“Just buy the records that you love”. Seems a simple enough notion but not always a given among DJs in an age of short-lived trends and even shorter set times. This was the advice that Idle Hands boss Chris Farrell gave to Daisy Moon and she’s made it the cornerstone of her approach to DJing.
Her route into music was as a student at the Darlington Collage of Arts, which has since led her to collaborate with theatres and choreographers on site-specific work for dance and performance. Sharing a house with Shanti Celeste, Rich Carnes (Freehouse) and Gramrcy in Bristol opened her eyes properly to DJing then an unexpected invitation from Chris to play his brstl party gave her two months to learn how to mix. Now the roles have reversed and she’s teaching young women to DJ through the Mix Nights courses she runs with Em Williams and fellow Directory DJ Danielle Doobay. Former Housemates Shanti and Gramrcy have become partymates at the Bristol-Berlin night Housework, run with Golesworthy, while also balancing a job at Qu Junktions. All in all Daisy knows what’s up and if you don’t know Daisy yet, then your knowledge of heights ain’t reached the summit yet. Yeah that needs a bit of work.
As part of a series profiling the 2018 recruits for Dimensions Festival’s DJ Directory, we speak to Daisy about what’s moving and motivating her, alongside a first listen to a new mix, featuring tracks by Rashad Becker, Mbg, Unique 3, Yak and Lea Bertucci.
What’s been your musical upbringing, self-taught, schooled or otherwise?
When I was 11 I learnt to how to play the piano and then I taught myself how to play the guitar when I was 13. My parents are really into music and have influenced me a lot. As kids we would quite often sit together and listen to full albums for hours on end. I studied music at Dartington College of Arts and this is where my knowledge of music expanded a lot and I was introduced to new ways of listening and thinking about music, sharing and collaborating.
Can you think back to a key moment that made you want to take music seriously?
I think that I have always taken music seriously. It’s what I do and it’s what I’ve always done in some way or other.
Rather than focussing on a specific sound, are there a key principle or philosophy that drives you as a DJ?
Chris Farrell once said to me “just buy the records that you love” and I guess this is something that has resonated with me, buying and listening to the music that I enjoy and having this as my main focus with DJing
Have there been any people or collectives who have empowered you or helped you find your feet as a DJ?
I run a club night in Bristol and Berlin called Housework with Shanti, Golesworthy and Gramrcy. We are all really good friends and are very supportive of each other. They have helped me a lot and continue to inspire me to believe in what I do. The Freerotation family and the time spent at the festival has also had a huge impact on me.
What’s the biggest challenge you face as a DJ?
I guess time management is my biggest challenge at the moment. I am trying to juggle DJing around my job as an agent at Qu Junktions while also runnng events in the city and teaching the Mix Nights course. It’s a lot, but it’s all good stuff that keeps me engaged in the world that I love being a part of.
And what’s your biggest source of optimism or inner strength?
Watching people grow and learn, particularly people that are close to me. Seeing my friends and family achieve great things and enjoying life.
What’s your greatest musical achievement to date?
Persuading my sister Florence to host a monthly radio show with me! She has a great taste in music and I’m hoping that it’s the first collaboration of many. The show is called Relations and it’s on Noods Radio 🙂
What goals have you set yourself this year?
What’s your favourite party to dance at?
Dirtytalk in Bristol and Freerotation.
What’s your perfect party to play at?
I think I have yet to find out…
Where do you get your inspiration from outside of music?
Working collaboratively on other projects with theatre makers and choreographers. I spent some time in Mumbai on a theatre project and working in a completely different environment and atmosphere has contributed a lot to how I think about work and collaboration.
How have things been going with Mix Nights since we spoke last year?
We have had a lot of interest in the course and have taught a lot more women how to DJ! Thanks to PRS, we were able to expand our output and are now running two courses a week. We have been running regular open deck sessions at Idle Hands, and are also now running open deck sessions at Phonica Records in London.
Any graduates from the course we should keep an eye out for?
Ellie Stokes and Ellis Roberts are a couple of names off the top of my head, but there are a lot of women that have completed the course that are now Djing regularly in the city and starting their own club nights.
You made an interesting distinction last time between the increasing recognition of women in dance music and how this isn’t yet filtering into schools and youth groups. Is this something Mix Nights are trying to push more?
Saffron Records (Mix Nights affiliated) have been bringing music tech subjects to school for young girls, with a range of courses like sound production and DJ workshops. This is exactly what I think is needed: a positive educational system where more women can be encouraged at a young age to have a go at making noise in a safe environment.
For any girls reading this and feeling like their school or immediate surroundings can’t cater for their interest in dance music, is there anywhere you’d advise heading?
I’d say head down to your local record shop and ask questions. People are usually pretty helpful if you show an interest and are honest about your knowledge and experience. If you’re in Bristol, the people behind the counter at Idle Hands are always up for helping out and giving advice on what records might suit your tastes.
You’ve previously mentioned how living with Shanti Celeste, Gramrcy and Rich Carnes had a profound impact on the music you were producing. We gotta ask: any plans to release music in the near future?
What’s coming up this year for you that you’re excited about?
We have a few Housework parties in the pipeline which I’m excited for! And playing at Dimensions Festival of course.
And finally, turning back the clock, what advice would you give to your younger self before you started pursuing music more seriously?
Try not to put too much pressure on yourself, and have fun!