Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Women to inspire. Interview with Karistocat.

Karis Beckingham, also known as Karistocat, the fierce beautiful blonde and extremely talented DJ you’ll see residenting at Topshop to Shorebitch London. We met Karis around a couple of years ago when she promoted our brand out in London. We recently got to travel up to Leeds with Karis for Leeds Festival where we watched her play to 7000 ravers at the Piccadilly Party! Karis really does know how to get a crowd going she even mixes in a bit of Slipknot! We absolutely adore Karis for her talent but also her passion and just being an amazing human being.
(photo: Hayley Ku'unani Photography)

JH: Before we start, is there anything you feel we might have missed out in your introduction?

KB: Not that I can see! Wow, very flattered, thank you...!

JH: We mentioned Leeds Festival, how was that weekend for you? We know we had the best time!

KB: Oh my god, where do I start?! The Reading leg of Reading and Leeds was my first ever festival at 16, so to be DJing an event that's a right of passage as a teenager was too exciting. The whole weekend I was surrounded by friends, family and good people, there were no bad-vibes or people trying to be 'scene' in the guest bar either. It was just a good vibe everywhere and The North know how to party! Just loads of young people all up for a laugh and good time whatever the weather. When I DJ'ed the Piccadilly Party stage, I don't think I had been that nervous in a long time to DJ a show before and it was a riot!  I couldn't help but drop a bit of Slipknot amongst the bass heavy set for the old skool grunger in me. I hope there was at least one kid in that crowd experiencing their first rave, if there was one, I would be very happy.

JH: Tell us a bit about your weekly schedule?

KB: My schedule is normally taken up with DJing residencies I have across London or club nights such as Shorebitch. I normally work Thursday, Friday and Saturday and the rest of the week I have to do what I please, unless I'm DJing in-store at Topshop on Oxford Street or other stores across the UK.

JH: Did you always know you wanted to work within music? And if so was it always a DJ you wanted to become?

KB: I've always been obsessed with music, as I've always been engrossed in it with having both a father and step father as successful musicians back in the 80s and 90s. I remember seeing my first female DJ was in the year above me at school, and I thought she was coolest girl ever. Also I have recently found a diary from when I was 13, I had written my future profession as a DJ, I had no idea I even wanted t do it back then! But somehow, because I have an eclectic music taste and working as a music supervisor (syncing music to TV, adverts and film) I kind of fell into it. I had a blog, my mate liked the music I posted, which, at the time, was normally shoegaze stuff and punk, and he asked me along to help him DJ and here I am 4 years later....! 

JH: We believe you are such an inspiration to a lot of females out there, who inspires you in your work?

KB: Wow... my first big inspiration would be Annie Mac! I think for any aspiring female DJ she is THE name at the moment and encourages females to take to the decks. Spinderella of Salt n Pepa is also another influence, and my own personal inspirations would be Gwen Stefani, Debbie Harry and of course, the Queen AKA Madonna.

JH: If you could play at any festival, venue, event, what would it be?

KB: Woah... Coachella and Lovebox would be THE festivals. Venue wise, Wet Republic in Las Vegas and Ibiza Rocks! I would love to play New York at some point too. The event would be Victorias Secrets party!

JH : What has been your most proudest moment?

KB: Having an apparent Kiss FM DJ come up to me after a set at Shorebitch and say they loved it and had 'never seen a girl go so hard like that' and of course LEEDS FESTIVAL!

JH: Do you feel that being a woman has ever effected your position within your work?

KB: Yes definitely, because suddenly there is a demand for female DJs in venues, but its also hard to be taken seriously if you're female by male counterparts because of that. Some venues book 'DJs' because they want someone to look good rather than book genuine talent. It doesn't matter what someone looks like or what their sex is, if you can DJ and you have talent, then that is what it should boil down to. At the end of the day, I'm a DJ and my sex is secondary to that. I feel torn by wanting to embrace my sex and also not wanting it to separate me from my male peers as a result. Attitudes are changing since Annie Mac has become popular, and their are more female DJs now than ever before and I think its wonderful.

JH: We know the music industry can be tough, what keeps your head held up high everyday and keeps you following your dreams?

KB: Knowing I get to DJ for a living keeps me happy and having good solid friendships and family that support what I do. Its rare to be in a job you actually enjoy!

JH: Last question, what have we got to look forward to come from yourself over the next coming months?

KB: I have London Fashion Week with Topshop and further sets across London and in the UK. Hopefully I can get myself back out to Europe again before the end of the year too.

Keep up to date with what Karis is up to via her: 
Facebook: www.facebook.com/karistocat
Instagram: @karistocat

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