As I walk into a London bar, DJ Sarah Love sits slowly swirling a hot beverage. I was running a little late so I was not sure if she was slightly peeved but that feeling soon disappeared as I received a nice welcoming smile.
DJ Sarah Love has been one of the UK DJs at the helm of Hip-Hop for a number of years and is by all accounts a global DJ. While there is no doubt with her long twists that she is…..how do I say……fit!…..the looks are certainly not the factor in her becoming one of the most sought after DJs period.
Working on radio, deejaying at clubs and generally being at the center of the music industry here and abroad, DJ Sarah Love continues to take her brand and her skills to some dizzying heights.
What have you been up to?
Today, I’ve been in North London. I went to see Elzhi with the live band at Jazz Café last night, which was lovely. It’s always great to bump into so many Hip-Hop friends too- it was a dope evening.
This maybe a hard question, but what is a normal day like for you?
Right now, I don’t really have a ‘typical day’ type life. I’ve spent so much time out of the UK this year too so that’s been quite disruptive in some ways. When I am in the UK, I have the same breakfast more or less everyday; an orange, then oats with banana and blueberries. [Laughs] I know, very sad. And I swim a mile everyday at the pool, aka 72 lengths. That helps my day feel normal. Generally I’m just running around trying to make things happen. But really no one-day is the same.
What has this week been like generally?
Fairly grounded really. I DJ’ed with DJ Muggs of Cypress Hill in London. My friend M-Phazes, who’s a producer from Australia, is in town and I’m helping him with a couple things here. I’ve been on the radio, been partying, been with family. I’ve spent a lot of time on the phone and the computer. I’ve had different things to organise and chase up before I leave for tour in two weeks. It’s been a pretty normal, full week.
So how did you end up being involved in music?
First of all it starts with a passion for music that for me started at home. My parents are musicians so there was always music in the house, whether that was live instruments or records, so I think that must’ve had an influence on me. I started drums as a kid and played and studied music throughout school. Then I got serious with DJing and began my music degree. I started working at “Deal Real Records” in Noel Street, London where I got to meet a lot of the Hip-Hop community. I randomly bumped into a school friend Leo, one day. He told me he had just started a party called “Kung Fu” and I should come and spin! So I was like; “yeah! Im gonna bring Hip-Hop”. We all worked as a team over the years and built Kung Fu into something special, and it’s at Kung Fu that I started to build my reputation and name as a DJ.
I always ask female djs about their trials in making it as a dj, some say it was fine and others say it was hard, what was your experience?
I’ve never even really thought about being a female DJ to be honest. I’m probably quite a competitive person and all I ever concentrated on was killing it. I try to stay focused on positives in life anyway because there are two sides to every coin. I don’t see the point in spending time thinking about anything un-productive.
You helped to launch MTV Base Africa?
Yes! It was dope and the second time I got to deejay out there. I was with artists from the States and Africa and the launch took place in Nairobi. We did some radio, television and a massive party at a famous restaurant called “Carnivore”, which sells exotic meat — pause [laughs]! But it was an incredible experience to get out there, rock a party and see a little bit of Kenya.
“Exotic meat” is that a euphemism for “bush meat”?
Ahhh.. [laughs]! I remember, they had crocodile on the menu! I had ostrich there, which was actually really good and I would try again.
On a more serious note, is African music now more favourable in the commercial world?
It depends in what music we’re talking about. But overall I’d say there is more recognition for some African music by the corporate world which has its pros and cons. The mainstream market has really come into its own in the last 10/15 years or so. And it’s great to see local artists getting a lot of love, support and promotion at home, and in some cases, it spreading over-seas too.
What are your feelings on the word “urban”?
[Laughs] To be honest, on one level, it makes me cringe. I don’t think any one of us actually picked or started using that word to refer to what we get up to. It just came into circulation courtesy of some people nothing to do with us. It reminds me of that Wu-Tang line; “…who’s your A&R? A mountain climber who plays an electric guitar?” it just feels and sounds like corporate labelling with no real identity to me, as opposed to a milestone in human creativity. It’s about convenience, for people like Simon Cowell. It’s a superficial, industry created, generic approach to handling us. Whereas, saying; Hip-Hop, Soul, Jungle or Reggae for example — they each have their own distinct components, meanings, histories that have evolved organically from us, the people. The word “urban” has no depth or real histology like that.
How are things looking for the UK scene?
It’s a beautiful thing to see UK artists, staying true to themselves and having mainstream outlets acknowledge and support them. UK acts are being promoted in a way we’ve not really experienced before. Suddenly it’s acceptable to look and talk like British yute! Y’know, we fought to get to that. And it’s inspiring a lot of young people, so hopefully it’s going to be long term, positive development in the real world, not just at the moment because it’s the markets flavour of the month.
As a hip-hop queen what about the UK Hip-Hop scene is it still relevant?
That’s like asking, is the root of the tree relevant to it’s leaves? As I said before, “We” fought to make it possible for kids to be able to be rapping today in English-English on daytime radio, for one, ok. There are many relevant and significant contributions that come from our Hip-Hop scene. One thing I’ve learnt touring is, Hip-Hop is Hip-Hop, wherever you go in the world, we are all united by this culture and movement and it’s a cornerstones in popular music. The relevance is inextinguishable now.
So you continue your world-wide popularity and I hear you are deejaying for Aloe Blacc?
Yes, that’s right! I did the Swedish leg of Aloe’s European tour earlier this year, opening for his set, which was really good fun, and then he invited me to be the official tour DJ from December! I have a feeling it’s gonna be pretty crazy as we’re going literally all over the UK on the tour bus, doing shows night after night! I’m looking forward to it!
Who are you rating at the moment?
Willie Evans Jr., he’s really fresh. Pick up his new LP “Introducin’” out now!
Finally, where can people find out what you have happening?
My official site is www.djsarahlove.com which is updated with news and events as well as music and goodies.