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HarderFaster puts K8-e on the other side of the notepad ahead of Thirsty Thursdays
Reported by HarderFaster
Submitted 05-09-06 21:51
This is probably one of the hardest interviews I’ve ever had to write. Not only is Kathryn Fairbrother aka K8-e one of the rising group of djs who can play anything they put their hand to — hard house, hard trance, techno, tech house, hardcore, you name it — she’s started getting stuck into producing, had stints at promoting, and she’s also one of HarderFaster’s most respected and prolific writers. But what do you ask someone who’s used to asking all the questions?
Hailing from Southsea, after her first set and residency at ELEV8 in April 2004 she quickly scored residencies at Aztec-Om, Hardnutz, Out of Order and TXTURE, as well as gigs around the country, most notably at Cyberkitten. She’s interviewed top jocks like Judge Jules and Lashes, as well as supporting those up-and-comings she deems worthy of a feature. She’s also just come out of the studio with the uber-talented Jamie Taylor, with a couple of new collaborations well underway.
If you want to check out her awesome new productions, the only place you’re going to hear them in London until she plays in the Cyberkitten room at Digital Fusion presents Terminal on November 11 is at HarderFaster’s own Thirsty Thursdays at the Freedom Bar this Thursday night. With K8-e playing for us tomorrow night, we thought it was high time we put one of our most auspicious interviewers on the other side of the fence for a change . . . Ladies and gentlemen, meet K8-e.
Did you always want to be a dj or was it a gradual thing?
I’ve always had a passion for music. From as young as I can remember I’d tape songs from the radio and put them altogether on mix tapes. I’d know the names of all the tunes and I’d be able to recognize them from the first 5 seconds pretty much. When I first started clubbing in 1999 I sort of had an inkling I would like to dj but didn’t have any idea how to get started. I was always the one at the after party who sorted the playlist out on the PC or chose the CDs.
Then 3.5 years ago I started seeing someone who had been mixing for a while and we’d go clubbing and come back and he and his mate would mix for hours. As I got into hard dance I started to learn what tunes I liked and I’d be regularly asking them to play the ones I wanted to hear; in they end they suggested I learn to mix. Given I’d always wanted to learn I set about watching and listening and learning. I bought my decks two months later and haven’t looked back.
How long had you been mixing for before you got your first gig? Where did you play out for the first time? Are you a natural performer or does your love of music inspire you to play to the crowd?
I was mixing about 9 months before my first gig at ELEV8 (the night my boyfriend at the time had started so he could play out). We ran the night at a place called Subway in Portsmouth. I played first to a handful of people and was so ridiculously nervous but loved it and couldn’t wait to play again. It wasn’t long before I was playing at small local nights and it gradually it went from there.
I used to love acting and singing so I guess I am a natural performer. I do love being up there and creating a mood and controlling the tunes. It is my love of music that inspires me to play though, not because I want to be up there in front of a crowd particularly; I’m definitely slightly more reserved than some of the more excitable djs on the scene.
What, in your opinion, makes a good dj?
I think a good dj is someone who plays a set that builds, suited to the time of night and the promotion. I like to hear a mix of familiar and unfamiliar tunes when I’m out but that’s just my personal preference. I also like cutting and scratching done well but when it’s done badly it’s a definite no-no. Less is more! Playing the right tunes at the right time is what it’s about in my eyes.
What have been your greatest achievements to date? What are your goals for the rest of 2006? And beyond?
From a dj’ing perspective I had an aim to play at the Fridge before the end of last year and I actually played there in February in the back room for Contact. I’m pretty proud of everything I have achieved though, from my residencies at TXTURE, Out of Order, Hardnutz, ELEV8 and Aztec Om to playing on lines ups with the likes of Judge Jules and Lisa Lashes.
I’m really proud of my involvement with CyberKitten, in my opinion one of the best nights out there at the moment, the vibe is really second to none at that club. Yojo and Col are fantastic promoters, and the crowd is so friendly it’s always a real pleasure to play and to go clubbing there. It was also a great buzz to put on a night in Portsmouth and have hardcore legend Sy come and play and be on the same line up. Memories like that will last forever.
Dj’ing is fun for me so I tend not to set myself goals as such, but I would like to play in London more and ultimately some festivals and Ibiza. All in good time!
Production-wise it would obviously be nice to see my name on a vinyl but it’s not the be all and end all. Producing good tunes that I love and that make the crowd dance is enough.
You play a variety of styles, including electro house, hard dance and techno. Do you have a favourite style of music at the moment? How has your sound evolved over the years?
I started off playing Tidy Two tracks — oh the shame. Gotta love a bit of Guyver though, and it was a natural follow on at the time from my love of trance when I started clubbing. But quickly I found a passion for hard house, then techno, hardcore and more recently electro house. I go through phases of what I like to play most. At one time I would have said my favourite genre was techno, another time hard/tech trance and at the moment funky/techy hard house. Purely it goes on the tracks that are turning me on at any given time.
I’m lucky enough to get sent some great funky hard house at the moment from the likes of Scott Fo-Shaw and Digital Groove and I can’t get enough of it. I think it’s quite a bonus being able to play across a few genres and it’s certainly opened up more doors for me, but I am aware being a jack of all trades can make you a master of none. However I just play what I like, I suit the set time and the promotion and try to be considerate to those playing after me. I’ll keep playing the tunes that move me and I’ll be happy.
You’ve started producing and made a couple of tracks, one of which was played before Andy Farley last weekend at X-Static in Nottingham by Adz. That must’ve been quite a buzz! Did you enjoy your time in the studio? Please tell us about the productions you’ve done so far and where you’d like to take it in the future.
Yeah it was wicked when Adz said he was gonna play it and a real buzz when he said it went down well. I actually played it out myself for the first time on Friday night at CyberKitten in Northampton and no one left the dancefloor lol. ‘Thirteen’ is a collaboration between myself and my friend AJ Myst, engineered by Jamie Taylor. It’s a techy/older sounding hard house track at 143bpm, but I play a lot of earlier sets and love playing techy/funky hard house so it fits perfectly into that vibe. People that know me know I love my vocals in a tune and I love what we did with the Beastie Boys acappella in this track. We made it a couple of weeks ago along with a psy hard trance stomper called ‘Psybrid’.
Jamie is one of my favourite producers and a good friend. We met last year when I went to make my first track ‘Starchart’ — which I’ve had so much good feedback about from friends that have played it out. He is an amazingly talented producer and I expect I will make more tunes with him, it’s just finding the time!
What djs and producers have influenced and inspired you the most? And now?
The biggest influence on me initially when I started mixing was my boyfriend at the time, Xom/Ben from hardcore act Project BOSH. He taught me so much and is an absolutely amazing dj to watch, really skilled on the mixer with his cutting and tricks. I always said I felt a bit like it was similar to asking Michael Schumacher to teach you how to drive, I was in awe of him that much. Big respect as well to our friend John (Ruined John) who I spent countless hours mixing with when I was learning. Both of them gave me a lot of confidence and feedback and broadened my mind to different styles of dance.
Also the CyberKitten djs, particularly Lynette (Hypervixen), Steve Gillen and Simon Vegas were a massive inspiration. I met them about a year after I started mixing and they gave me a lot of support and opened my mind to hard house even further (my love for hard house came after seeing Glazby play at a local club quite soon before that). I guess djs who push the boundaries like Kutski impress me now, but I don’t think we all need to be like that!
My inspiration these days comes more from the music. Of course Jamie Taylor’s techy vibe I love and he inspires me with whatever tunes he makes to be honest: as I’ve said before, he’s very talented. A local producer Vortechtral is really producing some wicked funky techno as well. And as I mentioned earlier Scott Fo-Shaw and Digital Groove are really doing it for me (along with Digital Kid) at the moment on a funky hard house tip. And Edwin Van Cleef/Spiffeh is definitely one to watch. I love the way he switches between electro and techno and his mixes are just so creative.
On a trancier note I can’t get enough of Mark Sherry’s tunes. Love this man’s work! Also Joe Rossitter (J.R) is definitely one to look out for. People like Sander van Doorn , Marcel Woods and Marco V feature heavily in my trancier sets. Also Trevor McLachlan’s stuff is really on fire at the moment as well.
As far as I’m concerned Riggsy can do no wrong either. Loved his tune with Lucy Fur — ‘Intruder Alert’ — earlier this year and loads of his other stuff, he has such a great sound. And finally, Mr Paul Maddox — I believe the man really is a genius given everything he turns his hand to.
I could on for ages about all the producers I love but I don’t have enough room. These guys are where its at right now for me though.
Can you remember the first record you bought? How and where do you usually buy your records these days?
The first record I bought was Black Box — ‘Ride on Time’ (7inch) back when it first came out. Wish I still had it!! Before I learnt to mix as I said my other half at the time was dj’ing and I knew he really wanted Jam X & De Leon — ‘Can You Dig It’. It was about that time I said I was going to learn to mix that I’d bought the vinyl as a present for him. He told me to keep it and so it was my first tune I guess. The first tune I properly searched and bought for myself from eBay was Bedrock — ‘Heaven Scent’ though. I used to love my trance and it was one of my favourite tunes from when I was trance clubbing. I think I’ve only played it out once but it pleases me no end to own it.
I usually buy my vinyl from Juno and Bangingtunes and I source the old stuff from eBay that I really want. I increasingly find myself purchasing mp3s though, since I got my CD deck. I use Trackitdown.net, Beatport and sometimes Tidy, although the fact Tidy only offer VBR really annoys me.
What tracks are doing it for you on the dancefloor at the moment?
A mixture of funky/techy hard house, tech/hard trance and a smattering of electro/house:
Chris Hoff & Scott Fo-Shaw — ‘What Does It Take’ (CDR)
Digital Groove — ‘Twisted Funk’ (Ordeo)
Digital Groove — ‘Stamford Stones’ (Ordeo)
Adz & Richard B — ‘House Rocker’ (BTek)
Jamie Taylor — ‘Redemption’ (CDR)
AJ Myst & K8-e — ‘Thirteen’ (CDR)
Trevor McLachlan — ‘Feels So Good’ (World of Trance)
BBE — ‘Seven Days and One Week’ (Mark Sherry’s 2006 Outburst Mix) (Tunnel Records)
Austin Leeds & Terranova — ‘Only You’ (Elektro Remix) (Terratrax Recordings)
Richard Durance — ‘Make Me Scream’ (Terminal 4)
You’re from the sunny south coast yet regularly attend and play at events around the country, like Cyberkitten and Out of Order. Like a lot of djs you must spend a lot of time on motorways! Do you ever get tired of cruising round the countryside in the wee small hours and think about sticking to playing locally? How does the scene in Potsmouth compare to the rest of the country?
I don’t mind road trips! But it can get a bit wearing, especially after a long week at work and it’s generally better when I don’t have to drive. I don’t play out every weekend so it’s not too hectic at the moment.
The scene in Portsmouth is good for such a small place. There’s not much hard house loving round here though so I find myself playing more techno and tech trance locally. We have some good nights spanning hard trance, techno, hardstyle, d’n’b and house and occasional other events that happen. There is enough to do, but it’s always good to get out and about and play outside your hometown.
In a recent interview on HF, Rachel Harvey compared watching a dj mix with Abelton live to going to see Ronnie O’Sullivan play snooker with a laser-guided cue. What are your views on the changes in djing technology? Do you think the end of vinyl is near?
Vinyl will be around for some time yet, but it’s undeniable the affect digital downloads have had on the scene. I learnt to mix on vinyl and still love it, but buying a CDJ opened up a whole new world and you can see the industry heading down the digital route in all its guises.
As for Abelton, I’ve watched friends use it and I’ve seen live performances done with it but not played with it myself. It doesn’t really interest me as a performer to be honest — yet. I think saying it’s as interesting as watching Ronnie O’Sullivan play snooker with a laser guided cue is a bit harsh, but I guess it depends on why you go to a club. For me clubbing was (and is) always about the music, the vibe and being with my mates. I couldn’t care less if the dj stripped naked and danced round the stage or stood there nodding their head. I appreciate however a lot of djs are very interactive — some clubbers really dig that — so I guess it depends on your perspective and what you want from that set. I don’t think using Abelton stops the person from having any interaction with the crowd though so it depends on the person I think..
The dance music industry can be a fairly bitchy place. What are your views on club politics? Do you agree with those who feel that any publicity is good publicity?
I think politics are inevitable given human nature. It’s not the best side of the industry that’s for sure. I try and avoid as much as I can and treat others how I want to be treated.
I don’t think all publicity is good publicity but whatever works for people. I would much rather people were talking positively about me than negatively, but that’s just the person I am. There is a lot to be said for exposure, but a heck of a lot more for talent.
As well as working full time and djing and producing you also write for HarderFaster and are very active on both the HF and DSI forums. Do you ever have any time off?! What do you do to relax?
Most of my time in the week is spent online to be honest, either working or doing interviews (or chatting lol). When I take time off it’s spent with friends and family catching up, eating good food and/or drinking. I love cooking. So anyone with any interesting recipes PM me!!
Working such crazy hours in the music industry can certainly take its toll on health and relationships. If a future partner asked you to give it all up and start living ‘normal’ hours, do you think you ever could?
If any partner asks the other to give something up it’s never going to work. That sort of thing only leads to resentment in the long run. I think you both have to have a respect for each other’s interests and demands on time. These can of course change over time as circumstances change. Given the amount of time I spend thinking about music, a partner would have to be able to relate to that. That doesn’t mean I plan to be dj’ing forever but for now it’s the outlet for my passion for music.
Over the last couple of years you’ve written some fantastic interviews for HF. Is there anyone out there who you’d still really like to interview? Do you find your music journalism compliments your djing or do you see it as another passion altogether?
Thanks!! I’d always enjoyed writing and remember one of the first things I noticed when I joined HarderFaster was the interviews and articles. I thought it would be pretty cool to do one. But it wasn’t for nearly another year before I decided I’d like to interview Matt Handy, a local promoter, and see if HarderFaster would be interested in it and that’s where it all started. I’ve been fortunate enough to interview most of my ‘heroes’ and also proud to have showcased who I think are the up coming talents to watch. Most people are really appreciative for the chance to be interviewed as well, which is nice.
As for who I would like to interview . . . . As I said, I’ve done most of the big names I’ve wanted to, but I’m always finding new producers and djs I want to put questions to. I mostly only write about people who interest me or I think others will be interested in, I rarely take on paid promo work, but that’s not to say I wouldn’t in the future, I’m just too busy at the moment really! I suppose people like Sasha/Digweed and Oakey would be the on the list of bigger name djs I have really admired that I haven’t interviewed. I have one with Anne Savage coming up which should be good, she’s been someone I’ve looked up to ever since ‘Faking It’ on Channel 4.
And now for the inevitable women in the industry question. I don’t think there’s much question about the fact that women need to be better than men to be taken seriously as djs, do you? What do you think about the recent trend in hard dance for women to get plastic surgery to get ahead?
I think it’s fair to say women have had to work harder to get the respect in the industry they deserve in the past, but there are so many female hard house djs these days I think it’s evening out a little for that scene. In a genre like hardcore it does amaze me there are no real massive female djs though. I’m not sure quite why that is. I play at nights like CyberKitten and TXTURE that want to push female talent which is really encouraging.
As for surgery to get ahead, well I think it’s up to the individual. I would rather my music and mixing did the talking and I don’t need anything altered about me to give me the confidence to get up there, but if someone feels that strongly they want to go under the knife to enhance their image (and let’s face it, that wouldn’t be just for djing) then I’m not one to judge. Ultimately a dj will get repeat bookings based on talent, not how they look. I don’t begrudge people using whatever options they feel are open to them to get a foot in the door, as long as they’re not hurting other people in the process. And if a promoter wants to book based on looks that’s down to them, I don’t agree with that but it happens so people will exploit it if they can.
You’re playing at HarderFaster’s very own event Thirsty Thursdays this Thursday at the Freedom Bar in Soho. What can HFs expect from your set?
Well back in July I played at a tribute night for a dear friend who died last year — Mr E. The night was put on by TXTURE, one of the nights I’m resident at. I was asked to play warm up and a proper warm up for the dj after me on the line up meant I needed to keep it below 135bpm. I started looking for tunes and found a love for a whole new genre, electro house. I’d heard some of it before at PunchFunk and had really loved it and was a big fan of Cirez D after ‘Control Freak’, so it didn’t take me long to start downloading tunes in a similar vein from Beatport and catch the bug.
It was a bit scary delving into a new genre but exciting at the same time. I find it so sexy!!!! And it also flows well into the funky techno I’m into. But it will all depend on how the set before mine finishes and what's been played earlier . . . as I said, I've also got some quality funky hard house in my bag at the moment, so I guess people should just come down and see for themselves. Whatever I play it will be mixed up my way! And I always love meeting new HarderFasters.
What other forthcoming gigs and productions would you like to plug here?
I’m having a bit of downtime at the moment gig wise after Thirsty Thursday and am going on holiday in October for a well earned rest! My bi-monthly residency for TXTURE at the Fawcett Inn, Southsea will continue (next gig in October) and I have a few things in the pipeline to be confirmed for the last few months of the year (best to check my dj page for the latest). The next big gig I’m playing will be the CyberKitten room at Digital Fusion presents Terminal at the Renaissance Rooms in London on 11th November. I didn’t make it to the first Terminal so am really looking forward to this. I will be playing B2B with Dion which will be ace!
Big thanks to HarderFaster for this interview. It’s been weird, but fun, being on the other side of the questions for a change!
Thanks K8-e! Can’t wait to finally see you play for the first time on Thursday @ Freedom Bar!
Photos courtesy of Ben Bissett, Brett Todd, Chris Illman and Neily. Not to be reproduced without permission.
Harderfaster presents Thirsty Thursdays
Thursday 7th September
19:00 - late
FREE!! NADA!! NOTHING!!
It's FREE all night long
Wow! We’ve certainly been going from strength to strength over the past few weeks and with each successive party we’ve gone on longer and longer, finally shutting up shop at 2:45 last Thursday! Don’t you people have work to go to the next day??
This week, the 7th September, as promised we’re carrying on the breaks theme but adding some extra sounds into the mix, namely some dirty electro and some funky hard house.
Happy Hour runs to 9:30 so make sure you arrive early! Free drinks to anyone celebrating their birthday in the 2 weeks before the event - make sure you come and find Matt.
In another first for us and continuing the trend of featuring new DJs, we’ll be kicking off with Brad C. Another impressive demo of ass shaking breaks meant we just had to bring him down to start the party in style.
Some legendary parties were held at The Southside Bar in the guise of Norq. Co-promoter Voodoobass will be well known to quite a few of you and he’ll be taking over the decks to show you just how it’s done.
Marcus Rich has established himself on the London scene as one of the most diverse and versatile DJs there is and has appeared all over as well has hosting exciting parties in the shape of Sets In The City and the Battle Royale’s competitions at Turnmills.
K8-e is another versatile DJ that only started playing out two years ago. In that short space of time she’s appeared all over the south coast, alongside DJs like Judge Jules and the Warp Brothers and at massive parties like Cyberkitten and Terminal all while writing some fantastic articles for your reading pleasure. She’ll be showcasing some brand new funky hard house for us this week.
Our special guest for the night is Danny Gilligan. Constantly evolving his sound at residencies and parties around the capital, he’s now launched his own party, Ignition, at the Fridge. Tonight he’ll be warming us up for Ignition, opening it’s doors a second time the following night, by playing us his new sound of dirty electro.
The concept behind Thirsty Thursdays is to include all the music genres that HarderFaster now covers and cater for a wide variety of musical preferences.
We want to give new DJs the chance to gain experience, playing alongside the more experienced HarderFaster DJs, plus we will be inviting some VERY special guests down to grace the decks!
Too Much But Never Enough Maria will be at every Thirsty Thursdays event to satisfy your discount ticket requirements.
Remember we run on the 1st, 3rd and 5th Thursday of every month at Freedom. This party is run by HarderFaster for its members – if you have any ideas or suggestions, or if you would like to get involved then please contact email@example.com
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Other Features By HarderFaster:
HarderFaster Awards 2016 - The results are in!
HarderFaster Awards 2014 - The results are in!
Lashes, Dimples and the Brighton Music Conference
HarderFaster Awards 2013 - The results are in!
HarderFaster Awards 2012 - The results are in!
The views and opinions expressed in this review are strictly those of the author only for which HarderFaster will not be held responsible or liable.
| From: Plan9 on 5th Sep 2006 22:44.33|
Not read the artical yet, but i just wanted to be the 1st to say what a sound lass K8-e is and a good looking babe too.
She deserves all the good fortune she gets!
From: karl davis on 5th Sep 2006 23:12.47
great stuff all the best K8-e
From: TEK-DJ Management on 6th Sep 2006 00:06.26
Nice one Kate, well deserved. Respect as always.
From: tom parr on 6th Sep 2006 00:37.12
Wicked interview !!! Cheers 4 the shout outs
From: voodoobass on 6th Sep 2006 00:48.55
I have a 12" of Ride On Time if you want, Kate! Let me know and I'll bring it on Thursday!
From: SQ on 6th Sep 2006 08:02.40
nice interview! and nice one k8-e
From: Scott Fo-shaw on 6th Sep 2006 08:14.12
cheers for the shout whoop! wicked interview!
From: DJDion on 6th Sep 2006 10:49.46
Wicked K8-e, cant wait for our B2B at Terminal!!
From: ~deleted9531 on 6th Sep 2006 14:12.53
I look forward to playing with you on Thursday sweetie
From: Lucy Fur on 6th Sep 2006 14:22.04
Wicked interview- nice one babe! x x
From: Disco Diva on 6th Sep 2006 19:02.28
Fab interview K8-e, you deserve it babes as you work hard
From: Project Bosh on 6th Sep 2006 20:14.00
Great Stuff - K8-e's awesome!
From: Yojo - Cyberkitten on 7th Sep 2006 06:21.22
One of my jobs as a promoter is to recognise nu! talent an' aim to assist that talent to develop and eventually soar. K8-e's made my job E Z - she's jam loaded with talent and best - she's also one of soundest chicks in the scene.
Fly high babes!
GO GIRL GO!
From: J.R. on 7th Sep 2006 06:41.33
Thanks for the mention! Good luck babe you deserve it! ;D xx
From: Simon_Vegas on 7th Sep 2006 07:41.38
Awesome read babes, and is an absoloute honour to be mentioned as one of your inspirations! Keep on rockin' girl, and I look forward to hearing you play an electro house set! :oD x
From: RS1800 on 7th Sep 2006 09:43.05
Look forward to you playing again for Random on Dec 16th
From: cyberkitten zoe on 7th Sep 2006 10:00.58
Nice one babe, Look forward to hearing you play at CK again xx
From: Andy Rise on 7th Sep 2006 10:27.51
wicked interview hun, keep up the good work mate
From: Stu Cox on 9th Sep 2006 20:44.55
Much respect, thanks so much for all the support you've given me and I know you've done the same for so many others... it's about time the favour was returned and you were put in the spotlight!!
Really enjoyed reading the interview and keep up all of the good work Kate
From: Steve Gillen on 10th Sep 2006 09:48.55
A great read babe. Your a star. Cheers for the mention x x
From: Laylah on 12th Sep 2006 22:25.46
Excellent Interview K8-e. Giant Hugs xxx
From: HyperVixen on 18th Sep 2006 19:28.36
Wow, its great to see you in the stoplight babe, well deserved. As Yojo said, one of, if not the most sound girlie in the scene. Loving your work, and you sweetie. See you at the front in a couple of weeks. Massive lovez xx
From: K8-e on 18th Sep 2006 20:19.10
I must say a big thank you to Tara for this interview and to everyone for their comments.
I've met some truly wonderful and interesting people since I've been spinning and had some amazing gigs! I'm looking forward to many more.