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PowerUp Birmingham Finalists Announced

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The Cast of fresh talent to play alongside dBridge on Thursday

Regular readers will have noticed weekly updates on the Intel PowerUp DJ competition in association with DJ Mag and bass music legend Benji B.

Well, the entries have all now been judged and we are glad to announce the regional finalists who will battle it out for a coveted spot in the final - and the chance to play alongside Benji B, in London.

The Birmingham heat takes place at The Rainbow on Thursday 4th October and is headlined by Exit Records' boss dBridge. So lets introduce you to the DJs who will be battling for a place in the final!

Name: Carla Brown
Age: 30 something!

How long have you been DJing? On and off for around 10 years or so, I started off doing radio and took it from there. It has always only been a sideline for me though, but I would really love to make a full time career out of it.

Describe your sound? I am a specialist hip hop DJ – old skool new skool, underground, UK – if its dope I'll spin it! hip hop is my first love but I also listen to other genres. For example I love Drum & Bass, but don't know much at all about the scene or genre.

How did you go about the PowerUp mix? I came across the competition online and decided to give it a go, nothing ventured nothing gained right? So I thought, the worst that can happen is I don't get through! I got a selection of tracks together, and off the back off those, generated some ideas and played around with the tracks a bit. I used Serato with turntables, and a RANE TTM57 mixer. I use Adobe Audition to record and put my mixes together.

How do you plan to impress at the Birmingham heat? Just do my best I guess. I love turntablism so will definitely have those elements in there. Its scary entering a competition – its a completely different vibe to just playing a set, you got to go hard from the word go, and stay hard until you finish! Plus theres the added pressure of being up against others – but its all good, and its all fun!

Name: Dean Oakley
Age: 27 

How long have you been DJing? Just over 10 years now; UK garage was what first got me into DJing, trying to emulate the likes of EZ and Jason Kaye.

Describe your sound? Deep, funky, soulful and not surprisingly, heavily influenced by UK garage style beats.

How did you go about the PowerUp mix? I started off by mixing two classic house songs together, Fred Falke and Hardrive, this was to grab the listeners attention straight away. I then brought it bang up to date with a modern day classic from Dusky and took it from there. 

How do you plan to impress at the regional heats? The only way I know how; by playing songs that are going to make the crowd want to get up and dance and not want to stop!

Name: Nick Norris Aka DJ Double Drop
Age: 23

How long have you been DJing? I started learning to mix around 5 years ago. My first live set was this year (I suffered a major loss and did not mix for 2 ½ years)

Describe your sound? Energetic, fast paced, and quite often different to the norm.

How did you go about the PowerUp mix? 10 minute mission statement...started with a double drop and then freestyled!

How do you plan to impress at the regional heats? By being myself, and letting my sound do the talking.

Name: Gary Dicks [gl? klændi]
Age: 28 

How long have you been DJing? Depends how you define DJing. If you accept what I do as DJing, then just a few months (though I've been producing in various guises for years).

Describe your sound? Usually on the darker side and occasionally eclectic, wandering between bass music and techno with a nod towards a jazz aesthetic; sometimes clinical, but always improvised.

How did you go about the PowerUp mix? The blank canvas approach: improvised from scratch (no pre-recorded material), first time recording, done. This was my first mix ever using this improv approach. 

How do you plan to impress at the regional heats? I will try to read the crowd as best I can, but generally, I'm just going to go for it and do whatever feels right at the time. We'll see what happens - anything could!

Name: Matt Chinn (Boizei)
Age: 29

How long have you been DJing? 5 years

Describe your sound? Leftfield Electro House, pounding Techno, alternative oddities.

How did you go about the PowerUp mix? This mix had to stand out and have an alternative edge – it just had to be different! Cue painstaking hours spent on the hunt for that perfect clutch of tunes that break all the rules, that make you want to dance, that make you feel alive, that make you question the limits of reality! Then 20 minutes of Ableton and I’m done. 

How do you plan to impress at the regional heats? Anyone who can successfully harness the eclectic PowerUp crowd is sure to impress and I’m up for the challenge.

Name: Sebastian Main(SBBY)
Age: 19 

How long have you been DJing? I have been DJing for approximately two years. However it was only last year, once I got my own set of decks and started playing out to audiences, that I began to pursue it as a hobby.

Describe your sound? My sound is all about basslines. More importantly, combining big bass with quirky, funk–driven ideas and sounds. It’s essentially about dropping fresh, memorable tracks. Introducing people to an entirely different sound, away from what they are used to. 

How did you go about the PowerUp mix? To prepare for my PowerUp mix, I searched for tracks that I have personally seen go down extremely well in clubs. Not only this, I chose tracks that I myself would love to play out and have played out, that way people know what to expect from my set.

How do you plan to impress at the regional heats? I’m going to plan my best set yet. I’m filling my mix with the biggest tracks I’ve had. My aim is to get the audience completely absorbed by my sound.