Flavorpill WMC: Interview with DJ Heidi


As we wander down Collins Avenue like lost, drunken, sunburned children, Team Flavorpill is bound to bump into some interesting characters. We decided to take advantage of the situation and bring you quick 'n dirty interviews from the DJs, producers, promoters and general party-makers that we meet on the street. Last night at the Immigrant Records bash, we sidled up to Heidi, proprietor of Phonica Records in London. Here's what she had to say about muscles, minimal, and her residency at Monza …

Are you English, or American? Because you kind of have an American accent.
I'm Canadian.

Well, that's sort of the same thing!
No, it's not!

From where?
From Windsor, Ontario.

So how many times have you been to WMC?
It's my first time; I'm a virgin.

What are you most looking forward to, besides playing at the Get Physical party?
[Long pause] Really, the beach, and getting some sun — I see all the rest of it all the time anyway, so this is a holiday with a bit of work.

What were you expecting upon getting here, and how has it been the same or different?
I only got here last night, but it's quite… funny. It's Miami, it's everything you think Miami is going to be—lots of muscles and silicone. Lots of Lamborghinis and lots of American house music.

But you play American house music!
I do, but I mix it up with a little bit of everything. You've got to keep it fresh.

So you work at London's Phonica Records. What's happening with London's dance-music culture? Last year seems to be the year of minimal, but it seems like a backlash is afoot.
We set up Phonica three years ago, me and my friend Simon. Basically we always sold that kind of music, even when we used to run another record store, called Kubla. We sold stripped-down techno, but it wasn't called minimal back then—it was called "click house." We sell everything for everybody. Obviously quote-unquote minimal… But it's always been around, though, that's the thing. People want to latch onto this word, but they've been making techno music like this for years—Richie [Hawtin], Daniel Bell. The younger crowd has come up and they're looking for something, and they've found it, and now it's popular, but it's still quite underground.

I wonder if it's a particularly English thing — it's always been around in Germany, but in England progressive house was so strong, and once progressive bottomed out they started playing minimal…
That's because they realized what they were playing was shit! I need bass in my music. I can't deal with this high-end, trancey music. Personally, from a woman's point of view, I think that if you hit the pelvic region with your music, it's going to be good on the dance floor. If I don't feel that bass in my midsection, then I'm not interested.

You have a residency in Ibiza, right? How did that happen? No offense, but you weren't a huge name globally when you got that.
I'm still not! Through the Get Physical guys, I played a few times at Monza Club in Frankfurt, and I played a few years ago in Ibiza at Penelope's. And they liked it so much they asked me to come out. I'm still not the best technical DJ in the world, but they dropped me into it, gave me a peak timeslot, and it went down really well. They loved it, asked me back, and yeah, that's history I guess.

Have you played in the States before?
No, never. Growing up in Detroit, I've danced with American crowds a lot. It is very different. But I'm really good at reading people, and I can tell if they're not into it, and I'll change it up. I'm not gonna sit there and just play — you've gotta deal with their feelings. I'll always play what I play, but I'm quite diverse, so maybe they'll like something else.

Best and worst fashion trends seen so far?
Muscles. That's the worst. Best? Nothing yet.

by Philip Sherburne