Those who don’t follow Get Physical too closely might have thought the first woman on the label was M.A.N.D.Y, but that’s two men actually, and the honour rightfully goes to Heidi. Originally from Canada but now based in London, vinyl junkies might recognise her face from behind the counter at Soho record shop Phonica, but by night she's secretly a working DJ, spinning at respected parties at top venues such as Space Ibiza, Fabric and the Panoramabar in Berlin.
And while some DJs take ten years to get around to releasing their first mix CD (hi Marco Carola), Heidi doesn’t mess around: 'Monza Club Ibiza Compilation Vol. 1' has just been released on Get Physical. Not a bad gig. Not envious enough yet? Recently she’s also been stepping into production too, with her first single 'Vejer' on Get Physical showing a taste for ravey, epic electrohouse.
So inquiring minds want to know: how does a new DJ find their feet so quickly? RA sat down with Heidi in London and found out.
You've just released your first 12" single 'Vejer' on Get Physical, a collaboration between you and your boyfriend Riton. When did you decide to make a track together?
The label asked me to do the track for the Monza compilation. And since he's my homeboy, you know, he helped me out. It's the first track I've ever done so he helped me a lot because I'm not the most technical person. I had an idea of how I wanted it to sound and I'm happy with how it came out.
What's your studio set-up? How do you produce together?
Well, I have ideas that I want to do in the studio with Riton. We produce stuff using his technical know-how and my ideas. But you know, producing is still relatively new to me.
Do you have a musical background? Do you play any instruments?
No, my sister got all the musical ability. She plays instruments and I got an obsession for music instead. I'm way too impatient to learn how to play an instrument.
Do you have any other releases coming out in the future? Solo releases or further productions with Riton or other producers?
At the moment I'm DJing a lot so I'll make some time to get into the studio around Christmas. I've been asked to do a few remixes which I haven't said yes or no to yet. But Riton and I plan to produce more tracks together.
You've also just released the Monza compilation on Get Physical too. How did that come about?
Well I met the guys three years ago, and they asked me to play in Frankfurt and then last year in Ibiza for Monza. That went down a treat so I played out again in Ibiza this year. They asked me if I'd do the compilation. I had like a month to get the tracklist at the start of the summer so I just went with my gut instinct. It's nice that some of the tracks ended up being big in Ibiza.
Do any of the tracks on the compilation have extra special significance? Why?
I really like the Hot Chip track at the end. I got a lot of flack for using this one but I really like it, and I think it has more meaning than some other tracks I could have finished with.
On the compilation there are a lot of house grooves. Tell us about your musical influences past and present.
I love the deep stuff, the grooves, like Kerri Chandler. I like to mix it all together. Going back to my younger days in Canada, I was really into The Verve and Jane’s Addiction. When I was a teenager I had a house party when my parents were out of town. So my boyfriend went to Detroit and picked the first CD he saw and it was The Verve. Back in those days all Canadians did acid and mushrooms, you know? So I put the CD on and sat in front of the speaker and when that first guitar riff I went…(makes stoner face). This was back in 1991. That night we also listened to Cypress Hill. Other big artists for me include Boards of Canada, PJ Harvey and Stereolab.
Besides Get Physical what are some other labels or producers at the front of your record box?
Sebo K. Sebo K is my man. I love all the Mobilee guys; they are all lovely people, which maybe makes me like them more. Alex Under. I think this guy is the business; he adds the jack to techno. I'm looking forward to hearing more from Jamie Jones. I love Jesse Rose. Martin Buttrich, Loco Dice’s producer, is kicking off. Sleeper Thief are good too.
When you DJ what's the most important: the groove, pushing the intensity, creating a journey or playing for yourself or the crowd?
When I DJ I play for both myself and the crowd. I like to play things that keep me interested because I have, like, super ADD and cannot concentrate for too long. I like to get the party started and I like to play a range of stuff as you can hear on the CD.
You regularly play in London and Germany. Tell us your perspective on how the two differ in terms of crowds, clubs, attitudes etc.
When I play in Germany I can usually play a lot deeper because the crowds there allow you to go deeper. In London I cannot play Kerri Chandler stuff. At Panoramabar the crowds really absorb what you play. But London also knows how to have it too. The last time I played Fabric, it totally went off.
As a woman rinsing wax, what are your views on other ladies in the scene such as Miss Kittin, Magda, Anja Schneider, Dinky etc?
I've played with Dinky and Cassy who are lovely ladies, and also Magda a long time ago. Anja is also a lovely lady and I've appeared on her radio show. It's nice seeing ladies coming through. All these ladies seem to back each other, which is nice.
Miss Kittin is cool. But I don’t think I could ever control a crowd of 20,000 like she does because I don't play those kinds of records. You know, she just plays those dancefloor slammers. Ellen Allien is cool and Margaret Dygas is also my homegirl. Dinky and Cassy play a lot of old stuff, which is nice, because they both know what tracks make ladies feel good on the dancefloor.
What are your thoughts on the laptop-fuelled minimal movement a la Hawtin and Magda? Do you think everyone will ultimately use laptops and Ableton Live or Final Scratch?
Those guys are on another level. It's very, very experimental, like Basic Channel stuff. It's not the stuff you're going to bust your ass on the dancefloor to - it is what it is. It doesn’t matter what format DJs use as long as the tunes are phat.
What's been your best and worst gig so far this year?
The Berlin Love Parade was crazy. I flew in from Ibiza, and was going back to back with Kate Wax and some others for eight hours. The party was crazy.
Fabric is also always good but my first gig at Fabric, around a year ago was in room one, which was scary. My worst gig would be the gig that didn't happen. We didn’t even get into Geneva. We flew to another airport and I totally missed the gig. I had to sleep on the promoters couch. All I saw was the airport.
You also work at Phonica. Tell us the most interesting or unusual experience you've had with a customer.
I have had some real Soho crack monkeys come in shouting abuse and calling me a cunt and stuff.
What's your role at Phonica now? Do you think it will change in the future?
I don't do any of the buying anymore. I do all of the front stuff in the shop. I've also had to cut back my hours because my DJing is really taking over. Now I only work part time. My health was suffering and I wasn't happy. But with the DJing I'm going to go with it for a while and see what happens, just take it for what it's worth. Maybe it might not go anywhere. I spend all my time at Phonica. It's fun and I love it. For the future, we will see.
Given you work in a record shop, have you noticed any shifts in musical trends recently?
Minimal is so minimal I can’t even hear it. For me it’s all about basslines and a nice hook. But there are a lot of young guys starting labels and putting tracks out which is cool. But for the most part, it's not groundbreaking. It's got to be special and have a little something to stand out.
How did the music scene in Canada affect your musical direction?
I've lived in London for six years but back in Canada I listened to a lot of psychedelic rock including the Verve and Jane’s Addiction, hip hop, and more electronic stuff like Boards of Canada. In Canada there weren't a lot of things like there are here in London.
When you're not DJing what do you do?
I like to relax and eat good food and have good conversations, not always about music. I hate crap TV. I cannot watch Big Brother. That blonde chick was so annoying. My girls are here and, you know, I like to spend time with them!
Have you ever had any good interviews or bad ones if so which ones and why?
Well, this one’s been one of the best out of the fifteen I have done. People always like to talk about Richie Hawtin because we're from the same city. People always talk about him like it's his town. They say, “Oh you're from Richie Hawtin’s town". But you've been great. You haven’t mentioned it once!
Do you have any other major plans for this year? Other compilations? Any plans to set up a label?
Well, I've been trying to set up a label for a long time but I just cannot find the time to get stuff done. For this year I have more productions, remixes and DJing as well as the Get Physical Music tour. But now that I work part time at Phonica I can start to do the things I've been putting off for six years, like getting an N.I number because I don't have one of them. And also maybe going to some exhibitions and museums.
Finally, if you had a kitchen sink party which three artists would you have and what celebrities would you like there?
Oh, this is a good question. It makes me think. I would probably go for Andrew Weatherall and his Two Lone Swordsmen partner doing a little something, Derrick L Carter because this guy used to make me dance so hard, and Carl Craig. The celebrities I would like see would be Jennifer Saunders, Dawn French and Joanna Lumley from Ab Fab because there's an episode of Ab Fab where they are raving like crazy in the kitchen and they sit in the front room, after being caught by the daughter Saffy.
‘Monza Club Ibiza Compilation Vol. 1’ compiled and mixed by Heidi is out now on Get Physical