Interview – DJ Miss Smith of Random Concept and Inspiration.FM

by | May 22, 2016 | Spotlight

DJ Miss Smith has been blazing a fire since her first  major gig opening for Chase and Status. She was the winner of Random Concept‘s DJ competition in 2010, and has been climbing the ranks ever since. In addition to being noticed by KMag, Miss Smith has been a key element to Inspiration.FM, is well-known across the UK after playing a plethora of headlining gigs with many drum ‘n bass heavyweights, and is currently studying at the University of Northampton, focused on a Bachelor of the Arts in Popular Music. Miss Smith is also Program Director for a workshop at Inspiration.FM that teaches kids ages 11-17 the art of DJing.

Miss Smith’s mix for Best Drum & Bass

Tell me about what brought you to drum n bass. You were a long time avid fan before you started djing, right?

Well i started DJing when i was 18 and back then i was a dedicated raver and Hard Dance fan so i learned to mix on mainly Tidy Trax vinyl, but always listened to other genres of music outside of practising. Then in 2008 a friend played me a John B Mixmag promo CD called ’Trance n Bass’ and i instantly fell in love  and from then onwards i started to collect all types of DnB and Jungle .For me, it’s the way the music makes me feel that got me hooked, no other music in the world makes you feel the way that Jungle does!

What led you to DJing?

When i was 16, a boyfriend at the time was into DJing and so there was always a set of decks in the house plus i was a raver and  i always followed + really looked up to a Hard Dance DJ called Amber D! She gives me chills when i watch her perform! She’s not afraid of doing things differently, she has so much passion for music and….she always has so much time for her followers! I would message her on MSN messenger and talk to her on forums as a total girl fan. We still speak now and have talked about collaborating a few times, it’s mad how life turns out, she knows how much she’s inspired me over the years and i’m so blessed that 15 years on she’s still a part of my journey, still inspiring me.

Your first dj set saw you open for Chase & Status in 2009. What was that experience like? 

Absolutely incredible but a total shock as I wasn’t even meant to play. i got a call the night before saying a DJ pulled out and asking me if i would be up for it! I didn’t sleep after that for days, my set went so perfectly and from then i got my first residency playing for Audio Therapy in Northampton. It was definitely a pivotal moment for me spiritually, i realized that night that i wanted to be a DJ for the rest of my life.

You were also the winner of a dj competition for Random Concept.  Tell me a bit about that and the opportunities that came from it. 

Yes, another pivotal moment for me. I never saw it coming to be honest, the dream became a fast reality after winning Random Concepts 2010 DJ comp! I went from a bedroom DJ who had played out a handful of times to headlining rammed out arenas over night, along side A list artists. It was a very ride or die moment in my life, despite what anyone may think of me I’m actually quite shy. Being thrown in at the deep end really helped me hone my confidence and DJ skills though and without a doubt Random Concept’s platform helped me immensely. Without this experience, i never would of been accepted into University to do my music degree so i owe Garry and Presha a lot for taking a chance on me!

Big up for getting into KMag’s top 20 female DJs.  What was that like for you?

Definitely! To be up there next to other amazing females like Rap, Missrepresent and Liz E was a huge personal mile stone for me, especially in such a short space of time DJing. Next stop, an Award!

Everyone wants to DJ these days. What do you think sets you apart from other DJs?

You know, it used to be about putting mix CD’s out and playing great live sets. These days, in order to really stand out you have to think creatively and be able to stay current using all sorts of methods. Social media, marketing and networking are a big part of it, you have to know your audience and make a presence online and in the rave. Also, taking the time to interact with your followers, doesn’t really matter how many you have, their yours and they believe in you before the rest of the world does – nurture them!

Like many artists with a dream, you left your job in 2014 to pursue music at the University of Northampton. How did you come to decide to make music a career and what quote would you have for others wanting to do the same? 

I did – i hit 30 and i was like “ what am i doing with my life?”. i had the dream job, i was a personal assistant for Avon Cosmetics HQ in Marketing. I worked so hard for that job as well, i started as the receptionist and worked my way up to Finance and then into Marketing with no qualifications!. Making the decision to leave was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make, i could of seen myself retiring from there. As ’The Company For Women’, it taught me many core values as a young woman and helped shape me personally and professionally. Since making the move to follow my dreams, I’ve lived the ethos ‘ Be The Change that you wish to see in the world’ by gandhi because really thats what it takes in order to walk the talk in life. Theres no point talking about it, the proof is in the action.

Where are you at in school and what have you learned? 

So i’m studying Popular Music BA at The University of Northampton and it’s a very rounded degree that covers everything from music culture, production, live performance, music theory to grade 5 and the recording studio. It’s been such a shock stepping back into full time education as i never did well in school, i left with 1 grade C and never ever imagined i’d get the opportunity to even go to Uni so it’s such an emotional and educational journey for me. I’m looking forward to getting into work once it’s completed though, i miss having a regular income. Student life sucks sometimes haha.

Your bio talks about your debut EP. Is it out yet? What else is in the pipeline? 

I’m still in the lab working on it, i feel like I’ve been talking about it coming out forever but I’m a perfectionist and its a bass music EP so i’m covering a variety of genres. I’m just enjoying learning the creative process and becoming more eu fait with Logic, which is so much fun but it’s a can of worms. I think the beauty of this project is that i don’t really mind when it comes out because it will all be my own work. So many artists use ghost writers for speed but i’d rather wait and produce something thats completely my own work.

You also facilitate kids DJ workshops at Inspiration FM in Northampton.

Yeah, i’ve been working for Inspiration FM for a while now, i started producing content for the shows by writing cue and questions, booking in interviews etc and quickly progressed to Presenting on air and now i’m teaching DJ workshop classes to young people from underprivileged backgrounds. I actually wrote a programme especially for my first group which were all girls aged between 11-17 and I’m currently delivering workshops and a final recording session with them. Teaching is never something i ever set out to do when thinking about a career in music but i love working with them, showing them the beauty of DJing and helping them build self empowerment is very rewarding and definitely something i plan to do more of in the future!

So what can we expect to see from you next Miss Smith?

As i’ve been mainly focusing on other areas of Music outside of DJing for a while now, such as Radio Broadcasting, Promoting my own event ‘ Drum & Bass Utopia’ and Producing, i am just about to launch my own brand new Bass Music Media Youtube channel called Miss Smith TV. It’s an idea that I’ve been thinking about for quite some time and having the opportunity to Present on Radio and facilitate own my DJ workshops at Inspiration FM has given me lots of exposure and really inspired me to create my own platform. I’m so passionate about bass music and its culture! I want to provide a 360 perspective on every function that makes up our incredible music scene, whilst giving artists the opportunity to showcase themselves in a more up close and personal way. I think when artists are interviewed,a lot of them only have a limited time to promote their priorities and don’t have a lot of room to expose the authentic person behind the music. I plan to give them the opportunity to show their followers fresh footage and talk about things that may not necessarily get captured by the mainstream. The first episode of Miss Smith TV features the award winning Missrepresent. I go on the road with her to a boat party that she’s headlining in London on the Thames. The content has just been released so make sure you check it out on Youtube to see what went down. Don’t forget to subscribe to see what’s coming next!

Stay up-to-date with DJ MIss Smith through the following links:

Soundcloud: soundcloud.com/dj-miss-smith

Mixcloud: https://www.mixcloud.com/steph-smith3/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/djmisssmith/

[[ GUEST MIX TO BE UPLOADED SOON]]

Content Crafted by:

BhagavateZero

A junglist before he even knew what 'jungle' was, Bhagavate Zero was instantly hooked onto the sound of rave around the age of 10 while dancing around to artists like 2 Unlimited, 2 Bad Mice, Sonz of a Loop Da Loop Era, Cosmo & Dibs, and so many more. As radio play changed, so did his tastes. As 1999 came around though, BZ was slayed by the sounds of AK1200, Dieselboy, Dara, Ganja Kru and DJ Rap, which later turned into an obsession with amen breaks and techstep. With published works hosted by Dogs On Acid, Rinse Mag, and Bassline Magazine; while also writing for the likes of Disturbed Recordings, Guerilla, Blu Saphir, Killing Sheep, Influenza Media, Sublunary Artist Management, and N2O – Bhagavate Zero (then known as Sykophiend) dove into the performance art of DJing, opening for Omar Santana in 2005 at Headstrong 5 (noteworthy part of that set – a mosh pit of epic proportions to Audio & Mackie's remix of Master of Puppets). Known for a wicked selection of mostly 1993-2005 music, he would then go on to play all over California. This headbanging, slam-dancing, screaming maniac will stop at nothing to get a crowd going. Now in 2016, he is a staple writer for Best Drum & Bass Blog, and is focusing on DJ gigs and original production material.