In Conversation with Gabriella
Words: Gina Bonnar | 18 December 2020
Next up on our interview series is Peachy Records boss gal Gabriella! She has been busy juggling working full time, appearing on her Flex FM radio show, and of course, managing her label. She has taken time out of her schedule to talk to us about what she has been up to recently, the new Peachy Records EP "Common Sense" as well as offering some excellent advice for womxn wanting to get into a career in music.
Hey Gabriella, for those who do not know you tell us a bit about yourself.
Hey Gina, I'm a DJ, label owner and radio presenter, formerly known as "Tino". I play a mix of techno / UK garage/breaks/grime and more - basically anything if I'm feeling it! I also have a monthly show on Flex FM in London.
As a fellow boss gyal, you have been really busy over lockdown with your label Peachy, Djing and radio appearances! How do you keep so motivated and organised when being creative?
It's a passion project for me so I guess the motivation comes from genuinely enjoying finding tracks to release or recording mixes, and that makes it not feel like a chore. I get bursts of enthusiasm and that's when I have to get everything done. I have a finance career too which means 9-5 (and often evenings and weekends) I prioritise that, which can make it hard to find energy for my musical ventures, so I think lockdown actually helped me to get on top of my label because of all the spare time I found myself with.
in terms of DJing, you tend to span across a lot of different genres when you mix. Have you got a favourite genre to mix and why?
I'm so bad at choosing favourites!! Grime will always have a special place in my heart, but I have recently been rediscovering my love for house music, which was actually my gateway into underground music back in 2012. My music taste changes constantly and I'm happy for the music I play to change with it, rather than being confined to one genre, plus its really fun to mix different genres together. In think my favourite genre to mix live though is UK Funky because it's so high energy and I love dropping a cheesey UK Funky remix of Sean Paul or Fergie.
I love how you use your platforms on the radio and through mixes to promote women and their music. Are there any that you are particularly inspired by at the moment?
Yes so many!! Almost too many to name. I think it's a really great time for women in music right now. My main inspirations have always been Madam X and Jamz Supernova. Madam X has always just played exactly what she likes regardless of if it's popular, and I love the way you can hear anything from techno to dubstep in one of her sets. Jamz Supernova is a really great presenter and I've discovered a lot of new and up-coming artists via her sets and radio shows. Right now though, I'm inspired by Anz and the serious moves she has been making, Logic 1000 who has burst onto the scene with a really signature sound, plus Jords, Emerald, Chippy Non Stop, Jyoty, Mina, Jossy Mitsu, Tash LC have all influenced what I listen to or play in one way or another. I am lucky enough to have a lot of friends in the scene that inspire me constantly with their work rate and passion, like Ila Brugal, DJ Tess, Eich and her label More Cowbell, Clouwds, Charla Green Franks, Carly Wilford and Clarabelle!
in a highly male-oriented scene it’s important that we have labels like yourselves celebrating creative women by giving them platforms and empowering women! What, in your eyes, still needs to be done within the scene to make it a more equal playing field?
I actually think people just need to stop talking about it! The more we go on about "female DJs" the more it is still a thing - we are just DJs and this is our space too, we don't need special treatment, we just need equal treatment and to be taken seriously not second guessed. It is starting to improve, but there are a lot of butt-hurt men on the internet who like to say that certain womxn have only become successful due to being a womxn, when actually if they worked half as hard as these womxn they are belitting have, they might be successful themselves! Peachy isn't just a platform for womxn, it's for anyone that I am rating at the time, they just often happen to be womxn because there are so many talented female artists out there. I have always said that I don't understand the lineup representation issue because when I am running event, I struggle to choose between the amazing womxn out there! There is a massive representation issue in music which goes beyond gender.
Your Label "Peachy" is certainly getting popular interest at the moment especially with Your new release “Common Sense” with Lara and Sutty. We are loving the 140 sound, our favourite is Lara’s “Many Lives”! Tell us more about this release, and how Peachy and this particular release came about.
I'm glad you like the release! I launched Peachy initially as a club night about 3.5 years ago, and made the decision to branch into a label last year. My friend Lila used to work with me on Peachy, and I just messaged her one day like "let's make Peachy a label!!" and she was like "can we do that, we don't know anything about record labels?!" but we just worked it out as we went along, and to be honest I am still working it all out! I am thoroughly enjoying it though, and it's great to showcase some artists that I have connected with throughout my time in the music industry. We are quite laid back at Peachy, releases just come out when we have found a track or producer we like, and there's no real formula, I would be open to most genres, it just happens that the first 3 releases have all been from artists who are known in the 140 scene.
Common Sense came off the back of me singing 3 of Lara's tracks, and asking if she would be up for collaborating with Sutty on one of the tracks. I always had Lara in mind for a release as soon as I had the idea to start a label. We met when I guested on her show on Subtle FM and I was really excited when she sent me some of her music. I met Sutty through Lila who used to run Peachy with me, and Sutty has since performed at 2 of our events plus sang over our sets at Outlook Festival - she is part of the Peachy family now! Luckily Lara and Sutty both agreed to working together and we actually coordinated the whole thing in lockdown which was strange, but was nice to have something to focus on amongst the madness. I'm so pleased with how the release has gone, and it was lovely to see the 140 community all supporting it on their radio shows, seeing as it can't get any club plays just yet!
Events are sadly on hold and for too long now. Feel like we are all going a bit crazy waiting around for it to come back. You have curated some amazing lineups including Sicaria Sound, Anz, Jossy Mitsu, and Murder he wrote. Have you got any artists you would love to have to your lineups when you get back to events?
I'm not sure if Peachy is going to go back to events for a little while as I am loving running the label so much, but we absolutely loved the events we did do, and is something we would consider again in the future!
As a promoter myself, I understand the intense stress of planning events but also the amazing feeling you get when it goes well. Tell me about your favourite experience as a promoter!
I have really loved every single event, but I do have a few highlights. The first ever Peachy was incredible, I was so scared no one would turn up, and I was thinking to myself "at least if just my friend group turns up that's 12 people", but I checked the event sales an hour before and we had sold all the online tickets! It was such a great night, with so much energy in the room and lots of people around me that I loved. In 2018 a headliner I had booked for a collab night with Influx Audio pulled out just as we announced the event due to work commitments, which was initially stressful but Marcus Nasty, who has supported me since I was just starting out in my own DJ career, came through instead and saved the day, and it was nice to book someone that had been sort of a mentor to me. I also loved a big 140 night that we did at Yellow Arch in Sheffield, we had Silkie, Sepia, Ila Brugal B2B Buer, Feind, Aztek and more, and the crowd were amazing and it was such a great mix of artists to have under one roof.
There's no doubt that you set an amazing example for girls wanting to venture into music management, djing and radio! Is there any advice you can give to girls wanting to get into music more professionally?
If you're like me and are just a DJ not a producer, then you have to put effort into connecting with producers. In the early days I found Facebook groups really useful for finding undiscovered bedroom producers, and some of those people I reached out to are now some of my best friends, and have become really successful in the music industry. It had been really amazing growing with some of these producers that I connected with - it would start off with me playing one of the tunes they had sent me in an online mix series for a smallish platform, and we would both be so excited about it, and now fast-forward 4 years and I've played some of their latest tracks on things like BBC 1xtra and Boiler Room! As their music has improved, the platforms I am playing on have also improved, and obviously they do have careers in their own rights too, but I just really treasure these relationships that I have built and that all started with a Facebook message 5 years ago! So my advice would definitely be connecting with producers because without them, there would be nothing for us DJ's to mix! Don't be beggy about it though or flood their DMs - it's just about making genuine connections and being in amongst the community that the music scene has created for us.
Another bit of advice would be offering to help with any platforms / labels / stations, because most of these are ran for the love of it with no monetary reward in the early days so they would definitely appreciate the help, and it helps you to identify which area you would like to venture into yourself.
Finally, my DMs are always open for questions about DJing or the music industry in general, to men and womxn and anyone who identifies otherwise! I wouldn't have gotten far without the genuine kindness and support that certain people have shown me throughout my career, especially when I was a complete novice (special shouts to Duds, Kushie and Marcus Nasty) so I am always keen to help others where and if I can.
Dont forget to check out Peachy's new Release Lara - "Common Sense" Featuring Sutty Available to buy here