For more than three decades, native Londoner and true DJ’s DJ, Jaye Ward, has been one of the key figures in the capital’s underground electronic music scene. During the ‘90s Jaye was often found behind the decks at Fabric’s legendary WANG parties, Golden in Stoke on Trent, and she held a residency at London’s sadly defunct END. Still going strong to this day (when there are no global pandemics getting in the way) Jaye is often called upon by many of London and Europe’s hottest clubbing destinations and festivals, including KALA, Love International, and Field Maneuvers.
Dancefloors aside, Jaye is also the host of the excellent ‘Magical Real’ show on Netil Radio, from which she broadcasts a monthly dose of all things dub, disco, psychedelic, Balearic, and more.
As a longtime friend of the shop, we reached out to Jaye to see if she would be interested in putting together a mix for us. The result is a walloping two-hour recording, packed with an eclectic collection of gems and rarities from the likes of This Mortal Coil, Sterac, Donato Dozzy, Chris Carter, Niagara, Shackleton, and more. There’s a full tracklist below. Enjoy!
Hey Jaye, thanks for contributing towards our Mix Series.
Really chuffed that you guys asked me to get involved.
Can you tell us about your recording and what the idea was behind it…
Umm ok so I did it late at night at Netil while the studio was closed and I tried to stick to a non-dance sort of deal but as I never plan things but it does sort of escalate into some banging moments haha! It’s quite ‘GNARLY’.
Could you tell us a little bit about your background, perhaps where you grew up and what first got you interested in electronic music?
I grew up in hackney and still live here too. I got into post-punk listening to John peel and late-night radio and through the old music papers like Sounds and NME. The environment and school friends I grew up with were all about soul and dub and then early electro and hip hop so I got into a really wide range of stuff pretty early on I suppose. I was really into going to gigs and that sort of affair too. I was out and about as a young teenager doing gay stuff so again got to see a lot of cultural stuff happening as well. By the time I really awoke to how music was brilliant, the mid to late ’70s, electronic music was already about. Disco, euro disco, the weirder need of post-punk and early industrial were the first things I actually got into. Mute Records, Throbbing Gristle, Cabaret Voltaire, Human League, early shouty goth and a lot of the glam stuff as well, Bowie & Roxy. I think all that really set me up well. We used to have heavy dub clashes at my secondary school on Friday nights things like SAXON sound system and I had friends whose brothers worked the crates for that kind of deal so I suppose I was aware of the ‘functionality’ of records. I didn’t really understand the real idea around dancing to DJ’s till acid house. I’d been DJing for traveller punk things before then and acid house was there too before the big explosion as well as all the Belgium new beat stuff which I got into through industrial bands like Skinny Puppy and Front 242. I was a drug enthusiast so the move from crusty dub and psychedelic over to house and techno was pretty easy.
Your roots in London’s underground music scene run deep. How do you feel things have changed over the years, for better or for worse?
God I love now, obviously not this past covid strewn times but you know what I mean? I’m in my 50’s now so how I look at things now is coloured by all that time and experience but I still love how the underground still exists and changes shape regularly. It’s brilliant. Acid house and raves really did catch us ALL at the time. I can’t explain how huge the shift was. All that hippy stuff about ‘the tribes coming together’ was real. It was very tribal before. Goths, punks, soul boys, dub heads, industrial types, etc all stayed in their lanes. All of a sudden I was dancing in the same party as people I knew from school who were footy soul boys and we would be on the same drug. Cuddling and saying how great everything was haha! Things change. A lot of those early movers and shakers have grown up and out of it to be replaced by younger enthusiasts. I love it. I mean I like the odd reminiscence but tbh music and ‘the scene’ , apart from covid, is way better and stronger too. Especially as more women & queer people are getting involved and black people are finally being recognised for the prime place at the head of this whole thing going back to Mancuso etc. I love how there are so many books and documentaries about it all now. I mean acid house happened before the internet or even mobile phones and is STILL here and has been photographed and talked about so much that its historical importance will last. I love that.
And what about your show on Netil Radio – what’s it all about, for those who aren’t already in the know…
So basically I don’t have decks anymore or any way of djing at home so my weekly show called ‘MAGICAL REAL’ is like if I was at home having a right old stoned mix up. It’s like my front room. I don’t plan but it’s evolved to being a sort of foil to the banging chug, techno, and other dancier stuff I was playing to people in nightclubs and at festivals. The show varies in tempos though it’s mainly under 120 and usually has a very druggy messed up flavour. LOTS of wrong speeders, edits & music I make, and a lot of ‘esoteric’ cuts.. but occasionally ill do something specific like 2hrs of mathy guitar stuff, or 2hrs of 7”s and even occasionally shows that are just pure bangers new and old. I love NETIL tbh its pretty much saved me. I also do a bi-monthly show for mutant radio over in Tbilisi called star maps which has a really specific theme of ‘soundtracks to leaving the planet’ so that has a way more ‘ambient’ kind of texture.
What’s your preferred method for finding new music – do you still enjoy digging around in dusty crates or do you prefer to buy online?
Nowadays I’m mainly a charity shop, bargain bin, and discos digger for vinyl and get all of my new product as digital. Especially with covid, buying new vinyl is a game for the rich haha! Though I REALLY miss going into record shops to see what’s behind the counter.. that will always be a fun thing. I miss working in a record shop tbh. I’d love to do that again. YUM!
What are some of your favourite record labels of all time?
God all of them! Haha, There’s so many that have 1 or more total crackers, Too many of them to mention but here’s some of the really obvious stuff that still resonates with me stiff, sire, TK, MUTE, prelude, beggars banquet, factory, Les Disques du Crepuscule, crammed discs, Y, on u sound, the Stuart Leath industrial block, cranky, Studio Barnhaus 4AD, vogue, illuminated, spiritual life, boys own, ze, esp institute, sub-pop, basic channel, black cock boots, ustar, DFC, disfunction, wave, bottom line, warp, RVNG… I’m not really a label-based lover I just go with what sounds ace first and foremost. I do love the nerdiness of it all too so keep up with what’s out there. Always listening out for music that grabs me.
And what about these crazy lockdown times we’re facing today. What’s been keeping you going through it all?
It’s totally shit isn’t it? My kids and my dog along with listening to music have definitely kept the wolf from the door. Some of the mad fallout with the scene with big organisations being exposed as just money-grabbing opportunists and movers & shakers being exposed as similar I think will be a good thing in the long term, the scene will have to revert to local stuff for a long while and that means new promoters and new ways of doing things. I hope I can still be involved when all this starts back again as I really do love it.
Steady Irene – Tall Girls
Flaming Lips & Yoko Ono – The Fear Litany
Heaven Taste – Heaven Taste (Jimi Tenor Remix)
Sterac – Teleon
Dieter Moebius – Snorkel
Xolani Dingiswayo – Mandla
Luca Coco – There Is No Planet B
Joe Zawinul – Waiting For The Rain
The Oroonies – Stranger And Stranger
Jon Hassle – Ba-Ya Dub
Ptaki – Goraczka
Niagara – IV
Open House – Seven Day Weekend (Brennan Green’s Ontario Mix)
Shackleton – (For The) Love Of Weeping
Mark 909 King – After Dark
Lugnet – Tortyr
Tommy Guerrero – Archaic Days (Harvey Remix)
UFO – The Coming Of Prince Kajuku
Igor Wakhevitch – Rituel De Guerre Des Esprits De La Terre
Lizard – Sa Ka Na (Dub)
Donato Dozzy – Mindless Fullness
The Golden Palominos – This Is How It Feels (Dub)
Solid State – Mechanical Playback
Chris Carter – Electrodub
Vermont – Leerer Rat
Tomoki Kanda – Ride A Water Smooth Silver Stallion
Stubb – Haven Wood
Delusion Men – Restless Legs
Onion Display – Norzin Wangdu
Tones On Tales – When You’re Smiling
This Mortal Coil – A Heart Of Glass
Martin Hannett & Steve Hopkins – Toy Of A Toy
Butthole Surfers – Mark Says Alright