Growing up and out of Birmingham and a passion for garage, Jossy Mitsu has developed a sound that weaves together so many strains of what’s good about the UK’s bass music world right now. The past four years she’s spent in London studying and making the most of what the city has to offer whether that’s a residency for Radar Radio or being at every night she possibly can – the up-and-coming selector has even worked in our cloakroom to help support her education. Now she’s about to embark on a Rinse FM residency and see where her passion for uncovering new sounds will take her next.
While Mitsu’s played for us a few times before, her next could be her most special date with us. It’s then that she’ll will be joining friend and musical inspiration Barely Legal for a Pretty Weird takeover for our 19th Birthday (19th October) so, we wanted to invite the radio aficionado to introduce herself and her sound properly on the blog. We chat to one of the newest Rinse residents below on how much radio has been at the centre of her world. Plus, the mix Mitsu’s put together demonstrates her ear for club music perfectly – bouncing between off kilter garage rhythms, amen powered programming and deep melodics – it’s wonderfully dynamic and shows why you should pay attention to this DJ on the rise.
Hi Jossy, for those who haven’t caught a set from you yet, how would you best describe your sound?
I would best describe it as dark and heavy bass-focused sounds which can be anything from house, garage, techno, breaks, grime instrumentals to jungle, but I love to mix in soulful and melodic tunes as well so it’s hard to say! The type of stuff I play has evolved too, when I started off I basically mixed purely 2-step garage and a bit of house but now things have taken a more ravey and experimental turn.
Radio no doubt has been a big part of what you do and you’ll be starting your Rinse residency in October – has radio always been an important part of your path into DJing yourself? What radio shows did you listen to when you were first discovering music?
When I started getting into underground music radio was obviously one of my main access routes, as well as mixes and Boiler Rooms as I wasn’t really old enough to go out to anything that wasn’t gigs or artist shows – although I did do the fake ID thing a couple of times. I remember when I was 17 though, SBTRKT did a show that was open to under 18s and Disclosure supported, and that was my first experience of hearing that kind of music out and I was hooked! Around that time I was listening to a lot of recordings of old garage shows and sets, but also Swamp 81, Oneman, Night Slugs, Butterz and Barely Legal’s 1Xtra sets. For 2-step garage in particular a friend of mine called G.Elias did a series of all vinyl 2-step mixes years ago that are on Soundcloud that I would listen to on repeat!
Which shows and presenters do you rate the most at the minute?
I really like live grime sets and the Lobster Theremin show and of course Hessle, Mall Grab and Mumdance’s shows on Rinse and the amazing one he recently did with Riko Dan. Martelo and Impey on NTS and my friend A-Bee just launched her new label called Mangeos & Melons and has a sick show on 1020 Radio!
I also love literally anything anything KG, Shy One and Manara do, plus Holloway and Simkin also do a show on Rinse France which is banging! I can’t lie though I do love a bit of rap and trap when I’m in the car or travelling or have stuff to do and need to get into a zone.
How much do you think having your radio show has fed back into your club sets?
The first time I ever went on radio was with Sum Cellar and Astral Black so shout out them! Having my own regular show for the last couple years has done wonders for me, I think being a resident somewhere and having a station attached to your name helps with getting more established. Producers started to send me more tunes as well, and radio’s given me the opportunity to road test tracks a bit before playing them out, and it gives people a reference for what kind of sound you’re currently playing and allows you to reinvent yourself if you want.
It also meant I could connect more to people back home without living there, and I started getting more regular bookings in Birmingham and playing more nights for music heads as opposed to when I started and rarely got to play events that weren’t student nights.
What labels have you been feeling the most and are your biggest tips at the minute?
There are so many but I’d definitely say don’t sleep on Corrupt Data if you like hardcore and rave-inspired experimental music, Mangoes and Melons for all things speed garage, Dr Banana for UKG releases, Scuffed Recordings, Beat Machine, Pretty Weird of course, Idiomatic Ldn, Circular Jaw, Sneaker Social Club, Ghost Notes, Goon Club Allstars, Holding Hands Records, 7even Recordings, there’s literally so much music coming out right now that I’m all over! I really love Pinch & Peverelist Present: In Deep on Livity Sound, Marquis Hawkes’ new release on Houndstooth and Djrum’s on R&S Records too.
How long is it now since you moved from Birmingham to London?
It’s been four years now which is mad, it’s absolutely flown by, shout out fabric for employing me within like a month of me being here as well, the club has had a massive impact on me! I’ve definitely felt some personal struggle here with balancing uni, working, music and a social life as it’s such an intense place compared to home. I think I’ve realised now that when you move to a big city like London, particularly as a creative person it’s so important to be proactive in making the most of what the city has to offer, and finding a squad or individuals that you bounce off so you’re not lonely in this mad place.
Do you feel like the capital still has a lot to offer young creatives coming into music like yourself? There’s so much talk right now about the expense making it hostile in some ways…
The money situation in London is just an L in general, luckily I worked on weekends and had a student loan helping for the last few years, so I didn’t have to rely solely on my passion to live, which is a whole different kind of pressure that I’m still figuring out.
It’s a shame there are so many problems in London with venue closures, licensing and so on, but there are still so many venues and opportunities I sometimes take for granted. One of the best things is that there are always underground parties and warehouse raves if you know where to find them, still a lot of radio stations here, and the DIY aspect of club nights makes it more accessible for people starting out, whereas in other smaller towns there isn’t always the numbers to make that happen with more niche music. The cool thing about doing music in London is how easy it is to meet like-minded people just by going out, I think that’s been a massive help for me!
Birmingham no doubt has a healthy amount of music and a legacy of its own - what was going on that you engaged with that brought you into music and DJing?
When I started DJing I remember the big music in Birmingham at the time was bass house, house and bass music that people like Tom Shorterz and Chris Lorenzo were playing all the time, but my close friends weren’t really into that stuff so I had to find new people to go out with! I spent a lot of time at the Rainbow, going to events like 2:31 and Shadow City. They were the first times I saw people like Four Tet, Oneman and Jackmaster, and I remember one in particular with Loefah, Chunky, Mickey Pearce and Paleman that was life-changing for me. That made me really want to move to London to be able to experience it regularly.
Around 2013 or so I started going to an old skool garage rave called EBL, like an invite-only type thing, and I reckon we were literally the only people under 30 in there. Everyone was dressed up in proper 90s Moschino and Versace type stuff, and I remember the first one I went to I barely recognised any of the tracks, and by the 3rd of 4th one I’d been so obsessed with it I knew more and more of the tracks being played. After that I spent basically every day from then on mixing garage records in my bedroom!
You’re playing for Barely Legal when you next come to play in EC1 – how did you both link?
It’s honestly one of the coolest things to happen to me because we basically went to the same school for a few years in Birmingham but didn’t know each other, and then when she became a DJ I watched her just absolutely smash it from the start and she’s been one of my biggest inspirations for years. Then we met properly one time when she was playing back-to-back with Chimpo at fabric, and I was working there at the time and just went and said hello! We’ve become friends since then – she is the best! We even got our eyebrows slit together last weekend.
What are your plans for the coming months, what have you been working on with your Rinse Residency?
For the next few months I’ll be putting a lot of energy into my Rinse shows, an opportunity I don’t take lightly at all but genuinely cannot wait for. Of course I want to play as much new and unground music as possible, particularly from Birmingham and the Midlands, but another thing I’m hoping to include in every show is old school music that I discover (probably garage and jungle) that fewer people may have heard, most likely through record hunting. I’ve always found speaking on the radio quite terrifying but I’m going to try and push myself more with hosting; even though my shows are generally more mix focused and pirate radio style rather than presenting. I may be signing to a very sick agency very soon as well after doing all my own bookings for years, and am thinking about putting on some of my own nights with some friends so watch this space!
Can you introduce the mix you recorded for us – did you approach this as a club set or take a different angle?
This mix is an hour of what I’ve been feeling over the past few weeks, and whilst I had fabric in mind when I was choosing tracks, I probably wouldn’t play so many styles across one club set. This is more of a construction and journey that balances light and dark sounds in a yin-yang sort of way! There are harmonic elements, leftfield and ravey stuff, house and 140 heaters and a nice jungle section at the end – hope you enjoy!