Quantcast

NORTHMIX: Honey Dijon

"I'm not one of these DJs who likes to live in the past, I think that’s really fucking boring."

THUMP Canada Staff

Known for her unique perspective and house music heritage, Honey Dijon is a DJ who represents authenticity to the fullest. You can witness it in her live performance, where she fuses the bump of Chicago with more classic New York sounds and other European influences. You can hear it in her productions, in which she reaches beyond a reliance on throwback records to constantly bring new ideas to the forefront. And you can sense it in her charisma, style, and broad understanding of electronic music.

The best way to gauge Dijon's current views on the state of the industry is to give her the floor. She has loads of new stuff on deck in the coming months and recently released her single "Burn", which is in part inspired by the vocal house of Frankie Knuckles. All of which make this impassioned soapbox monologue a perfect companion piece to her THUMP Northmix.

The compilation itself is one that dexterously flows between house and techno, once again putting Honey Dijon's typically deft mixing skills on display. Believe us when we tell you that the warm, hypnotic feelings this woman pounds out are certain to seduce any dance floor.

THUMP: On playing in cities with differing music cultures...
Honey Dijon: I try to find a happy medium between entertaining the crowd and performing as an artist because I think it's a little bit arrogant to go in there and play the obscure stuff. Like I can't play the same music in Berlin as I play in Halifax because it's a different culture. So I think for any DJ, you're always prepared for battle.

On carrying the flag for Chicago house music in today's changing dance scene...
I always like to keep evolving and keep my ears open. I'm not one of these DJs who likes to live in the past, I think that's really fucking boring. When I'm playing, I carry my experience but I also try to be respectful of what people are listening to today. I can't go in there thinking the music I played 20 years ago is the best that it ever could be. For kids that are discovering dance music now, what's new is just as valid for them and just as exciting and fresh. Then for me, I'm also getting to hear music I grew up with through new ears. So I carry my history but I try to keep it modern and not get stuck in the past.

On why she prefers to play vinyl...
I was on Traktor for many years. Right now I'm on vinyl and USB. For me, I feel I perform better that way [because] that's how I learned my craft. I look at a computer screen so much of my life, that I didn't want to be in a club looking at a computer screen [laughs]. I produce with a computer and my daily social media is with a computer...I like looking at people's body language and how they move and what they respond to, that interaction with a crowd. I can't do that with a computer screen blocking me.

On the current state of the DJing...
We're living in a time now where the art of being a DJ is completely gone. I think it's become so ubiquitous. When I first started going to clubs, you couldn't even see the DJ. Like the DJ was somewhere up in the corner and the music was the star, but all of that has changed. Now, the DJ is the center of attention and sometimes the music is secondary. And I'm going through a bit of an identity crisis. That's reason I've been making dance tracks with vocals. I feel like this music has become so disposable. There are so many tracks that come out every day and I can't even tell one song from the next song. To me, I really don't hear anything anymore. I was just at the Miami Winter Music Conference and that's where songs were once broken. It was really peer-to-peer with labels, promoters, and club owners. Now it just seems like an excuse to throw parties and charge massive amounts at the doors with huge line-ups of DJs playing for 30 minutes, which makes absolutely no sense. You can't get to know an artist dropping their biggest records in that timeframe. That's not a journey. That's like quick sex.

On finding her voice as a producer...
I had to learn how to be a producer and I was afraid for many years because of the peers that I had. When you have people like Cajmere, Derrick Carter, and Danny Tenaglia—those that have made such an indelible mark in dance music—it was very intimidating for me. I didn't know what I wanted to say because I was so heavily influenced by New York and yet I was coming from Chicago. I think one good thing was when house wasn't so popular and we went through the minimal phase, which then turned into electro, and then deep house started to come back. But then I started hearing a lot of early Chicago house again. I felt like, "Oh, I know this stuff. I can do this!" The timing felt right for me to be able to add my voice to what was happening. That's why I've become more serious in the studio. I can make something that doesn't feel forced.

On her definition of success...
I never imagined that coming from the south side of Chicago and playing records could take me to, say, China. That has been a real trip. So has working in fashion. I still can't believe some of the rooms I've been in with people—names who change culture like Nellee Hooper, Giorgio Moroder, Nile Rodgers, or musicians whose records I played as a kid growing up like Boy George, or meeting Grace Jones. I never even thought that I would have that opportunity. That has been really humbling. To have people who know who I am, that's a mind-fuck for me sometimes. Through the level of house music and disco that I play, I've been able to be invited to participate in things like this. I almost have to pinch myself it's such an honour. That's my definition of success.

Honey Dijon is on Facebook // Twitter // SoundCloud