Hilit Kolet: music has always been the driving force in my life

We are happy to welcome another great artist to Radio Intense - Hilit Kolet!

Industry folk have deemed Hilit Kolet 'the next real thing'. The ascending London-based artist weaves chunky UK-tinged basslines between Chicago-influenced beats topped off with a New York sleaze-edged vibe across her productions. As a DJ, she wields multiple sound palettes from house to techno throughout her high-octane sets, mixed with razor-sharp technique.

Hilit's sets are packed with forthcoming releases and exclusive edits, including her well-received edit of Laurent Garnier's 90s gem 'Crispy Bacon', that Laurnet himself also loved. The cleverly-edited remake has garnered support from Carl Cox, Patrick Topping, Sarah Story, La La, Syreeta, Emerald, Heidi Lawden and many others as well as from Laurent himself! Find out more below!
— Welcome Hilit, it's great to have you with us today. How are you and whereabouts are you based right now?
Hey hey, I'm really good thanks, ta la la for having me. I'm doing this interview from my home and studio in Shoreditch, London.
— How is the music scene doing there at the moment?
Oh London is always buzzing. It's totally the place to be if you're into your music, let alone underground dance music - always has been. I mean, here too, venues and promoters are having a difficult moment, with many facing an uncertain future, and while all businesses are struggling these days, it's been infuriating to witness certain decisions made by the Arts Council. Nightlife tourism plays such a substantial part in London's and the UK's tourism, and sadly, this is not being acknowledged at all. Still and despite all this, London is buzzing - this city has music pumping through its veins, it's on the streets, on the tube, you can hear and feel it everywhere.
For our readers who may not yet be familiar, how would you describe your sound in your own words?
— Ahh tricky one this, it keeps evolving, both as a DJ and as a producer - isn't that what it's all about? But I'll have a go at describing where I feel I'm at. As a DJ, I like to try and stretch the margins of a set as far as I can - so if I play a house set, I may also drop some acid, techno, electronica or even the odd disco belter if the moment is right. It's not as 'safe' as playing one sound, which of course I do as well sometimes, but it's much more exciting when I get to experiment and flick between sonic textures while keeping it solid. Honey Dijon is a massive inspiration for me in that sense - she's nailed it. As for production, I've been exploring and loving music from London, Chicago and NYC; I think my sound is somewhat a sizzling melting pot of all three cities.
— Last year your track 'Techno Disco' on Defected shot to the number 1 spot on the Traxsource house chart. This must have been a great feeling, what does the track mean to you looking back?
Yes it was, at one point it was on the Shazam chart just below Elton John, which was nuts. I was being a little cheeky when I wrote 'Techno Disco', not to go philosophical or anything but the lyrics are winking towards genre hype and all that bandwagon hopping. I think some listeners got confused and were like - hey, this is not Techno OR Disco, which was funny, as they missed out on the entire point… Ahhhh this is getting a bit too deep for a fun house track (with cracking vocals from my darling friend Kay Elizabeth - shout out!).
— This year you have been gigging far and wide, performing for the likes of Elrow in both Croatia and the UK in the famous Printworks venue. How have these experiences been for you and have there been any standout moments or memories for you across the year?
It was such a fab year, there were loads of standout moments. Closing Koko after the incredible Floorplan was one of them - what an honour. Also playing Elrow at Printworks and closing Inkwells, that was a serious vibe. Campo Sancho. Egg's for Trade's 30th. Jaeger in Oslo, shows in Ibiza, Dubai, Poland, Croatia, I have lots of fun memories from this year.
— We would love to hear about how you first decided to pursue your path in music? We hear that growing up you were a classically trained musician. At what point did you fall in love with electronic music and DJing?
It was never a decision that I made, not consciously anyway. Music has always been the driving force in my life. My mum was teaching piano at home and my early years were spent glued to the sofa, watching her teach other kids on the grand piano that took up most of our front room. There was a nanny around, but apparently I refused to play or do anything else, I just wanted to sit there and watch the lessons until one day I opened the door to the next student and told them to go away because "it's now my turn to have a lesson with mummy" lol. I ended up spending four afternoons per week at the local music conservatoire. I was studying music literature and music theory, performing with the orchestra and the choir, all of it. My love affair with dance music started when I was about 12 and my focus has instantly shifted. I was still playing piano and performing recitals but I now wanted to be a radio DJ so I can share this new found obsession of mine. I started broadcasting shows on pirate radio stations, moved on to regional stations and after a couple of years I had my own drive time show on IBA (Israel's equivalent to the BBC). I do miss radio! It's magical.
— We also hear that you recently made an edit of a Laurent Garnier classic which has now been supported by the likes of Carl Cox and Patrick Topping, as well as Laurent himself! What can you tell us about that?
— I've been having lots of fun in the studio this summer making personal edits of what I call "classic bangers" just so I can play them out in my shows. I'm a big fan of Laurent's, so attending 'Crispy Bacon' felt like a bit of a sacred mission. I wanted to pay respect to the original, but update the sound and the arrangement so it could be unleashed onto a modern dancefloor. When Laruent's sent me an email saying he loved it and that he's going to play it out a lot, I couldn't believe my eyes.
— What was it about the original that inspired you to create the edit?
It's intense and powerful yet there's something really uplifting about it, and I could hear the stabs having a little jam of their own to push it even further, an idea that worked out well I think.
— Thank you for speaking with us today Hilit and we can't wait to hear what's next for you. To round things off, is there anything else that you'd like to share with our readers?
Thanks for having me! Next up is new music that's due for release, including some unusual and surprising collabs, stuff I've really enjoyed making and that I'm proud of - I can't wait to share it with you all. Also, I'm playing Elrow at the Warehouse Project in Manchester on 17th December - come dance with me.
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