Siobhan Bell Is Making Waves in The Male-Heavy World of DJing
Siobhan Bell has been very, very busy. The London born DJ is a veteran in the music industry, and host of the iconic Cherryade ragers (the next one is tonight btw, and Londoners, this is NOT to be missed). But since kicking off her career as a performer in 2010, she has become a fixture in the fashion world. Now, she’s spreading her influence in all directions. In addition to hosting Cherryade, she’s also modeling, touring around the world, collaborating with artists and designers, and launching her own brand of colorful hair extensions. There seems to be no terrain too tricky for this British wunderkind to tackle.
Siobhan can usually be found making the rounds during Fashion Week in New York, but her absence was acutely felt this year. When we asked why she sat this one out, she admitted that, with DJing and the launch of her brand Cherryade Hair, it might have just been a bit too much to handle at once. Luckily for us, however, she was able to take some time out of her crazy schedule to talk about the past year, what she’s learned, and how her image is evolving.
Wasn’t this a relaunch [of Cherryade Hair]?
Yes, it’s a relaunch. I did actually launch it last year, but I kind of just did it for fun. And it kind of took off, so I shut it down and re-did everything. I properly registered it as a business and set up business accounts and all that technical stuff.
Do you have any goals for the brand? What are you hoping will come of it?
Obviously, it was a bit of a representation of myself. Also, I wanted to kind of make it a cool fashion available to everyone. Kind of like a trend piece, you know? Obviously you can buy hair extensions anywhere, but I wanted to make mine a bit more [of a] unique fit with other brands, cause I’ve got a lot of collaborations coming up as well. And just kind of base it around Fashion Week and trends.
Can you give us any teasers as to what those collaborations might include?
I have one with an illustrator. I did a collaboration with a painter, who actually painted some inspired dip-dye hair. I’ve got one with a nail company coming up as well, and a watch company.
Is there a certain hair color you’re really into right now?
Well, I change my color, like, every week. But I’m green right now. Like a dark green. I was blue, which was my fav. That was the first time I tried blue hair. But I just kind of change the color for my mood and the weather. I’ve been feeling quite like… You know, it was winter, so I was feeling greens and dark blues. Maybe in the summer I’ll get a bit brighter.
So, you’ve been DJing for a while now, and you still host the Cherryade Party, yeah?
No, well, I just kind of do it on occasion now, cause I’ve been so busy with traveling. My DJing has taken me around the world, luckily.
Which is wonderful. But you’ve also recently become really popular in the fashion world. Did that come as a complete surprise, or is it always something you were interested in?
Yeah! I don’t know, I’ve always been into brands. But I suppose I’ve kind of built an image, and it’s attracted fashion. Just attending shows, and being around those people. I’ve got a lot of friends in fashion as well. So, it was kind of a thing I picked up. Because when I first started DJing, I kinda was just DJing for fun. I would wear, like, a tracksuit, sportswear. I wouldn’t really think of any of those elements. And as I DJed more, I started to build a brand for myself, and an image. It kind of attracted these things, and I put more thought into it.
And do you find that your image has kind of influenced what you play as well? Or has that pretty much stayed the same?
I don’t know, because my sets are really hard, and quite lively. But when I do fashion stuff, I kind of cater to fashion. It depends what kind of brand I do—I’m quite versatile with my music. But I would say my image is quite fun and colorful, so I like to project that upon the crowd.
2015 was a huge year for you. I mean, you played all these huge festivals, alongside people like A$AP Ferg and Skepta. What’s your favorite thing that happened to you last year?
That’s so hard. I’m trying to remember all my stuff. I don’t have a particular favorite, but I’d always wanted to go to Japan, and I did. That was on the top of my list, and I got to experience that side of Asia. I went to Japan and Shanghai. So there’s all my favorite places. Gig-wise… I don’t know, every gig? They were all so great. Well, it was my first time doing the festival circuit. I had so much fun at Redding Festival, which is big. And I got to talk with 1’s Essential, which is a BBC radio station here. So, that was quite an experience.
So you played in Japan—did you find anything unexpected there, in the nightlife maybe, that you wouldn’t be able to find elsewhere?
Yeah, actually. I would say they’re really internet. So they do know a lot about America and Europe, based on trends, you know? And they had this thing of not dancing in the club. I don’t know if it’s a rule—I will research that—but there was a thing [where], at some of the clubs, they can’t dance. So it was interesting to see. Like, it was a younger generation, so there was a little dancing.
Is it true that you’re working on an EP right now?
I am… not sure. It was put out there that I was working on some music to do, but because of DJing and the fashion stuff, that will just come in time. So, slowly. But I do production. So I’m working with various people to, hopefully, put something together in good time.
Anything planned for the coming year that you’re excited about?
I just think I’m excited about the summer, and building up. I did so much stuff in 2015, so now I’ve kind of stepped back to reevaluate what lanes I wanna go into and stuff, [and] now I think the next thing is radio. I have a radio show already, but I just want to kind of bring it up to the next level, and build up more of a personality.
You obviously have a lot of projects going on right now, but do you think you would ever try out different areas in the music realm?
Music’s just a natural thing for me. DJing is my main love. And I think everything else just comes off of it as I’m developing as an artist. You know, I wouldn’t call myself a model, but I’ve done campaigns and shoots. I’ll kind of see myself more as a brand. I don’t know, I’m just, as a person, very open to doing everything. I never would have thought I would have had a hair extension line.
What do you think is the most common misconception about being a DJ, or about anything you do?
I think there’s a stigma on the female DJ, and people think there aren’t a lot of female DJs, but there actually are. And also, just being called a female DJ. You don’t say you’re a male DJ, you’re just a DJ. And now I DJ with a lot of guys, on heavy lineups and stuff. I feel like people think that just because you’re a girl DJ that you can’t be on these big lineups. Because, going back, it has been a male-dominated kind of thing. So it is a bit new that girls are doing it, but there are so many girls DJing at the minute.
Finally, what music do you get down to when you’re by yourself?
Definitely chilled vibes. Like Kelela, ABRA. I’m really into ABRA at the moment, actually. I think she’s gonna do really well. And, like, Grimes… I kind of like indie pop as well, and old-school ’90s like No Doubt. I like the Smiths, and a lot of British bands.
Black and white images shot by Paola Vivas, courtesy of Siobhan Bell. Image of Siobhan DJ’ing shot exclusively for Milk by Zlatko Batistich. Additional images via Wonderland Magazine and Fashion Glossary UK.
Stay tuned to Milk for more up and coming DJs.