The Kempinski's newest resident DJ on music, Hed Kandi and Bahrain
Time Out Bahrain staff
Where are you from originally and how old are you? I am from Liverpool in the UK…born and bred! I am 23 years young!
How did you get into DJing? From a young age, I did ballet, tap, modern and jazz (dance) – that’s where I got my rhythm and my performance drive from. When I hit my teens, I began to love house music, which my mum used to play a lot from when I was young. I started to sneak out to nightclubs and I developed a fascination for the DJ. I always used to ask them to put my favourite songs on, and then one day it just hit me: I could be a DJ - why not? My mum said “No Billie, that’s for boys. Carry on with your dancing,” but something was telling me that I wanted to pursue this. After begging my mum for a year, she gave in and bought me my first set of decks for my 16th birthday and I’ve never looked back since.
How did you come to be working with the big-name clubs and performers? When I first turned 18, I moved to Ibiza, Spain, for the summer - the party capital of the world! I landed a job in a very famous bar called Plastik and from there I met most of my contacts. I began to play for Pukka Up and then, following on from that, Hed Kandi. Returning to Ibiza for the next few summers, I had the privilege of playing in Es Paradise, Eden and last summer I played Amnesia Terrace for the Cream Closing Party alongside Burns, Calvin Harris and Benni Benassi. I began working with these big-names by putting myself out there!
Is the DJ world hard for a woman or do you find yourself more in demand? Being a female DJ, I find that many people love the idea. When people ask what I do and I reply “I am a DJ,” they reply “oh you don’t look like a DJ!” I always then reply, “Well, what does a DJ look like?” Everyone is so supportive of a female DJ – it’s kind of a novelty, so I’m always in demand. There can be some negativity, but that’s only ever been from male DJs. But I’m a strong character, so I know how to deal with it! I love to play music and I love to DJ. Who said DJing is a man’s job?
You’ve been all over the world with Hed Kandi, where is your favourite place to perform and why? I have played in Sweden, Miami, Chile, Serbia, Paris, Bahrain, India (four city tour) Poland, Dubai, Belgium, Barcelona, Ibiza and all the main cities in the UK…and my favourite place would have to be Ibiza, for sure. Other than that, Chile was a great party place. The crowd just stayed out all night; even when the music went off and the lights came on, they still wanted more!
What can the clubbers in Bahrain expect from your sets? Well, I’m a house girl at heart, so anything house-y, soulful, deep, disco, funky house…my favourite DJs and producers are Bob Sinclair, David Guetta, Avicii, Swedish House Mafia, Laidback Luke and Chuckie, so I will always play their stuff. Lots of vocal and electronic stuff too.
What do you listen to when you’re not behind the decks? I listen to all kinds of music depending on what mood I am in. My iPod literally has a bit of everything: from 70s’ disco, to 80s’ pop, to 90s’ rave, and I’m always listening to my favourite DJs’ live sets!
What was the first song/tune you bought? It was Soul Central - Strings of Life on 12-inch, and to this day, that is still my all-time favourite song! There have been a lot of different remixes of the song made in the last few years and I love them all!
How are you enjoying Bahrain so far, is there anything you’ve found surprising? I’ve only been here a week so far, so I haven’t seen much of the island yet.