NEWS: just be release their EP 97% for IWD 2023

Recently Bristol’s just be revealed that they would be releasing their EP 97% on International Women’s Day. At Freestyle Bristol we’ve been big fans of theirs since one of their DJ’s Solstice joined our team in 2021. Having moved back to concentrating on the just be brand and her own studies she returns to answer our questions about the project and the issues behind it.

Words: Delroy Hibbert,

Images: just be, @justbe_hq

Who are the just be collective, what do you do and how did you come together?

just be are a female & non-binary led DJ collective, independent music label, and events brand based in Bristol. We do a bit of everything, but our main focus has always been to empower marginalised genders within the music industry and push for diversity through our original projects as well as encouraging other brands & labels to follow suit. 

We wholeheartedly believe that the way the music industry favours cis men can be changed, but it’ll take us working together to do it, having the ‘uncomfortable conversations’ and calling out behaviours that go against the changes we’re working towards.

Image: Solstice

We all came together throughout the lockdown! I found Prosek, S.W.I.D, Pinks  and DSB through the live streams they were featured on. It’s quite weird that I found the girls this way because I never paid huge amounts of attention to livestreams and I felt they were quickly becoming oversaturated. 

They did however help the scene have a sense of normalcy during a weird time in our lives. It made me a little sad that things had come to this but when I discovered the girls’ streams I ended up being pulled in and my attention was held (which if you know me is a pretty once in a lifetime thing to happen haha!).

Images: Hypnotist (L), Prosek (R)

I connected with them all. I adored their energy, and asked them to join my family! Hypnotist, formally known as Miss Lisa I found when doing A & R for the label, just adored her sound and she had this overwhelming want to improve and really push herself. I found it endearing and could relate to her with that, she’s come on leaps and bounds since, and I’m  endlessly proud of her!

Grandma Wubplate, Curse, Sucrose, and Ty came through connecting at raves really began as a friendship and of course, I just loved their work so wanted them to join the family! 

Aylish joined as I was looking for an assistant manager to help me manage the brand,  I knew from the first few sentences of her application that she was the person I wanted to work with! She has this refreshing, excitable, and kind energy about her, a dream to share ideas with!

Image: Aylish

Can you tell me about your new release? 

The EP, 97% is our first-ever paid release. It’s being released on International Women’s Day via Bandcamp and everything made will be donated to SARSAS. Each year I curate a project based on a charity or organisation I love and want to give back to, I just believe if you have a platform, no matter the size you should use it to give back and do some good! 

What are the motivations behind it, and why have you chosen to release it on International Women’s Day?

The theme of the EP is based on the 2022 study (by UN Women UK) which found 97% of women aged 18-24 years have faced unwanted sexual harassment (with a further 96% not reporting those situations because of the belief that it would not change anything)

When the study came out it blew up on social media and just died out. I can’t quite understand how something so important can turn invisible? There will be further infographics coming out over the next month, so keep an eye out.

Image: 97% Cover Art

Who are Sarsas and why is this work important?

The SARSAS origin story is nothing short of inspiring, it was originally founded in 2008 under the name ‘Bristol Rape Crisis’ with just one phone, two women staff members, & a bunch of volunteers working endlessly to create a safe space for survivors. 

2013 saw not only staff and geographical growth but also counselling services added to what they were already able to provide. Fast forward to 2022 and SARSAS now delivers various support services, and national projects, and of course the helpline continues to support those in need of an ear and a calming voice. I would like to highlight the services provided by SARSAS are not only for women but for all genders, it is very much an open doors policy within the organisation, no one is left behind and everyone is believed.

I was told about them after reporting something that happened personally to me and during an exhausting time when I felt unbearably alone and trapped. They made it a little less dark and just knowing there was a space for people who could, unfortunately, feel the same as I did, made me feel like I may actually get through it.

Image: PINKS

Tell us about the the trio of creators who produced the tunes

Pinks, Katalyst, and Puzio are 3 women who I hugely admire in the industry, when I first started out each of them was so receptive to what I was doing and hugely supportive, which installed a sense of confidence I really needed to push just Be, as in the beginning it was looked down on due to people believing the brand was ‘sexist’ (hilarious I know). This is the most important project I’ve curated, and the one that holds a special place in my heart, so having 3 people who in a way shaped the start of my journey feels like a full-circle kinda moment.

Image: Katalyst

Katalyst is an icon – it’s just that simple,  she manages so many different things with such grace, and produces ridiculous tunes, like is there anything she can’t do? Pinks is one of my best friends, I have been begging her to release since we connected, and her growth since her earlier work in mental! Puzio is a pocket rocket, you would never expect
her to mix what she does and produce what she does, that’s why I rate her so much! She’s just so unexpected I love it! Keep an eye out for what the gals have coming up this year, not to be missed!

Image: Puzio

Can we expect more releases from the just be camp in the future?

Absolutely! I’ve already got tracks signed for the next 6 months, and more in the demo stages too. We are planning to release 1 free download a month, going from a classical roller to jump up jungle and a cheeky bootleg here and there! 

As well as releasing the EP Solstice and the just be team have also taken time to curate a playlist Solstice: Women In D&B as another musical contribution to celebrating IWD. This collection contains gems from leading female & non-binary tunesmiths such as Nia Archives, Charli Brix, Eva Lazarus & Euphonique. Check it out below!

just be presents: The IWD EP 97% featuring Katalyst, PINKS & Puzio is available now from Bandcamp: