Newcastle is a sort of student music paradise - it boasts several nightlife districts and a student population with a reputation of showing how it's done when it comes to getting down. Like all good party university cities - such an abundance of night time entertainment brings with it hoards of student bedroom DJ's often found lining up behind the decks at house parties, USB's in hand. Despite the fierce competition this creates arguably the perfect environment for a young DJ to cut their teeth and Eleanor Franks has wasted no time in making the beginnings of a name for herself.
Eleanor studies at Newcastle University, but aside from her studies the London born DJ has quickly become part of the close-knit family who entertain the masses at Cosmic Ballroom. Her residency for Newcastle party Ill Behaviour has seen her support the likes of Hammer, Crazy P, Krystal Klear and Purple Disco Machine over the past year alone. These are no small achievements for a burgeoning young DJ, relatively new to the scene; she has quickly defined her sound and has shown other young DJ's how it should be done.
Eleanor's selections are firmly rooted in disco, funk and soulful house - yet she just as comfortable throwing genre-splitting curveballs as long as they convey the feel good characteristic she is becoming known for. Eschewing the serious DJ stereotype, Eleanor can be seen genuinely enjoying herself throughout her mixes. This enjoyment and her personality come out through the music. Through Ill Behaviour she has demonstrated her ability to properly warm up a dance floor- leading smiling dancers past groovy piano chops, cruising saxophones and soulful vocals before dipping into the kind of acid house track that feels most at home between Midnight and 3am. We can only be excited for what's in store as Eleanor gains more experience and is able to reach for the kinds of tracks that require a little more digging to find.
After checking her mixes and performances out, we recently got in touch and asked a few questions about what she’s up to at the minute and what we can expect to see in the future
When you have a set coming up, do you have any way of preparing for it? A routine, a little something to gain focus?
The night of a gig I always have butterflies. When I first started out in clubs there were crippling nerves and fears of what people were going to think of me and my music. Now, they're more helpful nerves and adrenaline that boost my performance and build my confidence. First things first I get my music going through my speakers which always makes me feel happy. It progressively leads to me dancing around my room which disbands my nerves and gets me into the zone. I always show up to the club sober as I think that is most professional, but I'll have a beer by my side as I relax into my set and bounce off of the crowd dancing and clapping.
It's fantastic to see more and more female DJ's gaining the acclaim they deserve. Do artists like Eclair Fifi, Lauren Lo Sung and Peggy Gou inspire you? Who is your biggest DJ inspiration (male or female)?
My first exposure to a female DJ was actually when I was out in South Africa for New Years performing at Shimmy Beach Club as a gymnast. There was a female DJ there called Krystal Rox. This was quite a few years ago, probably even before I properly knew about electronic music. I remember being surprised that the DJ was a female as DJing usually carries a masculine aura. She always remains in the back of mind as this cool and free woman I aspire to portray on and off the decks.
Aside from that, Peggy Gou and Monki are both always so full of energy and always bring the funk. I love music that makes me smile and want to dance and get everyone involved and these DJs know exactly how to do that. Peggy Gou is especially a powerful woman in the industry, considering her impact on house music. Nina Kraviz, although I am not the biggest Techno fan, is also a huge influencer in terms of her passion for music and the movement towards a more gender equal dance music scene. Reading her instagram posts after she has played gigs demonstrates how she throws herself into the entire before, during and after moments of any set and is a huge power and role model for any DJ regardless of gender.
In this modern day and age music culture has experienced a shift to digital, do you ever find time to go digging in your local record shop?
I've grown up in an era where music is the most easily accessible electronically; apart from I remember playing my Outkast CD through my Mp3-Walkmans and the first generation iPods of course. I live in London and there are loads of vinyl shops in Shoreditch which I will occasionally explore for fun but for the most part I listen to most of my music through Youtube, Soundcloud, Mixcloud and Spotify. I love the ease of accessing music electronically. It's great to be constantly in touch with music, whether that's when I'm at home chilling or walking somewhere or at the gym.
Is there anything you want to achieve in 2018, do you think this is a big year for you personally? What other plans do you have?
2018 has already been a pretty momentous year for me. I've broke through the 'bedroom DJ' barrier and have become a resident at Cosmic Ballroom in Newcastle and have warmed up the club for some unreal headliners. This last term was also an exciting term for me with Ill Behaviour. I had my first closing set, for Anna Wall; and also supported Monki who has been inspirational to me. My set with Wire was a great platform for me and also nice to hear some feedback and use that to improve myself. I'm looking forward to developing more as a DJ now that the beginners nerves are out the way.
I also have some exciting things planned for summer. I am playing at an event in Norwich put on by the collective 'Splint' which showcases female DJs; as well as playing for Lancaster University's end of exams party. Further, I am conducting research into the field of DJing, aiming to explore the continued inequalities between genders in the industry. I am passionate about this research especially considering the personal aspect to it, offering an interesting perspective to my own future career.
Make sure to tune into the mix and keep an eye on the name Quite Frankly popping up in venues near you soon!