After ten solid years of service, the time has finally come to wave farewell to Phonica team member Danielle. Now residing in Bristol, Danielle’s reputation as a DJ has been taking an impressive upwards trajectory over the last couple of years, with top spots at many of the UK and Europe’s finest clubbing destinations, as well as regular shows on NTS Radio.
Not only is Danielle a talented DJ – one of Mixmag’s Ones To Watch in 2019, no less! – but she is a talented illustrator too. Be sure to check out Danielle’s ‘Hand and Sleeves’ range of Phonica t-shirts and tote bags here. Aside from DJing and illustrating, Danielle is one of the co-founders of the Bristol-based Mix Nights series – a not for profit initiative that works with women and female-identifying people, helping them develop their DJ skills.
We caught up with Danielle to hear about some of the tracks that have defined her time at Phonica, what life is like in Bristol and what she’s got coming up next. Check it out below.
Hey Danielle, thanks for joining us!
First of all, can you tell us a bit about how and when you first got started here at Phonica?
My father used to take me record shopping up the West End every Thursday evening when I was younger. I would never actually buy much myself, I spent most of my time reading the handwritten descriptions on the wall and looking through the racks without really knowing what I was looking for. I would listen to stuff my dad was picking out but was too shy to ask for anything myself. One day during my summer holidays in 2009, we were in the shop and out of the blue, my father asked Simon if he would like to take me on as an intern! Simon to my surprise basically said yes immediately and for the subsequent two years before starting University, I worked every Thursday at the shop. Then from 2011 – 2015, I was away studying at University, but would always help out during the Summer holidays and on Record Store Day every year. For the last 4 years, I have been commuting from Bristol (where I live now) to work Saturdays and some full weekends. This takes me up to TEN years of service…
Can you pick out 4 or 5 tracks that can piece together the story / define the different eras of your time here at Phonica?
There are definitely particular years out of the last 10 which stand out musically for me. Below are some songs and reasons why!
When I first started working at the shop I was 18 and had just started to go clubbing for the first time and was getting into dance music. I basically only listened to Dubstep and bass music, and when anyone came into the shop for recommendations in those genres my colleagues would send them over to me, as everyone else were mostly specialists in house and techno. The 2562 album – Unbalance from this year particularly takes me back!
From 2009 – 2012 I was still very much into those genres. I got obsessed with Hessle Audio, Hemlock, Tectonic and Livity Sound like many people at that time. When I listen back to music from then it just makes me so happy!
I actually didn’t start to appreciate the House and Techno that was on offer in the shop until quite a few years after working there. Anthea used to play me stuff in the shop back when I first started and I just didn’t get it (haha). It’s kind of Ironic I was into all the Bristol sounds whilst still living in London, but began developing a taste for other genres after moving there. My dad moved there in 2012, so for 3 years I was experiencing Bristol fairly regularly before officially moving there in 2015. One of the first house records I remember defining my time at the shop was this one by Omar S which we used to rinse!
From this year onwards I was back behind the counter working weekends and my tastes had broadened since I was last regularly at the shop. I was being exposed to a vast array of music on such a regular basis and was working with new colleagues. I remember leaning more towards techno than house, and was (shamefully) quite into that lo-fi sound that was quite popular then! This 45ACP is something I remember liking a lot that year.
For my last song, I wanted to pick out an electro record as I bought so much of it last year, so it definitely defines the last bit of my time working at the shop. I’ve played this 214 record a lot.
We’re really proud to see your DJ career taking off over the last couple of years! Can you tell us a bit more about your plans for the year?
Thank you! I have some exciting TBA gigs coming up in various cities across Europe which I’m really excited about. It’s nice to start playing further afield and not solely in the UK. I’m looking forward to gigs in Hamburg, Berlin, Barcelona, Albania, Sicily and Paris so far over the next 6 months.
You recently designed a great selection of t-shirts for us, which we love! Is this something you’ll be looking to do more of in 2019?
Simon had been asking me to come up with a Phonica t-shirt design for years! And I finally came up with something that he liked ; ) I was very happy to be able to design this range as after working at the shop for so many years it has a very fond place in my heart. I have designed 3 t-shirt ranges in total so far – all for music-related endeavours and it’s definitely something I would like to do again.
In your own words, can you tell our readers a bit more about your Mix Nights series that you run in Bristol?
Mix Nights is an informal –DJ skills workshop run for women, by women. We run the course at DBS which is a music school in Bristol and we do it in partnership with Saffron Records and Team Love. It currently exists as an 8-week beginners course, where female-identifying persons can learn how to DJ in a safe and encouraging environment. Initially, it began as more of a social, but when the opportunity arose to fund the course properly, myself, Em Williams and Daisy Moon (who are the other mentors) decided to write a structured course taking our students through the basic skills of djing. At the end of the course, the students get to perform a 30 min set at a club night at the Love Inn, Bristol. Alongside the course, we occasionally hold open decks sessions at Idle Hands and have run one event at Phonica. The aim of this is to encourage women to come record shopping in what is predominantly a male-dominated environment. We are currently in the process of structuring an intermediate course to run alongside the original one.
Speaking of Bristol – how do you feel the nightlife there differs to London?
I find the most notable thing is that if there’s one really good event on, you’ll bump into all your friends there without having to plan anything beforehand. Because of the size of London that just doesn’t happen so much. In Bristol you’re never more than about a maximum of 30 mins away from any given event and so no matter where you live you’ll go to it and so will everyone else! However, the downside to living in a smaller city is that you’ll find yourself regularly attending the same venues which can get a bit boring.
Is there anything else you’d like to mention?
I would like to say a massive thank you to everyone I’ve met over the years and worked with at the shop, I have seen so many faces come and go and it’s been really nice to watch other colleagues go on to make a name for themselves. I would like to say an official goodbye to all the customers and regulars who won’t be seeing as much of me anymore too! It’s been a pleasure.
Thanks, Danielle – we’ll see you around!