b traits

Five minutes with… B.Traits 

Words: Ruth Morgan
Photography: Getty Images 

The Canadian DJ, producer and BBC Radio One presenter talks unlikely idols, annoying accents and giving advice to Goldie 

Red Bulletin: How would you describe the sounds you love?

B.Traits: I’ve always played a lot of different styles and genres and BPMs, but all through my career there’s a common thread. Which is music you can actually groove to and dance to – nothing really aggressive or noisy. There’s always a subby bassline and something really funky in it and an emphasis on excellent drums. I’m drum obsessed. And I’m still so music obsessed. My head is in music all the time, all day every day, new stuff for the radio show, for my DJ sets, I never shut off. But that’s why I have this job.
Do you come from a musical family?

My dad’s from a small town. My parents were married by 21, had me at 23, for them life was about having a family and a solid job. So I’ve broken away from that but with their help: my dad was always like ’You can do whatever you want to do, money doesn’t matter, just live and have fun and be happy.’ It’s a good mantra, but wow, I definitely struggled financially for a while so now it’s nice I get to do this and have fun and make some money. No more crap dinners! No more living off apples and bananas. 

b traits

 Why did you leave Canada and make a beeline for the UK? 

I’m super UK influenced. Ever since I discovered UK dance music I’ve always been about the UK, I never had a desire to go to the USA. 
Who were your UK idols?

One was Goldie. I had a really good fake ID when I was 18 in Vancouver so I was going to nightclubs already. I met Goldie at a club night called Automatic, one of the biggest drum and bass nights in Canada. That was my mad opening to proper UK artists like that. I was stunned. I was just like ‘You’re Goldie’. I thought he was going to be kinda mean, but he was really nice, really cool. He asked me if his set sounded OK. I was like, ‘It sounds amazing, are you mad?’ 

Have you picked up a UK accent yet? 

I still have my Canadian accent. I think my voice is so annoying. It’s properly cringe. Now I speak with a lot of UK-isms, I’ve learned the slang, but I don’t think I’ll ever lose the accent. When I’ve been home for a week my accent gets even stronger. People are like ‘What are you doing? You just said ‘aboot’ three times!’ 
Annie Mac recently wrote an article voicing her frustrations at constantly being asked questions about being a woman and a DJ. Do you agree gender is irrelevant to your career? 

Definitely in the beginning I felt it was a factor, but there are so many more women in the industry now than there ever have been before. And now if you look at radio stations half the presenters are women even in dance music – Annie Mac, Monki, Annie Nightingale. And in the producer world as well, it’s so much more level than it was even five years ago. In the past being a girl has helped me I guess, as there are so many DJs and producers in electronic dance music, and being a female made me stand out against the millions of dudes doing the same things. But on the flipside of that, I’ve had to prove myself and maybe work a bit harder to earn the respect of those dudes. Especially not being from the UK. I guess it’s weird that I’m from Canada representing UK music, some people might not like that. My being Canadian is something I feel far more in my line of work than being a woman. That shows how much it’s changed. 
Musically speaking, do you have any guilty pleasures? 

I don’t have guilty pleasures really, just loves that were definitely from a certain time. Like, any Spice Girls track for me. You cannot mess with the Spice Girls! They played a massive part in my life. And Gwen Stefani. I was really into No Doubt in the first round, she was a massive female inspiration. She was this wild crazy female that let me know it was fine to be weird as fuck. And Missy Elliott too. They were like ‘We are really strange and it’s awesome.’ And Debbie Harry from Blondie. I listened to Heart of Glass every day before school growing up. How funny is that! I’ve still got that record. It was the one alternative vinyl I stole from my dad. 

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