Ahead of our event at The Antwerp Arms on Thursday 26 July we had a chat with DJ, GIN, who is also co-founder of female led collectives Resis’Dance and Goldsnap. Reserve your free ticket on Eventbrite and see an array of musical talent from in and around Tottenham.
When did you first get into DJing?
I got into it properly about seven years ago. I had recently moved to London and I was hanging out with some mates and we were talking about starting a DJ collective, inspired by a collective in Norway called Sisters Unite. It teaches women to DJ vinyl… we were like ‘can we do something similar here?’ and they were like ‘yes, of course.’ We got funding and we got some decks, a mixer and some vinyls and we started teaching in pubs and community spaces. That’s when I started DJing properly because I had an opportunity to get into it and work with vinyl.
Unfortunately, about three years ago, I had a house fire so I lost all of my equipment and all of my vinyl. I moved away from vinyl since then and on to digital ’cause vinyl was quite expensive and it took quite a while to get all that together… I lost all my hard drives as well so it was start from scratch.
I met the Resis’Dance team and around the same time I was forming Goldsnap. Resis’Dance were looking to start an all female collective, run events and fundraise for radical organisations, bringing activists and people from the political party scene together. We wanted to create an affinity on the dancefloor with the different groups that we’re fund raising for… It started off with wanting to party and making sure that women were the people running the party and the ones that were playing the music. Goldsnap started around that time and we wanted to create spaces where queer people of colour can party and feel safe.
Goldsnap has now gone in an educational direction. We offer free and accessible music education options for music production, DJing, Ableton, for queer people of colour or people who can’t afford music education.
Why did you want to do help other women learn about these skills?
I guess I wish I had that and I was trying to create it for other people. I would go out and there would be men on the decks, men running the space, and it changes the vibe especially if they’re not having a great time and they feel like you’re invading their space or something. I was never able to look over someone’s shoulder and see what they were doing. I was trying to find out how I could get into DJing without having to go through this arduous process of the male ego. I wanted more women and more non-binary people on festival line ups and club line ups especially in the gay scene and queer scene. It’s the same thing in every scene: white cis men at the forefront and I wanted to be part of the movement that pushed that and challenged that.
What’s your relationship to Tottenham?
I come around here often ’cause I used to live up near Manor House. With the Latin community here it was really important to have something like that nearby because I’m half Mexican, half Bermudian. I really like the community around here especially when they did parties outside. I had loads of friends that used to live on Fountayne Road so I would come here all the time and go to warehouse parties and see friends and hangout in the park.
Then Five Miles started and they contacted Resis’Dance and I started hanging out a lot more around there. They were bringing in really good music and really good artists and I was really interested to see how something like that can change the demographic and the landscape of Tottenham… I was paying a lot of attention to that. Resis’Dance tries to do events in venues that might be at risk of gentrification… I’m really supportive of Five Miles and like what they’re doing there a lot.
What do you most enjoy about putting together a set for an event?
What I like to do is try to find music and fit the vibe of the space. There’s no point in someone doing a grime set and then you’re coming on with some pop. It would feel weird and kill the space or the vibe. If it’s earlier I’ll try to go a bit more soulful and slow house-y and if it’s a bit later trying to figure out what music people like. I come prepared with everything because at the end of the day you don’t know what people are going to respond to.
I love the music, I love looking for music. I was on holiday recently and hung out with my Dad and we hung out in this way we’d never done before. My Dad’s the reason I got into music in the first place. As a kid we would listen to music all the time, because we lived in Bermuda, quite an isolated island, he got what he could with what he had… Compilation albums, all the Now’s, world music. I listened to a lot of rocksteady, reggae, classical and house music growing up. It was a large mix so music has always been a part of my life. I got to hang out with my Dad and he was showing me some more music that he’d found…
It gets me really excited to play something that I found really exciting and someone coming up to you being like ‘what’s this song?..’ I like to keep crowds excited and interested in the music I’m playing instead of playing the same thing everyone else is playing.
What do you most enjoy about playing your set to people?
What I’m looking for is this one person who is loving it. I’ve always got one person who you can tell is listening to your set because they’re not really engaging with anybody but listening and then you play a song and they really start getting into it…
I like making sure I have crowd engagement… as well as trying to enjoy my set. If I look like I’m enjoying it, they will get into it. I have high standards for what I like to see in a DJ and when I book DJs I want to see DJs, not just people playing playlists from their phone… I try to also find other ways of engaging with people. Coming out of the DJ booth and dancing a little bit if I really like a song, trying to find a way to engage with the audience a bit, but to be honest I just like the music.
You’ve played at some well known museums and venues across London, as well as for parties like Pxssy Palace and Gal-dem. How has your career developed?
It’s still a struggle to get gigs but they’re coming a lot easier. I would like to see what I’m putting in be more like a genre – female led nights would be more normalised. It’s going in a direction that I want it to be but I want to be playing bigger venues. I want to be able to bring this umbrella of female and non-binary led line ups and stuff like that into a bigger club scene… and take it from a smaller independent community into being a bigger thing that most people love doing.
What are you most looking forward to about the DT event?
I’m looking forward to a different kind of crowd. I don’t think I’ve DJ’ed at that kind of pub before… I like new challenges, trying different things out and meeting people from a different community and different tastes as well. If someone likes a particular genre and they keep asking for a particular song and I don’t have it, I’m going to go home and look for it and try to figure out what’s up with this song and what’s up with this genre.