They say two minds is greater than one, but six minds is a force to be reckoned with and the CTRL SHFT crew have a collective spirit and vision of togetherness that is pushing the boundaries within the creative industry. The crew members are DJ’s hailing from across the globe – EZE, Chennae, Annie, Jay Dolce, Denaas and Shaxx, all met at definitive moments in their career, either at university or sharing space on the same dancefloors of their favourite underground events. Their success lies in all 6 women winning, together and individually. We caught up with CTRL SHFT to find out more about their journey as a collective, trainers in fashion and how they would style the Dunk disrupt.
How did you all meet one another?
Chennae: We all met really organically, me and EZE met during our first week at uni and we’ve been tight ever since, that was almost 10 years ago now – time flies! Jay and myself met at uni too and reconnected a few years later when she joined us via EZE, which is mad because we didn’t even know we went to the same uni at the time! Annie, Shaxx & Dena would often play sets at the events we’d go to, and it went from there really. The universe works in mysterious ways.
Denaas: I met all the girls throughout the London scene by doing DJ gigs together and bumping into them at events, then eventually we went to Ibiza together, we bonded as sisters and became closer than ever and since then I’ve been amazed by the bond we created throughout our ups and downs..
Jay: It’s so weird because I went to the same university as the founders of CTRL SHFT, Chennae and EZE, but didn’t really get to know them until I was approached by EZE to join the collective as a resident DJ. I’ve shared previous line-up’s with Shaxx, Denaas and Annie so that’s how I met the rest of the gang.
Shaxx: I met the girls all differently in the dj scene, at various events I was playing at. I have known Dena the longest as we supported each other through our DJ journey, practised together ect. I then met EZE at an event I was playing at (I had bumped into her a few times before then in the clubs) but it was the ‘Shabba Party’ event in Brixton where she approached me to be a part of the crew… and it’s been upwards from then!
The Dunk disrupt is all about the collective, Where did the idea of becoming a collective come from?
Chennae: I think we always knew that we wanted to grow as a brand and connect with other women in the circuit. In this industry girls are often put up against each other which is ridiculous because there’s room for everyone to eat! Why not bring more girls into the fold, we can support each other and everyone can shine together. Me and EZE would literally see the girls play at sets and get gassed about how lit they are, said we needed them to join and it actually happened. That’s when we knew we could really be something.
EZE [pron. Easy-E]: Creating a brand or pushing a career on your own can be daunting, when there’s collective effort it makes everything that much easier. They say 2 minds is greater than 1, but 6 minds is a force to be reckoned with.
What are the similarities and differences between you all that strengthen your friendships and ties within the collective?
Chennae: We’re all girls and we all love music! We’re all from different backgrounds but share the same core values, everyone brings a different flare to the group individually and it really shines when we’re all together.
Denaas: For me it’s being surrounded by ambitious hard-working women. Even though our goals may vary, we always support and give each other strength. We all know what it could be like in this industry sometimes, so it’s important to have a solid foundation. Our differences are what makes us unique and stand out, we don’t need to have the exact same opinions and thoughts as long as we have respect, understanding and love for the music together, and each other.
Jay: Well, we’re all bad b’s so that helps! That popular saying ‘birds of a feather flock together’ really speaks to our crew as we’ve all been brought together for our love of music and DJ’ing. I think our differences also make us strong, as we all have different strengths to contribute to the overall movement and what we’re all aiming towards, which is global domination!
Shaxx: We are all different in our own ways, the way we dress, the way we mix and the energy behind the decks and our characters, but as a collective it’s enhanced time 10! Putting women together that are individually already powerful, becomes an explosion of greatness!
What are your favourite things about one-another?
Chennae: All of our values align; we have the same vision of togetherness. We believe that we can build together as women in an industry dominated by men and mostly, we have a support network in each other. Not being able to do what we had in mind this past year has been tough but we are getting through it as a unit.
EZE: My favourite thing about us all is even when the odds are against us, or things seem impossible, our collective spirit, resilience and purpose will always keep us going. I think that’s a major asset to have between a team, especially in the creative industries. It’s rare to find, but we’re blessed to have it.
Denaas: My favorite thing about the girls is that we have a support system, whether that’s individual projects or as a group. We can recognize that a small win for one individual is a big win for all of us as a group. I also love that we are all so different and yet so similar.
Jay: We’re all strong-minded, creative, talented women and, even if we don’t always see eye to eye, we’re able to resolve it, move on and charge it to the game.
Shaxx: I like the fact that we are all individually great, and support each other and push each other through. Having a strong support unit is very important in the music industry, it’s a tough road and you need solid people around you who are all aiming for the same goal.
Annie: It’s inspiring to see each of us pursue different projects within the music industry but eventually always end up coming together DJing. Whether it’s at our own events or we’re just supporting each other at different sets, it feels like a family.
What are your favourite memories you have shared together?
Chennae: 2019 was a good year – Endz, Ibiza Melts, Night Shft. For me I’d say the Belaire boat party in Ibiza is my personal fave, the girls absolutely smashed their sets. Can’t wait to do international events again when outside opens back up!
EZE: Ibiza has to be our favourite for sure! It’s the first time we collectively flew/DJ’d abroad and it was amazing getting to know each other on a more intimate, personal level. NIGHT SHFT / w P Montana and Crazy Cousinz – 2 of my favourite events to date – There was a time when me, Annie and Chennae all looked into a packed-out room with queues down the road thinking did we really do this? LOL.
Shaxx: Ibiza meltdown was my favourite, such a good time and we all smashed our sets every time! Personally, another one of my favourite moments was when I hosted my first set, first time being on the mic at our Camden assembly event – it went off! Such a sick vibe! To be honest all of our events have been lit, and all set up by powerful women!
Denaas: I agree with above, from the water parks, to the beach all the way to the little boat we were djing on in Ibiza, we just bonded as sisters and released how powerful we actually are all together, we turned Ibiza upside down that year LOL!
Annie: Running NIGHT SHFT (a collaboration of CTRL SHFT & my own club night Night Dreams) at Ace Hotel’s basement space Miranda with EZE. Promoting is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done and it was so nice to be able to share the stress!!! We also booked some amazing artists to perform including Kida Kudz, P Montana, Crazy Cousinz, Tiggs da Author, Team Salut & Jeremiah Asiamah. Those events went OFF!
Jay: Going Ibiza and shutting the whole place down, whilst getting lit in the sun. That trip was full of banter and good times. Our many events over the years also bring loads of fond memories – too many to recall but they all warm my heart.
What are your plans to grow as a collective?
Chennae: To blow ha-ha, we’re going to continue to push each other to be the best versions of ourselves first and foremost. I wanna see us doing big things – festival line ups, brand collabs and radio God willing.
Denaas: The goal is to continue growing, supporting and working together. Appreciating and celebrating the big wins as much as the small ones. Push the scene forward as DJs but also as strong women united.
Jay: We definitely want to be touring internationally on the festival circuit in the near future, once we’re free from this wretched lockdown. Focusing on growing individually, as well as as a collective, is also important to us because when one of us succeeds, we all do – we’re the gift that keeps on giving to each other.
What is different about each of your individual styles?
Chennae: I love a tracksuit just as much as a dress or a matching set- usually with trainers, but I’ll always find a way to make it glam and accessorize. Your outfit is not complete until you have the glasses to match!
Shaxx: I would say my style is pretty cosy and laid back, as I’m very active behind the decks. Most times I prefer to be comfortable & cute, because I’m going to be sweating out whatever I wear anyways! Haha
Denaas: My style varies a lot, it’s my mood, my emotion and my way to express myself. Some days I like to wear air forces and a tracksuit and other days I go full out skirts, crop tops and heels. I think it’s important to remember the clothes don’t define you, you define them. My main focus in putting together outfits always starts with the trainers though, then i build my way up.
Annie: My wardrobe is a mix of little tops and sweats like a teenage boy. I rarely wear heels as normally I’d be going from gig to gig so trainers are how I create the vibe! I also live for accessories. When I look in the mirror and think, wow I look EXTRA, that’s when I know I’m good to go.
EZE: I’m a bit of a nomadic woman myself ha-ha. Some days its shabby sheik and loose clothing, other days I’m completely sported out head to toe. I prefer my comfy tracksuit look most days, but definitely love me a silk wrap skirt and blouse when I’m dressing to impress!
Jay: When I’m DJ’ing, it’s comfort over everything so I like that “tomboy but keep it girly” look. Wore heels once behind the decks and I vowed that day to never do it again.
How do you best express yourself through fashion and style?
Chennae: I’m prone to being a little extra at times, personality wise and style. I like to mix it up, depending on what mood I’m in. Bright colours really pop on my skin tone but you can never go wrong in a blacked out fit too.
Shaxx: Cosy Gang & chilled … that’s me in real life too ha-ha!
Denaas: I express myself in many ways, some days I spend hours on hair, make up or some days I just can’t seem to figure out what mood I’m in. The main thing I think about when I dress and style myself is to inspire and be comfortable in the clothes I’m in because if you’re not, it will show. Trust me, been there done that.
Annie: Fashion & style is another extension of my personality, so you could literally tell what mood I’m in by how I turn up.
Jay: With bold colours, statement pieces and budget drip 🙂
How important are trainers in your world of fashion?
Chennae: When you’re out as much as we were PRE- COVID, trainers are your go-to. Nobody wants to be standing all night in heels LOL, got to stay comfy so we can bring the vibes in the dancery. I think shoes tell a lot about a person, and when you look at someone normally its shoes first then fit, or is it just me girls?
Shaxx: I live for trainers! I couldn’t imagine a world without them! I even get told off sometimes by my friends for wearing trainers too often… oh well! I’m still cute ha-ha
Denaas: I think trainers are a statement, a language and an expression. It’s a language in the sense that it’s a community of ‘sneakerheads’, sometimes when you see someone with the same pair of air forces as you or a pair of dunks that you’ve been trying to get your hands on for so long it’s kind of like your connecting with another person over the shoes on their feet. It’s so much more than a way to take you from A to B.
Annie: Yooooo trainers are make or break!!! My collection is on display like a shrine the moment you walk into my house. They are part of me ha-ha.
EZE: I think I can talk for everyone when we say trainers are life LOL. The best thing about them is you can be laid back and comfy, or dress it up in a cute dress and fit and still look 10/10.
Jay: Trainers speak volumes to me, in both my world of fashion and my world of DJ’ing. They allow me to look extra saucy whilst being super comfortable. They can really make an outfit go from just nice to extremely wavy. I love them with all my heart.
And finally… how would you best style the Nike Dunk Disrupt?
Chennae: When I look at the Disrupts the first thing I think about is the whole Y2K era, we grew up on that so it’s mad to see it back in fashion! Think TLC, destiny’s child, Aaliyah vibes and obvs make it glam 🙂
EZE: Definitely style it with that 90s flow. Camo trousers, beige racer top, Burberry scarf or beige cap and skinny brown lenses to match.
Shaxx: I would drop it with the same colour tracksuit, with a nice white crop top or some camo bottoms, I love a bit of camo 😉
Denaas: In most of my outfits I like to let the shoes do the main talking, if I’m stepping clean, everything else will fall into place, as the shoes have hints of red and blue I’d pair it with something simple like grey sweats/jeans, a white crop top and a cute beige mini bag.
Annie: I’d pair them with some of my socks I designed 😉 Then, working my way up, I’d pick some baggy bottoms and a cute little top. As a 90s baby, I bleed this aesthetic.
Discover the #Nike #DunkDisrupt restock dropping soon…