to really take my time to make good stuff and not be in a hurry.

I'm super excited to release more BAIT music, make more artwork and also do more promoting, because I organise BAIT parties in Paris and they've always been really cool. The next one is a collab with Obligated Records. We’ve got Carré, Hannah, SPLT, Tia Talks and, of course, Oblig coming down for that in May.

Sick, let’s hear about your mix. It’s a live recording right?

Yeah, I try not to record podcasts at home because I like my mixes to have a context: this was heard by people, it wasn't just in my room. To construct a mix and imagine that it was played out doesn't really have a context.

Even with my Rinse France show, I live 10 minutes away from the studio and always bring some friends to have a beer with and there’s people listening live. I always make sure to come in and do the show live, I love the organic feel of live recordings where mistakes can happen because everyone’s not a fucking robot.

This mix is a recording from La Machine du Moulin Rouge in Paris for Positive Education Festival's event in January 2024. Everyone wants to play Positive Education, they have a full spectrum vision for all types of music, and they like to put an emphasis on up-and-coming talent. Every time I’ve been to one of their parties, I’ve discovered artists and my mind has been blown. I was opening for Flowdan, Toma Kami and Bianca Oblivion, and was never happier to be doing a warmup, as the festival's crowd is super open to more experimental music. Therefore, I felt free to explore my favourite mood which resembles me the most: building a narrative from about 120 BPM to 140 BPM, navigating between psychedelic, syncopated techno and minimal deep dubstep. At the peak of the set, when the room started to full up, I deliberately took the energy down a notch with heavy contemplative dubs. The set felt like walking on a tightrope, balancing intensity and murkiness, bass and techno, playing with tension. It was one of the best times I ever had DJing.

Tibor Heskett is a freelance writer, follow him on Instagram

Djrum - Tension
N-Vert - Downspin
Shackleton - El Din (part one)
Congi - Cult
Peter Van Hoesen - Shapeshifting
Andy Martin ft. Lee Scratch Perry - Revolution
Ishan Sound Feat. Ras Addis - Clash Of The Titans (Hodge Remix)
Zara - Celestial Undulation
Djrum - The Darkest Hour Is Just Before Dawn (Undercoat Pt. 2)
Zara + Command D - XDC-1
Seta Loto - Earth-Related System
Pugilist - Micro Dose
Turmspringer - Relevant Movement
Andy Martin ft. Gavsborg - Plato & Caves (Mad Magnestism Version)
Hodge - Resolve
XL Regular - XL Boogie
Delian Sound - Eyez Out
Pinch - Punisher
Ramsez - Hexagons
Headhunter - Technopolis
Ago - So Mi Seh
Wulf - Wood Head
EKSTR - Seek
Peverelist - Roll With The Punches (Kowton Dub mix)
Marcus Anbessa - Adonai (Lion God)
Unknown Artist - Eazy Tek It Eazy
unknown artist - herb strong
Dub Killer - China
OK EG - Surface System
RDG, Gaze Ill - The Zone (Original mix)
unknown artist - emperor dub
Trois-Quarts Taxi System - unreleased
ASC - Disclosure
OCZE - Spinal Waves
Compa & Ipman - Let Them
RDG, Gaze Ill - Keepin' It Real (Original Mix)
Cessman - Under Pressure
Quasar - Busted
Nomine, Youngsta - Journey
Killawatt, Ipman - Schizophonia
Cluekid - Spider Monkey (Original Mix)
Jsl - Skin Out (RDG Tribal Remix)
Mønic - Blood Hound
Manni Dee - Sister Nobody
Ahmet Sisman - Ryk 185
Akcept - Control Tower

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