Interviews Music

DJ Lottie: Geisha to Housewife

From Turnmills to The End to R1’s Essential Mix, Lottie has been at the forefront of the electronic music scene for two decades, DJing across the globe at the most ground breaking clubs in the world since the early 90’s. She’s possibly the most iconic female DJ ever, gracing the cover of Muzik magazine, Time Out London, Jockey Slut, Mixmag Update, ID-J.

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In May 2015 she’s launching brand new night Acidhousewife, bringing the good times of Misdemeanours and the female-fronted swagger of Geisha to The Firestation, for a no prisoners dance floor session just how you like it.

We took a few minutes to catch up with Lottie and talk about her meteoric career, the club scene today and being a working Mum.

How are you?

Very well thank you!

Where are you, watcha doing?

At home doing a mix of housework and vinyl sorting. I do a vinyl only set now at Chiltern Firehouse so I’ve had to dust off the 12’s and get a set together. Basically I’m listening to records whilst packing the dishwasher.

Your new night “Acidhousewife” is launching at The Firestation this summer. Tell us what to expect?

Well, I want to play loads of new music because there’s so much great new stuff out there and the bulk of the night will be exciting new music. But, as Lisa and I have been listening and loving house music for a long time and were there for the acid house explosion, (Lisa was in London at Shoom and Ibiza and I was up North going to the Hacienda) I want to inject some of that history into the night’s set too, so it will be a mix of both.

How did the idea come about?

My life is very different now I’m a mother and married. I definitely grew up (sort of) when I moved out of London and set up home here. I had to do the school run every morning and learn how to cook!

Before that I had basically lived out of a suitcase touring the World DJing and partying, only to come back to my flat to get some more records and wash my clothes. I rarely got up before midday so it was a massive life change.

That said, while I live a more responsible life now my love and passion for house music is still very much alive and I’ve found other people just like me; Parents, wives, husbands who love family life but still love dance music. Acidhousewife became my new nickname a few years ago because of this so it seemed like the perfect name for a party

Over two decades behind the decks. Do you have a favourite moment?

There’s a few, but playing at the Exit Festival festival two years running to around 40,000 people going mental is definitely up there. Also regularly playing the closing set on the terrace at Space in Ibiza and being named the Queen of Ibiza by Friz & Pepe (the owners) made me very very happy!

Diving into the crowd from the DJ booth at DC10 in 2002, and doing Pete Tong’s Essential Selection broadcasting to 2 million people on a Friday night was nerve wracking but very rewarding. I’ve had some fun times.

And the weirdest?

I played in an old fortress only accessible by boat – just off the coast of Russia near St. Petersburg – with Tiga and Daniele Davoli one July and a HUGE swarm of massive insects were spinning around me as I played totally freaking me out. There were massive spotlights on me and it was dark everywhere else so they were obviously attracted to the light. I wanted to run screaming from the decks but managed to stick it out somehow.

How has the club scene changed since you started out?

Quite a lot actually. It’s a lot more corporate and money orientated now. Also there’s a massive divide between DJ’s. Not just the EDM vs House debate, but you have these massive DJ’s who are pop stars really – because their music regularly charts making hundreds of thousands of pounds every weekend – and then you have the unknown DJ’s making £100 a gig and there’s not so much in between anymore.

All that middle ground of decent talented DJ’s and producers has been trimmed down. Also, anybody can download tracks and get them mixed on a computer for them but in the 90’s our record boxes were gold dust and you actually had to put the time in and learn to mix. Everybody’s a DJ now!

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Is it easier/harder for girls now? Does it matter?

I was lucky, for me it wasn’t really about being female. I earned respect from fellow music lovers, promoters and other DJ’s and producers because I knew my stuff. I had a massive record collection and I’d taught myself to mix when I was still at school, which was unheard of in Chester in 1989!

Everyone I met was open minded and respected me, because I was knowledgeable and passionate about dance music. So while it took a long time for me to get noticed (because I was rubbish at promoting myself) I eventually got there because I deserved it, and I don’t think being female had anything to do with it.

Clubbing has always been sexy, but at the minute it seems a lot more sexualised, perhaps less gender progressive. Do you see that?

I see a load of posters for dodgy EDM nights with scantily clad females yes, and there is that VIP culture in certain clubs which I hate that takes us back about 50 years. Rich men at tables ordering over priced vodka, surrounded by beautiful women in lycra but thats not my idea of clubbing.

If you could do it all over again, would you change anything?

Nope

What makes a great tune?

Clean sharp production and an emotive hook.

Could you make an all-time top 3?

This changes all the time but here ya go, can I give you 5 instead of 3?!….

  • Photon Inc. – “Generate Power” (Wild Pitch mix)
  • A Guy Called Gerald – “Voodoo Ray”
  • Inner City – “Good Life”
  • Deep Dish – “Stay Gold”
  • Armand Van Helden – “You Don’t Even Know Me”
You became a parent 10 years ago. How did you work out being a Mum and a DJ?

I have a very helpful husband who actually likes getting up early! It was quite difficult though and finding childcare has always been a problem so my DJ career did take a back seat. I love being a Mum though and that will always come first. I’m making much more time to DJ now though, so it’s time for a renaissance.

Has being a Mum and family life changed the music that makes you tick?

It hasn’t changed my musical taste no. I still have my “I love techno’ days, but house will always be my thing. I am perhaps a bit more open minded now though.

Is your son under instruction in the ways of House & Garage?

I have taught him how to mix on Pioneer CDJ’s, but he’s far more interested in football to be honest.

Do you cry at TV adverts?

Regularly

What advice would you give to any emerging DJ/Producer?

You have to be a producer now to be a DJ so lock yourself up in a room and learn all the technical stuff, work out what you love and crack on!

Craft Beer or Martinis?

Never beer. I like an espresso martini, but it’s red wine all the time for me.

Heels or sneakers?

Sneakers, (well trainers). I once wore a pair of gorgeous Prada heels whilst DJing with X-Press II in Sao Paulo in Brazil and pulled the mixer across the stage because my headphones had wrapped around my stiletto. It was incredibily embarrassing, but luckily as it was XPress II on after me and they had about 6 decks and mixers on their tech spec we had another one to use.

Acidhousewife launches at The Firestation, Windsor on May 9th. Full details here.

DJ Lottie’s Facebook page is here

Listen to Lottie’s latest mix on soundcloud here!

Like what you hear? Check out some of her back catalaogue: Snapshot: Mixed By Lottie