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How Siobhan Bell Found Her Niche in London Nightlife

DJ, promoter, radio host: the world that Siobhan Bell has created for herself couldn’t really exist without nights out.
November 18, 2016, 1:35pm

It's Your Town, and with that in mind New Amsterdam Vodka and Noisey have teamed up to take a look at the pre-club rituals of some of our favourite artists. Every group of friends, in every city in the world, has their own unique rituals and traditions that make use of the group's own experiences and knowledge of the town around them. The club experience itself is shared with hundreds, if not thousands of other people, but before the club — well, that's just for you and your friends to do your own thing, and that's a special time. Next up: Siobhan Bell.

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DJ, promoter, radio host, Instagram style icon, beatmaker: the world that Siobhan Bell has created for herself couldn't really exist without nights out. But for many people, the peak hours spent in the dark and noise of the club is matched or even bettered by the pre-party: that early point in the night when you first start to leave the weight of the working day behind, and when all the night's possibilities open up before you and the intimate gaggle of friends you plan on spending it with. We teamed up with New Amsterdam Vodka to speak to Siobhan about the pre-club rituals and routines that she uses to navigate her hometown.

Noisey: What do you love about London at the weekend?
Siobhan Bell: I love that I get to be involved as a DJ, bringing London entertainment to people. In terms of rituals or routines, it's mainly just getting ready – because outfits and appearance in general are really important to me.

How long does it take you to get ready?
I give myself like, two hours…

Two hours?!
Haha, yeah. Two hours beforehand, because I change. Then I'll get my friends to come over and have some drinks.

Are you the host of your social circle, then?
Yeah, I'm normally the host. I like my own home. Because I play quite hard music when I go out, when I'm chilling beforehand I like to listen to softer stuff – 90s RnB, pop stuff.

Where did you grow up in London?
Southeast, in Lewisham. I went to school in Sydenham. But I've been in Hackney since I was about 18, so I grew up more in Hackney – I spent my important developing years there. That's when I started going out as well. And East was the place.

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You know when you move to a new area, and you gradually start to feel more at home when you have regular places or spots to go to, or you walk around and get to know the neighbourhood?
Yeah…

Where in East do you feel is most "your town"?
Dalston, as that's where a lot of the nights I'd go to when I was 18 started. This area I'm in now, Clapton, is pretty new to me. I lived in Bethnal Green for a while too, and it was nice – quiet. But I'd still travel to Dalston or Shoreditch to go out.

Are there any clubs in particular that you rate? What about restaurants or bars where you hang out earlier in the night?
Visions is the place I've been going to longest. I love it there. A night called Work It, where I started DJing as a resident when I was younger, started in there, and now it's still the spot to be. In terms of restaurants and bars and stuff, I'm not really a pre-going out person. I'm more into chilling at mine, cos I have a lot of prep to do.

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Isn't that a bit shocking for the senses, to go straight from the sanctuary of your own place to somewhere really loud?

Not really, it's more like it gives me a lot of energy.

You've travelled a lot, to other countries and cities – what do you think it is about London nightlife that makes it unique compared to the rest of the world?
I just think we're a lot more involved in the music in London. Here, people will actually go out to see a specific DJ, or listen to what's playing in the club. We've got so many different types of music in London – whether it's a drum n' bass night, or a garage night – so it's usually real fans of the music.

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Are you a Friday or Saturday person?

Well, I actually DJ all week, so my "weekends" can start from any day. This week it started on Wednesday – and I just think there's no such thing as a… well, of course there is such thing as a weekend but there's more different days that people are going out now. I enjoy going out on Thursdays the most. I find the weekends so busy, because no one has to be at work the next day. And then the weekdays will be more just like yours friends, people you know…

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When you're having a pre-party, are there any boys about, or is it more of a girls' club?
Yeah, I've got quite a mixed group of friends. It's just whoever's coming out, really – but I do think people always come to mine cos I've always got a car. I think they're just trying to sneak a lift.

Do you have any memorable stories from pre-parties?
Yeah, I remember one time two of my friends came to mine, and we were getting into the music so much that we actually missed the party. We got there about 20 minutes before it ended!

Ha. When you're actually performing, do you think it helps you to have that pre-party time, to chill out with people close to you and get your head in the right space?
Yeah, absolutely. When I DJ, I'm basically working, so I don't really get to chill with my friends in the club. So it definitely is an advantage to have a pre-party to warm up.

This Article is from the series Before the Club on Noisey, click here​ for more.