SpaceFest! 2016 is nearing at the end of this week and you’re on the bill. What are your plans for this event and how many times will you be spinning sonic wonders throughout the festival?
I will be DJing on Friday and Saturday, but I won’t just be playing some music. I’m here to bring joy de vivre to the experience of listening and dancing to a spectrum of alternative music. The set for this will be older, 1950’s-60’s tunes. It’s a celebration of spaced-out psych, freakbeat, mod, soul etc that’s fun. I’m not a po-faced, jaded DJ and I’m passionate about music. I want to light up the room, set souls on fire and bring it to life with the best dance party ever.
Are you the only DJ to be included in this event? I realize it’s mostly musicians with live sets otherwise, yeah?
There are two other DJs beside myself myself, Lau (Pomponette) from MDME SPKR-who is on the line up as well- and the mystical being, Snowid.
Anton Newcombe is leading Pure Phase Ensemble this year, as Mark Gardener did several years ago. Have you seen either The Brian Jonestown Massacre or Ride perform before?
I’ve seen BJM many times and recorded their gig at Austin Psych Fest 2012 for my radio show. I interviewed Mark Gardener before I saw Ride at the Roundhouse, London 2015, for the show.
I realize you know a lot of people in the underground music scene – have you ever met either of these personalities or any of the other artists playing at this year’s SpaceFest? They are Camera (Germany), Be Forest (Italy), The Third Sound (Iceland-Germany), DIV i DED (Czech Republic), MDME SPKR (Britain), Rosa Vertov, Wild Books, Lonker See, and The Fruitcakes. What can you tell us about these encounters?
I have featured DIV i DED – an interesting Czech shoegaze band – and MDME SPKR on my radio show previously. I saw MDME SPKR at Liverpool Psych Fest and they really put on a kicking show. MDME SPKR are also friends of mine.
How did you end up hooking up with the organizers of this event? They live so far away from you.
I was in the green room at Liverpool Psych Fest and I got to speaking to members of Pure Phase Ensemble. I told them I enjoyed their set with Mark Gardener at the Festival. One thing led to another and I invited them to check out my set. I guess they liked what they saw ‘cause now I’m excited to be part of SpaceFest this year.
SpaceFest takes place every year in Gdansk – an old Soviet port undergoing a revival of sorts, it seems. What do you think about Poland as an emerging force in the music scene and especially in Eastern Europe?
I’m actually Polish via my lineage. I can speak the language and have family that still resides there (my cousin from Warszawa is coming to see me at SpaceFest). I have been to Poland 3 times, in 1975, 1987 when it was part of the Eastern Soviet block and 1991 after the wall came down. I don’t know much about current music from the region, but I do like Czeslaw Nieman and Republika.
One of the reasons I wanted to be a part of this festival is my background; I want to see what the alternative music scene in Poland is like and partake in it. English is not my first language and I’m a first generation US citizen born to immigrant parents. I was used to hearing non-English music at home. I think this made me open as a DJ to sounds from any language and anywhere. I always say any genre, any time period, good music has no boundaries and that also applies to location. Good music is global and the indie/underground/alternative scene should be holding hands and helping each other everywhere. Once you get out of Anglo/American/Scandi zones, the difficulties facing musicians creating alternative music is even greater. Going to Poland to participate in a celebration of underground sounds is emotional as well as fulfilling my mission statement as a DJ. I’m a Space Girl and SpaceFest feels like a homecoming.
With deep regret, #TinaTurner has left us. A force of rock n soul. Proud Mary keep on burning bright in that celestial choir. pic.twitter.com/nK9alAJm4l
Where else have your DJ adventures taken you apart from this trip?
I went on tour around Europe DJing with The Telescopes. I’ve gone to Italy and DJed with UB40. I’ve travelled a lot, and other places I DJed are Thailand, Malaysia, Lao, Indonesia, Vietnam, Macedonia and the US.
What is the wildest thing that has ever happened to you during a DJ set?
I’m the wildest thing at my sets. If you ever seen me on the stage, I like to let get my freak on and shake ‘em down.
Do you regularly perform at festivals or are you mainly playing clubs?
I do perform at festivals, but my regular gigs are in London every weekend.
You have a radio show too. Can you tell us about that?
The radio show started nearly 10 years ago in 2007. It’s on FM in LA and New Zealand and 6 internet stations; KCLA 99.3 FM, 107.5 Andhow.FM, Rock Velvet Radio, Maximum Threshold Radio, Rock Radio UK, Sword Radio, 365 Radio Network and The Indie Authority. It’s an eclectic mix of sounds. Different genres will hold hands skipping merrily into the sunset in my program. I’m also intrigued with ferreting out hidden gems from the past and the future. I have interviewed and recorded many artists and bands, both big and small. A few notables I’d like to mention include interviews with Robert Dean from Japan, Glen Matlock from The Sex Pistols, as well as an interview from The Black Angels and their live set along with Salem recorded at Primavera 2011.
Thank you for your time and have a great blast of a Fest!
No no no….thank you!