Josh Dawson

William Gore

William Gore is no stranger to improvising in front of a packed room. His early appearances on the Cambridge music scene came as a rapper, freestyling at Hip Hop Soc Exhibition Nights, but after serving on the HHSoc committee he moved from spitting bars to spinning records. He has taken the controls at Rudie and last term’s Hip Hop Exhibition Night After Party, while showing off both his DJing and spitting ability at the Hip Hop jams in Catz bar. William is clearly someone who has music flowing through his veins, and here he delivers a dynamic hour of unabashed bangers.

What were you trying to do with the mix?

Just wanted to record something fun. Obviously, it’s a bit of a stressful period at the moment and I’ve been listening to a lot of dramatic and/or over the top 90s-00s house, so I thought I’d bring in some of that high energy fun sound. I wanted to do a mix that didn’t take itself too seriously (and hopefully would lighten the mood when you’re listening/dancing to it!). 

You feature a really wide range of music, with 29 tracks spanning Mariah Carey to HDMIRROR. How would you describe your music taste?

I go through phases with music where I’m very into a certain sound. I think when I was younger the phases lasted longer, but over time, and especially from when I had a show on Cam FM and more recently started DJing, the phases switch super quickly.

"I like how when you DJ, you’re kind of performing but you’re kind of not, and how people aren’t really there to see you."

I think in terms of mixes; I like when DJs reference familiar songs or styles and then take it somewhere else in really interesting ways. When I’m looking for music, I think I’m often listening for something that’s good to dance to, but also kind of unexpected. More recently I’ve been very into disco, and before that afro-house, which I think has been nuancing my ear a bit, but this mix was definitely a return to being all over the place. 

I’ve found that a lot of this stuff isn’t on Spotify, where do you do your digging?

I used to have a music show on Cam FM called Sainsbury’s Basics which had a different theme each week (like ‘An Hour of Morrissey Covers’ or ‘Hip Hop Songs about Vegetables’). To get an hour’s worth of music in quite a short time I’d trawl through YouTube and Soundcloud, clicking on music I liked and then opening all the related tracks in loads of tabs.

I still basically do that for DJ mixes but maybe with slightly less urgency. I get older music from YouTube algorithms, and newer music from Soundcloud, and then artists I know better I might pick up a song from an album I listened to on Spotify. Most of the time that means that I don’t really know much about any of my music except for the one track I use!

Who is your favourite producer/performer at the moment?

Rico Nasty!

Rico NastyChynna Keys/DJBooth

You’ve previously been a very involved with Hip Hop Soc., where you used to perform, but not so much anymore. Could you talk us through that switch, from rapping to DJing? 

Yeah, I think they’re quite similar. I enjoyed freestyling because I like improvising and seeing/hearing people improvise. I got a bit bored of my voice, accent and what I had to say, and I’m not a big fan of writing lyrics, so I thought I’d try out DJing. I like how when you DJ, you’re kind of performing but you’re kind of not, and how people aren’t really there to see you, it’s more like you’re working with them to make an amazing night. 

The arrival of a Hip Hop Soc. After Party brought a new flavour to student-run Cambridge night life. Do you think that kind of thing has been missing up to now? Do you see CUHHS growing further in the future? 

I hope so! I think the committee this year has been really amazing and put on really great events which have given students opportunities to get together and explore their creativity. Without Rudie and CUHHS, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity or confidence to try out DJing in front of people, and I think the work that groups like Playtime, CUHHS and Women In Media have been doing this year to broaden access, safety and inclusion behind the decks and on the dancefloor is super important.

What is your musical guilty pleasure?

I listen to the Steven Universe soundtrack a lot.

What is your go to tune to bring a party up/banger?

'Booo!' – Sticky, Miss Dynamite

Princess Banga

Johanna at Reclaim The DecksCambridge Hip Hop Society/Facebook

Princess Banga, aka Johanna Kinnock, is a DJ who likes to take audiences deep. Recently you might have caught her at Avant Gardening, King's Mingle or Grandma Groove, playing anything from dark and dirty queer techno, to euphoric 90s house. Her reputation as one half of Star Whores (who warmed up for Violet at last term’s King’s Mingle) and as a solo DJ lives up to her...loud…alias. Here, Princess Banga gives us a tough hour of tight percussion, vibrant acid and raucous bass lines. 

What were you trying to do with the mix?

Breakbeat is everywhere at the moment and its just always so lush! So I got obsessed with finding break beats across different genres - I thought that would be cool as a theme running through house, acid, trance and techno. I hope it comes through in the mix.

The mix is pretty hard throughout. Do you find yourself looking to play deeper, harder, bassier tunes in the club? 

I have been drawn to harder stuff recently for sure, so I guess this mix really is just a soundscape of my stressed-out exam term mind haha. I also desperately wanted to prove to Ms. Talia [Maidenberg, other half of star whores] that I could handle the sickening stuff.  

There’s a nice story arc, where the start is quite fun and high energy, and at the end you use tracks that are more minor and reminiscent sounding. How do you sort tracks? When you’re listening to new music, do you have in mind what you could use it for?

"The best sets I’ve seen strike a perfect balance between the expected and the unexpected"

Thank you!! I am mega obsessed with making playlists, so I definitely take anything I like but then sort it into really niche categories. And then try and play it on the right occasion. The best sets I’ve seen strike a perfect balance between the expected and the unexpected: so categories are good but getting too hung up on mixing all in one genre is not.

In this mix I had a few extra tracks that I wanted to add but then restrained myself - mainly because 'Born Slippy' is just so epic and euphoric it had to be the last one. It has exactly that reminiscent feel to it: the kind of tune that should be played out at an afters in may week.

There are some great bits of signposting with vocal samples dotted about. Do you try to use vocal samples like this a lot?

 I love vocals as something to latch onto, especially in heavy sets. Also everyone at the club screaming like “eat my pussy” is just a great image.  I love it when samples bring that bit of humour to the party.

"I’m not guilty about any of my pleasures. I wear my love for T-Swift on my sleeve."

Samples in electronic music are often über repetitive so that’s something to watch out for when using them. For example, Four Tet’s recent track “only human” is amazing but if I was playing it in a set I’d break it up a bit so it doesn’t just go into endless overdrive.

What is your musical guilty pleasure?

I’m not guilty about any of my pleasures. I wear my love for T-Swift on my sleeve, proudly.

I believe we should fight the music snobbery, collectively stop doing Spotify private sessions and bask in the cheesiness.


Mountain View

Milk & Alcohol: Hen and Bez

What is your go to tune to bring a party up?

'Work it' – Marie Davidson.

What was the best party you’ve played?

Avant Gardening when I was playing lots of queer techno and ghetto house and a big vogueing competition started on the dancefloor… I was like.. this is it… I can die in peace now.