Upbeat grooves from a leading London DJ.
Every other Wednesday afternoon, Alice Moxom sets out from her home in North London and travels to Dalston. Her destination is a small metal commercial unit covered in stickers, with a window at the front that looks out onto Gillett Square, a lively local community hub. This modest studio has become iconic in London's music scene—it's the home of NTS Radio, the platform from which, over the past seven years, Moxom has steadily built her career as a DJ. "I try to treat it as though I'm telling my mates about what I've just been digging for," she tells us. "I also get to connect with and invite on DJs and producers who I really admire." Moxom's ascent has basically mirrored that of NTS: she was originally known and respected locally and throughout the UK, but has since picked up fans around the globe, with gigs on five continents in recent years. The show has also given her plenty of time to hone her craft as a radio presenter and voiceover artist. Her natural command of the microphone was undoubtedly part of the reason she landed slots on BBC Radio 1's Residency and In New DJs We Trust series, and she's also become the voice of RA's ongoing series of video essays, which have so far gone deep on subjects like Burial, Moodymann, Larry Heard and garage's mutation into dubstep.
Like many DJs on NTS, Moxom's style is far-reaching, with an emphasis on house music and its connected forms. You'll hear this clearly at her regular On Loop events in the UK and around Europe, where she invites down some of her favourite DJs, with a particular emphasis on emerging women artists. Before all of this, Moxom cut her teeth in London's dubstep and bass music scenes, something she subtly emphasises on RA.642. While the mood is upbeat and groovy, a dark, dubby bassline is never far from view.
What have you been up to recently?
I'm just coming to the end of a very busy summer and festival season, finished off by hosting a stage at Festival N°6 for my label and party, On Loop. In the midst of all that I've been working on my next compilation, Moxie Presents Vol.4, which includes some really talented people such as DJ Python, Nathan Micay (Bwana), Steve Spacek, The Maghreban and more. I usually work on these for the best part of nine months while going back and forth with the artists, so I'm very excited about it coming out and for everyone to hear it. Alongside the music stuff I also do voiceovers as my other job for various companies/brands and, of course, narrating the video essays for Resident Advisor, which has been such a treat to work on. Doing this mix and being asked to play Klubnacht at Panorama Bar have definitely been highlights this year, both very big milestones for me that ironically happened the day after each other.
How and where was the mix recorded?
At home with Pioneer NXS2 CDJs, an Allen & Heath Xone:92 mixer and Adam A7X monitors.
Can you tell us about the idea behind the mix?
I spent a lot of time digging through my record collection to share some older stuff I love, as well as hitting up mates for new material. I wanted to nod towards the music I grew up with, especially the darker sounds which assimilate towards my dubstep years and the parties I used to play. Music that has a "heads down" and dubby aesthetic, all the while wanting to keep it groovy and percussive. I play many different styles depending on where I'm at and what time I'm on, so it was definitely a challenge to try and consider which direction to go to reflect that. Usually it takes me ages to compile a mix but this one just put itself together, which was a first for me. There's music featured from artists like Lord Tusk, Tracey, Mala and some unreleased stuff from Mix Mup, Gene On Earth, Shanti Celeste & Hodge, and a couple bits on the new Moxie Presents compilation from Louise Chen and Violet.
Why has radio formed such a large part of your work down the years? What do you like about the format?
My show on NTS happened in such a casual way; I never thought I'd be hosting on the radio. They've given me the room to do whatever I like, and it's helped me grow into a presenter. It forces me to dig and stay on top of what's happening. I try to treat it as though I'm telling my mates about what I've just been digging for. I also get to connect with and invite on DJs and producers who I really admire. I listen to NTS most days and often find music on there I've never heard of. There are so many underrated DJs playing on there and the station itself holds so much importance in community, which I think can often get lost.
What have you been listening to recently?
When I'm not going through music for gigs I like to get stuck into albums or podcasts. Tirzah's new album is dope, also I think The Carters' record is one of the best pop albums to come out this year. The new Lolina, The Smoke, album is wicked too, weirdly wonderful and addictive. Adam Buxton for podcasts is a firm go-to and Alec Baldwin's Here's The Thing is another one.
What are you up to next?
Next week I go on my first North American tour, with shows in Boston, Montreal, NYC, Philadelphia and Mexico. I also have my first tour in India lined up, and then will be in Australia for New Year. In between that I'll be touring my On Loop nights across the UK and Ireland. I'm really happy with how all the lineups have come together. When I started the night I really wanted to consider how I could use it as a platform not only to bring new talent through but also utilise it as a space to book more women. I would often get asked about gender balance and what my thoughts are on it, and I think visibility and presence is key. The more that people see themselves doing something they thought they would never be able to do, the more it encourages them to give it a go. When I look back through our lineups and how many people we book each year, the women always outweigh the men, which is something I'm really proud of.