One of the most accomplished female DJs in the game, Elisa Do Brasil made a name for herself as a key figure in the French drum & bass scene. Surprisingly, though, the Brasilia-born DJ/producer was no immediate fan of electronic music, instead preferring reggae as a teenager.
She discovered her taste for upbeat rhythms at a jungle party held at Paris's notorious Rex Club. “I got crazy all night, I think the mix of sub basses, jungle breaks and MCs were the perfect sound for me,” Elisa tells DJ Mag.
She got kicked out by security later that night for being under 18, “but I came back three years later as a resident”, she says, after becoming a DJ herself. “It was kinda awesome.”
She joined the DJ collective Troubles Fetes, although would find that at a lot of the free parties she was playing at, it was difficult for her to play her beloved drum & bass. “Most of the guys in the soundsystems didn't really like it,” she recalls. “They were playing tribe and hardcore, and I had to wait till the morning or even midday sometimes to play.”
It became difficult for free parties in France after the government's rave clampdown in the mid-'90s, but then 1999 was a pivotal year for Elisa. She was booked to play the huge French festival Astropolis, which is where she got her DJ name from. “I didn't have a DJ name, so they thought Elisa Do Brasil was nice,” she recalls. “They wrote it on the flyer. From that moment, everything started for me — my residency at Rex Club, Massive (which she was one of the co-founders of) and all the gigs all around France. I had the chance to play drum & bass in festivals, clubs and parties where nobody else could.”
Taking to production, her first album 'First Stroke' in 2009 fused euphoric vocal samples with elements of dubstep and hip-hop, ragga and dancehall, while her collab with long-term MC Miss Trouble was more straight-up d&b. Second album 'Rolling The Dice' followed a couple of years later, and now — having helped build drum & bass foundations in France — she's ready to go international.
She already has ties with Futurebound, who has released one of her tracks (“he's supported me for years”), and bigs up Andy C, Marky, Patife, Smooth and J Majik who she has played with a lot of times. “I play really different music to Marky, but he always gave me the chance to play in Brazil,” she says. “He also is an amazing DJ.”
With collabs in the can with Foreign Beggars and Birdy Nam Nam, and a great energy on her side, the world is now ready for Elisa Do Brasil.
Copyright Thrust Publishing Ltd. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.djmag.com as the source.