A. It’s actually a talent I discovered myself, his name is Mark, he is fantastic and he and his brothers had a reggae band when they were teenagers. I sat in an open mic club and heard him sing and it blew my mind. He has both the recording experience and band experience and is very passionate. We’ve written many songs together. Personally, I don’t want to rely on engineers and people to collaborate with, I prefer this project to be my baby and take it from start to finish, so it is taking some time; but we’re having quite a laugh doing it. It’s wonderful for him because he thought his ship had sailed because he’s 40, but he’s got this incredible sound and we really agree on a lot of things and work really well together and have a good time. Sometimes we sit down working together and we say “that’s it!” when we hear the right sound. With the sort of laidback Deep House sound it’s been really working well and I’m very happy.
So many, Oliver Dollar, “Pushing on”, I’ve been following him for years. I’ve always loved Deep House which is infused with Funk or Hip Hop… I’ve always loved 90’s R&B as well and now that’s being remixed and made more prominent. The crowds to this music are so cool and very nice to work with. The switch is when you play one bar of a song the crowd knows from the 90’s and just loop it, and they simply cannot believe it! It’s such a great feeling and I love that. The music now has gone all the way back to the groove and I’m quite delighted.
Q. You mentioned Reggae-induced Deep House, which artists are you working with?
It’s been really great, this time last year I just got off with a Mark Ronson scholarship to Point Blank Studios for production, and I’ve just started producing some Reggae induced Deep House music, which has started somewhat slowly, but I’m working with some really great artists. Gig wise, I couldn’t have hoped for a better start to the year. I went to Ghana earlier this year with Hed Kandi which was wonderful… I’ve got a Ministry of Sound Bangladesh tour coming up, two gigs at Es Paradis, a Russian gig coming up in Moscow, another one in France, and lots of international work over the summer, along with some secured work in London and the rest of UK.
Q. 2014, tell us about it so far in terms of your projects and performances?
Q. Which artists have really impressed you so far in 2014?
"The music now has gone all the way back to the groove"
Women up until four years ago were completely novelties. Many women would get tasty work and would be happy about it, usually assuming that the promoter fancied them. Anyone who denies this is a big fat liar, as this is how it was back then. Some girls would turn up and completely mess it up, and that would go viral which gave girls a bad name. Still now we have a lot of work to do. In the DMC’s, I don’t think any girls got to the London final, let alone a world final. I suppose there’s never been a need to get work, therefore I suppose some girls were somewhat lazy. Personally speaking, I work my ass off and technically I’m so much better. I think that now since the women and men are even, the girls need to step up and put in more work. Even this year in the Top 100 DJ’s the only woman was number 76. Taking that into consideration, why is that? That’s the question we have to ask. Things are turning around, but I think women are taking production much more seriously and realizing we need to pull our socks up as the novelty is gone now and begin working hard as the boys. I think we’re going to see a lot more big female producers pushing through which will inspire even more female DJ’s.
I was very surprised. I got an email from someone who worked at Ministry of Sound to come for an audition to play a Hed Kandi set for an hour. I turned up in one of the smaller rooms at Ministry of sound, all the lights in the room on, sound system up to full blast, five boys with clipboards, and they said “…begin”. I started playing the music and my ex-boyfriend who had really driven me to do it was standing there as well. Occasionally the guys were whispering to each other and I asked myself “is it good? Is it shit?” I didn’t know. So I continued playing and my boyfriend saw that I was so stressed and he walked down to the dance floor and started dancing and doing snow angels, but the guys did not see him as he was behind them. It made me laugh. The audition got to about 40 minutes and they said that was enough. I got in my car and I thought I really screwed it up but my boyfriend said it was pretty darn good, he had never heard me play that sort of music before. The next day they called me for a meeting and they made me a full-time offer for residency. I played underground for six, seven years. I loved doing it. I never dreamed of approaching somebody like Hed Kandi. At that time I was happy just going along doing gigs one at a time. To have that opportunity was ridiculously awesome.
Q. As a female DJ what challenges have you had and how did you overcome them?
Well it would’ve been Es Paradis, done it. Creamfield, I’ll be doing that this summer. I would quite like to do Glaston Bury, which is a huge festival in the UK. Also any international parties that an artist like Avicci would do would be really wonderful. Just having the same crowd that loves the same music would great. In terms of a particular one, I don’t really have any I suppose. It would just be nice to do different gigs as a learning curve. Anything with a major crowd would be best.
Q. If you had option to perform any place or any event in the world, where would it be?
Q. You’ve performed all over the world, what was the one performance where everything really clicked, where everything went to plan… your best performance…
There were two clubs, Mykonos was the first and it was Paradise Club. It’s an open air club and the sea is yards away. The crowd hates commercial music and you would be laughed off stage if you played it. The resident DJ was playing chunky deep house and we progressed on from that and kept building and building it. It really worked and we turned the bass off for a minute and sat there, and there was a pure eruption from the crowd, I’ve never seen anything like it. But then on the flip side of the coin, I did do quite a commercial gig for Numero Uno in Malta, and it was when Swedish House Mafia was the big thing. When I took over the set, we just put on so many remix classics and I think the crowd really appreciated that. We didn’t give them a rest. It was just ridiculous, thousands of people, and afterwards we couldn’t even get in the cars. The people were just so happy. It was not particularly a Hed Kandi following, it was just a lot of people who walked up from the terrace; and just the way they all came together, everyone was dancing. Earlier we did a sound check and we saw the raw bones of the club when it was empty, and then we returned four hours later and it was so busy. It went so well.
Everyone knows this: I’ve been playing for 12 years, for the first 5 years… completely shitting my pants. I’ve suffered from nerves since I was 5, now I can stand there with a 100,000 people looking at me and I couldn’t give a toss. I’ve subjected myself to it so much now that I’m ok with it, but previously yes, I couldn’t even move. My first gig in a pub in London I had to sit down, they gave me a chair because I was so scared; but because the music was fine, it didn’t matter that I was sitting down. I was putting on such great tunes that everyone wanted that it went ok and gave me inspiration and carried me through. Obviously now I’m much more technically able and confident and now I absolutely love it and I’m not worried or bothered.
Q. Describe for us your first club performance, what were your general feelings, were you excited, scared?
"Don't give up,
and work hard..."
Q. Tell us a bit more about Hed Kandi and how the relationship came about?
I feel really lucky that I’ve been subjected to everything. When I was younger if I couldn’t get in the local House club, I would get in the local R&B club or Garage club; because it’s such a close proximity of clubs, you can pick and choose and go from one club to the next. We would bar hop until we found a settled spot with a nice corner and a great DJ. With the transport links it’s fantastic. I come from a really small village where there’s like one club so when I was 17 and I went to London to do my degree it was like Christmas, it was so wicked.
I love all types of music, however I still don’t understand Gabba and Screaming Metal, but everything else I’m pretty easy going. Sometimes the more you listen to something, the more you like it. I suppose I can say I’m a jack of all trades, but master of none, which is a slight problem of mine. What do I want to produce? Do I want to produce 90’s hip hop music which is enlightening and happy, or do I want to produce music which is going to make me money? Do I want a house? Or do I want a flat (but one in which I am very satisfied)? I suppose at the minute I’m just finding my feet and being patient while seeing other people play and just enjoying it.
Q. You play a wide array of music, your mixes having a lot of elements. Do you think that as a young woman growing up in London this had an effect on your style?
Q. Within progressive there’s an argument that certain producers are more commercial like David Guetta and Afrojack, and many say that they are not real house artists. What’s your opinion about that?
I’ve never seen David Guetta play, but the people who know him think he’s an absolutely fantastic DJ. People on twitter would say he can’t mix, but I know that’s a lie. You can only follow a trend so far without people being jealous. Obviously the hype that is built around it as well, where there a lots and lots of “sheep”, but not enough “shepherds”. I suppose you have to treat it with an open mind, but I don’t suppose I really have an opinion. I like what I like, specific tracks in different genres I guess.
Q. What’s it like working with the other ladies at Hed Kandi such as DJ Eibhlin, Krystal Roxx, and the Lovely Laura?
I can speak “Cheese” (speaking in cheese). It’s really hard to, not many people can do it. It sounds like the Chipmunks, the language of Cheese is what it’s called.
Don’t give up and work hard. Don’t give up. People are very mean and critical. Sometimes it’s not even what you’ve done, but what you play. Not every human being is supposed to like what you play. That’s not your fault. If you get criticism, don’t be disheartened. It might not have been the right crowd. Just work really hard and be prepared. Have commercial and have cool stuff. The preparation is the work, the execution is the play. Do all the work and get as prepared as you can and when you play, any little problems you’ll be fine. Be prepared.
Q. What’s the craziest thing you’ve done for the year?
"...Now I'm much more
technically able and confident"
Lovely Laura I’ve met briefly because she does sax. She lives with her boyfriend, Ben, who’s a Hed Kandi resident as well. Eibhln is an absolute sweetheart, a very warm and lovely girl. Any new resident she always welcomes and offers advice, really inspiring. She’s Irish as well and everyone knows they love to party. The other girls I don’t really know that well. Phoebe is lovely, she is the new girl and she’s absolutely wicked and has put in about 30 dates this year. She’s very nice and I played with her in Ghana, so we ate a lot of interesting foods and it was really good to get along with her.
Q. Tell us a fun fact about yourself
It’s not really that crazy, but more inspiring. I was playing in Ghana, and the promoter had previously bought an island for 200,000 pounds, a private island. As a treat he offered Phoebe and I lunch on his island as. So we went on a speed boat, it was amazing. When we got there, there was a family that lived on the island. We asked who they were. He said when he bought the island those people already lived there. The state agent said they could get rid of the people with no problem. The promoter refused as the people lived there for hundreds of years. Basically there are about 16 children and 3 generations and their entire existence had been on this island. Now he has employed some of them and they all live there. That was something that really struck me and showed me how cruel the world can be sometimes. It’s not remotely exciting, but being subjected to an experience like that will be with me for a long time. The family is gorgeous and the promoter is a great guy.
Q. Last words for aspiring DJ’s