Ashley James and Charlotte De Carle make up DJ duo ‘Bittersweet’.
With their influence rippling through the London DJ music scene, we took the chance to talk to them about their work together, Hoxton Radio and musical influences. With many upcoming international shows coming up in 2017, read on the find out more about this musical duo.
How did the two of you initially come together to form Bittersweet?
Charlotte and I had been DJ’ing individually and both had our respective shows on Hoxton Radio for a few years before we came together as a duo. BitterSweet was formed when we moved in together into a little flat in Dalston, and realised we both DJ’ed so spent many a night jamming together at home. Our music tastes are quite different - We would mix in each other’s songs and realised it worked pretty well so we started doing it out and about.
How long have you been DJ’ing together?
We’ve been together as the BitterSweet DJ’s for a year and a half - it’s crazy to say that as it feels so much longer. It’s how quickly things have happened and how much we’ve done in that time! We’ve DJ’ed with Glamour, Cosmo, Notion and of course 1883 magazine, have a residency at London’s hotspot Lights of Soho, as well as for brands such as Habitat, Folli Follie, and Rimmel. We’ve also just signed with an agency based in New Year and LA!
Is there any meaning behind the name ‘Bittersweet’?
Haha! Basically because of the arguments we have about our song choices! Not really! But Ashley loves it when new artists cover old tracks - which Charlotte loathes. It’s a running joke during our sets! For example, Ashley hates it when Charlotte plays the original Return of The Mack without Fetty Wap (they recently rereleased it with a feature by Fetty Wap), Ashley calls it an improvement whereas Charlotte calls it sabotage! It kind of matches our personalities too! So basically Charlotte is Bitter and Ashley is Sweet.
What types of music do you general favour, do you ever have a conflict of interests?
Ashley is really into grime, hip hop, afrobeats and R&B - anything new and upbeat. Charlotte loves more garage and 90’s, and then we meet in the middle with old school R&B and hip hop - who doesn’t love a bit of Ja Rule? But yes, the conflict of interest is a part of what makes BitterSweet so different, but we have become very good at listening to each other’s advice too.
Can you share any DJ-ing methods/ secrets with me?
Well we could, but then we’d have to kill you?
What I would say is there’s no right or wrong way. That’s what we love about DJ’ing! Whether you scratch out, loop out, fade out - there is no right or wrong so every single set we do is different.
Also, play music you’re passionate about then it never get feels like work!
You’ve played a wide range of different events, what have been your personal highlights to date?
There’s been a few, they are all very different and no booking is the same! We got to perform on the same line up as Groove Armada, which is very exciting. Most recently we DJ’ed in Madrid for the Global Gift foundation in the Teatro, which is just the most beautiful venue. It’s the second time the venue has been used for a private event so it was a real honour to play there. But even the small grimey events are fun as it’s more about people loving the music. Obviously DJ’ing for 1883 magazine is up there too!
You both have your own shows on Hoxton Radio, what can you tell me about your shows?
Ashley’s show is an upbeat mix of grime, rap, hip hop and R&B. Every week she has a weekly guest - previous guests have included Snakehips, Raye, G Eazy, Tiggs da Author to name just a few. It’s basically good vibes for the weekend. I’ve also recently done a guest show on Rinse FM.
Charlotte has the drive time show and gives her audience a happy blend of 90’s, naughties and garage vibes and it’s injected with lots of her dry wit and random facts.
Besides DJ’ing together, what can you tell me about yourselves?
Well, what would you like to know? We are both presenters - Ashley’s working on a really exciting new channel that sees her travel to experience luxury around the world but it’s not out yet so can’t give away too much. Charlotte has just filmed a show that has taken her around the world discovering new unsigned music artists in each area of the globe.
We are both also models. Charlotte most recently shooting the global campaign for Samsonite shot by the talented Rankin.
Ashley is setting up a T-Shirt brand focussing on equality and female empowerment with a percentage of sales going to Habitat for Humanity. She also busy with her blog, which is a lifestyle blog focusing on fashion, film, and travel.
We also both write for the Huffington Post.
Do you have any big upcoming DJ shows?
We have been made the official DJ’s for the Global Gift Gala, which is co-founded by Eva Longoria. This means we will be travelling to Paris, Cannes, Marbella, Shanghai this year! We’re also flying out to Coachella to DJ at one of he private parties there, which is so exciting!
For the latest news on Bittersweet follow Ashley on @ashleyljames and Charlotte on @CharlDeCarle. Plus catch them playing live on Hoxton Radio via www.hoxtonradio.com
Words by Will Hawkins
Photography Yakub Merchant
Hair and make up Lynda Darragh using Mac Cosmetics
Shot at Eddie Catz, Putney