By Reform Radio
on Tue Jan 30 2024
We hopped into 2024 with another round of our renowned DJ Sessions with our friends Do As You Please, funded by Manchester Adult Education. Over the past two weeks, a group of participants, eager to jump behind the decks, have been learning the ropes of beatmatching, blending and more. Our partners, GigPig, also joined us for a session all about gig-sourcing and self-promotion. Closing the project, our attendees put their new skills to the test in our celebratory showcase.
We caught up with two of our participants, Milo and Suse, to find out more about their time on the course and where they’re heading from here.
Introduce your name, pronouns, and what you’re up to at the moment outside the course.
M: My name’s Milo and my pronouns are he/him. Before Christmas, I was working in a corporate job which I really wasn’t enjoying, so I left and decided I wanted to get stuck into more fulfilling activities I actually wanted to do.
S: Hey, I’m Suse, my pronouns are she/her, and, at the moment, I am working in a club. I love working in a music-immersed environment.
What prompted you to get involved with the DJ Course?
M: I joined the DJ Course on a whim, to be honest. When I left my job, I started looking at creative opportunities I could take up. I was DJing a bit before as a hobby and I wanted to start taking the steps to getting a career in something I am actually passionate about.
S: I had seen one of the Creative Practitioners, Adele, DJing and she’s a huge inspiration to me so I was really keen to work with her on the course. Also, I am Portuguese, and, in my culture, music is so centred around community and acts as a love language we speak. DJing feels so universal to this.
What do you love most about DJing?
M: DJing is such a mindful and therapeutic activity. It’s so nice to lose yourself in it and get in the zone.
S: I really love the techniques and effects you can use when DJing, like blending. It’s training for the brain and I’ve loved picking these up gradually.
Did you have much experience in DJing before? What’s one stand out thing you’ve learnt at Reform?
M: I have a controller at home and me and my friends used to do DJing at home for fun. So, I’ve been mostly self-teaching myself for a while. A stand out thing I’ve learnt is definitely the backspin trick on the decks; I don’t think I would have ever attempted that unless I’d come on the course.
S: In the pandemic, I bought a small DJ deck and thought I’d try it out. I ended up uploading a female drill mix to my Soundcloud. Then I just got super busy with university work and stopped DJing as much. I promised myself I’d get back into it, so I have.
How would you describe a DJ set of yours in three words?
M: Energising, uplifting, and dancey.
S: Global music, dancey and nostalgic.
Do you have any role models in the music scene that inspire your DJing practice?
M: I have some favourite DJs, of course. But I guess the people that have really inspired my practice have been my friends through university that got me hooked on DJing. The collaborative environment we created allowed us to make mistakes and be really open-minded when it came to our craft.
S: I really love Uncle Waffles, and I grew up listening and taking inspiration from Disclosure – I have always loved house music. I also love DJ Chaise from the local scene. I think Uncle Waffles is probably my biggest role model, however, due to them platforming South African culture and that’s what I hope to do for my culture too.
Let’s throw it back to your first day at Reform versus now, tell me a bit about your first impressions/feelings/emotions in comparison to how you feel now. What has changed?
M: On the first day of the project, I was really nervous for what was to come – especially finding out we had a showcase ahead in which we’d have to perform in front of people we didn’t know. But now, I feel so much more confident with the support of the Creative Practitioners and my peers. Also, it is so nice to be working in an environment that makes you feel like pursuing your goals is realistic and possible. I actually feel like I could be a DJ now.
S: My first interaction with Reform was at a one-day workshop, but I was super invested in the courses and the work Reform were doing. I was delighted to be able to join the DJ Sessions. From day one, things have been great and insightful. As the course has gone on, I have really felt my skillset grow.
What will you take from the DJ course moving forward & what are your plans from here onwards?
M: I’m really keen to take the motivation and inspiration I’ve gained through the project with me and really push myself to keep pursuing my hobbies and passions. I’m looking forward to hopefully getting some DJ gigs locked in to play.
S: I’ve been trying different courses and hobbies, but DJing has really stuck with me. I really want to start uploading some of my mixes to social media and get some gigs booked in.
If you could DJ at any festival, event, or place in the world, where would it be and why?
M: I’d have to start here first and play The White Hotel. It’s home, it’s not too big so you’re nice and close to who you’re playing for, and the room is always full of people who are actually there for the music.
S: I would start off with Parklife. I’ve worked there as a bartender over the years, but experiencing that as a performer would be incredible. Of course, it would be amazing to perform in my home country, Portugal, too.
If you could do a b2b DJ set with anyone, who would it be with and why?
M: I would have to say Gerd Janson. I think he’s a really consistent DJ and the Godfather of DJing.
S: I think it would be with DJ Chaise. She is amazing and I feel like we have similar energy so the set would be contagious.
If you want to find out more about our future projects, drop us an email at email@example.com to get involved.