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Inspiring and smart! With these two words we can describe the interview with DJ Chelina Manuhutu. Without doubt she's of the most exciting music exports Amsterdam has to offer these days. The Dutch-born Ibiza based producer and DJ Chelina Manuhutu is taking over the underground music scene through her groovy-powerful stream of high quality mixes. In our talk Chelina spoke on producing music, explained how she prepares for a set, named some unknown fact about her. Read our interview with Chelina Manuhutu, who's got position #43 in this year's TOP100DJANES Poll!


DJANEMAG: When did you start DJing - and what or who were your early passions and influences?


Chelina Manuhutu: I grew up in a musical environment, my dad and family members being musicians and my brother used to be a DJ in my teenage years. I have seen him playing a lot and the turntables always triggered me. I don’t know how it happened but it just did. Something in me, told me to get my own booth and play the music that i like. So in 2007 i bought my own booth, selected music and started to play. 


DJANEMAG: What do you personally consider to be the incisive moments in your artistic career?


Chelina Manuhutu: There are too much moments to mention that has been important to me to grow as a artist and person. Every moment from going around with my demos, playing at the smallest party’s, bars and clubs, going to Ibiza, meeting my manager and so many other people, now playing at the biggest clubs and coolest party’s all around the world.  Every gig and meeting new people with different cultures all around the world gives me something I can learn from for my career.  The small things and the big things that happened during touring in different countries. I see them all as incisive moments in my artist career, but also my personal life, cause I’m just a human being with feelings that I transform in music or energy that I share with people. 


DJANEMAG: What are currently your main challenges as a female DJ? What is it about DJing, compared to, say, producing your own music, that makes it interesting for you?


Chelina Manuhutu: My challenge has always been to be an inspiration for others, trying to show them that you should do what you love and just being your self. For me I think DJing is a totally different thing than producing. DJing is all about socialising, networking, traveling, being around others and meeting different people all the time. Listening to a lot of music online or in record shops, playing them at home and in the clubs. Going to radioshows making mixtape, interviews, doing socialmedia and so on. Producing is kind of locking yourself up in the studio, being in your own world creating and transforming thoughts in sounds. Not seeing anybody but the screen infront of you. I live and breath music, I couldn’t live without both of them, so they are both interesting to me.  Of course the best thing of it is making and creating your own music and than bring it to the dance floor. It gives me a amazing feeling, if the crowd feels it the way I do. 

DJANEMAG: What do you usually start with when preparing for a set?


Chelina Manuhutu: Everyday you can find me on the internet looking and listening to new tracks and promo’s, so I will be downloading last minute tracks that I just found on the road and going in my rekordbox looking for my favourite tracks and make a playlist of them. Most of the time I don’t know what I’m about to play yet, I try some new things and try to feel how the crowd is reacting on them so i continue or change a little bit in the grooves.


DJANEMAG: How important is building a real relationship with the music you're playing for your own approach? There's so much music out there, is it even possible to build meaningful long-term relationships with a particular track or album?


Chelina Manuhutu: I love the music that I’m playing and thats why i do it. I would never want to play music that I don’t like! Music represents the person you are and if people tell you to change they basicly tell you to change as the person you are. I always think its important to keep things real so if they like it or not thats the way I am and I play the music that represents me and hope that I can build a crowd that dig that kind of music too. I have a sign in my studio saying 'good music doesn’t have a expiration date' that's how I think of the music. Music is all about creating memories and the tracks can mean so differently to each and every person.

DJANEMAG: What makes you decide to play a particular record during one of your sets? Is there a criteria other than pure subjectivity, for selecting what to play at a gig?


Chelina Manuhutu: Most of the time I want to play a totally different set and never the same one where ever I play. I always try to play new tracks and while I'm playing, the next track just pop in to my head. Sometimes I have the dig really deep in my music to find that one track I want to play.


DJANEMAG: When there's more music than one can possibly take in, it is becoming increasingly hard to know what constitutes an original and a remake anymore. What's your opinion on the importance of roots, traditions, respecting originals and sources?


Chelina Manuhutu: Of course you have to respect the originals and I don’t think it's cool to copy people/music and you shouldn’t be doing that. It's all about making, creating and combining new and old music styles, vocals and sounds. I love to use sounds that represent my roots aswell so other people can enjoy it too. 


DJANEMAG: Thanks to developments in the realm of software, DJing, playing live and producing have moved closer together than ever before, allowing DJs to change a track down the tiniest detail. How do you make use of these possibilities in your sets and is there a benefit?


Chelina Manuhutu: I’m actually never playing with software in the clubs, but with usb and vinyls. What makes it a little more difficult, but I see it as a challenge. While playing I do use loops, different sounds and vocals to add on the tracks, but it also depends on if you have good monitors in the booth to have them in the mix properly, because you are doing it live so you need your ears to be on point. For me the loops create more smoothness in the mixing and makes the tracks combined more with eight other. I have a lot of respect for the DJ’s playing live on stage creating and making new music on the spot. I use the software aswell (Ableton live) to produce first in the live session to create a mood and flow with loops and samples adding new sounds and breaks in the flow and totally love to do it like this.

DJANEMAG: Do you feel a crowd is actually able to appreciate the intricacies of complex DJing, if they don't actually know what, precisely, is happening behind the decks?


Chelina Manuhutu: It’s funny because sometimes I hear people saying I’m not doing anything and just press play and dance a little bit. I take it as a compliment, because it means I spin the tracks flawless right. Of couse I love the crowd when they totally appreciate what I’m doing.


DJANEMAG: Do you believe in the possibility of "reading an audience" – and how do you put it into practise?


Chelina Manuhutu: I think it's possible to read an audience. In some clubs it’s more difficult to read the people cause they are to far away or you are on a high stage on a festival far from them. I love to be near the people, feeling the vibe and see them reacting on tracks.


DJANEMAG: What makes a strong transition from one track to the next from your point of view and how do you see the relative importance of establishing a flow versus creating tension through suspenseful breaks in continuity?


Chelina Manuhutu: I love the change of the baselines from one track to the other, I never know when I will make the transition I just listen to the track and sometimes creating a kind of break, when ever I think I should do it and when ever I think the people are ready for it, I drop in the other baseline. It’s hard to explain when I do it, because it’s always different with every track and its just by feeling.


DJANEMAG: In how much, do you feel, is the club experience shaped by cultural differences? Do you, when travelling, take these cultural differences into consideration – and in how far has your approach as a DJ perhaps even benefited from playing in different countries and in front of different crowds?


Chelina Manuhutu: Yes of course I do! In some countries they grew up with techno music, so you can be more free in that and you can play more ruff if you want. In some other countries they are not used to electronic music at all, so I try to introduce them with it in a playful way. Playing more groovy and funky still in my own genre of course, so they will understand.


DJANEMAG: Please recommend two DJs to our readers which you feel deserve their attention.


Chelina Manuhutu: Waff, The Martinez Brothers


DJANEMAG: Tell 2 unknown facts about Chelina Manuhutu! 


Chelina Manuhutu: I love snowboarding.

I could eat dessert for dinner everyday.