London-based DJ and promoter, Tasha, has been steadily building a rep for herself over the last couple of years through her impeccably tight mixing and top notch selections skills, which have in turn translated to a burgeoning DJ schedule. Given the producer-dominated climate of electronic music at the moment, this is no mean feat and it's representative of just how good she is on the wheels of steel.
Also running the quarterly club night, Medium, at Plastic People - alongside like minded allies FD and Sigha – they disregard any conception of genre restrictions. Flaunting the possibilities and embracing the chaos of music at any temp, Medium’s focus is purely on good music; and over the last three years its consistently brought varied and exciting line ups, with guest slots from the likes of Martyn, dBridge, Scuba, Danny Breaks, Spectrasoul and a whole lot more.
With her debut appearance behind the decks at fabric imminent, we thought it was high time to find out some more…
Can you introduce yourself?
EZ! I’m Tasha from the Medium crew. I’m a DJ/promoter from North London, originally from Norfolk. I play drum & bass (mainly).
What music were you into when you were growing up?
I’ve always had a passion for music. I listened to all sorts whilst growing up; from Motown, funk & soul to dub/reggae and rock! Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Al Green, Gill Scott Heron, Bob Marley, Augustus Pablo, Lee Perry, Pink Floyd, Jimmy Hendrix, David Bowie, Michael Jackson, The Beatles, Blur, along with many more have been big influences. I also listened to a lot of hip hop, including artists such as Slum Village, Nas, Jeru, A Tribe Called Quest, Jehst, Braintax and many more… I still do. I spent most of my youth in Norfolk. In my teens I listened to old tape packs, I got really into house and garage! I loved EZ and Wookie! I used to stay up late listening and recording Radio 1 and Vibe FM just so I could hear quality music!
How did you first get into the drum & bass?
I love bass, so I think that’s what attracted me to the likes of garage and drum & bass. In my first year at university, my friends Reeda and Digga gave me a couple of mixtapes. I was vibing and pretty taken by some of the tracks. I played these tapes to death and enjoyed going raving at local events and The End. My first outings to Hardware and Logical Progression blew me away. I also explored my ex boyfriend’s record collection by selecting at random to find what I really liked. I got a real taste for producers such as Loxy & Dylan, Ed Rush & Optical, Future Cut, Digital, Spirit, Krust, Konflict, Photek and Marcus Intalex. I discovered Calibre and was really into his unique sound. All I wanted to do was mix and discover more so I started buying my own records at Dance2 in Guildford, where I used to go every week, pretty much without fail until I moved to London!
When and why did you start DJing?
August 2001... what a geek! I always wanted to mix, though it was originally house. I had a go at mixing house and garage, which was fun; however, when I got into drum & bass, I got pretty obsessed with it and had to buy it on vinyl and mix it. There’s nothing better than going raving and hearing well constructed sets, packed with killer tunes that I want to get my hands on! I loved this whole concept and wanted to do it myself. Kemistry & Storm’s DJ Kicks mixtape was also a massive inspiration and still is.
As a selector, how would you describe your style?
I guess I’d describe my style as deep and dark. The rollers and the steppers have always got me going but I like to mix it up, drawing for old and new tunes whether it be minimal, tech, amens, deep, soulful, rollers or whatever it maybe, as long as it has a good groove and some depth to it I’ll play it.
Do you have any plans on the production front?
Yes. I have been working on the beats for a couple of years now and I am really enjoying it. I really enjoy zoning out on a beat, experimenting with different tempos and getting a good vibe together. I am learning more and more everyday.
The art of the DJ seems to have been lost a bit recently in favour of producer-orientated bookings. How have you found it work solely as a DJ?
It does seem to be all about the producers these days and it is harder to break through as solely a DJ. I think the art of the DJ needs to be valued more because it has been lost a bit and it is precious and requires a lot of skill. I think most people agree that there’s nothing worse then going out and hearing a badly constructed set. However I feel I have been recognised as a DJ and by DJs such as Flight, Storm, and Loxy who I have massive respect for. I just apply the principle of believing in myself and keep pushing what I am doing. However it would be good to see more drum & bass DJs who are solely DJs on more line-ups along with the producers like it was back in the day!
How did the Medium night come about?
Medium was formed in February 2007 by FD, Sigha and I. We felt that there weren’t many/any nights that catered directly for what we like and wanted to hear so we decided to start Medium to try and fill the void.
What is Medium all about?
Medium I guess is a medium for DJs to play whatever they like and sets that they wouldn’t normally play. We originally termed it as an unconventional drum & bass night because we all come from drum & bass and there’s always at least one drum & bass set at every event. We are all into different types of music and wanted to hear it all in one place alongside drum & bass; something which wasn’t really being done at that time.
You have recently celebrated your 3rd birthday and going strong; how does it feel?
Just amazing, I was extremely happy with the success of our 3rd Birthday event. We couldn’t have wished for a better party! The music, vibe and people were fantastic. We were also blessed with being featured in Mixmag’s top ten clubs of 2009, a massive achievement, which we are very proud of.
Have there been any guests that have particularly blown you away at Medium?
There have been lots. It’s hard to pick just a few. However I have to mention Danny Breaks! I’d wanted to book him for months and months and he eventually came to play for us and certainly blew me away with his incredible, diverse selection and drawing for the old d&b, which went off. It was all on one deck (using serato), which was crazy to watch!
Another memorable set was dBridge in 2008. He smashed down; a seriously sick set and the vibe was electric. It really was quite something, a rather magical Medium! Martyn stands out as well because he mixed genres and this was quite a new concept for d&b artists at that time. He destroyed the dance and really represented what Medium was about in one set...
What’s next for the night?
We are looking to continue with what we’ve been doing and keep pushing the boundaries. We would like to do more collaboration with other nights. We would also really like to take Medium to a festival too. We are still waiting on Plastic People regarding the verdict on the potential closure... fingers crossed though, Plastic People cannot shut!
Who else are you feeling at the moment? Who should we be keeping an eye on?
Producers/DJs I’m really feeling are Rockwell, System, Ulterior Motive, Khanage, Sabre, Mantra, Loxy, Genotype, Alix Perez, Zero T, Raiden, Spinline, Data, June Miller, dBridge, Code 3, Roska, Cooly G, Ramadanman, Sigha, James Blake, Actress, Dâm-Funk, Funkineven, Floating Points, SP:MC & Joker D. I’m really into Icicle’s dubstep productions at the moment as well as his d&b.
What else have you got coming up in 2010?
This weekend is a big weekend for me. I will be playing b2b with Bekah for Loxy’s Cylon room at Renegade Hardware on Saturday. I’ve got bookings in London, Exeter and Bristol next month. I am actually playing two non-dnb sets, which I am really looking forward to.
Are you looking forward to your set at fabric?
Yes. I am very excited/nervous! I feel very blessed to be playing there! I can’t wait to come and represent Medium...
Photo: Reverend Media
Catch Tasha on Friday in Room Two going b2b with FD; Friction, Dillinja, Commix, Alix Perez, Xample & Lomax are also on the bill.