Don’t let the naysayers say otherwise — there’s a real art to DJing. Sure, for some it might be not much more than pressing play, or playing the exact set you rehearsed at home with all the same tracks in the same order. But for others it’s an improvisational artform — it’s about feeling what tune is right for what moment, it’s about programming but being flexible, rocking the floor but taking the crowd somewhere at the same time.
Put simply, a lot of the best DJs are experienced to some degree. They’ve learned things along the way, stuff that the music production schools can’t really teach you. How to do a warm-up — not necessarily to bang it out, but heat the room up slowly. How to draw for a certain banger at a specific moment. How to read the room as soon as you come in. How to tell a story. Technical skills are important, for sure, but brave selection, thinking outside the box, thinking on your feet when something unexpected happens in da club — all these come from experience, tune knowledge, and ultimately a deep love of music.
Josey Rebelle’s career trajectory has been a slow burn, as she illuminates in our excellent cover feature that begins on page 30. She’s not an Instagram show-off or a brash egotistical loudmouth who’s blagged a slot in the big time. She’s a music lover through and through who’s steadily been doing her thing for years, and now this is her time. A DJs’ DJ, radio has been important for Josey (she’s been on Rinse FM for eight years or so) and has undoubtedly helped shape her into who she is today — a hugely respected selector who digs deep, rather than plays the current Beatport top 10 or whatever. Anyone who caught Josey’s ace BBC Radio 1 Essential Mix Of The Year recently, or one of her radio shows or gigs lately, will concur. Big ups.