THE last time (I think) I interviewed a D.J…
was when speaking with Carly Wilford last year. It is exciting to learn more about Emma Conybeare because she is a bit of a triple-threat talent. She is a prolific, respected and innovative D.J. who has worked for Hoxton Radio.
She is with Capital XTRA and is one of the most exciting talents in London at the moment. Conybeare is a sport’s brand model so I ask her about her work – including her campaigns with Puma. In addition, she is a keen collaborator and eager to promote and back fellow D.J.s and artists.
I ask the London-based D.J. about her radio and presenting work; what she has planned for the future; the new artists she recommends we take a look at – and how she transitioned from life in sleepy Tring (Hertfordshire): emerging like an ambitious butterfly into the buzz and light of London…
Hi, Emma. How are you? How has your week been?
Juggling D.J. sets with live radio presenting and hosting a BT cycle event…. I wish there were more hours in the day (just so I could sleep)
For those new to your work, can you introduce yourself, please?
I’m a British T.V. presenter and Radio presenter (for Capital XTRA) – doing early-morning breakfast - D.J., model...
Recently, you worked at a MADE Festival and got to interview a range of artists. What was your highlight from the Festival?
I come from a small town in Hertfordshire (Tring) and, growing up, I was into my Drum and Bass music. At this festival, I got to interview all the D.Js. I was growing up with.
So, I had some of those star-struck moments when I got to speak to Chase & Status, Subfocus; Camo & Krooked.
Can you tell me when music first came into your life? What kind of artists did you grow up listening to?
Growing up in Tring: we didn’t really go out clubbing.i
It was a rare occasion because we were pretty far away from clubs; so, we ended up having house parties every weekend. This meant everybody was a D.J. (I mean…everybody).
The sort of music people played was Jungle and Drum and Bass. I was heavy into this until I went to university. It felt weird.
Quite literally, overnight, I was converted into a House and Deep-House Queen.
After you completed your Mathematics and Statics degree at Portsmouth University; you came to London to follow your passions. How important was the move to London and what compelled you to go from academia to something quite distinct from what you were studying?
I knew that I wasn’t going to get anywhere in Tring: It was too far away from things and, let’s face it…it was the place you go to retire. I’m a confident girl and I knew I had to knock on a few doors. I felt Tring was restricting.
London is a small city in a big place: you ended up bumping into people all the time and it is all about meeting the right people.
Many might recognise you from Capital XTRA. How did you become involved with the station and what drew you to being a D.J. in the first place?
I was working on Hoxton Radio for two years and I got head-hunted by Capital XTRA. Music is in my blood: I love creating new sounds; pleasing people with my music selection – plus, the adrenaline-buzz that you get from each set that you produce can make you happy for days.
My favourite albums of this year are from Lana Del Rey, Dizzee Rascal and Sampha. Which discs have been setting your world on fire in 2017?
Ok. So, I know this is a little weird - because I love my House music, Techno etc. - but the albums I am in love with at the moment would have to be Post Malone (Stoney), Jay-Z’s 4:44 - and I’m a massive fan of Joe Goddard (Electric Line).
I Interviewed him at Wildlife Festival…such a nice guy.
I am a big fan of your (recent) House Teck D.J. mix. Is it hard getting that mixes together and where did you get inspiration for them? How often are you out there seeing other D.J.s perform? How important are streaming sites when it comes to your discoveries?
Ok. So, when I got into D.J.-ing, I almost feel as though the music comes to you: when you’re mixing, the two songs should come together to create a magical ‘third song’ - with the two different beats.
The fact I have always been brought up with D’n’B, Dubstep; House and Techno, means you have to almost feel the beats of the music - rather than sing along to the lyrics of the song….
I have my go to D.J.s who always produce great tunes after tunes - then, tend to send me their new songs.
But, I always recommend compilation albums: it is good to be introduced to new D.J.s and their style of music.
You spent, what I presume, two happy years at Hoxton Radio – where you produced and presented shows there. What did you learn from your time there and how important was that experience to you?
When I was at Hoxton Radio; it was a great training ground.
Each show was two-hours-long but the preparation time must have been four hours. I had to find all my music; I did all roles - from presenting, producing and editing my shows. It was fun but was also hard work.
It wasn’t paid so I was working full-time as a waitress - as wells other jobs – so, on top of everything, I had to sacrifice a lot of time to my radio shows.
Sport and fitness, alongside music, is obviously very important. I believe you work with/model for Puma. How did that association come about and is it easy to disconnect from D.J. work and getting into a different headspace?
I’ve always been a model for sports. I’ve done many campaigns of Adidas. Puma kind of fell into my lap (who you know). They invite me to events and try out their product: it’s super-fun.
Sport has been my life from the age of six - where I swam competitively and I represented Hertfordshire for cross-country. Exercise gets rid of my tension because, let’s face it: London can be quite suffocating sometimes.
I know I can go out for an hour’s run and, by the time I get back, whatever upset me before the run will have been forgotten.
You are very busy on social media and get a lot of love from your followers. How important are the vibes you get from your fans? What message would you give them?
Social media is key to success.
I know it's fickle to say that but you need to interact with people that like your work. if someone off the street stops you and says “I like your shoes you”; don’t carry on walking: you say “thank you”.
How is it any different on Twitter or Instagram?!
We are all same. I don’t think I’m above anybody and I’m very friendly - so I will always say hello.
Summer is (apparently) coming up. Are you remaining in London or are you doing any performances/sets abroad?
What?! Summer is coming up?! I thought it had finished, already?!
My August is really busy at the moment. I have a couple of T.V. gigs on top of radio - which will take up a lot of my time. Plus, a couple more festivals have been lined up - to cover with DJ Mag TV.
But, if I’m being honest, I can’t wait to be going away on holiday. I haven’t had a break since Easter. I’m heading off to Cornwall with the family…walking, surfing; fish and chips… bliss!
Who are new acts/D.J.s you recommend we check out?
Ok, So, I’ve been a massive fan of Solardo since interviewing them last December with DJ Mag TV - and this year, they have blown up (going to sooo many festivals). They also did a mash-up of DJ Will Clarke (Techno)...
PHOTO CREDIT: Adrian Lee
If you had to select the three albums that mean most to you; which would they be and why?
Camo & Krooked - Cross the Line (2011).
Turning point of my life: finishing university and making the decision to leave friends and family in Tring and move to London on my own.
Sting - Mercury Falling
This reminds me when I was a little girl. Our family used to drive to Spain and this album was played on repeat!
Rihanna - Anti
I can’t help it: I have such a girl-crush on ‘RiRi’ - and this album is incredible.
What advice would you give to artists/D.J.s coming through right now?
Practice makes perfect, and…find music that you enjoy and that inspires you. Also...watch and listen to other D.Js/people that play in clubs.
We all make mistakes sometimes - so no-one's perfect.
Finally, and for being a good sport, you can name a song and I’ll play it here (not one of yours as I’ll do that).
Highly addicted to this song…
It’s the Solardo and Will Clarke (and BOT) remix of Techno (Not Techno)…. the beat is insane.
Follow Emma Conybeare
PHOTO CREDIT: Adrian Lee