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The rapid rise of DJ Kelsta

Author: michelle pirovich
Sunday, October 27, 2002
'My ultimate gig would definitely be to play on the main stage at Dance Valley in Holland - playing in between Dave Randall and Nick Sentience, with 100,000 crazy Europeans going nuts below.' It may be a little way off at the moment but for Kelly Kokot aka DJ Kelsta the progression from music lover to Hard Dance DJ and producer has been a swift and impressive one.

Kelly found her way behind the decks, a little more than a year ago after experiencing many a memorable night at Melbourne's legendary Hard Kandy. Countless hours of practice later Kelly had landed her first gig at NRGize, and has since then been on rotation at the recently departed @mosphere, and secured sets at Advetjah, Hard Kandy, Bubble, Two Tribes and Frantic. When asked where Kelly's passion for DJ stems from Kelly replies. 'I like being able to bring new music into a club and watch the crowd's reactions grow to it as the weeks move on. Naturally I love the feeling I get when people are dancing in front of me, with huge smiles on their faces and hands in the air.'

Kelly's rapid rise from bedroom to nightclub can be attributed to her days at high school where music and the discipline required to make it happen was instilled in her. 'I played the guitar, bass guitar and flute for 6 years and also studied music right through high school. I can remember spending most of my lunchtimes in the music room belting out tunes with friends.'

Kelly's passion was to shift from rock to electronic when she entered the clubbing scene, and for many the process of getting the chance to play is often more difficult than learning how to DJ in the first place. Kelly's natural instinct for networking however has worked to her advantage. 'It is in my nature to make new contacts and network. I love to get fully involved in anything I am interested in; I tend to dive into the deep end from the word go. From the day I started clubbing, I was making lots of new contacts, obviously most of the people I met were in the scene and had similar interests to me, so we had a common ground to start with. I put a lot of time and effort into my music, and when it came time to start playing, it certainly helped to know people in the industry. In saying that, I certainly don't think I could have come this far in such a short time if I wasn't up to the task professionally. It certainly hasn't been easy, but I love a challenge - that is half the fun of achieving your goals.'

Even today, being a female in the DJing arena can be seen as a disadvantage, it seems for Kelly however that very little can hold her back. 'You will only be disadvantaged if you let yourself fall into that trap. I think as a female DJ, and being the minority in the scene, it is important to get yourself out there and as well known with as many different people as you can. It can be harder to get noticed and taken seriously in the beginning, but if you are willing to go that extra mile, then nothing becomes a real disadvantage.'

Its such determination and positive outlook that has Kelly not only reaching for the stars 'I want to take DJing all the way' but most likely making it as well. Recently using Logic 5.02 and the Pulsar II system Kelly produced her first track 'Aspirations' alongside Melbourne DJ Steve Nichols. 'Aspirations' has been well received from hard dance heavyweights Nick Sentience and Dave Randall; both claiming the track to have a 'very original sound.' 'I have known Nick and Dave for a couple of years now and they have seen me grow as a DJ/producer, they can see my passion and love for it all, and that is why they are so keen to help.' Kelly describes the track 'Steve likes to produce more on the trancier side; a little lighter and I seem to go for a darker edged sound, and by combining the two the track has a definite tech feel to the percussion, with deep rolling bass lines and uplifting riffs.'

Kelly's style and influences stem from her idols Nick Sentience, BK and Dave Randall. 'Dave and<