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’re thrilled to announce our ‘Meet The DJ’ series, where we interview a Headliner DJ and in turn, they produce a sweet mix for your listening pleasure.
Kicking off this series, we have Emilio Stavrou a self-confessed crate digger and all-around avid music collector:
Hailing from London, Stavrou spends his days pulling from the best in world funk, house, soul, jazz, R&B, Latin, 60s R&B, hip-hop and everything in-between. A true DJ’s DJ, Emilio splits most of his time between being in the DJ booth, producing and remixing. But don’t take our word for it, this DJ has curated successful playlists for the likes of Ministry of Sound, VH1, NTS Radio, Music Concierge and Alfred Dunhill Member’s Club, to name a few.
Emilio created an exclusive Headliner mix for us, inspired by 東京挽歌 (Tokyo Banka) by Maki Asakawa and tunes from Guadeloupe in the 70s. Sit back, relax and enjoy while you scroll through our interview with him.
We’re fortunate enough to have an exclusive mix from you. Care to share your inspirations for it?
When did you start DJing? What or who were some of your earlier influences?
When I was ten, I adopted a pair of cast-off, belt-drive SoundLAB turntables and a dodgy Numark mixer that had two pennies blue-tacked to either side of the cross-fader – a classic fix I still use on other mixers today!
My first records were “Basslick” by Second Protocol – a very ravey UK Garage track and the “Black Star” album by Mos Def and Talib Kweli – still arguably one of the greatest hip-hop albums of all time.
A huge DJing influence at the time was the 2002, “As Heard On Radio Soulwax Pt. 2” mix by 2 Many DJs, and I was also the proud owner of the Exhibitionist DVD, which was an hour mix with Jeff Mills smashing out some incredible techno across three turntables.
You’re Described as a true DJ’s DJ. Please Explain.
This isn’t a self proclamation!
There’s new tech making it extremely easy for just about anyone to slap two tunes together and consequently, DJing has become a pretty loose term. I think what is meant by this statement, is that my mixes are quite technical.
If you had to describe your mixes in three words, what would they be?
Have, A, Listen.
Your mixes vary and are incredibly eclectic in the influences they pull from. How would you describe your relationship with music? I’m particularly interested in your relationship with individual songs and albums.
Tough question! I obsessively collect everything I hear with no particular filter. The only music I avoid is most current commercial and Gabber House.
My favourite song (at the moment, it changes constantly!) is “Sommartid” by Magnus Uggla, but the 12″ version, not the 12″ remix! I think there’s a stream of it on YouTube.
Favourite album “Alicia” by Alicia Myers
Favourite artist is Prince.
What are some of your favourite events you’ve played at or residencies you’ve held?
One of my current residencies is at a 1940s themed cocktail bar in a converted train station. It’s really refreshing to be in an environment where I can play a downtempo track by Thelonious Monk and people won’t boo me out the booth!
What do you bring to the table for potential clients and audiences?
I never agree to a gig without determining a very clear brief. I think this requires a combination of good communication and experience. Every event is different and comes with its own set of variables. Once I know exactly what’s needed, I spend a lot of time structuring my sets and making sure I’ve got more than enough wiggle room in my selection if the vibe changes.
I think one of my hallmarks as a DJ is to read the crowd and smoothly transition between genres.
As a DJ who uses CDJ and extensive vinyl, how many vinyls would you say you go through within a particular night?
I love vinyl, but I’m not a vinyl purist! The music is the priority, not the format.
There are so many vinyl-only releases, but there’s also a lot that isn’t on vinyl. Because of this, my ideal setup is Serato with vinyl, which gives me the option to switch between both.
The amount of vinyl or digital releases I play in a set really depends on the type of event and the style of music, but when turntables are an option, I always bring a bag with me.
Tell us a secret.
I once sold a pair of Limited Edition Gold Technics 1200. It still hurts!