From Rinse FM to Boiler Room, who better to finish off the week on the Frequent Players channel than Liana! Known for her eclectic array of music we asked Liana to throw down a mix to help us all reminisce of those Mantra parties and weird weekends we long to have back!
Besides this special guest mix we also sat down with Liana to discuss her career, her influences and also what the rest of 2020 has in store for her.
Footpatrol: Liana, it’s a pleasure to have you spend some time with us! How have you been during lockdown?
Liana: Hey guys, thanks so much for inviting me to be part of this series! I’ve been good thank you – it’s wild to think we’re in the fourth month of corona now, quite a strange time all round. I’ve been spending a lot of time cycling around Hackney (on my bright pink bike!) and generally trying to stay sane/active which was a struggle at first, although slowly got into a rhythm. I’ve only baked banana bread once too…
FP: As a quick introduction to the Footpatrol readers who may not know you and your sound, would you be able to share a bit about yourself?
Liana: So I grew up just outside east London, where London meets Essex. Growing up we’d go to funky and garage nights across Essex, and of course I’d come into London for nights at Fabric and FWD>> (this was towards the end of the first dubstep era back in 2009/10). Those early clubbing memories are some of my favourites, and I think those experiences definitely shaped the type of music I play and listen to now, which is a wide cross section of genres.
FP: You have been DJing for 10+ years having residencies in some of London’s most recognised underground radio stations. Where did this passion for music and DJing come from?
Liana: I grew up playing instruments (piano and guitar) and was told I had a good ear for music from a young age – I’ve also always loved going to see live music and spent a lot of time at gigs as a teen. I was lucky to meet Skinny (of Bone Soda) through going out in London back in 2010, and made my first mix for his radio show on Nasty FM (now defunct) in 2011, which eventually led to me getting my own show on there. From there (as I was still studying in Nottingham) I would drive after lectures to play on pirates in Nottingham, all the while playing at different nights across the city throughout my time at uni. I put a lot of time into radio – I did a weekly Sunday night show for a couple years and then eventually a monthly show across other stations. I really believe in radio as a format to create. It also acts as an emotional archive to echo what you were thinking and feeling at that time – looking back at my own shows, that’s certainly reflected.
FP: When it comes to your sound and the music you play, has it always been a cross-genre mixture or was this something you later decided on as you began to establish yourself as a DJ?
Liana: When I first started out I was playing a lot of grime, garage and instrumentals, and that music will always be important to me. Mak10 (of Nasty Crew) is someone I call an early mentor and I learnt a lot from him. But going to so many different nights, both on the bill and as a punter, and listening to so much different music in my own time too, means my sound has naturally evolved over time to encompass all these different interests. This does mean that sometimes I feel as though I don’t fit in anywhere – but the beauty of club music in London is that there’s this whole group of djs who also play so many different sounds that it almost becomes part of their identity, and a scene in itself.
FP: Could you give us some examples of artists and DJs today that you look up to for inspiration?
Liana: There are so many amazing djs and artists I look up to. Off the top of my head I would say Martello, JETSSS, Raj and Felix Hall are arguably my favourite club djs to go and dance to in London – they have all perfected their craft and I absolutely stan. Across the pond I’ve always looked up to Jubilee – I love the music she plays, and more of less everything she puts out on her label Mixpak. I am really interested in the intersection where electronic music meets dancehall /rap.
FP: What would you say to young DJs who are trying to establish themselves within the industry, what advice would you give them?
Liana: Play the music you actually love, and go to a lot of nights. On the first point I think sometimes people are worried about what they think should be playing – rather than the music that genuinely gets them going and they’re into, more often than not the passion for the things you really love will shine through so just focus on that instead. Going out is also super important, I’ve met many of my friends and have made loads of contacts through going out. I would say if you want to play at a certain night, then start by actually going to it, and understanding what it’s all about. Listening and learning from everyone whenever you can is also key.
FP: Now there is still plenty of time left in 2020, is there anything people should be looking forward to from yourself?
Liana: I have a monthly radio show on Know Wave and have a seriously amazing guest lined up for my next show, so keep an eye out for that.
FP: Liana thank you so much for sitting down with us, before you go is there anything you want to share with the readers surrounding your mix?
Liana: This mix is a window into everything I love. It spans uk rap, dancehall, dembow, breaks, house and more. I also tried to approach this mix as a representation of the type of music I’d want to listen to in the club if they were open right now. I really can’t wait for the world to open up and for us all to be dancing together in a club again.