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Introducing Vinyl Bitch – Open Decks Sessions

Introducing Vinyl Bitch – Open Decks Sessions

"There is something cool about knowing the roots. Turntablism has been historically male but with the resurgence of vinyl I think it would be incredible to introduce a new wave of turntablists!"

We’re thrilled to welcome the London newcomer MADDØG (aka Maddison), whose mixing talent and eclectic selection have lit up the open decks circuit around London. MADDØG is a vinyl DJ dedicated to cultivating an inclusive and explorative atmosphere within the world of turntablism. The Indianapolis export has shared lineups with the likes of Ke$ha, Big Freedia, Betty Who and Matt & Kim to name a few. Her latest project is Vinyl Bitch: a vinyl open decks for the FLINTA community whose aim is to redefine the culture surrounding turntablism as one of diversity, open-mindedness, inclusivity and exploration.

We caught up with MADDØG to chat about her moving to London, the polarizing contrast between here and Indianapolis, and her vision for Vinyl Bitch.

For those who don’t know you, tell us a bit about yourself.

Hey! I’m MADDØG! I’m a turntablist and music producer from Indiana USA. As a femme artist, I take lots of inspiration from iconic women like Lady Kier, Madonna, Britney, and Janet Jackson. I love London with every ounce of my creative heart! I’m currently here getting my MA but hope to call the city my home someday.

We’re thrilled to welcome you all the way from Indianapolis! What drew you to London?

I came to London during COVID-19 to study music production and sound engineering and fell completely in love. Even during those times I was so inspired creatively and met so many beautiful people who I’m incredibly grateful to call my friends. It’s that wonderful community and the rich artistic environment of the city that has been pulling me from across the ocean ever since!

Vinyl Bitch offers a platform for FLINTA Vinyl DJs of all skill levels. What inspired your passion for this project?

The inspiration drew from several different encounters and revelations. Mainly the feeling of being an anomaly or an exception to some rule at events. When this happens there is always this unspoken moment between myself and the other DJs, or sound guy or whatever where I feel like I have to prove myself. At this point, I’m tired of having to do that. I’ve done it!

As a new person to the city I’ve attended and participated in several open decks and I was still feeling like that. I had a few interactions with young femme patrons and the conversation always started with “I’ve always wanted to learn how to mix on turntables but it seems so hard” or “I could never do that.” That self-deprecating thinking breaks my heart! Because that was totally me at one time!

Vinyl Bitch is a place where FLINTA folks can explore an exciting art form in a nonjudgmental and encouraging space; where you’re allowed to fuck up and instead of feeling discouraged you are cheered on! Because that’s the reality of learning!

What are the advantages of opting for ‘vinyl only’ in this open deck? What led to your passion for playing vinyl?

I love playing vinyl because it’s like playing an instrument. You’re literally manipulating sound with your hands and using the hardware to play sound in an alternate way. You get to have a different relationship with your tracks. Physically touching an album, making that conscious decision to play, removing it from its sleeve and placing it on the platter… you are connected at that point.

You wouldn’t have CDJs, controllers, or Serato without turntables. There is something cool about knowing the roots. The advantage of ‘vinyl only’ is to go against the stigma that mixing vinyl is reserved for cis men. Turntablism has been historically male but with the resurgence of vinyl I think it would be incredible to introduce a new wave of turntablists!

What was your first impression of Dalston Superstore?

Superstore has always been my favorite place to see performers and listen to music in London. The programming and staff are always top-notch! I know I can go having zero plans, and not knowing a soul, but still feel like my family is there. My good friend Dani who runs Safe Only Ltd I think was a big proponent of this.

How do the queer scenes compare between London and Indianapolis?

Indiana is a Republican state. It’s pretty normal to see Trump 2024 plastered on cars or in lawns. You’ll also see the occasional “Hell is real” billboard. We have some of the strictest abortion laws in the country. There are laws being introduced against trans children. Our former governor was Mike Pence. All this to say, there is a level of fear that I am still trying to process that I don’t have here in London.

Folks in Indiana love their guns. As a DJ working in primarily LGBTQ+ spaces there is always this fear that someone could come in and cause some real trouble. I always made sure I knew where the exits were and locked the booth door from the outside. Then after the gig, asking security to walk me to my car.

From my experience so far, I feel a certain level of safety that I didn’t have in Indiana. This level of safety permeates into the art that is being created here. It’s so beautiful and on the pulse of what is happening in the world! Honestly, it is such a joy to be here!

How does the sound on the dancefloor compare between Indianapolis and London? Which genres do you like to play & which tracks frequent your rotation?

The UK and the EU in general are more open when it comes to electronic music. I love going to parties here and hearing the craziest shit! Back in Indiana, I think that would turn a lot of folks off. There is a lack of openness when it comes to dance music.

I love playing Chicago-style house and Ghetto House. Big fan of DJs like DJ Deeon and DJ Funk. Mixing DJ Assault’s Ass & Titties with Britney’s Toxic is probably one of my favorites. I’ve been having a 2000’s Electro and Indie Sleeze moment lately though. Those sounds really remind me of my youth growing up in the Midwest.

Which vinyl DJs do you look to for inspiration? Is there anyone you’re eager to see play while you’re in London?

I really enjoy watching old footage of Jeff Mills playing on three turntables at a time. It’s mesmerizing to watch. Also one of the best shows I’ve ever seen in my life was here in London! I saw Egyptian Lover last year and he totally ripped on the turntables and 808. As far as who I want to see while I’m here, I honestly want to be surprised! I want to be introduced to new badass artists that I’ve never heard of before! Then fangirl super hard ha!

Which vinyl in your collection do you hold dearest?

Daft Punk’s Homework always and forever! And probably my soundtrack to 2001: A Space Odyssey which I acquired in a trade for a 6-pack of beer.

What advice would you give to budding Vinyl DJs who may be anxious to attend alone, or worried about clangs in the mix?

I would say that it’s about progress not perfection. Clangs in the mix are totally normal if not encouraged. I like when a mix isn’t totally clean! I like when a DJ loses the mix and is able to battle with it to line it up again. That shows great skill! Perfection is boring.

Vinyl Bitch offers free tutorials prior to each event, and vinyl if you don’t own any. Fading records in/out is a great way to get a handle of the equipment. Hoping this creates less boundaries and anxieties for someone who wants to get started but doesn’t know exactly where.

Vinyl Bitch offers the opportunity for community, social connection and learning. What’s your long-term vision for this project?

I would love to see Vinyl Bitch go to other towns in the UK or even other countries. Maybe in the future there can be events produced by VB full of badass FLINTA turntablists. I would hope companies like Technics can use babes like us to demo their new products. All these DJ trade shows are full of cis dudes. The way turntable equipment is advertised at expos and music conferences is pretty aligned with that as well. So right out of the box this artform is made for a specific person- I’m hoping VB can put a dent in that!

Catch the first edition of Vinyl Bitch this Monday 27 November from 7pm-12am at Dalston Superstore!

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Introducing Vinyl Bitch – Open Decks Sessions