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Talking music and inclusivity with Gracie T

Written by Safi Bugel

How did you get into DJing?

I've been into music all my life. I've played the drums since I was 8 years old so DJing was a bit of a natural thing to go into since you can't really take a drum kit to uni when you move away from home. I was having a house party in 2018 and I couldn't find anyone to play the music I wanted to hear so I thought: I've got three weeks to learn. I asked my boyfriend to show me what the buttons did and I worked out the rest on my own. I played a very fun set, everyone enjoyed it and then I realised it was something I could start doing more.

You've made mixes devoted to celebrating the music made by marginalised people - why is this approach important to you?

I think a lot of the time, the people who become popular are the same kind of people: cis, het, white men. This is the classic gentrification of dance music really! I also think DJs need to make more of an effort to look at other people who maybe aren't getting the clout or the respect for the tunes they're making, and make sure they're using their platform to raise them up. It also helps that a lot of my good friends are very, very sick producers so of course I want to showcase the stuff they're making.

Is the stuff you played then similar to what you play now?

Yeah, I've always played very percussive-inspired stuff because that's what I've always been into. I went from playing in indie rock and metal bands to playing very drum-inspired music like UK funky, dancehall and stuff like that.

You're enthusiastic about creating more accessible and inclusive spaces. What do you think still needs to be done in the industry?

Lineups are still not inclusive. We're still seeing the same people on every lineup. I think queer people, especially queer people of colour, are still not getting the respect or the bookings they should be getting. A lot of the 'work' being done is very performative; it's quite rare that you see someone booking an inclusive lineup because they are actually passionate about that and they're not just doing it because they think it's on-trend.

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