Coffee with DJ Rap the World’s Finest Female DJ
DJ Rap has been a headline DJ for almost twenty five years and often considered the finest female DJ on the planet. DJ Rap has played for hundreds of thousands of people in the time she’s been slamming decks and helped pioneer a musical genre, namely Drum n Bass. DJ Rap cut her teeth during the illegal days of Acid House in the late eighties, where she played for a host of historic party promoters such as Genesis’88. Once music started to veer from the melodic beats of American House music to a faster paced Hardcore House, the female DJ stepped up to the plate and soon became one of the most respected DJ’s in the game. She started her own record label and talent agency in 1990 and released a host of hits that crowned her the queen of Drum n Bass, a title she still holds today. Although firmly established within the Drum n Bass community, the DJ spends much time experimenting with new commercial sounds which she then releases through her label. Having just released her first commercial track of twenty seventeen Detonate alongside some fresh remixes, we grabbed an opportunity for a few words from the legend herself.
Welcome DJ Rap, thanks for talking with us. For those out there that aren’t familiar with you and your talents, can we start with you telling us a little bit about yourself?
Sure thing, I am a singer/songwriter/producer/actor and music is my life. I’ve been touring since I was 18 and started out as a classically trained pianist and then went to a rave and it turned my life upside down.
So being no stranger to the music scene, what was it that got you into drum & bass?
Actually, I was around and in the scene before Drum & Bass was even invented, so what got me into the scene Acid House and House music was the feeling you got went you saw 50,000 going nuts and sharing the love. In those early days, music brought everyone together, that was it for me. The feeling of one giant family. As an artiste and producer, I just progressed and went through every genre, house, happy hardcore, breakbeat and then jungle, then drum & bass and also songs/band the whole thing. I like it all.
Who were your biggest influences at the time?
Genesis, Bowie, Prince, Seal.
Let’s talk producing. Did you ever imaging you’d have the tremendous success you’ve had in a largely male dominated industry?
Put it this way, I wasn’t taking no for an answer. I’m still grateful every day for this life and what music has done for me. It’s hard and sometimes I feel like I am quite insane to do this to myself, but it’s all worth it somehow.
Do you have any advice for the up and coming producers out there both male and female?
Yes, start from a place of playfulness. In other words, don’t get caught up in sound design or it being perfect right away, start out by sketching your ideas and then worry about the production. Second piece of advice, learn how the business works….. If you’re a DJ learn to produce, otherwise you’re just an iTunes jukebox DJ. I have a music school where I teach one on one on-line private lessons, Ableton, music business etc… www.musictechcollective.com when new blood needs affordable help navigating their way through the music industry, in every aspect. They come to me, and I feel truly blessed to pay it forward!
First release of 2017 is Detonate, released on your label Propa Talent and comes with 3 wicked remixes. Can you talk us through this?
This record has been in the works for 3 years and it’s taken me a long time to get to this point. I re-wrote it several times. I also collaborated with some very talented people. Julian Shah Taylor and I originally wrote the song, Matt Becks co produced the radio version with me and Naif G does all my mix/mastering. Eat Glitter + Shine remixed the Trap mix with a little help from me, I did not want to have to just be alone in a studio, I wanted that collaborative experience. The drum & bass mix however, is all me disappearing into sound design heaven.
What reaction to the release been so far?
Amazing response from everyone, I am truly excited to see what happens!
If you had the opportunity to collaborate with anyone, who would it be and why?
I’m looking forward to working with Simon from Drumsound & Bassline Smith, and the Viper boys possibly this year. Just have to give them the right song… There are so many people! I don’t know man I also love Thrash Metal and Indie so my list is endless.
We can see you’re on the line up for Moondance Festival 2017, what’s next for you? Travel and touring?
Touring the end of the year. October in England, China and U.S.A to name a few. Start on the second EP and repeat! I am also swamped with the school and excited to pay it forward teaching…. plus Im acting so I shoot ‘SEEKER FRIENDLY’ this year (I’m the lead actress) and I also have a video with Detonate from the movie that is so much fun!
Any last words, shouts?
To my team who work incredibly hard, the Blossom boys, my agents who are bad ass and all my students and last but not least, all those who support me through the high times and the low, I could not do this without you all.
Brand New – Detonate EP