Interview: Chelina Manuhutu | Soundspace

Interview: Chelina Manuhutu

Born in Huizen, The Netherlands, Chelina Manuhutu grew up amongst musical surroundings. The primary influence came from Latin music, but at the age of thirteen she was introduced to the turntables and since then Manuhutu has developed a strong and unyielding passion for electronic music.

At the age of fifteen Manututu embarked on a modelling career and became part of a girl band for four years. After a decade of graft she came to the realisation that she wanted more from music. The DIY attitude that had benefited her previous endeavours was now implemented alongside a new set of turntables and headphones. Manuhutu’s DJ journey had begun.

Since then Manuhutu has went on to perform at a vast amount of venues, including Ibiza Blue Marlin and Barcelona Hotel W. Maintaining an infectious, distinctive groove of her own, her attention has turned to production whilst she continues to learn and evolve as a selector.

We sat down with Chelina to chat early influence, potential production and music as a form of escapism.

How have your early memories of music, coming from your fathers Latin band and your mothers professional ballet, influenced not only your own sets, but your whole attitude towards music today?

Without the musical influence of my parents I would have never become who I am today. Music has always been an important part of my life growing up with Latin, Rock, Soul, Funk and pop music. I cannot live without it because it feels like home. When I listen to my dad playing with his band it’s like they are making live house music, you only need like a kick drum so its not so strange that I went in the direction of tech-house which has a lot of drums and rhythm, and of course always adding some funkiness with the vocals like the Soul and Funk of James Brown.

Is there a particular DJ that you are inspired by or draw influence from?

There are a lot of DJ’s and producers that I have a lot respect for. Everybody is unique in there own way, and every DJ has his or her own style or way of mixing. I love a lot of the music I hear other artists play during their sets, but I would never want to copy someone, only take inspiration and learn how to make it my own.

You were a model before a producer, even winning Dutch model of the year in 2009. In what way did music provide an escape from your hectic schedule?

Music was always been an escape for me out of my hectic lifestyle, it’s nice to be able to listen to music and zone out, and think of nothing else, enjoy the vibe and also it creates some magical memories. When you’re working so much and always travelling it’s important to take time to just let your mind have a break and enjoy that moment.

I’m extremely sorry to hear about your accident in 2010. What was going through your mind at that time? Was music something you thought about more because of this?

I always thought about the music to be honest. But with modelling I just kept on going, it was always non-stop and there was rarely any down time. I had a calendar full of bookings already for that whole year, and often it was up super early working all day and travelling all over the place for shoots. There wasn’t any time for me to devote myself to anything else.

When I had the accident at first, I didn’t really understand what had happened in all honesty, and I was asking the Dr when I would be able to get back to work, thinking it would be a week or so. But it soon was made clear my recovery would take some time, and really working as a model would not be an option given the scars I suffered. At this point it really makes you think about your life, and that anything can be over in a second. I had a lot of time to really think about what I wanted to do, and started really spending time with music and DJ’ing as this is what made me happy, I knew I had the time to do it for the first time in a while and I could put 100% into it.

How do you feel your sets and sound have developed since the very beginning of your DJ career?

It has definitely developed throughout the last few years, but I have always played the underground tech-house scene. Years back when I started, it wasn’t really that popular or well known at the time, so it was difficult for me to play my music in the clubs at home. However I am happy to see the industry as it is now, it’s booming and that’s nothing but a good thing. I’ll always try to develop my sets, and now I am also looking into stepping up my production for the need of this year and into 2017.

Can you tell us anything about your potential debut EP? Is there a particular sound that your drawn to that will be noticeable?

As I just mentioned before, I am working really hard on my production skills at the moment, I want to be at a stage where I feel I have comfortably produced something which I love and my fans will love. I have always liked the deep groovy tech house with a lot of bass, and some acid sounds. So hopefully this year I will be able to start sharing some of my releases with you all! I am so excited about it, it’s a big step in anyone’s career and for me, producing is the best way to express yourself through your music.

You’re heading off to Singapore and Bali for Ultra Festival. Just how excited are you to perform in a part of the world with such diverse and distinctive culture?

I’m super excited to be going to Asia to play for the Ultra Music Festival. My father is from Indonesia, so it’s a special place for me and I am really looking forward to getting a little relaxation time, seeing some beautiful sights and enjoying some of the most amazing food, like my parents used to cook for me when I was young!

The festival itself is just amazing, the production and effort which goes into every edition they have each year is mind blowing. I have met so many amazing people from all different cultures. It’s going to be a lot of fun! I’ll also be doing some filming out there, so keep an eye for some fun interviews and content in the next few weeks!

Any other future projects you can tell us about?

I have a few exclusive mixes coming out over the next few months, and hoping to be touring a lot more, outside of Europe and branding out to North and South America, so keep your eyes peeled for new dates added soon. I am working on my production at the moment and have a few labels in mind for my first EP to be released. I can’t say anymore than that for now, but its definitely in motion and I am really excited.

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