Peach, Moxie, HAAi & more: six DJs on adapting to the new normal, virtual quarantine parties, and how the future of music looks in a post-pandemic world.
It’s been a wild ride for the global creative community that seemingly has no end in sight. We caught up and checked in with six different DJ’s – all at different stages in their careers º to find out what the f*ck they’ve been up to while the clubs, clubbers, events and festivals have been put on hold.
From HAAi at the top of her game, closing sets in major clubs pre-lockdown, to Manami who was just breaking into the scene, we wanted to see how the global pandemic and UK lockdown has affected these incredible DJs and what a future post-corona looks like for them.
In the last year they’ve lost out on jobs (let’s just whisper the word ‘Glastonbury’), so making money has been a struggle. Not working in the typical creative and collaborative environment of radio and gigs means they’ve missed out on that all important sense of connection and togetherness – a quality all DJs say is the cornerstone of their creativity. Yet it hasn’t been all doom and gloom for this resilient bunch. They’ve had the chance to explore other passions, connect with their audiences in new ways and overcome other challenges, proving just how badass and amazing their talents are.
Jossy has spent lockdown in her hometown of Birmingham, giving her the time and space to hone in on her production skills and connect with her loved ones.
Moving back… home has been really nice. I haven’t lived at home since I was 19. I’ve got more space here – at my London house there were quite a few of us, it was on the main road and I didn’t have space for a studio set up. So, I thought if I’m going to be stuck in the house I’d rather just be at my mum’s. I can actually set up my speakers, I’ve set up my turntables and I’ve just got a lot more space to work, I’ve really developed my production skills.
Doing Rinse radio… has been hard since it’s not live. Usually, when I go into the studio I just bang it out in 2 hours and go with the flow. Now, I end up taking forever when I pre-record. I just overthink it too much!
My mantra is… to just make the most of the time! I’m trying to milk the few positives by doing things I wouldn’t otherwise have had time to do.
I’ve picked up… guitar and flute, as well as getting back into piano! I’ve been able to make loads of noise practising… Playing music is a really good mental release and form of escapism as it takes total concentration and connection with my emotions too.
Canadian-born DJ, Peach, has been on the London scene for a hot minute. Having the time to chill she was able to explore a different realm of music – elevating her current sound.
Since lockdown… my sound is definitely developing in new ways that I didn’t expect it to. I started listening to a lot of R&B which led me to loads of drill and trap. I didn’t know anything about either, so I just took the time to explore and listen to different artists. That’s definitely the music that inspired me the most in season 1 of lockdown.
I miss… going out in London. It’s my favourite thing about this city. I miss restaurants, Corsica studios, Pickle Factory, all the raves. It breaks my heart that so many places are just struggling now.
My advice to creatives… In music – be in it for the long term – for me it was not relying on my creative output too soon for financial security. Social media makes everyone feel like they need to be busy all the time and perfect right away. It’s better to take your time and learn about your sound before rushing to put it online.
The government… has f*cked an entire group of people who make London the amazing city that it is – the creative industry and especially music. Most people are struggling and those that work full time are taken care of, but because I’m a DJ and my job wasn’t “full-time” by conservative standards, it doesn’t count? Creatives deserve to be considered more and taken care of.
London based DJ, TSASHA spent her time in quarantine flexing new blends and creating new vibes with her mixes.
My highlight of lockdown… pushing myself to create my first edits.
A low-light… I’ve realised that me going out in social settings really does have an impact on my creativity. I haven’t found much creative inspiration being stuck in my current location.
I experimented… more with beats and afro house because I feel I’m able to be more creative with those mixes.
Most memorable moment… is my Boiler Room debut at the Bussey Building in Peckham. The energy and vibes were very memorable. I also recently played at an open deck situation at Peckham Riviera which was my first event where people were actually seated. That was an interesting experience, but I liked that, the vibes and the atmosphere. It was very different from my usual sets which are a bit more fast-paced and upbeat.
My favourite place to DJ… In my bedroom. It’s a whole mood. I’ve kind of re-done my room as well, so I actually have a nice stand for my deck and I’m able to stand up while I’m mixing – before I was doing it on my bed which was a bit long for me.
DJ Moxie is an NTS vet and a central figure in the London club scene. Lockdown was her chance to reignite old passions.
Doing NTS radio… from home has now become the new normal, I was nervous on the first broadcast but I’m so used to it now, it’s my new routine.
I miss… the human interaction of seeing the locals in Gillett Square and everyone in the office before I would start doing my show. I especially miss broadcasting from the studio, that was part of my routine for almost ten years now.
Saying farewell… to the old NTS studio. It was heartbreaking to see it pulled down. It’s not the end of NTS, it’s just the end of an era. I’m looking forward to getting back into the temporary space, whenever that may be…
I’ve picked up… my paintbrush again! I actually did an art degree at LCC whilst I was also DJing in my early 20s and it has been so nice to revisit it. I set myself the task of doing all the artwork for my future releases on my label ‘On Loop’ and I’m especially happy with the print I did for my most recent compilation ‘Moxie Presents Vol.5’.
Manami is a fresh face on the DJ scene who was scheduled to tour with Bicep, but lockdown instead nurtured her passion for production.
My highlight of lockdown… is that I’ve been able to just solely focus my energy on production. I wasn’t ready to release anything before lockdown and then when it happened I just had so much time to focus on that aspect of work – it’s my silver lining and the one thing keeping me sane.
During lockdown… I made a track that I just released – Plastic Italo, as well as my forthcoming EP and a few compilation tracks. As there aren’t any clubs open to actually play the tunes to a crowd, I wanted to make tracks I could bop to and have fun listening to at home.
Socially distanced parties… are obviously a bit different. It’s a different thing to playing at a party or a rave – you’re playing dance music to a sat down crowd. It’s not the same, but it was nice to be able to share music again with other people. [Prior to third national lockdown]
I’m looking forward… to all the smaller festivals that are popping up at the moment. These are the sort of parties that you know you can feel more like you’re part of a community.
Fashion: Imogene Barron
Shirt & Trousers ARIES, boots TOGA
Fashion: Imogene Barron
Shirt & Trousers ARIES, boots TOGA
An RA top 1000 artist, Haai knows a thing or two about the DJ game. She’s known for her experimental blends and new ways of exploring music production.
Without London nightlife… I wouldn’t have a career. Going to clubs and dancing in a sweaty room with people – I think there’s something about it that’s really important. It’s quite cathartic and really important for people’s mental health, just that feeling of togetherness.
I miss… the feeling of being connected to people. I get so much joy from doing my job and seeing people happy, enjoying themselves. It’s such a nice give and get back kind of thing.
Favourite live stream moment… a really good friend of mine, Paul Bui set up Community Bread with a couple friends and I got really into building a cool little set-up at home for my live stream. It’s obviously for such a good cause and something that was really dear to me.
Staying connected online… there’s a feeling of togetherness and heart. I think even though you can’t be in the same room together, you’re still connected in some way.