Jan 27, 2020
Ducky's Exclusive Mix
Today Ducky announced her debut North America headlining tour, Blue Skies Ahead. We’re thrilled to be celebrating the big announcement with her loaded 40+ track packed Exclusive Mix. Turn it up loud, as she brings out the best from all corners of her library, taking listeners on a thrill ride much like her DJ sets! In her interview, we go in depth on her incredible fans, favorite city of Berlin, and much, much more!
Ducky, thanks for joining us today! We’re so excited to be here celebrating your upcoming debut tour this year. What does reaching this milestone tour announcement mean to you? How does it rank in terms of career accomplishments?
Thanks for having me! I don’t even know how to explain how excited I am – Blue Skies Ahead is my first American headline tour. It feels a bit unreal still, like, “are you sure we’re really doing this?” But mostly I just get happy butterflies when I think about it. I have sooooooo much new music to play, and it’s going to be amazing! As career accomplishments go, it feels like everything just keeps going up. I’m not sure how I got so lucky, to do what I love, to make art and to play music for a living. Can you pinch me now?
Tell us some more about the naming of the tour Blue Skies Ahead. What’s the significance there and what can people expect from your shows on the tour?
It’s something Sydney (my graphic designer and the genius behind all of my branding, art, and visuals) and I say to each other a lot and a theme we’ve been exploring more recently. This idea that there’s something on the horizon worth holding out for, that’s something I use a lot in my work. I released an EP called Optimism last year, and a single called “Don’t Give Up Still” this year, but it’s been a recurring thing as long as I’ve been creating. I love this idea of hope, the light in the dark – that we can get heavy, and go hard, and still find joy and beauty, you know? And I think if you’ve ever seen me live you know that contrast really plays out in my sets as well. I like to play hard, and I also live for big, beautiful breakdowns. We’re gonna fucking dance, jump around, and rage. But we’re also going to take those delicate, blissful pauses in between. It’s not an hour of builds and drops – it’s a bit more of a journey together and I’m looking forward to diving even deeper into that ethos this tour.
Looking closer at your Exclusive Mix, can you talk about how you approached track selection and flow in your mix?
I can honestly say that I just didn't give a fuck for this mix. That’s how I approached it. I was so hung up on what I was going to do, and finally I just thought... you know, fuck this, I’m going to put exactly what I like and exactly what I want. I pulled from my ENTIRE library – old shit, new shit. Everything. I did some pretty odd blends, I’m sure you’ll notice. I had SO much fun, and I can proudly say that I think it’s the best mix I’ve ever done. I did make the intro from scratch though, haha.
Can you highlight three tracks included and why they stand out to you?
1. At 56:10, Conrank - “Forget Today.” Why isn't this song fucking massive???? I definitely sped it up like 20 bpm for the mix (oops) but it goes off at any tempo. It’s in every single one of my sets.
2. At 26:04, Catnapp - “Full Nelson.” I literally only play like nine seconds of this song in the mix but Catnapp is sick. She releases on Modeselektor’s label Monkeytown. Definitely worth checking out, super heavy and out there stuff. I love it.
3. At 21:47, TV Noise - “Mumble.” I’ve been playing one or two TV Noise tracks in every set. SO fire.
Your latest release “Don’t Give Up Still” has a very strong inspiration, message, and meaning to you personally. Can you tell our readers some more about that?
Yeah, so I actually have a release from 2016 called “Don’t Give Up Yet” that the song title is a reference to – the whole thing is really a continuation of and expansion on an old idea. Basically I wrote that EP after being diagnosed bipolar II and OCD and finally being properly medicated for the first time in my life, finally having gotten sober and being in therapy, and starting to feel some relief from basically a lifetime of trauma, addiction, and undiagnosed mental illness.
Heavy shit! But it was like, oh fuck, I *knew* there was a reason I was holding on all this time. And it was finally making itself like... known. The light in the dark. Shit wasn’t easy yet (is it ever?) but I could see it. So, I called it “Don’t Give Up Yet.” I wrote “Don’t Give Up Still” after a long period of my depression returning. I just felt so lost. My meds were off, I was unhappy with a lot of things in my life and I wasn’t taking action to change them. And it just dawned on me like, ah fuck, you know, it’s up to me to pull myself up and to reach out for the help I need and I started to shake off that darkness and see just a glimpse of that light again. So... “Dont Give Up Still.”
You just returned from a holiday in Berlin, so talk to us some more about what makes that city so special to you.
Oh my god! It was my first proper vacation in like... 6 years I think. I cried a lot (happy tears). Ich denke dass Berlin am schönste Stadt in die Welt ist. Still working on my German so be easy on me, haha! But I’ve never loved a city quite like Berlin. I’ve got some history there, I used to spend quite a bit of time there partying before I got sober. I had to use a fake ID to get in the clubs there before I turned 21 which is hilarious, because thats not the drinking age – but they don’t really let you into the clubs if you’re not 21 because they don’t want drunk American tourists fucking up the vibe! Fair.
When I fell in love with Berlin it was for the wildness and the party scene – to go out dancing til 9 am and feel completely free in a way that I have never quite felt in America. There is a sense of ease for me there that is hard to describe. It probably helps that they put stickers over the cameras on your phone and ban all pictures, and they very decisively will not let you in if you look like you’re going to fuck up the vibe of the party. What was so amazing about going back was that I hadn’t lost that love when I got sober – I still went out until 9 am and felt that same comfort and ease, only this time I drank club mate without the feigling mixed in. I don’t know – I love the energy there, that it’s such an international city and you meet people from all over the world. And of course I love partying there – I love napping and leaving for the club or warehouse at 3 or 4 am, I love taking the u-bahn, and I fucking LOVE the music. Watch me move there in a year, I’m calling it now.
You're known for having a very strong love for your fans. What makes Ducky fans in particular stand out to you? How do you foster such a strong connection with them?
Oh, I have the best fans in the world and I’m pretty sure we can all agree on that. I’ve straight up had other DJs tell me they wish they had my fanbase. I mean, first of all I think I must be like... the absolute luckiest human being to have gotten such a respectful, kind, sweet, overall AMAZING demographic of people as my core fanbase. Our community is so special. Everyone is so sweet to me and it makes me happy cry on a regular basis. Like, what did I do to deserve that?
One time I lost my earrings at a show and I tweeted about it and this precious angel brought duck earrings to my next show. And they had this wonderful note in the box, that I still have on my little corkboard in my room. We really build each other up, in a lot of different ways. Sometimes it lives in small gestures – like, the way everyone just automatically treats each other with respect at my shows! I noticed at Ugh Just Rave for example, there was no shoving. People moved aside for one another, you know? That’s subtle, but it’s also really not. Other times it’s in the way we speak to each other. Like, I noticed we’re able to really discuss serious shit and bring each other up.
I have a Ducky discord and things like mental health have come up before, medication, self-harm. I’m quite open about my own history and process and I think it encourages an open dialogue and a lot of support within the community. Sometimes it’s these big things. Like, people make me AMAZING gifts that they bring to shows. Or I’ve heard some pretty incredible stories about the way my music has been able to impact some people’s lives, which has really kept me going more than anything else. To hear, you know, that this changed the course of my life in one way or another, for the better, or this literally saved my life – holy fuck. That’s everything. What else matters?
And you know, there’s no secret or trick to creating this kind of community. You can’t fake your way into it and I didn’t even build it on purpose – all I did was make honest music and share as vulnerably as I could. And I genuinely care about the people who listen to my music. I mean, it feels weird sometimes to call them fans, you know? We’re more like friends I feel, we’re having this cool shared experience together and they’re letting me into their life and allowing me to share my story and my art and my emotions. They're trusting me to create and curate their experience for a night and I value that. It’s a privilege, not a right. I never forget that, it’s not confusing for me. I feel lucky and flattered when people appreciate my art, and I will continue to be vulnerable and share my story with courage as long as it can help someone.
Anything else on the immediate horizon or for 2020 that has you particularly excited? Are there any cities on the tour schedule that you’ve circled?
Omg yes! I have SO MUCH NEW MUSIC. So much. It’s almost annoying how much new music I’m sitting on. I can’t give you release details yet but many songs are coming.
For tour obviously I have an LA show which is my current ~*hometown*~ (I mean, SF FOR LIFE DONT GET ME WRONG but I live in LA haha) so we are obviously going all out!! That one will be particularly wild. I’m really excited to play The Church in Denver because it’s such a cool venue! I’m also bugging out about Stereo Live in Houston because I played there on my VERY FIRST TOUR and now I’m headlining – let’s pack it out!! I mean, Q and 45 East are so rad too, I should probably stop now because I’m just gonna say the whole tour poster, ha! I honestly can’t wait for this tour and I didn’t confirm a single date that I wasn’t genuinely excited to play. I’m ready for it to start now – let’s go!
Get your tickets for the Blue Skies Ahead tour: https://www.duckymusic.com/live
short link 1001.tl/b66n5l