Last night two DJs saved my life: GCDJ
20 Apr 2016
As females become more prevalent on the DJ scene there are many women for us to be keeping an ear out for. Two of these ladies come in the form of Girls Can’t DJ (GCDJ), consisting of DJ’s SAINT ROSE and KT, a couple of amazing women whose musical mayhem is spreading like wildfire. In an age where house music and techno have claimed the souls of many of our friends, you can always count on GCDJ to spice up the night with some garage, hip-hop and classic RnB tracks from our millennial wet dreams. gal-dem caught up with them to find out what it’s like to be an all female collective in a male dominated industry, and what inspires them to keep mixing.
gal-dem: What got you both into DJing and continues to drive you?
SAINT ROSE: So simple, but our love for music keeps us going. DJing still doesn’t feel like work to us, who can get bored of playing tunes with your best mate?
KT: Yep, I completely agree! It all started with the music. You need to feel passion for whatever it is you’re doing otherwise it just won’t work. Playing amazing tunes out to a crowd who you can see are absolutely loving it is such a great feeling too.
What styles are most prevalent in your sets?
SAINT ROSE: That’s a hard one, it’s so mood dependant. Some nights I want to play garage all night then others I want to keep the BPM at around 90, some nice smooth R&B.
KT: Yeah we have a very versatile taste, which is good I guess. Our nights can go from bump ‘n’ grind slow jams, to 80’s funk and disco, to heavy bass lines. I personally love a bit of disco-house.
Who are your inspirations?
SAINT ROSE: Production-wise everything Kaytranada touches is gold to me, but lyrically you can’t touch those 90s female vocals from Brandy, Aaliyah, Ashanti, Sade, Erykah Badu etc. We consider ourselves quite versatile so that’s also a massive factor for me, I appreciate artists such as J Dilla and Robert Glasper who infuse genres and take tracks from the likes of Joni Mitchell and David Bowie and totally give new life to songs.
KT: I’m gonna have to agree with Jordanne on the Kaytranada front when it comes to GCDJ. He combines funky beats with smooth vocals and has some banging remixes. However, we’re inspired by all different genres and artists which is why we have such a broad taste. We love to take it old school, in fact the majority of what we play is 80’s/90’s/early 2000’s. So yeah I’d say we’re definitely inspired by those early sounds.
Do you think it’s harder to break into the scene as females?
SAINT ROSE: I don’t think so, a few years ago it definitely would have been but there’s a proper uprising of female DJs at the moment which is great to see. Stations I love such as Rinse FM and NTS have nuff gyal dem on their bill which is heavy. What’s hard is not being pigeon holed into the whole female DJ gimmick, we are just DJs that happen to be female, ya get me.
KT: Yeah I don’t necessarily think it’s harder, I think many people enjoy the fact we’re female DJs as you don’t come by them often. We’ve both witnessed people looking a bit sceptical when they first see us behind the decks sometimes, but when we start to play they soon have their hands in the air bigging us up.
Do you listen to many female DJ’s yourselves?
KT: B.Traits back in the day was a massive inspiration to me. I used to listen to her Radio 1 Friday night show religiously. She’d play such a variety of bangers and has such a massive personality and energetic presence.
SAINT ROSE: I listen to Yasmin a lot, I’ve been following her for few a years, her soul and RnB mixes are massive and she’s just so cool in general.
Does the crowd keep you hyped you up?
SAINT ROSE: Oh my days, we hype each other up. We can be playing to an empty room and one of us will do a cheeky mix and we will just gas each other up. But yeah, your mood and mixing is definitely affected by how the crowd are responding. A highlight for me was once at the Mash Tun we had people with their tops off dancing on the tables, and me and Katie just threw our headphones down, got up and joined them. If we don’t get people on tables the job isn’t done!
KT: If you could hear us behind the decks when one of us drops a sick tune or mix, it’s hilarious. There aren’t many gigs we’ve played where the audience haven’t been on some kind of object or piece of furniture [laughs]. We love getting the crowd going, we stick to our style but at the end of the day you have to read what the crowd wants, and I think we’re pretty good at that. My highlight has to be last summer at The Tempest Inn playing on the terrace. The sun going down, people on the tables raving to funky house and garage. There’s nothing better!
What’s your creative process? Say you’re making a mix – how do you get into the zone? How long does it take you and are you normally happy with the end results?
KT: Sometimes it can be completely spontaneous and you think ‘yeah… this sounds great!’ Other times it can be hard to completely feel it and be 100% happy with the end result. When it’s planned, I often create a playlist and keep narrowing the songs down and ordering them until I feel content. It doesn’t usually take too long, it all depends. Our ‘All Around The World’ mix took us a good few hours. We carefully selected the tunes together then just went for it and smashed it first time round
SAINT ROSE: It genuinely depends what genre I feel like listening to that week. Say I fancy a bit of hip hop, I will make a quick 45 minute mix, put it on my phone and spend the week listening to it on the train to work. I literally make around one mix a week but then upload none, they are just for me [laughs]! And between us both we have loads of mixes sitting on the shelf that we haven’t uploaded.
Do you think some of those mixes will ever make it to the public?
SAINT ROSE: Yeah definitely, but we are perfectionists. Because they are mixes we just made for us to listen to, there are some mistakes here and there, and we don’t want to upload anything that’s not perfect.
What are your dream DJ destinations and plans for 2016?
KT: We just want to keep expanding really. I mean, we’ve only been together as GCDJ for just over a year and I feel we’ve come so far already, especially around Brighton. We definitely want to get more sets around London and then you know, obviously eventually end up on Glasto main stage.
SAINT ROSE: DJing on the beach at The Tempest Inn last summer was insane so anywhere on the beach would be great! Festivals always have a great vibe so that is definitely our aim this summer, a festival on the beach would be perfect actually.
Since speaking to GCDJ they have secured a residency at Ridley Road Market Bar in Dalston, kicking off their London domination. They can also be found in Brighton, a scene they casually took over, at Coalition, The Haunt, Mash Tun and The Tempest Inn at least once a month so keep your eyes peeled for this floor filling duo.
GCDJ have a new residency at Queen of Hoxton Rooftop, every Sunday starting June 5th. Follow them on Facebook and Soundcloud.