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In conversation with Taylah Elaine

Boiler Room Festival is coming and Taylah Elaine is our go-to girl!

London-based DJ, Taylah Elaine, is the Hip-Hop babe’ injecting life into every stage she steps on. Despite only beginning in the scene five years ago — we have seen Elaine charge into some of the most iconic sonic spaces and lay it all out with passion and (most importantly) with a fresh focus on fun! Now having performed across the globe and on stations such as NTS and Rinse FM, she is a regular on our party playlists. Though known for her Hip-Hop classics, Taylah Elaine is an exciting selector, fusing new tracks, old classics and everything in between (and from every genre). Fusing sounds we otherwise would never know belonged, she is a curator of her world. We checked in with the DJ-on-the-rise in anticipation of her set at this weekend’s Boiler Room Festival, where she will be playing on opening night. Don’t miss it! 

Hello Taylah, how are you today?
Hey! I’m good, thanks! Hope you’re good!

I was very excited to see you on the Boiler Room line-up! Let’s start with your history with Boiler Room. 
Thank you! I’ve had my eye on Boiler Room since before I started DJing. I would have never imagined back then that I’d be booked for one myself. I used to work in Fashion PR, but I always loved music and whilst growing up had always been around musical theatre and dance. I never imagined that I would one day be working in the industry, let alone being on a stage! Stage fright at the beginning was my worst enemy lol. So, my first ever Boiler Room was actually a non-recorded opening set in 2018 with Ms Banks and Yxng Bane in London, but I remember being terrified of being on that stage… I’d only started learning how to play the year before.

That’s such an iconic start though. 5 years in, what excites you most about the Boiler Room festival?
Quite a few things actually. When we entered 2022 I remember saying that I’d love to play in Amsterdam again. I played a few years back (pre-pandemic) for a friend of mine’s party and I just remember the crowd being super fun and open to a lot of new sounds. Boiler Room was also on my list this year! I’ve been doing this for a little while now and experimented with a lot of different sounds, but this year I’ve found a whole new love and excitement for my sets so I can’t wait to party with Boiler Room in Amsterdam.

Your mixes are known for their positive energy, largely within the realm of RnB, Dancehall, and Hip-Hop. What are you looking for in building a set?
I cover quite a lot of genres, but I can never predict what a crowd wants to hear, or what they’re expecting from me, especially in a city I don’t play in often. When building a set, I try to find a way to create a vibe with all my favourite sounds and hope that people enjoy themselves so much that they’re not worried about not knowing every song I play.

You have such a pristine way of taking popular/recognisable tunes and mixing them with elite selects. Is this a conscious mash?
Yes and no! lol! As I mentioned, I cover quite a lot of genres and my music taste is extremely broad so I can appreciate mixing two amazing songs that are so far apart in genre, but just work so well together! 99% of the time, I find these combinations by accident, but when I do, I’ll remember them forever. I love seeing the surprise on people’s faces and that is what excites me the most about playing these days.

What is your favourite hype song?
Multiply by Skin on Skin – This one works every time

… And your favourite song to chill out to?
Talk Down by Dijon – I love driving to this song

Best tune to get the crowd dancing?
Lady – Hear Me Tonight by Modjo – Who doesn’t want to dance to this song??

You are also serving LOOKS on stage and in real life. Is fashion a big part of your life?
Thank you! Fashion is a massive part of my life, I don’t feel like myself if my outfit doesn’t reflect my mood. Although, it’s not my most important factor. I’ve definitely rocked up to a few sets in a tracksuit with no make-up on lol!

Love a don’t give a fuck attitude, do you have a favourite current trend?
I try my best not to focus on current trends as I get bored really quickly. But, I am enjoying playing around with colour and prints at the moment. A few years back I’m sure I wore black for a solid two years. I’m definitely a lot more experimental these days.

Ha-Ha, can relate — my wardrobe is still an all-black pit! Who would be your dream B2B?
This is a tough one as there are so many DJs I love! But as we’re talking about Amsterdam, I’m going to go with Jarreau Vandal. I’ve played alongside him a couple of times but in terms of selection and the fun he has with transitions, I can imagine it would be a good time! I always enjoy his sets.

I can’t wait to see you at the Boiler Room festival! Can you name three words to sum up what we can expect?
Can’t wait to see you all too! I’m going to go with Nostalgic, Energetic & Animating

Boiler Room Festival

24th-26th November

Check out more info here!

All images are taken from @taylahelaine

Words by Grace Powell