Friday, 20 April 2012

#FindOutFriday with DJ MELODY KANE!







...DJ Melody Kane

Welcome loyal readers and newbies to the latest #ESPspotlight Interview! If you know the history of ESP, you will understand what I mean when I say that for the 15th #FindOutFriday of 2012, I've finally come Full Circle! I'm sitting down with the second Lady to give me a shot when I was just starting out, forever making her an honorary Family Member.

DJ Melody Kane is the kind of influence that you learn from. In the near 18-months that I have known her, she has trailblazed far further than many of her male contemporaries, to the point where it was actually quite hard to cut my questions about it all to 10 (as you will see)! Worldwide traveller, SB:TV Official DJ and Pioneer of the first Female club movement of it's kind, she brings the Female DJ Takeover back to Shoreditch in May, after a successful launch in February 2011.


I caught up with her fresh off her Resident Bang 103.6FM Lunchtime decks for an interview in the style of one of her sets, hitting as many topics as it's possible to cover in 10 Questions! so spend a bit of time with us both as I 'turn tables' on the DJ for a mix all of my own...















1. Welcome Ms. Melody, it's an honour and a privilege! Diving straight in...I know you were a Performing Arts student Once Upon A Time. What was your chosen field and what else did you study in college?

iWhoreTees are one of Melody's event sponsers for
The Female DJ Takeover
How Random! I didn't think I'd ever said that to anyone in an interview! I mainly concentrated on the Drama; I used to be quite musical when I was young so I used to play the Piano a lot and a few different instruments, but I was more into the Drama side of things. I used to love performing, I used to love acting. I also did Music Studies for a spell.





2. One of the earliest lessons I learned from shadowing you was that there is a general consensus amongst ALL DJs, male or female, that there are a lot of people making a small pond into a puddle - especially on the Female DJ circuit. What kind of training did you have to undergo to get to your skill level and how long has it taken you?

That's like, my pet hate! Basically, it took...I would say a year of practising at home, so not playing out anywhere, just literally perfecting my Art at home. Then I would say, it took another year doing warm up gigs and parties, stuff like that. So I would say it was kind of two years in the process of practising and learning until I felt really, really ready. I did play in clubs after the first year, but I didn't feel like I was really good at my craft yet; for the second year, I stayed in my 9-5 and DJ'd at weekends. Then I felt ready, like I was good enough at what I do to be a full-time DJ. I'd say it's been about 5 or 6 years now?

And did you find it easy to transfer your skills from decks to radio?


It's been good doing radio shows because primarily I was a DJ and being on the radio has made me work on being a Presenter, which I'm really enjoying. I think it just comes from being comfortable? As long as you're comfortable in what you do, then it's not hard taking your club skills and putting them to work in radio. As you said, I do use the Mic in clubs, so there should be no reason why I can't make it work. I like radio, I enjoy it - it's fun!

3. What are some of the most struggles, issues and most common misconceptions that you have experienced and still face?

Everyone's a DJ now and as a Female DJ; I'd say it seems to be about 90% based on looks. Obviously a lot of the 'Model turned DJs' are out there...but I think once you get to a certain level where you're comfortable with your craft then those people don't really matter...In terms of the everyday; I'd say I probably face the same problems as all DJs - nothing to do with being male or female. All of us face the same problems of 'Bedroom DJs' undercutting them; doing it for hardly any money, or playing in clubs for free and so Promoters and clubs booking them over people who have practised their craft...I'd say a big problem as a DJ now, is that in the old days it used to be about who's got a certain tune first; but now all tunes are accessible to anybody, whether you're a DJ or not. So everybody can just click a button and download a track. You have to find ways to stand out and that definitely has to be about the skill that you put to your craft, because pretty much everyone is playing the same thing, whereas  perhaps in the old days, DJs stood out because they had a different record collection. I don't think that's really applicable now. People pretty much these days, don't want to hear new music, unfortunately. It's just about finding ways of sticking out. Being a full-time DJ is definitely hard; one week I could be DJ'ing five times, then the week after I could not have any gigs...It's definitely a tough industry and people don't take it seriously. 

So does that mean that you feel DJs need a trademark to stand out now? If so, what's yours?

I've kind of been given the unintentional trademark of my hair! Having quite big hair - it's never a trademark I gave myself or set out to have, but people tell me it's my trademark! I hope my trademark is that whenever I DJ, I really like to dance to the music, really vibe to it. Hopefully to just always be happy and come across like I've got a lot of energy and I'm enjoying it, because I am - I love what I do.




4. You have one of the most striking and individual fashion styles that I've ever come across. How important is 'image' in what you do and how did you go about developing your personal style?

I love my earrings! Somebody once told me that because I'm quite large in the bottom area, I always need to carry a big bag and wear big earrings to make everything else look smaller so I do - I've heeded their advice! I'm trying to minimize everything else by larging it all up, hence the hair and the earrings! I think in the world of Female DJs, image is definitely important. It's a shame that it seems to be very important to look a certain way, which I definitely don't. I try to just work with what I've got! I just try to accentuate that. I've never been comfortable trying to go down the 'Sexy' road so I just work with what I'm comfortable with, which is to just be a bit funky and have fun with my clothes. I really like colours, so I try to just go in with them...a lot of colours and BIG stuff!


5. Your talent has taken you all over the world and opended doors that I'm sure even you never imagined would exist. Can you share some standout memories from your career so far - Good and/or Bad?

Melody became the SB:TV Official DJ in 2011
I'm a travel bunny...I really, really, REALLY love travelling, so any time I go abroad, I'm happy; just being paid to go and DJ somewhere hot and beautiful, to a crowd that's really up for it - because whenever you DJ abroad everyone's on holiday, it's in the Sun, everyone's happy, it's a nicer vibe. When I'm getting old and grey, I'll probably just jump on a plane and DJ as many places abroad as I possibly can! Anything to do with SB:TV I always really love; they've got such a respected name within the Industry and outside of it. They're a really good brand to be associated with; everybody wants to be involved with SB:TV, so whenever they do an event, there's always really exciting artists on the line up, so I absolutely love being involved with them.

6. How did you end up as SB:TV's official DJ and what exactly does that entail for the average lay person?

Melody with SB:TV CEO & Founder,
Jamal Edwards
I actually ended up DJ'ing at the SB:TV website launch party, which was at Nandos early last year. A friend recommended me to DJ there so that's where I met Jamal (Edwards) and the rest of the team. It was just such a good event and we had such a good time that Jamal asked me to DJ at his birthday party. Then I DJ'd at a couple of other events for SB:TV and Jamal asked me if I'd be the Official DJ; that's kind of how it came about.

Being the 'Official DJ' basically means that I DJ at all their events; when it comes to mixtapes I review them, for example there's a new one coming out in a few week's time. SB:TV's got a stage at the Camden Crawl which is happening in a few weeks, so we're just working on a mixtape now for that. Also supplying the guys in the office with a little bit of tunes

Your mixes / compilations are legendary; how do the Unsigned make it onto your playlist?

Do you know what, if it's good music, I'll play it - it's as simple as that. If there's good music out there, people just need to email me, it needs to be clearly labelled, it needs to be a high bitrate, it needs to be presented in a certain way. If people send me music and just say "listen to my track it's f***ing amazing!", I won't download it, I won't even open it...Just make sure that it's sent in the right way; make sure you've labelled your tracks correctly, make sure it's mastered and if I like it then I will 100% play it. I want to support UK music, I like to see people trying hard, do well.


7. Where did the Female DJ Takeover concept come from and how did you go about putting it into action?

It came about because I just used to get frustrated - even now, I would see flyers with 25 DJs on and there wouldn't be ONE Female DJ's name. There are some good Male DJs out there, there are some good Female DJs out there; the same way that there are some bad Male DJs and bad Female DJs, so it wasn't that it was particularly about burning our bras and waving the flag for female rights...it just stemmed from the fact that it seemed to be really uneven when Promoters were doing big events, it would seem that there were never any Female names on the line up, which was a bit silly...It just used to get me frustrated so I thought wouldn't it be nice to do an event where it WAS about talented Females who COULD DJ? When it comes to Female DJs, I'm not interested in whether they look really amazing; because it doesn't matter if they look really hot, but can't DJ. That's of no interest to me, it doesn't matter what they look like, it just matters how they sound. It was just about finding people who were really passionate about being a DJ - I just wanted to put together an event for the people who took it seriously. People wouldn't be coming down because they'd be wearing a little boob tube and batty riders, or whatever; they'd be coming down because those DJs play good music. They can mix and they can do their thing. 

And I remember you telling me that you had this vision of how much further you wanted to take it - into putting on Conferences and that much more...

I've definitely still got that vision...things were on hold a little bit over the last year, just because I've had so many other projects going on, so many other things that I've been working on, so I had to take a bit of a step back, but you know I still love the concept of Female DJ Takeover, I still love the idea of doing the event in different clubs around the Country...I still really believe in the idea 100%; it just takes a bit of time to put together, but I'm ready to just go IN now! 

8. Aside from the line up, how will FDT - The Return differ from The Launch and what was involved in your selection process, from DJs to Behind The Scenes?

The February 2011 Launch featured (l-r): SheJay 1E, Lady Jay Diamond,
Melody Kane, Lynnike & Sefa, Marx'si and Rocha (to name a few!)
With regards to the launch, I think I went down the road of having too many DJs...I had about 10! This will be different because it's going to be monthly, so it's kind of the 'Relaunch' event. SheJay 1E will always be DJ'ing there, she's the FDT Resident. I'll always be DJ'ing. So what we're going to do is have a headliner - this month it's Nikki (Beatnik) and then an up and coming DJ. So the synopsis is the Residents, a Headliner and then an up and coming Female DJ to do the warm up and give her a chance to play out, this time it's K Dot (Lee). And we'll always have a PA as well, this month it's NoLay.


And what about the 'Behind The Sceners'? Speaking as someone who got one of her early shots from you, what do you look for in your team?


Someone you might recognise
at last year's launch...

You were just really keen and really on it, so I thought I'd give you the opportunity. I just like people that share the same passion that I do; if people have a passion for what they do and they come to me, then I always want to give people a chance, it's just the way I work - I always want people to do well.







9. What is the longterm FDT Goal and how has it changed from your original vision, if at all?


It hasn't changed. The goal is still to run a successful monthly club night that showcases Female DJs and hopefully take that around the Country and then maybe even eventually Global

10. If you weren't a DJ, what would you be?

What would I be...I love dawwwwgs! I'd like to be a dawwwgwalker! I'd live somewhere hot and sunny and be a dogwalker!

The biggest of Thank Yous to Melody for this week's spotlight interview! Make sure you come down to 'Female DJ Takeover - The Relaunch' at Bar OneFourOne on 4th May and say Hi to the rest of the ESP Family, who will be there supporting!


For the latest, up-to-the-minute news on the FDT Relaunch, stay tuned to www.djmelodykane.com


Until then, you can catch Melody from 12-2PM, every Thursday and Friday on Bang 103.6FM!



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And that's it for this week! As always, I love to hear what you think on the prevalent topic of the week. Got a favourite Female DJ? Tell us about her! Or maybe you think the scales are equal?

Share your thoughts in the comment box below, I will respond to all (sensible) posts!

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See you soon,
ES :)