2017 saw some phenomenal growth for upcoming Dj Lily Rivers. Having performed sets at some of the world’s most prominent stages and festivals, concluding with a compelling NYE set at the Warehouse project Manchester, she has a lot to live up to in 2018. This year has however, already seen Lily make more leaps and bounds. With a Global Ibiza Radio spot and various international bookings to be announced, we can’t wait to see what she does next.
We caught up with DJ Lily Rivers to find out about her career thus far and what’s next!
Cultural studies was your study, were you always influenced by creative arts? What were you doing at MTV whilst Studying?
So first I was doing a work experience at Nickelodeon Viacom, then work experience at BBC radio, then on to an internship with mixmag (weirdly 10 years later I would be featured in the magazine) then finally once I had enough experience I moved on to work experience with MTV which then turned into an internship whilst doing my degree. I loved MTV, it had been such a monumental part of growing up for every kid of my generation,and it was the ultimate place I wanted to end up after my degree- it was the most relevant to what I studied. I learnt so much being there, about production, legal, talent and all aspects of running a TV channel, but it also made me realise that I didn’t want to be in an office, I couldn’t cope with a 9-5, it definitely gave me clarity on what I really wanted to do and to be more involved in the arts.
However I did meet Paul Walker so that’s the highlight of my time there! I left MTV to do my Masters in Cinematography just for personal interest, as I found it fascinating and it has made me see life in a much more artistic way. I think my masters helped me so much in everything I do today. Art direction is so important.
What made you start DJing?
I’ve been brought up in a family that was deeply involved with music and arts. If it wasn’t the radio it was the hi fi system and if not that then MTV would be on.My brother would Dj at home and I remember he would go to Plastic Fantastic in Covent Garden to buy records and I would always make him take his little sister along. (Probably used to embarrass him) In 1997 he went to Ibiza and came back and told stories and who he’d seen play out there, it sounded magical. Looking back now my transition into music happened so organically, my brother had his decks but I was not allowed to touch! Then fast forward to my MTV Income I managed to save enough and found myself looking on eBay one night and found a pair of pioneer 800 decks that seemed in perfect condition, got them and started practising. My brother showed me the basics and then said practise until you’re good as it’s no point me telling you what to do. It was very frustrating at first but I get what he meant.
Eventually I just felt it came so naturally I could put melodies together it was so easy to know what song should go next. Then to cut a long story short and forward a couple years I was really ill, in hospital I thought im not gonna die and not to have followed my dream. What had stopped me before was that I didn’t have the confidence to play out. I promised myself this was it, I eventually came back home and I recorded a mix and popped it on Mixcloud and it just went from there.
Then when you went online, you instantly broke into no.9 in global mixcloud charts – I’m guessing you weren’t expecting that?
Not at all!!! I remember a couple days before I got an email to say my mix was at number 16. I didn’t tell anyone as I was so nervous and thought there had been a mistake. And then bam it was number 9! It all started off from that point.
Then Ibiza Global Radio came about?
My show on Ibiza Global Radio is my little baby and I feel like I can play what I want and take it as dark as I want as it’s my little space to be free. I really am grateful to them as once I started on there I was able to explore my true passion and take it right back to the reason I got into house music in the first place.
The music – deep heavy, dark, house, can you define it and why is this your chosen genre? How do you see it develop over time?
I’m not sure I can define it, I like funky, melodic techno with heavy bass lines.
I play music I would love to dance to. I have a short attention span so I like to feel engaged constantly. Life has major highs and lows and I love music that does that. Massive drops. Deep dark and heavy. Music should convey a story. I always make sure my sets tell a story and that’s always stayed with me from the first mix I did on Mixcloud till now.
Where do you see this scene heading and what are your tastes and influences right now?
Well it’s massive in South America and Asia. I feel like they are what Ibiza was back in the day. I do hope house music moves away from this VIP culture that seems to be popping up. “ In house music we are all equal”
I love watching sets by Sasha, Digweed, Patrice Baumel, Stephan Bodzin, Solomun, Ben Klock… there’s so many. There’s no end to it, it’s just getting bigger and bigger.
How did the Live Nation / Smirnoff Competition come about?
Still can’t believe it!!! I replied to the initial email asking if it was a wind up.
So my friend I hadn’t spoken to or seen in about 10 years out of the blue messaged me on Facebook and said he’d seen a competition and I should enter. I was positive I wouldn’t win but gave it a go and entered my mix and details. I completely forgot about it, 2 months later I got the email just before Christmas to say I had won a slot to Dj at Warehouse Project in Manchester on NYE.
Continuing my shows with Ibiza Global Radio, Pacha in Barcelona and some other international gigs yet to be announced, but I like not having a plan makes it more exciting and unpredictable.