B Traits

BBC Radio 1 DJ and producer B Traits is well known as a curator of forward thinking, underground dance music. We discover her top tips for 2015…

Jim Ottewill
  • By Jim Ottewill
  • 23 Dec 2014
  • min read
DJ and producer B Traits is known for her eclectic tastes and love of forward thinking, underground dance music.

B.Traits aka Brianna Price, grew up in a small Canadian town before upping sticks and heading to the UK to pursue her passion for beats, bleeps and bass.

While she’s part of BBC Radio 1’s dance music family with a regular late night show, she’s also signed to Shy FX’s Digital Soundboy label as an artist, denting the top forty with her track Fever. We quizzed B about her musical experiences in her homeland, production work and top tips for 2015…

How did you get into dance music?

Back in Canada it’s a bit weird for someone to become obsessed by UK dance music. But ever since I was a kid I was really into music. My parents wouldn’t sit me down in front of cartoons. They could only get me to watch music TV. As I got older, I started watching the late night dance shows and saw videos to Shy FX’s Original Nuttah, the Prodigy and LTJ Bukem. I was so excited by it as it was so different to anything we heard in Canada at the time. No one was really listening to dance music in my school so it really felt like my own thing.

From there, I started to going to parties and from the very first time I saw a DJ I knew that’s what I wanted to do.

How did you fall in with the Digital Soundboy crew?

It was a dream come true. Shy FX reached out to me and asked me to join the label. I was like - is this really happening to me? I’ve always been a fan of his, the music he released on the label was right for me; drum and bass with proper melodies which you could dance to.

From his album, the Diary of a Digital Soundboy, the track Feelings represents a very emotional time. I was moving to Vancouver from my home town, my DJ career was just beginning to kick off. That was in 2004/5, I started promoting in a little ski town called Whistler up in the mountains. I was promoting a night there with UK acts and started to make a name for myself. DJ SS played for me and took me on a global tour. I met Shy through that, right at the beginning of the dubstep explosion. I guess he just saw something in me.

What motivated you to move to the UK?

There are only so many gigs you can do in Canada! I was managing this retail shop and it was going well but my heart wasn’t really in it. If I wanted to make it work, I needed to immerse myself in the UK scene. I needed to make this huge move and start from the bottom or just leave it. I had a house, boyfriend, a dog and a good job. If I didn’t go for it then, I would have ended up settling down. I took a chance and it’s worked out. It’s been an incredible few years for me.

Why have audiences connected with dance music artists so much over the last few years?

It’s really great. I think that dance music culture has come back in such a massive way. It’s taken over, especially on the festival circuit. That has a large hand in it. The stuff you hear at festivals, you hear that in the top 40. There’s much more of it now.

Do you think these acts can maintain these levels of success?

In the next year I think it’ll go even more underground. That’s what I’m really excited by. There are a generation of kids who discovered Disclosure and Gorgon City but in the next year they’ll start digging a bit deeper, searching for something different. Walking with Elephants by Ten Walls – that was an instrumental track - it’s stayed like that without a vocal and gone on to become huge. We’ll see a lot more releases like that in the next year.

Who else are you getting excited by?

Midland is cranking out really big tune after tune. I think he’s going to have a great 2015. People like Kowton, Doc Daneeka and Seven Davis Jr. There are so many people. Radio 1 have asked me to do a top tips show for the new year. How am I going to fit this all into three hours? It’s going to be impossible. Doc Daneeka is doing amazingly well and Seven Davis Jr is doing really interesting stuff too.

How can a new act break through?

You need to bring something a little bit different to the table. Don’t try and carbon copy what you’re already hearing. Make sure you carve out your own sounds. That’s where a lot of people get stuck. I get sent a lot of promos each week and they sometimes all have the same bass sound. But if you stick to making your own sound, then that’ll make sure you stand out. You can’t just copy the sound of the moment.

What are your next plans?

I’m thinking about releasing more music. Fever’s success was unexpected. I wrote it on moving to the UK, sat on it, then revisited it later. I wrote it as a homage to the sound I discovered and fell in love with when I was younger.

I became very busy with radio after the BBC approached me so I’ve found it hard to finish anything. I’m hoping to get more time in 2015 and release more music then. It is going to be completely different to Fever, in terms of styles and structures - it veers from slow sounds to militant techno, jazzy kind of house. If you listen to my show, then you’ll get what I’m interested in and that impacts the sounds I make.

Visit btraits.com to find out more.

Check out our full length feature exploring the success of Sam, co-writer Jimmy Napes and Gorgon City in 2014.