The Scottish DJ drops a wild 60 minutes.
Clair Stirling is a radio host, artist and designer who is best known as an in-house DJ for the Glasgow label/collective LuckyMe. She's played a large role in defining LuckyMe's multidisciplinary flair, contributing artwork—including sleeves for Machinedrum and Baauer—styling for music videos and general visual direction. Through her regular appearances on Rinse FM, she showcases the sound of LuckyMe, a broad church that's rooted in electronic music but throws mutated forms of hip-hop and pop into the blender. Stirling got her start in radio aged 16, although her roots in dance music go back to her childhood, which is when her parents introduced her to house and techno. She hosted a show on interFACE, the world's first online pirate radio station, and went on to present on BBC Radio 1 as part of the station's In New DJs We Trust series. These experiences have shaped Stirling into an adventurous selector who casually and confidently joins the dots between disparate club styles.
On her RA podcast, it takes Stirling all of two minutes to demonstrate this knack: she opens with a Shackleton-esque new track by the footwork artist Jlin before easing into a breezy '80s freestyle cut by Cynthia Roundtree. What follows is a gripping collision between classic and contemporary, with raw house and techno rhythms bumping against fresh beats from talents like Blacksea Não Maya, Shanti Celeste and Inkke.
What have you been up to recently?
I recently just moved to London, had a lot of EU shows. Also randomly been reading up a lot on master rights laws, which had me faxing people in Miami! Radio, sculpture, drawing and did my first large-scale painting work. Working on illustrations for next year. Just generally getting ready for 2016.
How and where was the mix recorded?
Went from a nice setup in Edinburgh at the LuckyMe office to a flat down in London. But had to do the last take in Hud Mo's studio here in London, super late at night. I think I went a wee bit mad and overthinking with it because I think RA mixes tend to get noticed, whereas a lot of other online mixes can get lost, so I wanted this one to be a bit of a statement.
Can you tell us about the idea behind the mix?
I've been DJing for about 15 years and I've been on radio for 15 years. I think because of LuckyMe being understood as more of a hip-hop and internet thing, it's not understood so much as a dance label, which might be good thing, but I've been doing this a long time now. It's all I've done, really. I wanted to reflect that in the mix. It spans some of my tastes. I dot about genres a lot in sets. I get that it's not some credible slow blending, but I don't see a difference in the genres and I'm not a purist about it. The mix and commonality of the songs is what's interesting to me. I balance out the old and new. Fun and emotional. That's sophisticated to me.
You've been heavily involved with radio over the years. Would you say that you have a particular style or approach to the format?
It's all feeling, I don't plan anything. I treat it like my sets. I can have fun with the format and I look forward to changing things in the new year to theming my radio shows, but as it stands my work at Radio 1 and Rinse has been all intuitive to me. And when I think about the history of radio, I suppose that's a classic thing now. It seems even the specialist shows are mostly pre-programmed, which there's nothing wrong with but we would never do that. I love to play unpredictably and for the feeling of the night—that's what makes it a bit more honest and rough and fun to me.
How about your design style? Does music play any sort of role in this?
Definitely depends on the project but I guess it echoes in my personal work sometimes. I tend to be more free and use unpredictable formats.
What are you up to next?
Next super cool thing is The Warehouse Project, December 11th with Hudson Mohawke. I curated room two and he did room one. So excited for the whole lineup. Then a week after is a party on the 18th at Shapes in London that I programmed for Clock Strikes 13. I'm working on a record but also more in the art world. Through the day that's what I spend my time doing: bits for friends and for the label. More to see next year!