House, disco and acid from a DJ on the rise.
Peggy Gou is a relatively new DJ with a timeless style. The music she makes and plays often begs the question: was this track made yesterday or 20 years ago? This was true of her releases across 2016, where, on tracks like the standout "Gou Talk," her production approach collapsed the sense of time. She recently told Red Bull that she wants to be more considered with her rate of releases from now on, but there's no doubt her four EPs in 2016 kick-started things for her. (It also helped that they came out on leading labels like REKIDS, Phonica and the Ninja Tune sub-label Technicolour.) As a DJ, Gou plays a breadth of styles within a loose aesthetic framework. Whether it's house, disco, techno or something fruitier, she seems to enjoy gritty drums, snaking melodies and throwing the mixer's faders around. But however you choose to characterise Gou's style, it's clear that it's working extremely well for her. As recently as 2015 she was playing sporadically in her native South Korea; in 2017, she played over 100 shows, which basically included every leading nightclub in the world.
We get something old and new on Gou's RA podcast, a mix that highlights some of her all-time favourites as well as tracks from her upcoming EP for Ninja Tune. It's the sound of a DJ who has well and truly arrived.
What have you been up to recently?
I spent my last two weeks of 2017 on my favourite island, Bali. I go there every end of a year for meditation and healing, recharging my vibes and energy. This time I got lucky with a chance to play with one of my heroes, Larry Heard. That was unforgettable! Then I came back to Europe to work. I was in Italy on NYE then back to Manchester for The Warehouse Project closing party. I'm in Seoul right now spending a few days with my family, and have to go back to Europe next week. I've got lots of work to catch up on!
How and where was the mix recorded?
I actually recorded this in my hotel room in Bali! Katamama is the best hotel I've ever been to. Every DJ/artist who plays at the Potato Head Beach Club stays there. I told them I had to record new mix by end of December and they set up two turntables, two CDJs and a mixer for me! So cool that I could record in my hotel room haha!
Can you tell us about the idea behind the mix?
Every time I record a mix I find this not so easy to explain, as I often record my mixes with the flow. I can say that it is with different genres of music that I love—electro, disco, acid, house, etc.—also with some of my favourite artists, a lot that I am influenced by, such as Aphex Twin, Galaxy 2 Galaxy and Dorisburg, plus old tracks from Tan Ru and Suburban Knight. And I'm including two tracks from my new EP coming out on Ninja Tune in early March!
We enjoyed the video you posted the other day. What does your mum make of your music?
Haha I didn't expect to get this kind of reaction when I was posting that video, but I actually got a lot of messages and comments. I ask her sometimes, "Mum, how does this sound to you? Danceable? Does it make you wanna dance?" Sometimes she says "no" haha! But she liked the one I'm singing in Korean (from the new one included on this mix as last track).
Do you have any personal ambitions for 2018?
I have a lot of plans for 2018. I can mention that I would like to start my own label, perhaps my own party and prepare a live set. In 2018 I'm reducing my gigs to almost half that I played in 2017 so I can focus on more music. I aim to finish an album by the end of 2018 and have a live set prepared by then, too. Beside music I used to draw a lot and I haven't done any artwork recently so I would like to do more of this and take more lessons on vocals, instruments etc. I would like to spend a lot of time improving myself this year, including being healthy too. I'm going back to the gym!
What are you up to next?
I'm going back to Europe next week. I have a lot of work to do in the studio: working on tracks for my UN campaign, prepare a new EP, more recording work, mixes etc. Last year I was touring quite a lot so I had little studio time. I managed to do some remix work but when I saw no releases in 2017 under my name on Discogs I felt quite ashamed—but at the same time it just wasn't possible! I'm taking a few weeks off in February so I can take some instrument, dance and vocal lessons.