"I like basslines," says DJ Lora with a huge smile on her face.
"And that's the most important thing in my music. I make tech house and deep house, with the sound of a rounded garage bassline."
Of course, Lora's music is harder to describe than that, the product of a life well-lived all over the world, with all the influences and inspirations that come with it.
The daughter of a jazz musician and a James Brown and opera fanatic, born in Durban, South Africa where rock and metal ruled the airwaves, Lora's own deep house tracks were always going to be an eclectic melting pot of layered, Latin-tinged arrangements and soulful vocals, capped off with a rock sensibility.
"Whatever I do, I want it to be beautiful," she says.
It all started some 15 years ago when Lora, then working in a bar, decided it was time to stop dreaming about becoming a DJ and actually become one. Caught in the age-old conundrum of not being able to get gigs without experience, she just bought some decks and started telling people she was a DJ.
Her bluff was called when her first booking came in – a private yacht party in St Tropez.
"I already had the equipment but didn't know how to use it, so I went to a shop and pretended I was going to buy some decks if they showed me how to use them," she says now with slight horror. "I went home and practiced and practiced, and then I'd go home during lunch breaks from work, whenever I got a spare second, and practice some more until I could do it and was ready for that first gig."
That debut went perfectly, plus she managed to take two friends with her "for safety reasons" – read for a free holiday – and it looked like she was a natural. Before long, word had spread and Lora was playing parties all over London; in Mayfair bars, in many of the now-closed super-clubs such as The Cross and The End and in Soho's vibrant, forward-looking gay bars.
"Gay clubs have always been at the forefront of club music," she says, "whether disco, house, techno, electro, whatever. They're the best nights out I've ever had."
Having finally quit her job and become a full-time DJ eight years ago, Lora's next challenge to conquer was making her own music.
"Again, it was something I always wanted to do, but I needed to understand what I was looking at. I couldn't go into a studio blind and embarrass myself," she says. "I needed to work out how a track was formed, where certain things should go and how to actually put it together."
She says when she was younger, having grown up on a diet of rock music "20 years behind the rest of the world" in Durban, she only really thought of music in terms of a traditional band set up. When Lora discovered methods of making electronic music, a whole, exciting new world was opened up to her.
"I'm not amazingly skilled as a musician, that's not where my talent lies," she admits, "so I needed to find someone who was, who could facilitate all these amazing ideas I was having."
Those people came in the shape of renowned producers Tom Staar and Chevy One, who have collaborated with Lora on a number of tracks. There are also a handful of tracks with Vanilla Ace ready for release in the coming months.
"They're my main dudes," she says, "and with them, I've built a bank of sounds I like. I sometimes feel like a puppetmaster with them."
Lora's now sitting on a catalogue of more than 40 tracks, with many more ready to go. Cats On Mars was a staple in clubs throughout the summer since its release in August, and she feels she's within touching distance of the crossover hit she craves.
"I want to get to the point where I'm just in the studio all day working on collaborations, and I know I can get there," she says. "I've been working with Vula, who sings with Basement Jaxx, and that's been going really well. We did one track that Abercrombie And Fitch played in all of their US stores for a long time.
"I never managed to hear it in a shop, but I did get emails from their staff telling me how much they loved the track and that it was the favourite on their playlist. Things like that make me think I just need to keep going and my big track is just around the corner.
"First and foremost a track has to be brilliant, but there are a lot of things that need to happen afterward for the track to be a big hit. I feel it's all within my grasp."
She's also hoping she can further the cause of female DJs everywhere, who, despite it being 2014, still come up against some prehistoric attitudes toward gender when booking gigs or being taken seriously as a producer.
"You can get more gigs as a female DJ because we're seen as something of novelty, but it shouldn't be that way. And of course, you get all sorts of sexist shit," she says. "Age is another thing too. Where are the older female DJs? Some of the superstar DJs are in their 50s now, and there's no sign of them slowing down. Where are the women of that age?"
Having followed the early careers of David Morales and Roger Sanchez, Lora now looks to the likes of Rudimental and Disclosure for inspiration, and sees what can be done with dance music, citing them as artists who have "taken elements of what we all loved in the 90s and reinvented it."
For now, Lora is keeping busy, combining DJing all over the world with making her own music, leaving her once long wishlist now short of entries.
"I've done so many of things I set out to already," she says, "I was spoiled with my first-ever gig being in St Tropez, but I would still love to DJ a massive club in Vegas, and at Burning Man festival. And maybe opening up for a massive artist like Madonna in a stadium. And, of course, I want that crossover hit."
The way her career has gone so far, you'd be crazy to bet against it happening.
For more information contact Ashley Stevenson at DawBell on firstname.lastname@example.org or 0207 484 8762