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:

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Maya Elese

Maya Elese

Edit­or / Author at No Bounds
Mul­ti­lin­gual Lon­don born, bred & based print & broad­cast journ­al­ist, presenter, DJ & cul­tur­al pro­du­cer with a par­tic­u­lar love for glob­al afro-dia­spor­ic cul­tures. @mayaelese on everyth­ang.

About Maya Elese

Maya Elese
Multilingual London born, bred & based print & broadcast journalist, presenter, DJ & cultural producer with a particular love for global afro-diasporic cultures. @mayaelese on everythang.