Eclair Fifi is a Scottish DJ and visual artist who has become of the UK’s most colourful, genre-agnostic DJs – someone who intimately loves and knows how to create that vital moment, when a party bursts into life.
Starting out in the late ’90s in her home city of Edinburgh, playing on pirate radio stations and at raves, Eclair Fifi’s tastes were tough – techno splintered by rapid-fire bursts of gabber, hardcore and breaks, inspired by the pioneers of Detroit and Chicago as much as the ferocious appetite of the Scottish crowd for harder, faster beats. Throughout the ’00s, though, her tastes diversified and her style became more intuitive: Italo disco and Latin freestyle smoothing off the ragged edges of electro, southern US rap and Top 40 R&B acapellas breathing new life into wonky electronica; a style developed during her years as a core DJ for LuckyMe, a crew of art school students and rap nerds who went from throwing parties in sweatbox basements to releasing albums on Warp Records and producing for Kanye West.
As well as playing at and curating bi-monthly LuckyMe parties in Glasgow and Edinburgh, she illustrated many of the label’s physical releases – Yolo Bear, Baauer and Machine Drum have all had record sleeves designed by her, her illustrations sparkling with a signature, delicate wit. Through her DJing and visual work, Eclair Fifi helped LuckyMe present a new vision of club music to techno-devoted Scottish ravers and forge relationships with like-minded crews globally, such as Low End Theory in Los Angeles and Turbo Crunk in Montreal. In 2010, she was part of the LuckyMe Presents… showcase at Barcelona’s Sónar Festival, a breakthrough moment for the then already seasoned DJ.
Residencies have been vital to Eclair Fifi’s growth. In tandem with her work with LuckyMe, Éclair Fifi also spent the ’00s as a resident DJ at Glasgow club night Ballers Social Club, alongside Hudson Mohawke and Rustie, and at Manchester’s Hoya:Hoya, with Jon K, Illum Sphere, Lone and Krystal Klear, among others. In 2012, she started her residency at Paris Social Club, channel-hopping every few months to play with the likes of Piu Piu, Teki Latex and Louise Chen.
Her residencies extend beyond the club space, however – radio has always been a huge part of her creative identity. After her early days playing on pirate radio, she stepped it up, joining Rinse FM in 2011 and holding down a BBC Radio One “In New DJs We Trust” residency in 2013. She currently hosts a monthly show on London station NTS, and has featured guests such as Galcher Lustwerk, Nightwave and Jasper James. Through the broadcasts, as well as showcasing her ever-evolving tastes, Eclair Fifi’s sense of humour and enthusiasm for music shine through.
In recent years, her work has accelerated. She’s curated stages at Manchester’s Warehouse Project, Amsterdam Dance Event and Scotland’s SkyeLive, and played at festivals like Dekmantel and SXSW and at institutions like Tate Modern and MoMA PS1. After touring Europe extensively, the US and Australia twice, and playing across India, she’s now returning to her roots. In 2018, she started a new club night at Glasgow club La Cheetah, RAPID, and in 2019 will launch her own label, River Rapid, with signed artists to be announced.