Headliner has long been a platform that delivers top-notch DJ talent. From the crème de la crème of professional mobile DJs, to the most respected in the underground club circuit, Headliner has a killer DJ for any event. As such, we present you with our ‘Meet The DJ’ series, where we interview a Headliner DJ, and in turn, they produce a sweet mix or specially curated playlist for you to enjoy.
Next up is the multi-talented, Carly Wilford, a music industry insider with distinctive skill as a DJ only rivalled by her abilities as a presenter, music manager and forward-thinking A&R. We have the very special opportunity to present you with a Q&A and exclusive Spotify playlist curated by her for your enjoyment. As our ‘Meet The DJ’ series continues we present you with the incredible, Carly Wilford:
Carly Wilford pioneers tastemaker radio platform, SISTER, a collective effort to grow and showcase male and female artists on the underground bass scene in a balanced way. She takes this opportunity to promote artists she believes in and aims to bridge the gap between the UK and US music scenes where she has very close ties. SISTER has been very successful to date playing incredible shows including a European tour with Skrillex’s label, OWSLA, most recently!
Furthermore, as a presenter, interviewer, music manager and A&R, Carly Wilford’s range of talents have gained her incredible experiences and the ability to promote the artists she believes in. Her notable efforts have seen her build bonds with the likes of Sam Smith, Rudimental and Skrillex who have all spoken publicly about her unrivalled support. Having interviewed the likes of Nas, Kendrick Lamar, Annie Mac, Zane Lowe, Alison Wonderland & J Cole and with recent guest mixes on BBC 1Xtra & BBC Asian Network, her honesty and foresight helps to shape the music industry of tomorrow.
Carly Wilford has curated a tasteful Spotify playlist featuring classic house tunes nostalgic of her early DJing days. Enjoy her specially selected sounds as you explore the Q&A below for insight, wisdom and tips from a uniquely talented DJ with incredibly valuable industry experience.
Tell us a bit about your Spotify playlist. What were your inspirations for it? In what ways is it a reflection of you as a DJ?
This playlist brings together all of the feel good tracks I am playing at the moment and classic House music that made me fall in love with being a DJ. In the early days, I fell in love with Masters at Work, Sandy Rivera, Frankie Knuckles, Dave Morales and the vibe that music created. Whenever I play I always try to think how the music that I am spinning touches the people that are listening to it. It’s a huge responsibility. I love so many types of music but House music has had my heart for a very long time and it brings back some incredible memories.
Tell us a bit about your new radio platform, SISTER. What drives the platform? What is the one thing above all else that you would like to see SISTER achieve?
Aside from House music, I love anything with a heavy bass line. SISTER started out as a radio show that sonically bridged the gap between the UK and the US electronic music scenes but it’s become a movement. We play across different genres backing any music that we love from Hip-Hop to Bass and Grime too. We broadcast in the UK, US and Australia.
I realised when I first stepped in to the Bass scene that there weren’t many girls DJ’ing and Producing so we decided to create a collective with both guys and girls that focused on bringing through the next wave of artists within the scene in a balanced way. We have played some amazing shows and just stepped off a European tour with Skrillex’s label OWSLA.
I would love to see a SISTER Collective start to appear in the US as well as other countries in Europe, and we would also love to start a Record Label.
As a renown global tastemaker, what 3 artists are you most excited about in 2018?
This is such a difficult question as there are so many amazing artists right now. Stefflon Don is one artist who I will back until the end. She is super fierce and ready to smash the States. YUNGBLUD is set for a huge year, I love that fact that bands and indie sounds are making a come back. Jessie Reyez is also one to watch, she’s super talented and stands for something – I have a lot of respect for that.
How would you describe your musical taste? What type of music would you love to play in a dream set?
Diverse. I really appreciate creativity and honesty in music. I love taking people on a journey in my sets, playing new sounds blended with old nostalgic classics and taking unexpected twists with tracks that you wouldn’t imagine to hear. Music touches people in different ways and I love that as a DJ you can be the master of that.
You seem to have found an impressive balance between your relationship with the underground and popular music. Do you find this difficult? Do you have any tips for artists and/or DJs who are also faced with this dichotomy?
This can be so tricky as a lot of the time people want you to like one genre of music and stick to it. It might have made my journey easier if I had done that, but I appreciate and love so many different types of music that I never wanted to restrict myself. It’s meant I’ve learnt different ways to mix and I can now blend genres too. It’s also meant that I can stay open minded with different sounds and back a wide spectrum of new artists. The music I listen to chilling at home is different to the music that I rave to.
My advice is always stick to what you love. Play what makes you happy as the people listening will feel that. Only listen to other peoples’ advice if it feels right and don’t be afraid to carve your own path.
Describe your most memorable DJ set to date.
On the OWSLA tour, we played a gig in Cologne. I took over from a sick DJ & Producer called Habstrakt. The atmosphere was like nothing I had ever played to before, there was sweat coming off the ceiling and in to my eyes. It was 5am in the morning and the people in the crowd raved right until the very end. I knew I had to bring it when I jumped on to the decks. It’s gigs like that, that make you massively step up.
What would you request on your dream rider?
Hahaha! This is a funny one for me. I am on a healthy one at the moment so it would be Matcha powder with ginger, actually Matcha in any form. Kit Kats, Latte’s (if you don’t know about it Google it). I’d have a juicer for sure, and a smoothie maker. Fresh Orange Juice all the way, and I make an epic smoothie with Peanut Butter & Bananas. I’d also definitely have fresh flowers on there, some candles and some Nag Champa incense too. Shall I stop now? Oh, I just realised there’s no alcohol, Champagne ok?
You are also a highly skilled and experienced presenter and interviewer. How does this impact your DJ career? Do you prefer one over the other between DJing and presenting or interviewing?
I think that they both go hand in hand. As a broadcaster, it’s a privilege to get to know the people behind the music that you play. They both help to elevate one another. I have been lucky enough to meet and interview some of the most inspiring and successful people in the industry. It makes you dream bigger and push yourself forward too. I love hearing peoples stories. I once had a phone interview with Nas, life was never the same after that.
How do you differentiate yourself from other DJs? What do you bring to the table for potential clients and audiences?
I love music and playing it for a living is a real blessing. I really enjoy being behind the decks and make my sets as fun as possible. I played a charity event recently for the Nordoff Robbins Rugby Dinner and ended up creating a back to back Garage set teaching some of the players to mix alongside Leo The Lion from The Streets and Marcel from Love Island. Who would have thought it?
Tell us a secret.
I’m currently addicted to the ‘Words With Friends’ app (online scrabble basically) and play it every night in bed. Who said being a DJ was Rock N Roll?