A National Treasure on the live electronic music scene, Free knows how to get us in the festival headspace
Words Arielle Free
Introduction Marianna Manson
May’s issue has turned into something of a celebration of the launch of festival season, with hippy-happy influences making their way into everything from our hotlist to our editor’s round-ups.
But for upbeat Scottish DJ Arielle Free, festivals aren’t just for summer – they’re her lifeblood. She first made her mark way back in 2015, when she was plucked from relative obscurity by Ministry of Sound to re-launch their radio station, then swiftly landed a gig with BBC Scotland fronting the kinda-a-big-deal T in the Park festival coverage. Her impressive musical nous and penchant for radio bants have ensured her presenting career has gone from strength to strength – today, she hosts BBC Introducing on her native Radio Scotland, and is a regular fixture across the country’s most loved (not to mention biggest) steadfast festivals.
In the run up to the busiest season of her annual calendar, Arielle Free took us through some of her favourite festival anthems – so even if you’re not donning your wellies and face paint this year, you can bliss out with the best of them.
LISTEN IN FULL
TRACK BY TRACK
1. So Serious
Illyus and Barientos
…AKA the dance anthem of this summer. This Glasgow duo have been doing their thing for a while but this absolute banger is sure to have them on every dance tent bill over the summer.
2. Be Careful
Invasion of Privacy is the hip hop album we’ve all been waiting for. Cardi B is someone who is doing things her way with zero fucks given. This is my favourite track from the album and I love her singing vocals over the chorus.
3. The Way We Used To
Queens of the Stoneage
The party rock anthem that catapulted Queens back into our collective rock consciousness in a dramatic way. Expect shoe shuffling and a possible surprise appearance from Mark Ronson at their Festival Republic appearance in Finsbury Park on 30th June.
4. Disco Yes
Tom Misch & Poppy Adjudha
There is a movement of artists bringing the cool factor back to laidback jazz vibes and appropriately enough, Tom Misch – a man so laidback he’s practically horizontal – is at the forefront of said movement. I love this collaboration from Tom’s debut album Geography.
5. Loner Boogie
This Cardiff outfit have made the perfect track for dancing on your own. Reminiscent of the rock revolution era, these guys sound completely different from any other band out there right now.
7. No 1 Party Anthem
They’re back, but we haven’t heard the new music yet. Apparently its a 50s cinematic orchestral extravaganza with guitars thrown in, but until we actually hear it this will forever be a summer warm-up favourite.
Lethal doing what he does best: coming up with a hook laden banger that requires a universally recognised dance move (fester skank I’m looking at you). Expect flashmob-style groups breaking out in unison when dropped at a festival near you.
9. Love Like Waves
Friendly Fires are back with a bang and my freezing cold bones have been calling out for this tropical sun ray of a track. Six years has been far too long a hiatus, but this track firmly cements them back in our dancing hearts.
10. New For You
The first single from Hinds’ sophomore album I Don’t Run. The Madrid quartet are incredible on stage and I’d love to see this live at Coachella. Their trippy 60s-girl-group-turned-grunge vibe gives me all the feels.
11. Black Panther
Lady Leshurr tackles Missy Elliot’s classic ‘She’s a Bitch’ with her celebration of this year’s smash hit movie Black Panther. This was born from Leshurr’s freestyle series, in which she asks her followers to give her a topic to freestyle about. When she did it over this beat, Missy Elliot tweeted her appreciation, and the rest is history. Shout out to the couple on the tube in the music video who had no clue she was going to get up and start rapping.
The first signing to Slaves record label come through with a punk-tinged track that sounds like Danny Dyer attempting a Streets track. Trust me, it works.
13. Aure (Melè Mix)
Sg Lewis has been doing his thing for a while and this year he’s going to be dropping a three-part album Dusk, Dark, Dawn. His music is the electronic elixir for all ailments affecting the mind, body and soul. Here Melè puts his own spin on Sg’s latest track and gives it more of a club groove.
14. Techno Disco School
I can’t get over how good this disco techno beat is. It’ll get in your head and have you secretly raving each time you hear it.
Lily goes ethereal and gives us a sneak peek of how much of a mixed bag her impending new album will be. I can safely say Lily is back to her best and if word on the street is to be believed her new album is going to be huge.
16. Crisis Fest
This band started off as a punk grunge outfit and this track harks back to their rawer sound of years gone by. Now delivering a more mature, finely-tuned sound, their debut album Twenty Two is one of my faves of 2018 so far.
17. Cracker Drool
Sticking with the girls with guitars theme, this band somehow make strangely uplifting rifts with monotone vocals that sound miserable. When mixed together, the combination makes for an excellent indie record. Expect the tent at Reading festival to be rammed when these girls take to the stage.
10. Grooves on the Vinyl
Gorgon City know how to make a dance anthem but this track is a bit more lo-fi. Don’t expect it to top the charts but it’s definitely a beat that everyone will using in their festival sets.
Catch Arielle Free on Hoxton Radio Thursdays 4pm – 6pm.