INTERVIEW | INTRODUCING GIRLS CAN’T DJ (@gcdj_) FEMALE DJ DUO!

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Ahead of their per­form­ance at Round­house Rising Fest­ival, We catch up with the tal­en­ted sis­ters in spin…Jords and Katie AKA Girls Can’t DJ (GCDJ)! 

So, your DJ col­lect­ive is called ‘Girls Can’t DJ’ did this name actu­ally tran­spire from a state­ment someone said, could you talk a little more about the thought pro­cess for the name?

Jords: We get asked this ques­tion so many times and actu­ally wish we had a more excit­ing story of how it came about! The name came to us really organ­ic­ally, at the time the scene was very dif­fer­ent to now. In Brighton where we were both liv­ing at the time, all the DJs in the places we went to were men, all the people we knew who were DJs were men. We star­ted djing under no name and just couldn’t believe how many times dur­ing a set people would come up to us so shocked to see 2 girls behind the decks and also how entitled so many men felt to lean over the decks and change our levels, or gen­er­ally ana­lyse every trans­ition or track selec­tion.

How did you form as col­lect­ive? Would you be open to hav­ing any oth­er women in your crew?

Katie: We basic­ally met from being involved in the Brighton pub industry and then star­ted DJing togeth­er in loc­al pubs, we did it com­pletely for free at first, just loved the buzz and play­ing tun­es to a crowd togeth­er! The more time went on the more ser­i­ous GCDJ got, we really didn’t expect it to get this far in such a short amount of time to be hon­est but we’re so glad it has because we really do treat it like a career now, some­thing we’re so pas­sion­ate about. We’re def­in­itely open to play­ing out and get­ting involved in projects/collaborating with oth­er girls for sur­eee but I think we want GCDJ to remain as a duo and how it all began, but who knows what the future holds!

What do you think are the biggest bar­ri­ers to girls/women from tak­ing up DJing pro­fes­sion­ally?

Jords: Grow­ing up for me it was rep­res­ent­a­tion, and even though there has been a massive influx of female DJs in the past year and you are much more likely to see girls on line ups we look at line ups like Wire­less and real­ise how far we still have to go.

What has been the toughest set­back in your DJing career and how did you over­come?

Katie:  That’s a tough ques­tion you know. To be hon­est we’ve always believed in ourselves but there have been roller­coast­er moments like there is in any cre­at­ive industry. You just have to push through it, don’t com­pare your suc­cess to oth­ers, set goals and smash it!

Who are your favour­ite female DJ’s and what are your favour­ite female run music spaces or club nights?

Jords: How much time do I have?  I love A.G, Jamz Super­nova, LRO, Emer­ald, Mina this list can go on so much more. I’m a big fan of the BBZ crew, their nights are always so on point and always handled with a lot of love and care. Work It is a night run by all women which I am very hon­oured to be a reg­u­lar on the line up, all the girls behind Work It lit­er­ally all feel like sis­ters and its truly a fam­ily affair when we all get togeth­er. I think that’s what’s so beau­ti­ful with female col­lect­ives like Born n Bread, the sis­ter­hood and love and sup­port tran­spires so well into their brand and that’s why they are con­tinu­ing to flour­ish!

What styles are most pre­val­ent in your mixes? 

Katie: We are pretty eclectic but at the minute we’re very much into future r&b/electronic soul vibe, we get called (call ourselves) the remix queens, we love a cheeky edit. Along with that, r&b, hip hop, dis­co and gar­age! A com­bin­a­tion of Kisstory and soulec­tion with some added fever 105

Where do you find inspir­a­tion for put­ting your mixes togeth­er?

Jords: Good ques­tion. So sim­ple but we want to put out mixes that people want to listen to. Our friends are a big inspir­a­tion, because it’s our friends that hype us up. You know when you listen to a mix so much that you learn the trans­itions of songs. So many times, someone has been like ffs Jords every time I’m out and I hear x song I auto­mat­ic­ally start singing y song coz of The Around The World mix. Know­ing people listen to your Sound­Cloud enough to have the trans­itions of songs ingrained in their heads is def­in­itely motiv­a­tion to carry on mak­ing mixes for me it can’t get much bet­ter than that.

 Fur­ther­more, what is the cre­at­ive pro­cess when put­ting a mix togeth­er? 

Katie:  Because we both live in dif­fer­ent cit­ies it totally depends, some­times we will do indi­vidu­al mixes, some­times we get togeth­er and do a b2b ses­sion, some­times we will make half each and put them togeth­er. If we’re doing a mix togeth­er we’ll make a playl­ist and go with that. Some­times we’ll be spon­tan­eous though, it always dif­fers.

What do you think of the vinyl vs digit­al Djing debate?

Katie: We just think let a DJ do what they want to do! Every­one has their own styles and pre­ferred meth­ods, like any­thing in life. You can get someone on CDJ’s who will smash it with loop­ing and effects then you’ll get someone who can beat match and scratch like a pro using vinyl. At the end of the day, people just want to hear good music and good vibes.

What artists/and or gen­res do you think are the most excit­ing in 2018?

 Jords: I love love love the sound of this mar­riage between elec­tron­ic and rnb at the moment, artists such Jar­r­eau Van­dal and that whole Toronto/Amsterdam scene is killing it. It excit­ing and giv­ing slow rnb songs that I prob­ably wouldn’t be able to play at 2am a new life at 110bpm.

Where is the best and wor­st place you’ve played out at and why?

Katie: Our favour­ite gig is prob­ably Boil­er Room; the vibes were so good and we were buzz­ing for days after. Brighton pride is also an incred­ible gig.

Jords: There was this one time we were asked to do a private event, not going to say where, where or who… But the crowd was so dead and it was a 5-hour set. What the audi­ence wanted differed very much from our style but some­how even then we man­aged to just crack so much joke behind the decks and it ended up being a laugh, probs because we steamed through a bottle of pro­sec­co though.

Where would your dream res­id­ency and why?

 Jords: Would really love to be a res­id­ent dur­ing a sum­mer abroad some­where, lit­er­ally ima­gine a sum­mer res­id­ency!!

 Tell us about your involve­ment with Round­house Rising? What can we look for­ward to?

 Katie: You can expect our usu­al style but def­in­itely with a few sur­prises, we’re not going to reveal too much!

What advice did you wish you received when start­ing out?

Jords: Don’t be afraid to ask ques­tions or reach out to people. We are on line-ups that even a year ago would nev­er ever ima­gine to be a part of. Get your name out there, build your Sound­Cloud. Also, it took me a very long time to accept the import­ance of social media, even just for net­work­ing, I can’t tell you how many gigs we’ve got from fol­low­ing someone, then being on their radar then link­ing up and work­ing togeth­er. You ima­gine people in the industry to be every­one for them­selves but you would be sur­prised how many people are like, I can’t do this gig or I think this suits you more than me and are just gen­er­ally will­ing to help. Also, very import­ant – KNOW YOUR WORTH! Don’t let any­one under pay you, be open and talk to oth­er DJs about their rate and you will be very sur­prised.

Catch GCDJ at Round­house Rising Fest­ival. For tick­ets vis­it: http://www.roundhouse.org.uk/whats-on/2018/roundhouse-rising-festival/

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Maya Rattrey

Maya Rattrey

Edit­or / Author at No Bounds
Maya is an aspir­ing writer and revolu­tion­ary whose heart and soul can be found in the Glob­al South. Hav­ing become edit­or of I Am Hip-Hop Magazine at the age of 17, she is keen on using hip hop as a ped­ago­gic­al tool for the oppressed and help­ing fel­low young people into the media industry. Cur­rently a stu­dent, men­tal health work­er and arts facil­it­at­or- Maya brings both her aca­dem­ic and street know­ledge to pro­jects pro­duced by No Bounds.

About Maya Rattrey

Maya Rattrey
Maya is an aspiring writer and revolutionary whose heart and soul can be found in the Global South. Having become editor of I Am Hip-Hop Magazine at the age of 17, she is keen on using hip hop as a pedagogical tool for the oppressed and helping fellow young people into the media industry. Currently a student, mental health worker and arts facilitator- Maya brings both her academic and street knowledge to projects produced by No Bounds.