Aug 31, 2016
Charlie Hedges - "Kaleidoscope" & More!
Charlie Hedges joins us to celebrate her recent release “Kaleidoscope” on Armada Deep. She provides some unique insight on her productions, sets, and Skiddle podcast. Enjoy her music, and be sure to read about her fascinating start in the industry.
How does it feel to have released “Kaleidoscope” on Armada Deep?
It’s absolutely insane. I’ve spoken to a lot of people before who’ve said something like this is a “dream come true.” But for me, it is just the maddest thing ever. Not only to think that my first release could get signed, but to have it signed by a label like Armada is the best feeling in the world. It makes me feel confident in the productions that I’m starting to put together. It’s an amazing start all around.
What was the inspiration for “Kaleidoscope”?
It’s very different from what I play in clubs, which is a lot more bass-driven and bouncy as well as uplifting house. A year and a half ago, like a lot of DJs I was playing a lot more EDM. I’ve come from that to trying to put across that my tastes have changed, I’ve developed as a DJ and I’m playing a totally different style of house now. Kaleidoscope is very different to the track that people would’ve expected from me if they were familiar with me as the DJ who played EDM. I wanted to make a statement about Charlie Hedges as a DJ in 2016 – something relatable to the summer, something a bit more chill and beach-vibey. It represents a fresh start for me, to be honest.
How have you been using “Kaleidoscope” in your sets?
I’m using it as more of a closing track since it’s more chilled out compared to what I normally play. The exciting thing is that there are two remixes that are going to be coming out in September. I’ve been playing those out because they are exactly the style that I play live; they’re a lot more vibey and upbeat and fit my sets more than the original track. I’ve been testing out these remixes which have been going down really well.
Going forward, do you think you’ll continue to make a mix of more chilled out music in addition to more energetic club music?
My next track is going to be more reflective of my club sound. “Kaleidoscope” is doing so well, and I’m really pleased that it continues to do well. I think it was a great ‘in’ for me into the production side of my career, but I think the next track and the ones to follow will definitely be more reflective of what I like to play in my sets.
Looking into your DJ sets, what kind of flow do you like to have throughout your sets?
I love a journey. I can play however long or little I’m supposed to play, but for me, the longer the set, the better. I love a good 2-2.5 hour set where you can watch things totally progress. I like to start off with high energy, but I love to see my set progress and see the crowd’s experience change with the set. I read the crowd. I’m always looking up, never down. 20 seconds into a track, you’ll know if it’s not working or if it’ll do amazing things.
What’s the longest set you’ve ever had the opportunity to play?
I played for seven hours at Space in Ibiza. I opened the terrace downstairs and did a two hour set there. Then I went upstairs to the roof terrace and then the back room. Literally one after the other, and I was running from room to room. It was insane, but one of the best experiences.
And you’ll be back in Ibiza in September at Ushuaia, right?
Yes! Before I even started DJing, when I was in school, I wrote down a list of places that I’ve always wanted to play. Ushuaia has always been on my list. This is going to be my first time playing there on September 9th and it’s for Tinie Tempah’s event, which will be crazy. I’m absolutely thrilled, not only to be playing at Ushuaia, but to be playing alongside everyone on the lineup.
For the Skiddle podcast, what is your overall goal for the show?
It’s just about the music. People make podcasts in all different ways and they relate to people differently, but for me, it’s just about music. It’s a journey. I’m always open to people reaching out to me to let me know what they’d like to hear as well. I get hundreds of inboxes of new music every day, but it’s still nice to have opinions from people that are out there and living it.
What’s the track selection process like for you (most recent tracklist here)?
It’s a mission and a half. I get a few hundred tracks sent to me every day. I’m such a control freak. I know there’s a lot of DJs that have people choose their tracks for them, but I have to have control. I spend two to three weeks going through tracks every day and picking out the ones I think are going to be cool, and then putting it together the last week of the month. I have other shows as well, so I do spend a majority of my time finding music for all of the outlets. I absolutely love it. It’s my job, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
We heard that you had an interesting start getting into the industry. Can you tell us about that?
Basically, I always knew I wanted to work in the music industry. I can’t even remember having the TV on as a kid. My parents always had music playing in the background. Music has been a part of me from day one.
I saw a magazine advertising an open position for a freelance journalist. I was only 13, but I decided to just go and apply. I went and had a chat with these people and they laughed at me, in a nice way, because everyone at the magazine was over 25 years old. For the cheek of me asking, they actually gave me kind of a runner’s job, doing things like assisting photographers. It was a magazine based on live music, so we would go and interview bands, and that’s really where it all started. On my school lunch breaks, I would call and get in touch with celebrities and PAs, and basically bug people to do an interview. Before I knew it, I was actually getting published in the magazine.
I interviewed a DJ who at the time was working at the station where I’m now presenting on. I then asked if I could get work experience, and so I was going out there every week, 6am on Saturday mornings and sitting in on his show. Then a week before I started university to get a BA in journalism, the same station offered me a job as a tea maker on the breakfast show. So I took it. I got to the show at about 4:30am every morning. I was there until 9 as a runner, making breakfast runs, making tea, I did it. And then I’d drive to university and was there until about 7pm. I did that for about three years.
On my days off from university, I would stay behind at the stage and just learn everything. I learned to produce before I learned to DJ. I learned everything that was accessible to me whilst I was there. One day, the guys brought me on air, and then from that day forward they continued to bring me on air daily. I taught myself to DJ. I always knew that this was the industry I should be in. DJing is everything I always wanted it to be and more.
That is quite the story. Last question, what is the most inspirational show that you’ve attended as a fan?
I saw Calvin Harris and Tiësto play in London a couple of years ago when they were touring together. It was an amazing show, to see two DJs like that not only smash it, but in total control of the crowd. Obviously Tiësto comes from a different musical background to what he plays now, but I find it really intriguing and admirable how he’s switched up his music style to cater for today’s market. To watch those two do what they did was really inspiring and was a big turning point for me as a DJ.
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