Prepare to be spun into an epic tale of turntable triumphs and trials as Wax On brings you DJ D on the latest episode of "Once a DJ Podcast". This powerhouse began her journey with vinyl in the vibrant 80s, teaching herself the art of turntablism, and has since then never stopped spinning. Listen in as DJ D reveals the battles she faced - from competing in the all-vinyl finals, confronting a serious illness, to the challenges of being a woman in the hip-hop world. Discover how she perseveres through it all, driven by her love for the beat. Plus, buckle up for a ride as we talk about her treasured '64 Chevrolet Impala ragtop convertible. DJ D wraps up with pearls of wisdom for budding female DJs. Tune in now!

Transcript

Adam Gow 0:00

Welcome back to One to DJ. Today we're sitting with one of Australia's top turntable lists, graphic designer and former Head Teacher, DJ D to talk battling low riders, sevens and more. So yeah, so thanks for coming on the podcast today.

DJ D 0:14

Absolute pleasure. Thank you for having me.

Adam Gow 0:16

And let's kick it off by just looking at considering how prevalent vinyl is in your life. When Where did you first come into contact with records

DJ D 0:26

pretty early on. So not having a whole bunch of toys to mess around with growing up, I kind of gravitated towards my dad's seven inch vinyl collection. Just all those coloured labels were kind of like candy to me. So yeah, that was definitely a early start. Probably before working, walking, I would say toddler toddler years. So that kind of kicked it off. My brother had kicked off my vinyl collection and a habit that I still have today. And my sister used to actually sell records at Vinyl market stalls. So I used to give her a little bit of a hand to growing up. And yeah, that I guess has led me to where I am today, still a vinyl addict.

Adam Gow 1:24

I've spoken to quite a few people on this where it seems to be elder siblings have been a big influence. What sort of things were your siblings into?

DJ D 1:32

At the time, my sister was definitely in a bit of a punk phase. And of course, little sister does what big sister does. And it was kind of artists and groups like locally Hoodoo Gurus. Know, around the globe, people like the damned was a big one for me, a group that I was lucky enough to meet when I was about five. And I also met them again, maybe about 30 years later, which was amazing. And so I was a little five year old girl giving Dave vanian arose in a record store where they were doing an assigning. And they're just the sort of moments that you know, kind of stay with you something I won't forget. Apart from that, my brother was more into like the kind of rock, rock sort of stuff. And 80s Rock, because that's kind of the era we're talking about here. I'm a 70s baby. So I kind of grew up through, I would say some of the best of it in terms of one of the genres that I love, which is hip hop. So that's a bit of a journey that I've taken through my vinyl years. Now more so venturing into like the original samples of hip hop. So you're delving into funk and soul and disco when that's actually kind of what I really enjoy playing these days off seven inch. So yeah, it's a never ending journey, I'd say and something I'm going to probably keep doing for some time to come.

Adam Gow 3:16

So when was your first gig?

DJ D 3:19

Yeah, okay, so it was the late 80s 1988. It was a big year actually bicentenary for Australia. And it was a private party that I did. I kicked it off with a few of my 40 fives and a few 12 inch vinyl records, as well as all of the pre cued cassette tapes, you know, you'd get the pencil and cute to start just when you hit play. So you could get that almost continuous mix. And yeah, I rocked out a 21st party. For the next I'd probably say about 10 years or so. I did a lot of private parties, family, friends, relatives, high school mates to having birthdays, those house parties. And yeah, it was probably more than mid 90s where I got a professional setup, and actually started you know, doing it properly. And I would say it would have been still the late 80s though, where my passion and my love of turntablism comes from. So that 8889 sort of era actually bit earlier as well. Thinking of things like that recording live at Union Square. That was a big one for me. That's where our kind of wore out my cassette tape in my Walkman and also stuff like de la Soul Maseo, all of those samples. The first sort of record that are I remember really messing with in terms of seven inch was de la Sol say no go, which I believe from memory was a 1989 release. And that's kind of really what kicked it off for me. And it's almost like come full circle now to I've kind of gone back to the era, I can't escape that area. I love it. You know, it's kind of my roots. And it's I don't know, it just still sounds so good today.

Adam Gow 5:30

Yeah, I mean, I think particularly with the De La Soul, the Beastie Boys of that era, like the dust brothers stuff, like some of the productions just insane. And, and I think it was kind of what they were doing with samples. They were just anything, weren't there because, you know, not everything was being cleared. And, unfortunately, there were problems with that afterwards. But yeah, I mean, that area was was fantastic for music. So just going back to something that you mentioned before you were you were mixing between tapes and records in the early days. Yes. So how, how would you do that cueing with the tapes with the pencil that how would you know when the start was?

DJ D 6:15

Oh, you would kind of hear it and take it back. And it wasn't always precise. There was always maybe a little gap in there. So it wouldn't be like I would be beat mixing cassette tapes, unless I was doing the tape to tape mixes, which I used to do a lot as well. So my sister, you'd used to head to the clubs, I used to sneak into her room and do the cassette to cassette mix tapes, which I still have some at home. But in terms of actually live playing it, it was a bit of a bit of a gauge with the you know, twist it to three turns or so. And it was about, you know, out there, rather than having like, you know, 5, 6, 10 seconds of nothing. So, yeah, just kept it going. I'd be better. You know, in terms of actual throwing down vinyl, I didn't have two turntables at that point. So it really was kind of like vinyl, to cassette to vinyl to cassette. It was one of those home systems with one turntable. Yeah. So that was kind of like how I came up with as a child to keep the music going without any real gaps. Beat wise, I did BPM stuff with the stopwatch. So it wasn't perfectly matched. But it was it I kind of kind of the there was close, it was close.

Adam Gow 7:45

Yeah, I think we that is such a sort of hip hop way of doing things as well like having these discussions. It's all about being as resourceful as you can with the equipment that you've got, and things like that. And then it can force a different type of creativity. Do you think that with the kind of pencil cue? And do you think that made you start to think more about construction of beats and things because it's almost like you'd maybe think of that in a way you'd think of beat juggling because it's about Rewinding back to that point and that sort of thing.

DJ D 8:16

It's, you know, you could be right, I never really thought of it that way. But yeah, totally, totally, because you kind of like breaking it down. And you have to know where the first beat is, you know where it goes to next the kick, etc. So, yeah, totally, I think you might be right. That is definitely something that I love to do. So these days. For those that don't know, I have competed in many DMCs generally, on the all vinyl tip. And yeah, just last year 2022 I came fifth in the all worlds in the worlds all vinyl finals. First Lady to rip for Australia, which was pretty dope. And yeah, it was definitely a moment or a moment that I probably wasn't as proud of initially because I wasn't happy with what I submitted. So yeah, especially when you have to submit something to an absolute Autel of yours. And it's not quite perfect. And I actually submitted and went and had a good cry and then came back then a few days later found out that it actually came fifth I was like What? No way like that was crazy for me. So I'm the person that I had to submit to was cut master swift and definitely a big inspiration for me coming up. I used to watch all those VHS s videos. And yeah, he was definitely one The fives of the champs. So yeah, to be in contact with him and having to email, you know, an effort that I thought wasn't really my best. And of course, mum life doesn't allow a lot of time for prep and practice in getting a perfect card. So sometimes it just has to do you know, sometimes you just have to get it in. And that's it. So I'm glad I did, though, in retrospect, next time, hopefully, it'll be better.

Adam Gow:

I think that's that's interesting what you struck upon there. I do think parenting is a real big thing for teaching you to accept good enough. In just general aspects of life, because all you do is you do your best and it's never perfect. I suppose it kind of works with that thing with with a routine. So who were the first DJs along with cut master swift and that made you think I want to battle

DJ D:

will live at Union Square DJ Jazzy Jeff, that was number one for me in terms of really opening my eyes for this thing called turntablism. I think from that recording, the I could hear I never saw it until actually just a couple of years ago, but have heard it for years, obviously, since it dropped. And I could hear the show factor in that, you know, and I loved that. And that's a really big part of what I still do today, the show factor is a big deal for me. And that's why I still like to flip vinyl, because there is more show factor in that as well. In terms of DMCs, though, yeah, cut master swift rock radar is may rest in peace is definitely up there as one of my number ones ultimate influences. One thing I love and have always loved to do is body tricks. So that's definitely a big one for me. And of course, DJ David. And I mean, we can't forget people like Qbert and Mix Master Mike and you know, all of the absolute legends of the game. But for me, definitely, I have to say rock raider is up there. Having paid a little bit of homage with a track I haven't released yet. But also with my 2020 DMCs. I actually paid a bit of homage to all of the original DMC champs recreating elements of their sets and putting it all together into one. And that, again, brought me to be a finalists in Australia. Each year, thankfully, as a mom that I've competed, I've become one of the at least you know, top 10, if not top five. But last year to make the world's I think that was that was probably the best I've done yet. That was a big deal for me. So yeah, let's see what happens next.

Adam Gow:

That's it. So starting to learn turntablism, did you have anything? Were you just kind of trying to reverse engineer the things that you were seeing on the DMCs? Or did you have anyone around you that was teaching you or?

DJ D:

No. So it's pretty much self taught. So I learned pretty much from watching VHS, because we didn't have YouTube and all of that stuff back then there was no social media. It was literally, you know, people down the road, you'd go and visit, or maybe hop on the phone. No one really gave me lessons or anything like that. So self taught. Watching VHS is, you know, pretty much going to sleep every night was a routine for me. And that's how I'd sort of pick things up. I would try and do what they were doing. But I'd always want to try and make it my own in some way rather than just you know, that's their idea. And I'm ripping that off. No, I'm all for our building and you know, innovating where you can. Some of the things that I've actually personally done in the last few days, DMCs was right in front of me, I've got a hydraulic turntable. Low writing is another love of mine. So I was actually flipping switches to make the turntable go up and down. But yeah, another one was I got a top box and connected that up to a turntable and managed to scratch via voice as well. Kind of really killed my feelings, though. So I couldn't do that for too long. And yeah, I always like to sort of, you know, introduce something that's a little bit different. I think the year prior, I'd done a seven seven channel set, so three turntables and for digital all playing simultaneously. So yeah, that year I was called the hip hop octopus. So yeah, there's always been something we It's not just to innovate for the sense to give myself a challenge, it's to give myself some fun, you know, keep it interesting for me too. So everything that I do here, one, traditionally, it was kind of because back in the day, there weren't really very many ladies doing, I guess what we do. And that was one aspect, yes to kind of rip for the ladies. But, like more so for me a personal challenge, cuz I feel like, and this is why I'm back at it again, as a mum, I feel like I got to a certain stage 20 years ago, and then never really progressed past that. And I always wanted to. So now that child is, you know, nearing seven, kind of back at it again, and starting again, in a way and reinventing what I do and how I do it. And working with a new medium, just purely seven inch. It is like starting the journey again. But I'm loving that and now getting the chance to push myself a little bit further.

Adam Gow:

Can I just ask them, What was it 20 years ago that you think stopped you progressing

DJ D:

Oh life, life got in the way. Things happened. Growing up, running a business running a company working full time, at the same time having a radio show. I was kind of doing it all, and touring as well. DJing still most weekends, you know, nationally and internationally. And yeah, really didn't stop. And then things happen in the family. Mum got unwell. She survived a battle with breast cancer. And then four years later it returned. So things like that really halted kind of everything. And yeah, I had sort of little take a little step back. One other thing, actually a big one that really made me pull back was DJing. in Canberra, which is about three hours away from where I am, where I am based in Sydney, and I actually was spiked, the DJ was spiked at an event. And that was a really big one that knocked me out for quite some time. And it made me really cautious to return as well as the family you know, so from there on, it was like, dropped off at every gig picked up, like 10 minutes after finish. And it was a different different life. You know, it wasn't this i Yeah, let's party. Let's do this anymore. So, yeah, blood tests and police reports later, you know, I was glad to have passed that one. And I think that just kind of soured things, cuz I was there to give people a good time, you know? Yeah. And then to be so like, severely kind of affected. It was to the point where I wasn't sure if I was able to have children. So it was pretty severe, you know? And, yeah, thankfully, I've got one now. Everything's okay. And I'm back. And yeah, I'm so grateful to be back and doing it again. It's what I love. I'm not me without it.

Adam Gow:

Yeah, that's a huge thing, too, to have had to go through I'm sorry to hear that.

DJ D:

Oh, it happens to so many sadly. That's, that's the hard part, you know, and having gone through it. Sorry to go into details. But like, it's it's such a big thing like to to be conscious, but paralysed. You just you don't want to think about what could have happened. You know, so I really feel for girls and ladies that go through stuff like that, because that's, that's something you just don't ever forget.

Adam Gow:

Yeah. What was the business that you were running? At this? You mentioned having the business as well as the full time job and yeah,

DJ D:

okay, so the full time job was actually 20 years of being a head teacher at college. So it's equivalent of university here. It's just Yeah, the other option to uni, and the business and the company was in the same area. So we've been graphic design, and it's something that I started in the 90s as well. And I initially started to kind of like, I guess, give myself what I needed to do as a DJ as I wanted to be an artist as well. I was at I was at a split road. I was I sing So there was a point where I had to choose, am I going to be a singer? Am I going to be a DJ and for both of those, I need some really good graphic design. I need someone to look after, you know, the whole image. And I thought, You know what, I'm going to do it myself. And so I, I did the courses I studied, and then not even a year out of study, I got rich. The college resound said, Hey, did you want to come and teach because I was actually teaching teachers while I was a student. So yeah, and this is this is going back to the 90s, where, you know, Photoshop was one layer. It was like, really, really a different time in terms of what you could do. And again, pre, this is literally the early days of the web as well. That's something else I used to do. I used to hand code for a number of corporations, building websites where we didn't have video and images was super limited. I remember the day that the animated GIF came out like it was that it's crazy, right to think of it that way now where we've got these fullscreen videos and everything happening these days. So yeah, it really was a different world. But glad to have those skills, because they're still coming in handy. Now.

Adam Gow:

That was going to be one of my next two questions, because, you know, the your brand as a DJ is such an important thing. So that must have really helped you in if you were kind of early on web is well, that that must have been a really big thing to kind of just have that little edge on people.

DJ D:

Yeah, totally. In terms of the web, that's where a lot of the International stuff came from, because I think that was the difference. You know, anyone here, if you didn't have a website, you didn't have that international connect back then, again, pre social media. So it really was the way back then. And I remember as soon as I put that website up, I was getting like inquiries and stuff from all sorts of places, and like places that I would have loved to have gone to DJ but just couldn't because I was a teacher, you know, and unless it fell in the holidays, it was not going to happen. So some of them did, thankfully. And that's how I got to do some, but a lot of them I had to turn down which was such a shame. But yeah, definitely the skill set came in handy. I remember what would have been early 2000s In a flash had just come out animation software for the web. And I remember creating this digital decks where people could interact and like one side was beats one side was cuts and people would just hang around on my homepage, just scratching for hours with samples that are thrown in there. So yeah, and that's all stuff that you know, I kind of created and hand coded myself back then because it kind of it was early days and we didn't really have that sort of stuff online. So yeah, I had a lot of fun with that. So

Adam Gow:

yeah, Flash was an interesting one. You got some crazy websites. I think Dante Ross had a I don't know if you saw his MPC one.

DJ D:

I didn't see it. No, but it's I can imagine I can't remember the full functionality

Adam Gow:

but yeah, it was good and easy. Moby had a really crazy one as well. It was like a spaceship or something. The mothership. I wish I wish someone had like an archive them, or something like that now, because they were they were just mental.

DJ D:

Exactly. I actually I saved mine, the one I was talking about, and I wanted to get it back out, but it just doesn't work without the drivers anymore. Yeah. So yeah, because you have to have that old version of the driver to run it. So I was like, Oh, what a shame because I was actually going to re upload it just for fun. You know?

Adam Gow:

Just another thing to ask you then. And I hope this isn't kind of too personal. In that period, I mean, you're still very, very busy now. Are you someone that just doesn't relax, are like can you relax?

DJ D:

Yes. I totally can. Yeah, no, honestly, it's not work for me. For me, this is my enjoyment. This is my pleasure. This is my fun. And now in my life. This is me time. So the more of that I can get the more I will. So yeah, I am I'm an all I'm generally an all night sort of person. I always have been ever since I was a teen staying up late night making those tape to tape mixes to as a graphic designer. That's the lifestyle you have to pull those all nighters to meet the deadlines, you know, and so then that was the next period and then mom life Hello, same thing again. So it's it's something that I've always done. I'm grateful that I'm a able to function with little to no sleep. And of course to alive, you know, you kind of live that life there too. So yeah, I'm well trained when those sleep tired often, but yeah can still, you know, get my stuff together and pull off a pretty fair enough gig you know? Little to no sleep.

Adam Gow:

So when you had your child DJing totally disappeared? Or did you in some way managed to keep that going? And if you didn't Did you just feel like you lost a sense of identity?

DJ D:

Yeah, I wasn't made without it. That's for sure. I was grateful that I kept one thing going. So all of these gazillion things I used to do, just halted like it was from 150 to zero almost. But I did maintain my radio show. That's something that I didn't didn't stop even, you know, during, like delivery that the air was the show was airing. So yeah, I made sure that that continued, pre record where needed to be. And you're still doing that today. So that's been running, since I kicked that off in 1999. Still going now?

Adam Gow:

Was that internet radio or radio? Now? FM?

DJ D:

Yeah, so 88.1 FM is what I've always been on here. That's it's local radio. So local to Sydney. But yeah, online, internationally. Of course. Now, though, the couple of radio shows that I have actually, Australia wide. And they go via community radio networks. So that means it gets picked up by multiple radio stations, both FM and digital. And it also gets played over in New Zealand and the UK. And yeah, it's got a pretty good spread, thankfully, after all of these years, but still self produced, still created in my home studio, because that's what Mum can do. At 3am. When when needs to be done. And yeah, that's, that's every week to shows on top of the other stuff. And at the moment, I'm just, I'm nonstop with gigs too, which is fantastic. I'm absolutely loving having that aspect back in my life, because that I totally missed that are building, you know, a vibe with the crowd and the energy and feeding off that energy and such a bars, man, it's Yeah, it really is a big part of my overall energy. Having having that. So I missed that in the early years of my child, so yeah, good to be back.

Adam Gow:

So at what point did you leave the head teaching?

DJ D:

Oh, just recently, actually, I did take a break when I was pregnant. So that's pretty, I would say I, I was still in the position, but I wasn't the you know what I mean? So yeah, I didn't actually feel that role since I was pregnant. So I've been pretty much full time mom since about six, seven years ago, which was a choice of mine, because those early years are so formative. And I really wanted to be there to build a good foundation for my son. As as much as and of course, you know, we're talking years of COVID as well, where it wasn't really some a luxury, it was a luxury to be able to drop a child off at daycare. I chose to keep him at home and raised him here. He spent half his life in the house, which was quite sad at that time. But we made it fun with DJing. And with music, so he started DJing when he was three, and he was live streaming at that age. And he does throw down 40 fives as well, seven inch vinyl, and his part of the 45 kids which was founded over in the UK. He's the Sydney rep for 45 kids, which is part of or under the umbrella of 45 day. And yeah, these kids from around the globe would hop on Twitch and throw down vinyl an hour each generally or half an hour sometimes back to back. And this is what got us through those, you know, tough years and it gave them a chance to have being an only child. It gave them a chance to have that interaction with other kids, you know, which is so important at that age. So yeah, he's still doing it. He still loves it. And he's still taking over my sets. He's still arms Streaming. And, yeah, it's a beautiful thing. It's a beautiful connection that we share, and hopefully will continue to share for some time to come.

Adam Gow:

I think streaming was a massive, massive thing for DJs. I think if it didn't exist at the time of lockdown, a lot of DJs would have probably had quite severe mental health challenges through that level of isolation. So yeah, it was huge.

DJ D:

Totally, I took that time to kind of step into the studio. And it would have been what 20? Yeah, early 2020. I looked around, and I just saw these records, mainly 12 inch sitting on these shelves for at that point, 20 years or so, maybe longer, and getting dusty, getting dirty, and I took the opportunity to start cleaning rod up this lease, got the rags instead of cleaning all of these vinyl and just looked at it and said, I need to give another life to this because there's just too much good stuff here. You know, it was just sort of getting mouldy and dusty and just wasn't right. So now, last few years, they've all been well used again, and I'm just loving going through that journey and pulling out memories, you know, memories from certain events or gigs. I remember throwing that one down here and, and all of that sort of vibe, you know, it's I love this studio. It's kind of like it's it's my sanctuary. It's my retreat. Yeah. And, yeah, I don't get enough time in here. Unfortunately, I'd love to have more.

Adam Gow:

That's just life a. So just jumping around your timeline a little bit, something else I'm quite keen to ask. And I don't want this to be kind of a tokenistic interview or anything. But what I'm interested in as well is the journey of being a hip hop DJ, a female Hip Hop DJ, in what's you know, you look at, you look at kind of gender balances, proportions in different careers and industries and things like that. I think Hip Hop DJ in must be a pretty heavily skewed one. Was it something that was ever challenging to you? Or does it continue to be?

DJ D:

A Yeah. It definitely was not an easy road coming up. So yeah, especially hip hop, yes. But also the battle scene. Those two worlds were totally male dominated. It I think in the US, it varied slightly, but here in Australia, it was just males. I literally was when I came up the only female competing in things like DMCs. And yeah, like, initially, you know, you have those moments, especially I think this is a very female thing to do a very something else ladies do is, you know, you'll experience something you be like, Did that really happen? Or am I imagining it, you know, it was things like, sabotages even to the point of broken needles, and, you know, just little things here and there, where you'd kind of like be like, did that person really just do that? Or am I actually imagining it, you know, until fast forward now. Thankfully, over the years become really well connected with a lot of people locally, and just even this year, sitting down with a bottle of scotch with you know, someone in the sensei Yesterday, we saw you as a threat. And I was like, So you're telling me that stuff? I didn't imagine it. It was really eager. Yep. Know that we really all did that. Like, why was the lady coming up? You know, like, what sort of threat was I? Honestly, you should seem like, if you saw me back then I wasn't very aggressive or anything like that, you know, me is, you know, smiles and hugs wherever possible. So it was kind of hard for me to comprehend how I would be seen as a threat because I never saw myself that way. But yes, so fast forward to now though, now, I can't even I have no words. It's a different world. It's two extremes. Absolutely. Two extremes. And I put that down to the world of, again, seven inch vinyl 45s the love and acceptance. Acceptance in this community is like no other. It really is family. And it's kind of it's weird to say that but it's so true. Like, even these people that we've never met face to face. They're legit. Literally family. I just had one common stay with me for Three and a half weeks we did a whole Australian East Coast tour. Speaking of DJ Robert Smith from Germany, someone I connected online streaming with through COVID. And he literally said day I'm coming over. I'm like, I don't have a spare room. Okay. He said, I'll sleep in your Impala. Alright, cool. Let's go. And we just did a whole yeah, as I mentioned, Australian is close to our 23 gigs in 20 days, absolutely nuts, hit the road over 4000 kilometres by car. And I can't even explain the bars, the energy, the high that we had from doing such a high concentration of gigs in such a short period of time. And then the come down at the end of that. That was just oh, man, that was next level. And yeah, I've been DJing for for many years. And I've never had a connection, where we did everything freestyle. There was no planning, there was no prep, it was literally throw some records in a bag, and let's go. And just the way everything turned out. And it was it really looked rehearsed. It looked like we'd prepped for days, and it just wasn't, you know, that freestyle element I think is today, what does it for me, you know, go go back to my first MCs everything was so heavily rehearsed. So planned and so practised, whereas now I'm the opposite, or I'm trying to do the opposite. So and I think that's what's keeping it fresh. For me, that whole freestyle element of as you're freestyling, you're gonna find stuff that you know, you're breaking your, your patterns. In a sense, you're breaking your habits, which is what I need to do to sort of get out of those routines that I just always do. So, yeah, I'm loving it. I really like a new new boss, new energy newfound energy.

Adam Gow:

Yeah, I think just going back to battling as well. I mean, I was watching the 2003 UK championships the other day. And watching with a 2023 set of eyes and ears, you can be quite mind blown by some of the disses that he used in that period, like the level of homophobia and misogyny and that sort of thing. But it was part of the culture at the time that are totally that's just what people did. So I don't think there's that element to battle in now is there that that real sort of acerbic, vitriolic type of punch line usage? I think that kind of direct person to person has dropped off a bit.

DJ D:

You get it a little bit, you're not gonna see it throughout the whole competition, like you used to like back then it was like, everybody did that. Now, you'll get maybe one or two or three. Usually the fellas doing that still. And I have seen it more at the finals sort of level when they go head to head, you know, if you have two finalists going head to head often that will pop up again. But in the general competition, not so much, not so much. But again, it's a different competition. Now, you know, the last few years have been purely online. And that's meant that we've had even kids competing, it's meant that you know, there's been ladies has been fellas, there's been little girls has been little boys. And I think that's a beautiful thing, though. I think that's it's been incredible. But it has definitely changed that dynamic because you couldn't do something that like that with little kids. It's not like Well, yeah, you know, like then.

Adam Gow:

Yeah, it's and I think the I think I'm right in saying the Canadian and US champs are both female now as well.

DJ D:

Oh, yes. I think you're right us. Wait, current will have to check the current status. But yes, there have been for both correct.

Adam Gow:

So there's definitely kind of a shift going on then. In the battling culture,

DJ D:

definitely. And I just I'm loving seeing more ladies competing. I think that's that's always been the wish. I'd love to see more locally here though. Honestly, I thought there would be more here in Australia by now. I gotta say, as I mentioned earlier, it's not an easy road. And that's perhaps why we don't have as many competing here now. Hope that changes. I really do. Because it's Such a beautiful thing. And I know there are a lot of ladies out there that have that interest. It's just there's always just that, you know, taking that next step there's, you got to get past those walls or those challenges, you know, all those feelings if that's what it is. Yeah, it's an interesting one. I hope it changes soon, because it's been 20 years. And thankfully, there is a couple. Now. It's not just me. But I would have thought there'd be a few more still. Let's see what happens. The next couple of years Fingers crossed.

Adam Gow:

And I think the thing is, well, with it is, there's just so much that you take from Battlin as a person, I did a couple of competitions, not not a lot. And you know, I was never kind of a fire, a national finalist or anything like that. But those experiences, I'll take them with me, you know that that discomfort, those nerves that trying to put the needle on and just hands shaking like crazy, and pretending to look confident. You know, you give it your best shot, and there's just so much emotionally that you that you get from it. It's it's a fantastic experience.

DJ D:

It's a roller coaster. It really is. Yeah, and it's a roller coaster that's like up and down and up and down. It doesn't just go on one ride. It goes on multiple Yes. But um, yeah, totally. Yeah, that that's, this is the thing, though. See, you were at a time where you did have needle on record with hands shaking. That doesn't happen as often these days. You know, a lot of it is digital now or phase or button pushing, you know, I'm not dissing that. That's, that's amazing. And I push buttons to on occasion. I know, some people out there, we see. Rather, I see when I watch the finals. And you know, everyone gets up in the chat and puts their comments in and, you know, generally there's, there's some love, and then other people like to sort of diss that sort of way of DJing. I think that like, everything has its place for me. And because of where I came up I needed to record is how it has to be done for me. I don't have phase at the moment, I'm still holding back, but at the same time I held back for Serato for many years to I was still you know, touring internationally with vinyl when and paying way too much in excess luggage. And then later, you know, succumbing to Serato which was then scratch live. But yeah, all in time, I guess you know, it's it's a different calm, but it's a comp where you can have whatever setup you want. One turntable, two turntables, six turntables II can it's up to you, you call the shots. And that's a big change from back in the day where they used to define what equipment you could use. So yeah, it really is an open playing field, whatever you want to bring, which is it makes it kind of interesting as well. So yeah, has definitely changed over the years.

Adam Gow:

Yeah, I think there was a period sort of mid to late, say late 2000s, where there was a bit of an adapt or die sort of thing. And then three style came along. So they had to do something to be less rigid. Exactly. So yes, it's a very different thing. So just on the sort of international touring, what sort of places have you been, and is there anywhere particular that holds a great memory beyond all else

DJ D:

There are many, so many memories. I've played a couple of times in Prague once in the summer, and once in the winter. Fond memories because I ended up making my wedding six months earlier to make that first trip to Prague the honeymoon. So that was definitely some fun memories. By chance. My maid of honour ended up crashing our honeymoon and we all went to the club together. I rocked out my you know, all vinyl set back then. So yeah, played there a couple times played in Malaysia a couple times. Definitely some amazing memories. They're working out for New Year's parties and whatnot. They know how to party up there, though. And this is the days of Serato. So yeah, I brought a few records, but yeah, had Serato they're probably the most fondest memory though was when I played in the Sultanate of Oman. I had been hit up by them. Gosh, when was it 2000. And they hit me up in 2003. And I was a little bit nervous to go as, as a lady and going solo. I was a bit scared to be honest. And I thought you know what, I don't know these people. I don't know what could happen. I'm going to send a friend over instead. So I said, hey, we'll make a deal if you can hold it. out, get my one of my DJ brothers back then DJ souls if you can take him on take him on for this event because I'm busy. I couldn't leave work as well at that time and it was quite quick. So he went over there I said hey bro go suss it out for me see if it's legit see what it's like, come back, let me know if it's good. I'll go back the second time. It's exactly what happened. But the second time we went back together because I said I Oh, I want my security guard. Oh, my security guard with me. So then they flew us over for New Year's, which we brought in 2004. I think it was. And Yemen memories, just everything. I think apparently I was the first lady to play in the area. And I did so in a skirt and backless top which was definitely pushing some boundaries on more levels than one you know, First Lady playing records. And then second being dressed like so. You know, we did play in a quite westernised. Albus done Palace, which is like westernised kind of hotel. So it was appropriate and accepted there. But if I had done that, outside of that area, I probably would not be as accepted. Memories are crazy, because that room that I played in, it was the biggest chandelier in the world. They literally had, like, you know, these fountains and everything was covered in gold's and you walk into the foyer and I heard a harp thinking it's like a CD playing in the background is literally a dude in the corner playing a harp. It's like, you know, it's just just crazy, crazy moments, stuff that I'd never experienced coming from Australia. And then to then play things like you know, we're talking hip hop, you know, Ice Cube and all of that sort of stuff. And there's a row of sheiks sitting you know, on the floor just watching me play things like ice cube with swear words and everything in there you know, it was really surreal is kind of like yeah, like a dream almost. So yeah, very fun memories. Definitely.

Adam Gow:

Yeah, I suppose there is that that real kind of fear of getting in trouble for getting the culture wrong.

DJ D:

Now I was gonna say I was really careful in the normal areas so airport and walking the streets definitely all covered up. I didn't quite do the head dress but I did have hoodies. So yeah, I did want to show respect to obviously their culture and to the general population. But again, in that space, and this is based on the advice of the promoters I was like, Is it okay to wear this is it okay to do this? And they were really nice. And they helped me out they said, Yeah, within this space, you can pretty much do what you like. But yeah, outside on the streets, you probably want to follow as much as you can as well. So I still did get the odd look here and the even though I was covered up long sleeves, long pants and whatnot in like 40 degree heat. And their heat is different heat, like their heat is real hot. So to be full covered up in that heat was Yeah, wasn't easy. But I did say yeah, I was very grateful to wear the skirt on that New Year's Eve while you're playing because you know, you know how it is when you play? You get hot? It's like a workout.

Adam Gow:

Yeah, definitely. I was somewhere the other day playing. And it was only when I'd finished and I was packing up I realised there was a fan next to me. I'd just totally not noticed enough thought to put it on. So do you want to tell us about your room? Low Rider? Oh, yes.

DJ D:

Okay, so I have a 1964 Chevrolet Impala ship sorry, ragtop. Convertible. And it's something that I dreamed about since I was about, I don't know, 14/15/16 years old, early teens, a dream that finally came true 30, around 30 years later, and something that was inspired by that whole West Coast movement, which I kind of grew up listening to and absolutely loved. I remember seeing video clips like let me ride Dr. Dre and there was a lady flicking switches and like, one day I'm gonna do that. That is so dope. And fast forward to now 2023 The car well, I'm endorsed by Pioneer DJ Australia. And what that means is that the car is also endorsed by them. We have a couple of turntables in the trunk, and I do events here and around Australia DJing out of the 1964 Chevrolet Impala, which is definitely you know, it's eye catching up it gets attention and a lot of fun doing it too. So yeah, so that's that's kind of my life. I'm also part of Majestics Australia, which is one of the original low writing clubs from the US of A originally and straight out of Compton in the 70s. And they were the one of the first to do it and highly respected in the car club scene all around the world. So an absolute honour to be the first lady in Australia to rep for them. And, yes, something that that I enjoyed doing so much. Something that I enjoy doing with my family, it really is a family affair. And with the low rider, very special, I always say that's my first baby. And then my child is my second baby. It's kind of how it happened chronologically. But also, it's it's a very, very fun thing that car to me. One thing that my mom knew that I always wanted growing up, as I mentioned earlier, she then passed, and I tried to get a couple of cars, the deals fell through this one came through was, I could write a book about getting that car here to Australia. Absolute mission. But we did it took a long time, but we got it here. original paperwork came. And I looked at that paperwork, and I just bawled my eyes out, because the original date of delivery, for the first owner in 1964 was the same date that my mom passed in a different year, but same day, and I just thought, what are the chances? What are the chances this car has? Definitely yeah, this is meant to be this meant to be mine. And, yeah, we've worked on her for 10 years. That journey is not yet over. At least she's back on road, I just did the first drive two days ago for a car show here. And, man, it felt good three years off the road. Finally back. And the last shows that I've done for Pioneer have been trailered. So to actually drive to this last one over the weekend was just such a good feeling. Really, really good feeling.

Adam Gow:

So when you when you first had had designs on getting the car did did you was this vision fully formed of DJing out of it as well, or was that just something that came along

DJ D:

it? It was it's not something I ever shared with some with anybody. But it was always part of the plan. And that's something I think I've always worked that way. And maybe it's a graphic design thing, I don't know. But to have that overall vision. It's it's important thing for me, and it's how I work with most facets of my life and what I do. It's sometimes hard to explain to others and they don't always get it until they see it. So same sort of thing happened even with the car in Pioneer DJ and I mentioned you know what I want to do and they just didn't get in. They said, Can you show us I'm like, Yeah, I'll mock something up for you give me you know, give me till tomorrow. I'll send it through. And then finally, they got what I was talking about. And yeah, we've done a whole bunch of shows now. We even opened the Bathurst 12 hour, earlier this year. So I got to drive my car down the race track, which was amazing. And, you know, we played we unveiled it there. That was the first time it was ever shown. And it did a private party with all the racecar drivers on the track and then played for the next four days in the Halsey heat and absolutely melted. We all got burned. By good memories, nonetheless, we had a great time. And of course, my son threw down some some wax on there as well too. So good memories for him. He's his dream is to be a racing car driver. So of course mom had to do this one, just for him to have those memories growing up. So yeah, good times.

Adam Gow:

How's it been for your partner over the years? Kind of working around you're really busy sort of lifestyle.

DJ D:

Luckily, he's busy too. He understands. And I appreciate that so much, because not everybody could kind of live that life. He is also in the music scene. He is a vocal trainer. And he actually has been up until me being pregnant. He was teaching seven days a week. So yeah, less now. I made him take Sundays off to give me a little hand. So yeah, he thankfully understands it is a it is a juggle as a juggle between the two of us and you know, pre child, we were like ships in the night, you know, Oh, yeah. Good night. And because, you know, I was working nights and he was working days and we'd pass each other by. But yeah, now it's a bit more of a tag team effort of you know, who's going to look after child today and Who's gonna feed who's going to who's going to do the bath, who's gonna have a little routine it works. You know, luckily what I do now, I'm just literally doing radio shows and DJing. Now, and that's to a degree flexible all but mainly based on weekends. So he gets the week I get the weekend and it kind of works, you know. So yeah, I don't know how long we'll be able to maintain it for but let's go for as long as we can and make the most of it as we go.

Adam Gow:

Yeah, that's it make hay while the sun shines. A mindful of time. So let's, let's look at wrapping up in the next few minutes. So a couple of big questions that I want to ask you. If you've got any key pieces of advice for anyone looking to start DJing? Or if there's anything for any female DJs that are looking to start battling, for example.

DJ D:

Definitely. Okay. So number one to anybody is just do you. I think that's, it's so simple, but it's so key. Often, you know, you sort of see it, it's great to learn, like, like I mentioned earlier, it's great to learn from other people imitate them, by all means, but then make it your own. Bring your flavour to that that thing that you're doing, whether it's a battle routine, whether it's a recording, whether it's a you know, a live stream, who knows, do you because there's only one of you, and that's going to make you stand out. And that's kind of what you need to do in this scene, you know, you have to stand out in some way or form to get that attention and get noticed and, and hopefully then get some props. For the ladies, perseverance, it really is the key. Yeah, practice, practice, practice. You hear that all the time. But perseverance, I think really is perseverance and dedication. One of the first articles I remember being published about me back in the early 2000s, was titled D is for dedication. And I think it's really what's gotten me as far as it has. Just yeah, I'm at this thing that I love. 24/7, where I can, obviously not always possible with child. And that's a juggle in itself. But every other waking moment that I can where I'm not absolutely passing out, because I'm so tired, I'm going to dedicate something to this. And that alone pays off in time, you know. So it's all about the energy you put in, it's all about the dedication, the perseverance, and probably the biggest one, the one that took me about maybe 20 years to figure out and learn. Don't worry so much about what other people think. I think that's the big one for the ladies, because that's something we tend to do a lot and you know, getting kind of online, you're gonna get trolls, you're gonna get a you know, maybe not so nice comments. Don't let it stop you doing what you love. That's really key, I think. Simple ladies that weigh two

Adam Gow:

fingers crossed. And just the final question, then, is there any one particular that you would like to hear on this podcast?

DJ D:

Oh, yeah, for sure. There's many, but I have to say, my brother from another mother, DJ, Robert Smith, I'd love to see a podcast with him on there. He's an absolute legend. He's been a pillar of strength for me over the last three years. And yeah, he's got a pretty cool story to tell, which is what I've been finding out over these last three years. I'd love to see that. If you could make that happen. That would be absolutely incredible.

Adam Gow:

Amazing. We'll go for it. D, thank you so much for your time today. This has been a really cool conversation. And is there anyone you want to shout out or anything before we go?

DJ D:

Definitely to the whole 40 fives community I love you guys from the 45 kings to 45 day to dusty doughnuts to all of the labels out there doing their thing. both local and internationally. Mama D love you and Yeah, honestly, the love that comes in I want to send it back threefold if I can just it's so appreciated. From the nice comments to people sending me records Yes. What were that let's bring it on. Oh, and of course everybody that tunes into the show goes to the streams to the live gigs all of that sort of stuff. You know what? I don't just I do this for me. Yes, but I do it for you guys as well. You know I want to get out there I want to give people a good time. Forget about those warriors forget about those stresses, let's just you know for this 1/2/3/4/5 Whatever many hours that set is Let's just enjoy ourselves. You know, that's really what it's about. Enjoy the music. Enjoy ourselves have a good Time. Best thing to do in life in my opinion.

Adam Gow:

Wonderful. Great. Thanks very much for your time. Anytime. Thank you for having me on. Take care. You too.