When I was 17, I started going to a club in Norwich called Hideout which showcased house, grime and DnB, and I wanted to understand what the DJs were doing. I brought a Pioneer DDJ- SB Controller and just practised on that for a couple of years, and discovered my love for grime and dubstep. It wasn’t until I got booked for a back-to-back set with Kushie in September 2016 that I had to learn to use CDJs and started seeing that DJing could become more than just a hobby for me! Since then I’ve launched my own night, guested on Rinse FM and played out regularly in Sheffield and some other cities.
I continue to DJ because I still feel like I can improve a lot so that pushes me to practice, but it’s mostly the tunes that keep me DJing! As soon as I get sent some sick tunes, I just want to work out what I can mix them with. I’m really grateful for the bookings and guest mixes I’ve been getting this year and that also drives me to carry on as I want to do my best at all of them. The main thing that drives me to keep DJing is the music though. My favourite genre changes every month: this month it’s UK Funky.
As a woman in the electronic music scene, I have experienced instances of sexism, but it’s definitely improving a lot. I think people need to stop focusing on the fact that there has been sexism in the electronic music scene, and instead focus on the projects and collectives that have come about as a result. I have had people say stuff like “did your boyfriend give you all your tunes?” when I don’t even have a boyfriend and spend hours each week finding new tracks and going through what I’ve been sent, so that was frustrating, but it’s much better to ignore these comments and use your set to prove them wrong rather than rise to them. I have experienced sexism when promoters first enquire about booking me such as messages saying “we need another girl DJ for our event”. It would be a lot nicer if they just said “we like your mix, can we book you?” All DJs should be booked based on their talent or tune selection etc, not their gender!
Conversely, there are a lot of really strong female collectives at the moment which are so fun to be involved with! I’m grateful that I began DJing at a time when people are noticing there has previously been less recognition for women, because this has resulted in loads of projects and collectives working to make it more equal. The Normal Not Novelty workshops run by Redbull have been really good for networking with other women. I’ve booked some DJs at my own events that I started chatting to through these workshops, and I played at their Christmas party a few weeks ago. Sheffield has several sick nights that are bigging up women, such as Lady and the Trap, Fruit and Juice, and my night Peachy, and I’ve loved meeting other women with similar goals to me. I think all these collectives and movements are definitely a positive side to the sexism that has previously existed!
In terms of my aspirations as a DJ, I would like to play in some more cities; this December I ticked Manchester, Bristol and London off the list, but I’d obviously love to play in these places more regularly! I’m also really keen to play at Outlook festival because the vibe is so good there and pretty much all my favourite DJs play there every year. I have been wanting to start producing my own music for years but it just wasn’t possible while I was still at uni, so that’s definitely going to be one of my main goals for 2018! The last thing is I want to spread my night Peachy further round the country. We had our first collab night in Manchester a few weeks ago and it would be great to host some more events all over!
P.S. Big up to Kushie, Marcus Nasty, UK Mondo, Canopus Records and Poggerz for supporting me over the last year along with the rest of the Sheffield music mandem!!!
Image: Lewis Evans