There’s a strong case to be made that Jaye Ward‘s as versatile a DJ as they come – a cult favourite on the London circuit, she navigates disparate genres like a 15th Century explorer seeking out the New World. Selections span decades, continents and countless styles, to the extent of being almost impossible to predict. Her Netil Radio show treads the same path, as do pre-recorded mixes, traversing disco, house, Balearic and tripped-out curiosities that defy categorisation and genre conventions.
If there’s one thing underpinning Jaye’s approach these days, however, it would be a penchant for the psychedelic, strange and unusual. Warping and bending realities like fractals seen through a funhouse mirror, Jaye’s mix demonstrates an immense range without ever loosing sight of that overarching mood. She was also kind enough to answer a few of our questions below.
Could you tell us a bit about the mix?
Ummm, okay, so I wasn’t given a theme as such but tried to keep to that long swampy, dubbed-out, trippy weirdness I’ve been mining for quite a while. It starts with the eternal goddess of sleaze and hard times Lydia Lunch and rotates downwards from there. Maybe look at it like a soundtrack to a future, filmed in saturated colours where all the good acid is cut with strychnine again, ‘getting fucked up’ is spray painted in glitter on the walls of the parade that lines a long derelict long dried up irradiated beach and the words sun kissed and balearic have taken on far more nihilist hues. You can’t be ambient without being bent.
When and where was it recorded?
Umm, middle of the week, Tuesday afternoon I think. In hackney gateway to the east, outside in my garden by the canal with my dog lounging watching me pull shapes.
How would you recommend listening to it?
Mushrooms and Malbec would be a fine combination when listening to this with friends but if you were on your own say? Then with the powders of your own choice and somewhere you can stretch out and watch the world tip into oblivion.
What are your favourite spots to go digging?
ALWAYS charity shops. Most of my fave records have been sneaky finds in random charity shops. I don’t buy half as many records as I used to. Digital has meant that most of my vinyl shopping is now second-hand which I’m totally fine with. So yeah, charity shops and Bandcamp.
How about the last record you bought?
That was in that mad charity shop in Well Street in Hackney a couple of weeks back. I picked up another Golden Avatar (always found in charity shops and I will buy ever single time I see it) and really happily, a Burundi Black 7” for 25p (got 1 copy from my dad – he and my mum had seen them on the royal variety performance at the London palladium back in the ’70s and bought the single). Drums for days.
Do you have any process when it comes to record store digging?
No real process apart from go through EVERYTHING. GO to charity shops. GO to shops that deal in something specific and go through their sale racks because you know stuff they hate will get put there straight away. I don’t really go to record shops anymore but if I do then go straight to the discount stuff and the sale things. I think that nowadays in this post-everything world upfront is sort of meaningless as it’s always going to be about the mood of the floor or back room lounge or garden or wherever you get to air your finds. Playing old things or less recent things in a new context is just as valid as playing some brand new shiny WAV direct from the laptop that no one has heard yet. Out or in context is always where it’s at.
How did you source the music played in this mix?
I have a nice manageable collection of about 5,000 records nowadays and terabytes of hard rive space taken up with all manner of stuff. I’ve been listening to and collecting music for nearly 40 years now and even though dance music is where I’m embedded I’m always looking at random old things or getting into a rabbit hole of something or another. It’s really hard for me to stick to a genre nowadays as theres a LOT of good stuff to hand. With this mix I was already going through my records for things to play in Albania as I had 3 wildly different sets to play and I was going through my hard rives for certain tracks I decided I needed. A lot of random things came to the top and I thought that a few of them would fit right in with this selection.
We heard that you regularly wipe your USBs and switch up what’s going into the record bag. How much importance do you place on having a little refresh every now and again?
I’ve ALWAYS done it TBH. I have a very short attention span so refreshing records is good therapy haha! I think that we collect so much music nowadays that somethings remain unplayed and need a little attention every now and then. It’s fun to do as well. I mean my records are always in a state of disarray yet for me thats how I know where things are. A new bag and fresh keys is always fun to have as the first couple of gigs feel like your playing without a safety net which I ALWAYS like. I was told recently that I have no style hahaha! and that booking me will always be a bit of an issue as I’m too wide ranging music wise but thats rubbish haha! I’ll play to the mood of the party so having a wide range of things at hand is a good thing in my book. I mean I can get REAL specific when I need to and spin out into all sorts of thing if the needs be too. Keeping yourself fresh with new and recently rediscovered old stuff keeps the soul happy.
You recently played Kala Festival in Albania. Where can people catch you next?
LOVE KALA!! People need to get to this festival… Really, really amazing location and good spread of artists involved… Dancing and not dancing are always covered. I do a party with the amazing Chris Ranks in Bristol every other month called PLU (“People Like Us)” which is brilliant and amazing and has seriously helped me see the world in a favourable light again and this month we are doing an 8-hour PLU daytime thing in the olive grove on the Sunday at LOVE INTERNATIONAL – we do 1 record each and it’s mega fun. We keep ourselves and the crowd on our toes or for the olive grove maybe on their backs too. Looking forward to that then the following week I’m in Sheffield on the Friday at HATCH for the tramlines festival then PLU in Bristol on the Saturday for the actual party with the return of PAQUITA GORDON who we LOVE!! The following week I’m in STUTTGART playing for this excellent queer party at CLIMAX INDUSTRIES which will be way more of a banging trippy body melting type of affair… Haha!!