If you want to be featured in my Electronic Republika interview series or Spotify techno playlist and you are a techno DJ/Producer please contact me!
Alex Deusan: Hi and welcome to Electronic Republika interview series! First of all please tell us a bit about yourself.
Jacki-E: My name is Jacqueline Palmer and my DJ name is Jacki-E. I’m based in Northamptonshire in the UK although I grew up in Lancashire in the north-west of England. I have two weekly radio shows which I put together with my partner P-Mac. One is A Darker Wave which features new, unreleased techno, tech house and deep house and whatever else we like enough to put in the show. The other is Draw The Line Radio Show which features music made by women as a counterweight to the gender imbalance in dance music. I also write and produce my own original tracks and do remixes for other artists.
Alex Deusan: How do you start your musical journey and what do you think was the most important moment until now? When did you decide to be a DJ?
Jacki-E: My musical journey started when I fell in love with the sound of a distorted electric guitar and crashing drums when I was in my early teens. I was into punk in a big way in the 1970’s, the acid house movement of the late ’80s and then the grunge rock of the likes of Nirvana in the ’90s and the pioneering work of Radiohead and Aphex Twin in the 2000’s.
I started DJ-ing about 6 years ago. We’d come home from a night out and want to listen to music, uninterrupted by the inane chatter of a DJ. So I’d get two You Tube windows open on my laptop and mix from one music video to the other. That led to us buying a DJ Controller, learning to mix and putting mixes onto Soundcloud and Mixcloud.
A friend who was starting a community radio station wanted a dance music programme for Saturday evenings and she asked us if we’d like to do it as she’d listened to one of our mixes. We said yes with no idea as to what we’d need to do to put a radio show together. We had two weeks to prepare for the first show. We did it and that was the start of A Darker Wave over four and a half years ago.
The most important moment so far, and a very proud one, was getting my track ‘Marionette’ signed to Get Physical Music in Berlin last year. The track is a collaboration with American DJ / Producer Eric Louis. Eric thought the track was pretty good but needed more sounds in the top end. He suggested I listen to the Claptone remix of ‘Let’s Groove’ by George Morel. It has a wonderful bubble synth sound which I sampled and it was perfect for ‘Marionette’. I thought I’d do the right thing and ask the label, Get Physical, for permission to use the sample. I didn’t expect a positive reply, or indeed any reply at all. But they did get back to me, said they liked the track and wanted to release it!!
Alex Deusan: What are your big influences as a DJ as well as a music producer? Name five artists.
Jacki-E: Dasha Rush for her willingness to take risks, her musicality and her astounding 2015 LP ‘Sleepstep.’
KiNK for his musical diversity, the edginess of his live sets and the uniqueness of his instrumentation and the sounds he makes.
ANNA as her productions always surprise and delight. She is making some astounding techno and on each release, she comes up with something new and different.
Alan Fitzpatrick for his amazing production skills and the way he uses melodies in his music.
Reset Robot for his incredible productions and arrangements.
Other artists that influence me today are Charlotte de Witte, Amelie Lens, Rebekah, Adam Beyer, Ramiro Lopez, Spectrasoul and Total Science. I love music that is stripped back, that has lots of space in it, that uses vocals and music to deliver a message or an emotion, that makes you want to dance, that makes you believe in it, that uses chord progressions, melodies or a beat that makes your hair stand on end and your spine tingle, that is exciting and challenging and that makes you think.
Alex Deusan: What are the things that inspire you for your music and mixes?
Jacki-E: Apart from my partner, who has a great ear for music and unusual sounds, the techno, deep house, jungle, dnb and the ethos of the acid house raves and festivals of the early ’90s are, of course, a huge influence on what I do now. In my own music, the music I play when I DJ and the music I play in the radio shows, you can hear the underlying stories which have influenced me in my preference for the darker edge of electronic dance music.
We take inspiration for our radio shows from the likes of John Peel for the obscure tracks he used to play, and Colin Faver, who was a pioneer of the dance music scene in the UK. He was one of the few people to recognize the amazing music being made in Detroit and Chicago in the late ’80s and early ’90s – the birth of modern house and techno music – and he was one of the first people to play these records in the UK on his radio shows on Kiss FM.
He invited up and coming DJ’s and producers to send in their mixes and he would play them on his show. Many of today’s well-known names got their first break on Colin’s radio show. For example Backlash by Cybersonik, a track from 1991 that still sounds as great today as it did when it was first released. One of the members of Cybersonik was Canadian Ritchie Hawtin, at the time unknown in the UK or Europe. Colin gave Cybersonik their very first radio play outside Canada when he played Backlash on his show.
A Darker Wave embodies the spirit of what Colin Faver was doing in the earliest days of the UK’s modern dance music scene. We are not trying to say we do it as well as he did. Far from it. But it is his legacy that inspires what we try to do with A Darker Wave and Draw The Line.
For me, it is the mavericks and outsiders who make the most interesting music. From Syd Barrett, Peter Green, Jimi Hendrix and Arthur Lee in the 60’s to David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Joe Strummer and John Lydon in the ’70s, and later on Mark E Smith, Kurt Cobain, Radiohead, Aphex Twin and many more. For me, music should have the lyricism of Joni Mitchell, the excitement of punk, the thoughtfulness of Arthur Lee, the showmanship of Jimi Hendrix and Iggy Pop, the romanticism of Roxy Music, the craft of Radiohead and the left-field appeal of Aphex Twin.
Alex Deusan: How is your searching for new tracks process and from where you take your tracks?
Jacki-E: I receive a lot of promos from artists and labels for my radio shows, although in the early days we didn’t get any promos at all!!
I do a lot of crate digging on Soundcloud and on Beatport, Juno Download and Traxsource for artists and music I haven’t heard before. Certain radio stations are also a great source for left field tracks and new, interesting artists and then there are the tracklists of other DJs sets which I use to identify the tracks that I like.
Alex Deusan: The perfect day for you is…
Jacki-E: Spending a couple of hours in the studio working on new music, crate-digging to find new music that moves me and that I want to play in the shows, a bike ride through the beautiful Northamptonshire countryside with my partner and then DJ-ing in a club in the evening to a packed dance floor!!
Alex Deusan: How do you like your music? Vinyl or digital?
Jacki-E: I love both. I like to play vinyl records but for mixing and DJ-ing nothing beats the versatility, creativity, and ease of use of digital.
Alex Deusan: What is your DJ setup? How about your studio setup?
Jacki-E: For DJ-ing Pioneer CDJ’s and mixer. In the studio, we have a Novation Keyboard, Ableton Push, and Ableton and Logic DAWs.
Alex Deusan: What are the best and worst things about being a DJ/Producer in 2019? What do you consider to be the easiest and hardest things?
Jacki-E: The easiest thing is the basics of mixing as the technology pretty much does it for you nowadays. Anyone can learn to beat match. The hardest thing is being creative and knowing the right track to play next to keep the dance floor moving, or if it’s producing music, in finding the right sound, melody or chord that will make your track stand out from all the others.
Alex Deusan: Your favorite food and drink?
Jacki-E: I love my partner’s cooking. He makes wonderful dishes and his fried rice is just perfect. To drink, a good fruit gin with tonic, or a wonderful red wine.
Alex Deusan: How about films and books?
Jacki-E: My favorite novel is ‘A White Merc With Fins’ by James Hawes. It’s a story about a bank robbery that doesn’t go to plan which sounds like a cliché but it is so well written and engaging that the characters captured my imagination. I also love ‘Song of the Sea God’ by Chris Hill, a book that explores what it means to be a leader and to believe in our heroes and then to be disillusioned by them when we realize they have the same flaws as we do.
For films, there are too many to mention. It depends on my mood.
Alex Deusan: Samples or originals for your music production?
Jacki-E: Both. My partner creates a lot of the sounds I use in my productions and provides a lot of the inspiration too.
Alex Deusan: Last track that blew your mind?
Jacki-E: ‘Oscillator’ EP by Gusttavo Luys
‘Imminent Danger’ by Nothing to Lose.
Alex Deusan: What do you want to happen with your music career in the future?
Jacki-E: I want to start to play live sets using Ableton and Push with my partner and turning our DJ sets into performances.
Alex Deusan: What is next for you?
Jacki-E: My latest release, a remix of HUMN ROBOT by The SloaneRanger, came out on TheSloaneRangerProductions on 12th July.
I have a number of other remixes and original tracks scheduled for release in the coming months on DeepDownDirty and other labels.
I have gigs in August supporting Blasha and Allatt at Nexus Chester, at Mono in Liverpool and something I’m very excited about because it will be a dream come true, my first gig in Berlin at MeetUp Berlin on 15th August.
Alex Deusan: Any last thoughts?
Jacki-E: Every DJ set, radio show, and podcast should have a full tracklist so the artists who make the music we play get full credit for their work. It is the artists’ music that is important, not the DJ who plays it.
Women are woefully overlooked in dance music. Festival and Club line ups, setlists and tracklists are overwhelmingly male. I do my Draw The Line Radio Show to demonstrate there’s lots of great music being made by women.
Alex Deusan: Thanks and take care!
Jacki-E: Thank you!!