- The sound of Sweden in summertime.
- As anyone who's been to a Nordic country in the summer will tell you, there's a certain magic in the temperate air that you only get from a place that is cold and dark for most of the rest of the year. That probably goes some way towards explaining how a country like Sweden produces some of the sunniest music around, whether we're talking about pop or underground dance. Since she debuted on Stockholm label Studio Barnhus in 2018, Bella Boo has been at the forefront of this sound, making clever, fun and joyous house music on records like Once Upon A Passion, where pop instincts embed into deep house grooves.
Bella Boo's RA Podcast both highlights her distinct personality and also the sound of Stockholm in full summer bloom, featuring local producers like Kornél Kovács, Axel Boman, Genius Of Time and Samo DJ. It's full of catchy basslines, hooky vocal snippets, luxurious melodies and plenty of brilliant transitions. It's kind of like listening to one of her records: a restless and kaleidoscopic approach to house, where the rhythms shift and a new earworm is always around the corner. Bella Boo has all the makings of a star, and this mix feels like another step in her impressive rise.
What have you been up to recently?
DJing, summer vacation and experimenting with my sound in the studio. Making lots of music that will never see the light of the day :) trying to push myself forward.
What are you grateful for these days?
Friends and family, the love and support through highs and lows. My daughter, my light and my everything.
How and where was the mix recorded, and can you tell us the idea behind the mix?
It was recorded at Trädgården a sunny morning in August. This is my favorite place to DJ in Stockholm. Sound is great, crowd is great and I love the 360 degree DJ booth in the middle of inside and outdoors. Placed in the middle of the crowd it gives the right energy to DJ. I wanted to include as many artists from the Stockholm scene as possible in the mix, since they all have had such great impact on me. The pioneers Jesper Dahlbäck and Cari Lekebusch from legendary SVEK really set the standards and the music is timeless, banging. The boys from Studio Barnhus of course, the playfulness inspires me so much—fun but never ironic—and their support means everything. Of course when speaking about the Stockholm scene you have to mention Samo DJ, your favourite DJ's favourite DJ.
So yeah, recorded in Stockholm showing my love for our local scene mixing it up with tracks I keep returning to and of course some new tracks from producers that amaze me. I wanted the mix to be like a big slow rolling wave, taking you up to where it breaks and then sucks you back to peace.
Your last full EP, Let's Go Out, was released during the pandemic, and was meant to be an album full of collaborations. Did that experience change the way you approach dance music, or the way you write or record it?
In retro perspective, I think it was positive for my process. I used to think working with other professionals was the way moving forward, but with this record, using only my own vocals, I am realizing now was a good move for my progress. I had to dig deeper, and now I feel more confident. I remember the process was lonely, but at the same time bittersweet—and I'm not afraid of loneliness anymore, I've learned to appreciate it. I might even need it now.
Your mix highlights a lot of Stockholm artists as you said. What is special to you about the scene in the Swedish capital and/or what makes it unique?
As Kornél Kovács said it: "The eclecticism part of it also comes from the fact that when you're DJing in Stockholm, you're playing in a lot of different places and at different times of the night to a lot of drunken people, as opposed to clubs for a lot of high people. You need to have a broad repertoire of tastes and be able to switch between styles quickly. That's affected our DJing, which in turn affects our music." Making music in a small country with a lot of great pop music producers and an alive underground scene is both inspiring and a bit confusing. It's wonderful and weird.
What's one social or political cause you want the world to pay more attention to?
Where do I start? Our society is broken, built on a colonial, patriarchal and capitalist foundation. We need to change our way of living and understand everything is connected, we're all connected. I know you feel this on the dance floor—let's bring that into everyday life.
At the same time our scene is also unsustainable, don't get it twisted, but I think basic human sympathy and understanding can take us a long way. Money rules the world and I'm disgusted—it allows crimes from a world political position, and with this said: free Palestine.
What are you looking forward to in the near future?
Studio September! Locking myself in to finish a banging EP for Studio Barnhus to be released later this year or early 2023.
Kornél Kovács - Usch
Bella Boo - Can't Leave You Like This (Karima F remix)
Axel Boman - Atra feat. Kristian Harborg
Bella Boo - Edit
Mr. James Barth - Bodyfluids
Omar S - Ice Cream feat. Supercoolwicked and Alandra
Chris Ellis & Babyxxan - Um Ah Help
Baby Ford - Gravy Train
Moon - Soul Of Mean feat. StickyDub
Jesper Dahlbäck - Mening
DJ Gregory - Don't Panic (Karizma Main Remix)
Mumbai Science - Jasmine
Joe - Tail Lift
Manuel Tur - 125 BPM
Groove Junkies & Scott K. - Done Me Wrong (Instrumental)
DJ Tennis & Ashee - On My Own Now feat. Lady Donli (Extended Acid Dub)
SWAG - EVERYTHING I KNOW I LEARNT ON ACID
Mike Dunn - Can I Turn It Up Vox Mix
Kamohelo - Bob's Keys
Mr. Barth - Knock Em Out
DJ Bone - Music (Aaron-Carl Remix)
Samo DJ - Way2Go
Marcel_Dettmann - State Of Art (Ryan Elliott Dub)
Dave DK - Jelly Legs
Bambounou - Cascade
Welt Discos - Oklou - God's Chariot (SH Remix)
BEN HAUKE - Dep First Draft
Genius Of Time - Taurindo Shuffle
ATRIP - Für Immer