EDITORIAL : Article : Honey Dijon: Queen of the NYC house scene & fierce fashionista talks music, style & culture with Shejay
Honey Dijon: Queen of the NYC house scene & fierce fashionista talks music, style & culture with Shejay : *
Submitted by Shejay
(September 09, 2011)
Last month we caught up with Honey Dijon before her Heroes gig at Egg in London. The Chicago bred, New York-based DJ & Producer has been igniting dance floors in New York and around the world for over 12 years. In her chat with Shejay, she tells about her latest release on Toolroom, shares her thoughts how the European music culture differs from the US music culture, and explains why fashion and image is so important these days as a DJ...
Tell us about your weekly Cielo residency in NYC called 'HAUS' - how long has it been running, what can we expect from the night? I had a 3 year residency in New York City at a club called Hero that lasted from 2007 to 2010. It was one of the best house parties in New York City. When that ended, two new promoters contacted me about working together on a night and it really just happened organically. We had approached a couple clubs and they all fell through and since I always knew the owner of Cielo, we approached him. We did a one off and it was a huge success, so they asked us to do it weekly. That was in the beginning of June and it's being going strong ever since. I'm the only resident and I don't want anyone else to play unless they know the crowd. The thing about New York is that when you have a residency, you develop a sound and an energy in the room and unless someone comes weekly to see what it's like, they can't judge it. I don't want to have guests unless they know the dialogue of the room and understand the party and know what it's about.
You've got a new single that's come out on Toolroom on a creative level, why you're proud of this release and how has the process of producing it been for you? I really listen to what's happening in music and I could feel there was a resurgence of the 90s house sound thats come back and the sound was really great but the technology now is so much better so you can create the same vibe of that music but with better sound. This is a copy of an old Murk song. I thought it would be great to redo this song and I just thought the timing was perfect. Since 'Brighter Days' was always one of my favourite songs and Dajae is someone who I've wanted to work with, it just made sense. When it came time to shopping it, I wanted this to be on a European label and I wanted it to be on a high profile label because I thought with someone like Dajae's history, it deserved that. It took a long time to get this record out but I'm really glad it's out and they've picked up a couple other tracks of mine as well.
You've DJ'd a lot in Europe. How do you compare the American music scene to what you have come to know in Europe over the years? Before the Cielo residency happened I was thinking of moving to Berlin. There are not that many American DJs that are playing over in Europe on a regular basis. Sneak, Josh Wink, Dennis Ferrer, Derrick Carter. Unless you're on the techno scene, there are very few house DJs playing over there regularly in the UK anymore because there is just so much talent in Spain, Germany and Eastern Europe. And the American sound hasn't really progressed. I used to be a Chicago house DJ and I really felt that sound didn't even hasn't evolved and that's why I'm moving more with the times and incorporating more Tech house and techno and even minimal in my DJ sets. The American music culture tends to be more about commerce, I think the English culture is also about commerce but it's also about innovation, and the newness and what's in the now. It's not so much in America, our main music here is Pop music. I just felt that Europe took what America did and evolved it in a way that we didn't.
Honey Dijon ripping up the dancefloor @ Egg for Heroes last month
What else do you have in the pipeline as far as original releases or remixes..... I just finished two remixes for DJ Chus and I've also done something for Stereo Productions. I'm also working on another track Chus and another for Toolroom and I've also just finished a remix for Jessica 6. Now I just have to keep them cranking but I'm trying not to get caught up on putting too many records out - it's about having quality, it's not the amount of records you have out it's what you have out.
What non-house music are you listening to at the moment? My favourite album right now is the Jill Scott album. I listen to a lot of RnB. I love songs. I'm also listening to The Eurythmics first album, Touch and the 1984 Soundtrack, I love Annie Lennox. The XX, Jamie Lidell, Iove and I'm listening to the James Blake album. I'm also loving the Jessica 6 album. I love a lot of 80s music. I've also recently discovered classical music. I was watching the film 'Coco Chanel and Igor Stravinsky' about the relationship between Coco Chanel and Igor Stravinsky - I didn't even know about him and it just opened my world up to all kinds of classical music. I don't listen to a lot of dance music at home unless I'm working on it.
One track that serves as your lifeline during a set and never leaves your playlist.... 'Where's the Love' - Donny Hathaway & Roberta Flack
As a female DJ, how important do you feel it is for a girl to put forward her love of fashion and dress up while she DJs? As a DJ now, the only thing that separates you from the other DJs besides your talent is your image. For many years I've been saying I am not going to wear heels, I want to dress down, I want be taken seriously as an artist, not just because I look pretty. Now I realize, that that's exactly very powerful... if you have talent and you look pretty and you can do it in heels... You almost have to start thinking of yourself as a complete artist.
If I think of all the artists who I've worshipped over the years - Grace Jones, Prince, Depeche Mode - they always have a look as well as the music as well as the talent - there was always content. So I have decided dressing up again because I think that now, more than ever, you have to have an image when you're an artist. I think that no matter what your look is, it's important that it's authentic and real. I just love fashion and at a certain point, I want to look feminine and beautiful.
What's your most treasured fashion possession? It would probably be a Givenchy vintage couture cape that a friend of mine gave me ....
What item will you never be seen without with? It would be he thing that I carry all the time, which is a Givenchy nightingale bag that Riccardo Tisci, the designer for Givenchy gave me. It's a Purple silver leather bag that never came out.
If you drop your handbag, what are the things that fall out? I never drop my handbag, I always request a chair to put my bag in ... Something that might fall out would be my Comme des Garcons wallet, that's it. I am a minimalist at heart. Less is more....except when it comes to men.
One woman dead or alive who inspires you? Grace Jones
'Until the Day' is out now on Toolroom Records and is available on all major music download sites.