(Extended Mix): Raw Silk

Fun is the dish of the day whenever London-based duo Raw Silk are at the controls—you’ll find no chin stroking around here, we’ll tell you that much. Beginning as a party of the same name at former Peckham spot the Nines, best pals Grace and Steph navigated all night long sets that combined their shared love of everything from disco, house and boogie to electro, leftfield and other electronic goodies.

Since then they’ve become a regular fixture in the capital, holding a longstanding residency for Percolate and sharing the decks with the likes of Bicep, Maurice Fulton, Todd Terje, Honey Dijon and Derrick Carter and landing festival spots at Glastonbury, Love International, GALA, to name but a few.

Choosing to approach their (Extended Mix) in a semi-organised fashion like their DJ sets—”clueless and RUTHLESS”—they lace together four hours of music gathered during the Pandemic, which rolls through crunchy Balearic and bright rhythmic oddities to squelchy acid and leftfield electronics, with some classic JT thrown in for good measure.

(Extended Mix) is a new charitable series that celebrates all-night specialists and more simple, carbon-friendly lineups. Instead of paying on the door for this extended experience, we invite listeners to donate to the DJ directly while their gigs are cancelled, or to a chosen charity. For this one they’ve opted for the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation, a charity close to their heart as sadly, last year, Steph’s younger sister was diagnosed with a rare form of incurable lung cancer. Roy Castle offer support to people like Steph’s sister as well as working towards ending the stigma around this form of cancer.

We now premiere all our mixes a week early on Mixcloud Select. Subscribe to our channel to listen first, download the mixes, and ensure that the artists included in each one gets paid.

First off, how have you been finding lockdown? What has been the biggest challenge and more positive outcome you’ve experienced through extended time at home?

Grace: It’s been a weird one!! BUT despite losing almost all my income and missing my m8s, it could have been worse… Lots of little positives; I started a dog walking business and found moments of peace and solace that were very important in a year of chaos. Coming out of it feeling very grateful for still having my health and life intact.

Steph: It’s been a mad old year for all sorts of reasons for me to be honest. I think learning to appreciate the smaller things and the simple life is the most positive outcome for me.

Thanks for recording an extended mix for us. How did you find the recording process?

We recorded it in one go at Steph’s flat one sunny Sunday morning. It’s a bit easier with two of us and we split the mix in half, recording half hour slots until the final hour where we go in together.

How did you approach the mix? Did you have an idea in mind beforehand? Was there much pre-planning or did you just trust your instincts?

We normally do a bit of individual prep but often approach djing/sets mostly unaware of what the other is going to play which has generally worked for us… Sometimes not ha! We could be a bit more organised but it’s more fun this way! So we approached the Extended Mix the same way: clueless and RUTHLESS. We have chosen music we’ve gathered during the Pandemic, so it felt good to put together a mix of all our fave tracks from the past year.

Could you talk us through a couple standouts from set?

Grace played Justin Timberlake. Gotta be a standout surely. There’s actually a few pop moments in the mix (not so secret Top 40 lovers). Steph loves a bit of Dua Lipa! And our friend Guide actually made a track for us at around 2 hours 40 called ‘Silk Dub’!

Where’s been your favourite place to play an all-night set, and why?

Steph: We’ve played 4-5 hour sets but nothing dusk till dawn… yet! Though back where RAW SILK began as a party at the Nines in Peckham was good practice – not sure anything will ever beat tops off bar dancing at 9pm. We also bang on about Sis Bis in Liverpool & Miss World in Edinburgh, we cherish those nights we had with those collectives.

Who are some of your favourite all-night specialists, and why?

Steph: Palms Trax always delivers and has always been an inspiration of ours.

Grace: I Love Paramida’s sets! Actually, her STW extended mix has been my favourite so far.

G&S – Def Carista!! We were so lucky to see her a fair few times over 2018-19 and her Dekmantel ’18 set was a highlight of the festival.

We bet Dar Disku & Jane Fitz put on great all nighters but yet to see them…

By celebrating DJs with a penchant for all-night sets, the (Extended Mix) series hopes to encourage a more stripped back, carbon-friendly approach to lineup curation. Reducing our footprint as a globalised underground community is a massive challenge as we try to rebuild the scene after Covid-19 lockdown, and we hope progression can be forged through sharing our challenges and experiences. Are there any thoughts you’d like to add to the discussion?

There’s no easy answer solution or answer considering that the industry is fuelled by hedonism. Small changes can potentially lead to bigger ones, and it will have to come from the top down to work. It’s going to be especially hard post Covid to curb plastic usage and waste. Whilst we would try to go the whole night without opening a plastic water bottle, bringing our own and filling up at the bar, now that’s going to be tricky and potentially seen as unclean.

Essentially the clubs, promotors, agents and DJs can help to set an example but it has to be earnest, otherwise it won’t work. Personally we think questioning whether you really need something, just because it’s being offered to you (like a free taxi, a plastic bottle) etc can help to reduce the carbon footprint. Take public transport, cycle or walk to the venue, if that’s an option.

We could definitely try harder to offset our carbon footprint. It’s hypocritical for us to suggest we haven’t reaped the rewards of international travel, and it’s sad to think it will be harder to connect with our European counterparts post Brexit. Equally it’s an opportunity to appreciate what we have a little more, and connect in different ways as we’ve all had to during the Pandemic. 

Tell us a bit more about your chosen charity – what work do they do and why is it so important to you? 

We’ve chosen Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation as our chosen charity. Sadly in March last year Steph’s younger sister was diagnosed with a rare form of incurable lung cancer. Lung Cancer is the biggest killer of all the cancers but is the most under funded; mostly because of the stigma that seems to be attached with it. Not only do Roy Castle offer support to people like Steph’s sister, they also work towards ending the stigma.

We now premiere all our mixes a week early on Mixcloud Select. Subscribe to our channel to listen first, download the mixes, and ensure that the artists included in each one gets paid.

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