We Interview The Most Sought After Female British DJ Amy Becker
She makes you feel like she's your best friend.
If there's an award for the "Most Down to Earth, Nicest DJ" then it goes to London based DJ Amy Becker. We got chatting with the exceptionally creative Brit about her musical finesse and all her upcoming summer festivals. Her mind is a transducer of musical genres producing amazing tracks and it isn't hard to see why so many festivals want to book her. Amy's not just a DJ, she's a force to be reckoned with, with no stop button in sight to her career.
Hey Amy! Thank you for chatting with us!
When did you start DJing?
Amy: I started DJing when I was 14, it was a case where I was listening to different types of music , Diplo mixtapes who at the time was cool— he’s not cool anymore. I loved the way he mixed different genres together and it was always crazy he was moving through so many different types of music.
Then hip hop, my sister got me into Dubstep. She used to get Fabric Live and Mixed CD’s delivered to the house and I used to steal hers and when the Casper and Roscoe dropped and that was the when Dubstep first came around in London. It was like nothing I had ever heard before and I wanted to mix that sound with hip hop and all different types of music that I was listening to.
So I begged my parents to get me some decks for Christmas when I was 14 and they got me some shitty DJ decks but I managed to make it work. I just practiced in my room for ages and it just took off from there.
I didn’t start doing it properly until I was about 17/18 when I got a slot on BBC1 Xtra. I was trying to do gigs when I was 16/17 they wouldn’t even let me in the venue, yeah they wouldn’t believe me that I was the DJ I was so tiny so they looked at me like “What?”.
Who influenced you to start DJing? Like being a female artist.
Amy: When I was younger I was very into Annie Matthews I just loved to listen to her show every Friday. One Man, DJ EZ, Diplo — But then not now, people who just push boundaries and do not stick to one genre and make it a whole lot more interesting.
What would you say has been the biggest, craziest most memorable moments of your career so far? You are so young but have an impressive resume!
Amy: I am young but I have been around. I’d say Glastonbury 2015, it was my first time at Glastonbury and I did 5 sets over the weekend and I had never seen anything like it in my life. One of the sets was Arcadia, the massive electronic spider, which was crazy. The main one which was crazy, which I pinpoint as one of the best sets of my career to date, was at a stage called The Temple. It was a massive outdoor amphitheatre club with fire shooting out of it and there were 1000’s of people there, to the point where my sister couldn’t get in she had to scream at the security to let her in. Like that’s my sister. They just stopped people coming in. But that was just an amazing set and it was sick.
The other one I say was amazing was when I played in South Korea at a place called The Cake Shop. It is a tiny little dingy dark venue, but the kids that go there are there for the music and they love having UK artists out there. They are so passionate. I had released an EP, a remix EP I had put together and it was out on vinyl, I had put it out a few months before. But someone bought one to the club for me to sign. Which is really surreal because first of all I didn’t make the music, I just put it together and it was weird because all the way in South Korea they bought it and bought to the club for me to sign. That was mad!
Whats the main challenge you face as a DJ? Especially with being a female in the industry.
Amy: What I find that’s a challenge which is not specific to women, is the pressure to stay relevant. The pressure to promote yourself using social media, sometimes you don’t want to use it, like Instagram or Twitter or whatever else. But you have to keep on it. That is quite difficult.
Specifically being a girl doing it, this is quite trivial and something I personally find challenging is having to wear new outfits every time I DJ. Getting ready, the travelling, the long hours, having to have your makeup ready and clothes and everything; while men just get on with it and they don’t have the pressures of looking good.
What it used to be when I first started were Female DJ’s were a minority in the industry, when now 6 years on, especially in London there are more girls than boys. The people at the top of the industry and at the top of the scene in the UK are all girls. They are not my competition because they are girls, they are my competition because they are the top of the industry, they are the people killing it right now. Which is amazing to see, but it does mean that it is now kind of a little more difficult to stand out. There are people coming up now not from a music background, like fashion and it’s really difficult to prove yourself. Technical ability wise being there for the music, rather than how many followers you have.
The image has become so much more of a thing it’s annoying.
What keeps you motivated, contrary to popular belief, DJing ain‘t easy!
Amy: When I look at old videos and pictures when I started I look back at that and it motivates me. There is obviously times I think about packing it all up and getting a regular job. Life would be a whole lot easier. I see looking back, I have done this for such a long time and I have come so far, and I put so many hours and so much effort into this so I kinda think it would be a shame just to give it up, so it motivates me to work a lot harder.
And of course money!
Whats your pre-set ritual?
Amy: I just changed from Hennessy to Honey Jack Daniels and I have a drink of that. Also have some Haribo and eat a few sweets and probably smoke a joint and off we go!
Your music is a melting pot of genres, how important is it to you as a DJ of the roots, traditions, and respecting the origins of a beat you are sampling?
Amy: I always try and be sensitive to the foundations of the genre that I am representing when I DJ. Because I play so many different types of music, it is difficult to delve too deep into the genres and kind of go back. It is just a case where I just play the best fused tracks of each genre and each set. In that sense I just try and showcase right now in that world of music and whats coming out from there.
Right now I am playing a lot of US Rap, mostly the more Southern Rappers like Block Boy JB and Lil Baby and things like that. I try and showcase the best of whats coming out of that part of the world. When it comes to reggaeton I am moving away from that, it is becoming a lot more mainstream and commercialised and I think it just sounds a bit lame.
You aren‘t just a DJ, talk to us about Acrylic!
Amy: Acrylic I started a few years ago and we do events. We have moved around, we start in East London at Birthdays and then to The Camden Assembly North London, and our new home is Corsica Studios. My whole thing with it and what Acrylic is to me is my whole way to embody my taste as a DJ and through booking other people. So it is always me wanting to book people from both worlds. My kind of taste sits between electronic music and more rap, grime and hip hop side of things. It does not always work but I kind of do what I like to do which is book people from both of those worlds and see what happens.
You get two different types of crowds in, and guests with the DJ’s and its a whole melting pot of people and sounds in the room. I think it is such an interesting Dynamic because it puts those artists on the stage in a different context to what they usually are, because they maybe are either before or after someone whose completely out of their field.
I will never forget one of the first ones I did which was at Birthdays. We booked Kamixlo, YGG, and BBC AZN Network and we had Total Freedom and Arca come down because they were just in town and they wanted to come see Kamixlo and the BBC AZN Network. It just became people from different scenes just come together and they would never normally cross paths. So that set the precedent for how I want it to be, people who would not normally be in the same room. It is not just the fashion crowd. It is a real mix of people. So far it is working, contrary to what people believe it does not turn over a lot of money these events especially small events.
It is one of those where I can not do it as regularly as I like to and I am looking at bringing a partner in on board, that’s what people do these days. But hopefully do one more before summer is out and then working towards what we are doing in winter which is dropping merchandise. My radio show which is moving, the Acrylic Show, is moving to NTS hopefully in a few weeks.
Few things in the works which I can’t talk too much about but will hopefully be sick.
I have a few festivals coming up this summer. I have NASS Festival on Friday. Then this weekend Splash! Festival. Then Lovebox Festival the week after in London, then Appelsap up in Amsterdam and another one in The Netherlands. Festivals all going on here. The plan is by next year to be hosting the stages with Acrylic so we will see how that goes.
Whats your piece of advice for aspiring DJs out there? Especially females!
Amy: Something really simple you can do and will probably give you more success than you expect is: If you are not a dick and just be a nice person. That is a good formula to start with if you want to be a DJ, be humble and be appreciative to everyone who books you and puts money in your pocket. Be nice to your peers, DJs you meet because people in the industry talk and if you can get a good reputation going and be yourself they will see you in a genuine way not just be fake. The good things people can say about you you are a nice person then it means you will get a lot more work than if you weren’t a nice person.
If you could be any sneaker, which one would you be?
Amy: Either a Reebok Workout or a Nike Air Force 1 cause I don’t produce and I can move through different music quite easily and keep up with the times. Those trainers never go out of fashion and move with the times. And with the workouts they are a really British shoe.
Thank's Girl! Be sure to catch DJ Amy Becker at one of her upcoming Summer Festivals, or if you are in London get down to Acrylic before the summer ends!
Up next, another Interview On The Run With Alma!
*Amendment: Amy Becker played NASS festival last Friday and Splash Festival last weekend. Catch Amy at Lovebox, Appelsap and more this summer.