Claire Smith Cullum aka Voys has dedicated much of her years to the love of vinyl and independent radio. Having worked over the years in spots like Sister Ray and having managed Rye Wax, she has surrounded herself in the heart of these cultures, gaining a vast ear for all things in UK sound and beyond. Now sitting as a buyer for Bleep specialising in electronic and dance we are glad to welcome Claire to our series to showcase her expertise, and this mix does exactly that. Commonly recognised as one half of the Souvenir collective with Elle Andrews of Mal Records, also hosting a killer LYL show together has found them providing nothing but quality mixes for some of our favourite labels and shows in the UK and all over(Left Alone, Kindred, NTS Radio etc) as well as dropping a very killer Trilogy Tapes tape not too long ago. For this mix Claire turns to a home listening perspective but still bringing broke down and trippy UK sounds into the cut. We talked to Claire about this excellent mix and a little bit about some project she’s been working on lately:
Hey Claire, Thanks for joining us! Can you tell us about your mix and what the
idea behind it was?
A mix you can listen to at home – a free form wander between deconstructed garage,
footwork, DnB and experimental electronics. There are two edits of mine on there as well
including a 90s DnB track with a really trippy breakdown.
Could you tell us a little bit about your background, perhaps where you grew up
and what first got you interested in music?
Grew up in Guildford, came to London and became interested in vinyl-based DIY scenes
in and around south London. I have worked in vinyl since 2011, first at Sister Ray, then
managing Rye Wax for just under 6 years, and now at Bleep as a buyer specialising in
electronic and dance.
A focus of mine through my work has been to support independent music culture and its
surrounding communities, and where it intersects with other areas. I co-founded The
Run Out, a music festival formed as a DIY-minded response to the commercialism of
Record Store Day, and made our own 10” dubplates instead. We got a bunch of artists
and labels on board (CPU, Hyperdub, Lorenzo Senni, Rhythm Section, Astral Industries,
loads more) for the dubs and did a big free party, it was wicked and pure chaos. Since
then I’ve dabbled in lots of other bits – events, arts programming, editorial stuff, radio and
always try to support on the indie/DIY side of things.
How was the mix recorded?
At home, in the evening, using AIAIAI TMA-2s, 1210s, XDJ1000s, a simple two channel
Eckler mixer and a zoom recorder.
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?
I do occasionally like getting dusty fingers through a proper dig, I like to support on
Bandcamp, and I also come into contact with a lot of music through my work with Bleep
as a buyer. I listen to internet radio religiously and started a research project before
lockdown cataloguing new independent internet radio stations – I have nearly 200 and
counting. I think independent internet radio is the tip of a hugely important grassroots
movement that is redefining modern music culture, and is especially important in the
context of the past two years in connecting people, groups and ideas together.
Your project Souvenir (with Elle Andrews of Mal Records) has done such great
mixes for the likes of Left Alone and The Trilogy Tapes, how did this project come
I met Elle through parties in south London around 2011. They were mostly vinyl-based
but it wasn’t advertised as such and nobody really gave it that much thought. Then me
and a group of mates set up a short-lived internet radio station in an activist centre in
east London. Me and Elle started DJing together then. It was a bit of a shambles and
always took us ages to get it on air but was really fun. It went from there really, and a
sound evolved through playing together. We tend to play a lot of dance music with roots
in UK scenes, but through an experimental lens – club-focused, but not necessarily all
with music made with that context in mind.
What do you have up your sleeve for 2022?
I’m on Refuge Worldwide in August, and I’ll be getting my head down and working on the
next steps of my research project and music making.
Thanks for having me, hope you enjoy.
Richard Truhlar – Untitled
Significant Other – Love Beat
Fama87 – Chrome
The Horse He’s Sick – Larynx
Viktor Vaughn – Popsnot
SEEKERSINTERNATIONAL – RingRingRiddim
John T. Gast – wygdn_bashmenttk9
Crown Star Productions – Fire Cracker
Konrad Wehrmeister – Nutty Parasite
Whatever The Weather – 0°C
SectorSept – Digital Franchise
Model Home – Push Thru (feat. Boost, M Cherry)
Gacha Bakradze – Lead
700 Bliss – Anthology
Mark – “Our home and heart is in Berlin, as we believe in the potentials of the local creative scene.”
Eric Schumacher, Andrea Clavadetscher – Fuck Wat
Heavee – Watch Yo Step (Feeling Myself)
Jana Rush – Make Bitches Cum
Christoph El’ Truento – Oomdoi
Tango – Understanding (Voys Edit)
klaus – Sabz
SPD – Computerised Images
Oyubi – 140yaku (Voys Edit)