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Sister Bliss - Some Kind Of Bliss

Author: Cyclone
Tuesday, 7 October 2008

3D’s Cyclone talks to Ayalah Bentovim, aka Sister Bliss, aka one half of Faithless, about her inspired new mix-CD, Nightmoves.

Far from slowing down, or contemplating retirement, Sister Bliss has been ever more active since becoming a mum. Now she’s assembled a mix-CD, Nightmoves, inspired by last summer’s confidence-bolstering Australian tour. And, with her son Nate turning two, the London-based DJ/producer is already plotting Faithless’ comeback.

Bliss has actually mixed remarkably few compilations considering her international profile. “I’ve been a bit busy with my other job,” she laughs.

Bliss most recently oversaw a club set as part of Faithless’ 3D package for Renaissance. But, Faithless on a year-long hiatus, Bliss has embraced DJing with vigour. When the fledgling label Godlike & Electric approached her for a mix-CD, she was thrilled.

The Nightmoves cover is especially striking, Bliss depicted as a postmodern Woad. The image is a statement in itself. Bliss jokes that the warpaint harks back to her being a fan of the new romantic Adam Ant. Yet her warrior guise is symbolic.

“There’s not that many female DJs out there – I do feel like a warrior sometimes,” she says. “I’ve had to fight for every bit of recognition that I – and my band – have got, against the odds. We’re quite popular now – I mean, we need to get back out there and make some great records and tour again – but there was a lot of criticism and maybe snobbery when Faithless started to become successful.”

Not only is Bliss fighting for female DJs, and battling on Faithless’ behalf, but she’s also a passionate defender of dance music. “Some people really slag dance music off and see the bad side of it – the cheesy, Euro, poppy, rubbishy side of it. I wanna show that there’s more depth and more subtlety to it than that.”

Nightmoves demonstrates Bliss’ much vaunted diversity. She traverses acid, deep house, electro, techno and progressive. Bliss has consistently repudiated Faithless’ ‘stadium trance’ tag, instead espousing her love of ‘emotive’ music. Above all, she wanted Nightmoves to have longevity. “It’s got a retro feel, but it’s futuristic at the same time.”

As with Danny Tenaglia’s Futurism, Nightmoves is impressing those not typically swayed by prog trance – or, in Bliss’ case, Faithless. An unexpected highlight is Bliss’ remix of The Enemy’s angst rock This Song with her Faithless cohort Rollo Armstrong. Bliss has a strong Australian component with tracks from Pnau as well as Nick Littlemore’s side-project Teenager.

Ayalah Bentovim was a promising DJ before she conceived Faithless with onetime boyfriend Rollo. It was because Bliss felt “insecure” about DJing that she ventured into production. With Faithless’ 1996 debut Reverence a sleeper hit, they established themselves as a viable touring act but, consequently, Bliss’ DJ career stalled. As the supergroup’s ‘musician’, she focused on their studio output when not gigging.

After 2004’s No Roots, Bliss expressed doubts about Faithless’ future. The group marketed an ominous ‘greatest hits’ – a best-seller, as it happens. But today she’s contentedly forging ahead with the follow-up to To All New Arrivals.

Bliss is feeling liberated, too, Faithless having left Sony BMG.

Even then, fans won’t hear any material until the perfectionist believes that Faithless have produced something “outstanding”.

“I don’t really want to make another record unless it’s genius!” she exclaims. “I always set the bar high.”

WHO: Sister Bliss
WHAT: Nightmoves through Godlike & Electric / Inertia
WHEN: Out 9 October