Oslo-based DJ Kristina Dunn (US) also known as DELLA (formally of No Dial Tone) has labels such as Classic Music Company, Paper Recordings, Letftroom, Twirl, ITH Defected, and Moulton already under her belt. Has press in Mixmag and DjMag as well as a feature on both Pete Tong and Heidi's BBC Radio 1 shows. From a young age, she entered the world of House and has never looked back. She is an acclaimed DJ and has helped mould our local Oslo scene to what it has become today.
In her youth, her favourite spot in the house was the stool inf front of the stereo. She would get up on the stool to dance, sing and listen to music on the radio. The passion for music continued into early adulthood where she was introduced to rave culture, becoming instantly hooked, dancing away the nights with her friends, completely lost in the music. DJing was not a thought at this moment, this was to come later. In 1999, she moved to Los Angeles and begun hanging out at the infamous record shop, Wax Records. This was the place where she was first introduced to House music, but still as a thing of dance. It was not until years later when she became deeply interested in the production area of music itself that she realised some of the most renowned House producers were her teachers in her younger years. Halo, Hipp-e, JT Donaldson, Derrick Carter, Frankie Knuckles, and Doc Martin (owner of Wax Records) was who she spent all those hours on the dance floor listening to and what guided her to where she is today.
Currently, she is a resident DJ at Jæger Oslo and hosts her own concept, Della’s Drivhus. It is a space to invite both the new talents and the big players into the DJ-booth, like American House Queen, Honey Dijon, who was her recent guest. Not only is DELLA a DJ, she launched her career in the production ring as a vocalist collaborating with some of her greatest influencers. Her latest EP, “Burning Hot” by DELLA & Homero is out now on Oakland based label, Moulton Music.
In addition to her DJ career, DELLA is also a creative spirit in many other ways. Over the years, she has worked in fashion, graphic/web-design and is currently developing her own natural skin care line, RUE.
It took quite some time before you stepped behind the booth yourself. When did you realise that you wanted to become a DJ?
I was always very passionate about House music and it was actually a good friend who pushed me into DJing. She came to me and said - “Hello, you need to start DJing. You talk so much about all these DJs and how good they are. It’s your turn now. Take your credit card, buy two turntables and a mixer, tomorrow.” I did exactly that. Prior to this, I didn’t have interest in DJing. I only wanted to dance. But since swiping that credit card, I have felt huge satisfaction behind the turntables and I have never looked back. I don’t regret my choice for a second.
What inspires you in your work as a DJ?
It is basically the same for me when it comes to what music I listen to, to what clothes I choose to put on. It depends on my mood. Sometimes I want to listen to Berlin Techno and wear dark clothes and other days, I am in the mood for happy tunes that match my
colorful outfits. In the end it all comes down to how I feel.
In my process of making mixes, I first think about who it is for. Who’s the audience? Is it for a radio show, magazine, or a promo for a club night? I think about what kind of profile they have, but not in a way of losing my own identity in my sound. I don’t play Techno if I’m making a mix for a House magazine, if you know what I mean. I’m listening to music 24/7, to both new songs and old ones. I think about what kind of vibe I want, if it’s going to be a chill-out mix or a dance mix, only current releases, or a classic House mix.
If I’m going to play with DJs like Ellen Allien, Miss Kitten or Honey Dijon, who I recently invited to my concept Della’s Drivhus, I sit down for like 5 days straight before I’m going to play with them. I listen to my music everywhere I go. I get to know the songs from start to end. That’s my process.
I love finding new music, but I also try to include my friends releases in my mixes. They are like family, and if I can, I want to help give them exposure. Get the music out there, music that I think it’s good, and is close to my heart.
Through the night club Jæger you have Della’s Drivhus. What is the concept behind it?
Drivhus means greenhouse in Norwegian and I live my life surrounded by what’s natural and organic, such as nature. House music is very organic, stemming from the tribal drums of our ancestral tribes and I incorporate this into my night.
The concept of Della’s Drivhus is to invite both new and upcoming artists along with major House players. I recently invited in the rising Oslo DJs Danby Choi and Tonchius (my current favorite Norwegian female DJ). It is a pleasure giving those the opportunity to play on a “real” sound system. Della’s Drivhus also invites major international names into the booth. I have hosted Honey Dijon, Jesse Rose, Tommy Bones, and Homero Espinosa since launching in 2016.
I wanted to create a night where everybody is welcome to come listen, release, and most importantly, dance. House music is about community and unification. We are all equal and it doesn’t matter if you’re black, white, straight, or gay. It’s all about LOVE and everybody is welcome to get freaky.
That is Della’s Drivhus.
What do you think about the House scene in Oslo?
I first moved to Oslo in 2005, and the House scene was very small. My favorite spot was called Spasibar (shut down in 2008) and No Dial Tone started our Lipstick concept. But Oslo was honestly VERY boring after moving from LA. Mono and Internasjonalen were basically the only spots in town. But, there was a strong underground movement happening and this eventually turned into The Villa. Tore Jazztobakk of Ost & Kjex took over the bookings and a lot of magic was created. The Villa put Oslo on the map of clubbing at an international level. And of course Sunkissed has been running strong for over a decade.
Today things have grown a lot in Oslo. I think that we are spoiled when it comes to clubs. I don’t think people understand how spoiled we actually are. Jæger is one of the best clubs in Europe, especially when it comes to sound. The way the sound system is set up and how the DJ-booth is placed in contact with this sound to give the best sound experience to the clubber. I don’t think most people know this. Weekly, Jæger hosts a roster of some of the best DJs there are. I feel like The Villa, BLÅ, and Ingensteds also need to be mentioned for supplying Oslo with quality dance music. A lot of cool stuff is happening in our city and it is so much fun to be a part of our continuous growth.
Have you ever thought about moving back to your roots?
I have lived in Oslo for many years (13) now. I was recently in the States on tour and after returning I felt for the first time that Oslo was home. When I was away, I had that feeling of, “I’m ready to go home. Borte bra, men hjemme best.” I mean, I’ve thought about moving to other cities like Berlin, but not much anymore. Maybe it comes with age, laughs, I want to settle. Things are growing in a positive way in Oslo and I want to continue help build it up. To help other artists and creative people get their work out there. I’m so thankful for those that support me to continue doing so.
The creative industries in Oslo are also on a growing path, and I think it’s cool that we are a very open minded city. You can play around with many different creative projects at the same time, whether it’s music, fashion, or photography. Creative minds want to fill their plate full with all sorts of creative outlets, and I think that’s why so many in Oslo are involved in numerous projects. Oslo is not too big, but also not too small. It is perfect for those who want to try out various creative ideas and actually make it a success. That’s cool about this city. Also, with my own natural skin care line, Oslo and Norway is the place I want to be right now!
You just launched an EP this spring. First of all congrats! What is your inspiration behind it?
Thanks! It’s called 'Burning Hot'. The track was recorded in the Moulton Studios in Oakland, California in October 2017. It was during the horrible wildfires that were burning in Northern California (Napa Valley/Sonoma), just north of San Francisco and Oakland. The fires were so thick that the air was full of smoke all the way down to the mid of California, and there were hazard warnings against being outdoors. Meaning Oakland was right in the thick of it all. The thick smoke burned our lungs, noses, eyes, and a dark haze fell over the city. It was honestly really scary. To turn this fear into something positive we bounced off the words burn/burning and came up with a killer House track. A deep House track that is sure to set peak time dance floors on FIRE! The remixes are going to be launched in August.
What is your inspiration behind the mix you’ve made for F5 magazine?
The mix I’ve made is a medley of melodic, minimal, and flowing selections. It’s not a typical House mix you can dance to, but a mix that will be perfect to play in the store during these long summer days. When I put it together I pictured myself cooling down from summer days, dipping into the ocean. To sum it up, the mix is the symbol of pura vida (life & love).
In addition to the music aspect of your career, you also have your own natural skin care line. Tell us more about that!
Yes, it is called RUE. A plant-based skin care line produced by myself here in Oslo. It is not completely there yet, but it is coming soon! My desire for natural skin care started when I became more conscious about what I was putting on my skin. I started to look into ingredients in products and wanted to learn more about it. What it was doing to our health. I started studying natural skin care and received my Diploma in Organic Skin Care Formulation and an Advanced Diploma in Organic Cosmetic Science. I am now taking my knowledge and putting it into my own skin care line, RUE. I have had a lot of focus on it these past two years, and I find it difficult balancing both my music career and the development of my skin care brand. Music takes a lot of my time, and I focus strongly on getting my music out into the international DJ scene. It is not easy. I need to spend a lot of time researching and formulating my skin care products to get perfect results.
Natural skin care is a growing industry in Norway and it’s cool to see that there is a market for it. People are becoming more conscious of natural and organic products for their body and mind wellness.
Portraits by Nina Nordbø.
Upcoming gigs for summer 18’
Waves Festival, Gothenburg
Girls Club / Oslo Pride
USA tour, August
Stay updated on DELLA’s music & gigs: