In IOM 006, Faro explores various elements of groove. An innately skilled selector, the Brighton-raised London-based DJ’s bubbly personality is reflected in the energy of her composition. Whether you want to clear the mind or get moving, Faro has you sorted. We sat down with her to learn more about what drives her as an artist and performer.
What brought you out to London?
I love Brighton so much and massively grew as a person and a DJ there, but it's one of those places where it can feel like a constant holiday, not that this is a particularly bad thing, but you can get a bit stuck in the bubble. It got to a point where I was playing the same venues week in week out, and I was traveling to London more and more, back and forth and I thought, “You know what? I'll just move. I'll move to the big city.” So I moved to London in October of last year. It was always something that was on my mind but it just felt right at that time. I'm still playing regularly in Brighton and visiting whenever I can because it has such a special place in my heart!
Coming from that bubble and now being in a contrasting environment, what are the challenges you’ve faced?
I wasn’t fully established in London before I moved. I used to be a duo called GCDJ and was in that for a couple of years playing more R+B/Hip Hop/Garage, and then I realised that's not really what I wanted to do career wise. I was playing with my ex-touring partner quite a bit in London anyway, but it was a very different vibe to what I'm doing now. So, I was only partially established in London as part of GCDJ.
I then left my duo at the beginning of last year. We're still totally cool and she was very understanding of the situation and is also continuing to kill it - but I've always been a lot more into electronic music, and that was where my heart was. It was only at the beginning of last year that I thought I'd really put myself out there with Faro, and started playing in London more. I managed to play at some amazing venues last year.
It's quite scary when you first move here, coming from a small city where you know absolutely everyone and then jumping to a massive city where you don’t know many people or places at all. I think it’s challenging but I really love the challenge. That's why I moved here, because in Brighton there just wasn't really any challenges anymore and I like putting myself out there and meeting new people. I’m really enjoying it.
At what point did you kind of discover that house music is the route that you wanted to take?
When I was growing up, I was a lot more into R+B, even as a small child, mainly because of my Dad. He’s a massive music head, so I grew up listening to people like Donnell Jones, Aaliyah, Erykah Badu, Mint Condition, stuff like that. I was into music from a very young age, but when I got into my early teens I started to get more into electronic music. Not necessarily house, but I began hearing remixes, and I was like, “Oh… this is cool.” From there, I got into more dance-y stuff and then found my love for the house I’m into now when I was about 16.
Was there anything, in particular, that got you into house music?
B.Traits used to be a Friday night resident on Radio 1, and I would listen to her religiously. From there, I thought, “You know what? I'm going to give this whole DJing thing a crack”, and it just began as a hobby. I started out with a Traktor controller, making a few mixes on that and putting them on Soundcloud, then bought my mates Re-loop RMP-3's. I was a bedroom DJ for quite a while - from about 17 through uni - just playing in my room, making mixes, stuff like that. Then I began working in the pub industry in Brighton and playing around there, but that was more of a bar, R+B vibe. Even though I still enjoyed that, I knew that house was my passion. I first played GCDJ shows in 2015, but was still playing the records I loved in my bedroom. It wasn’t until 2016 that I kicked off a residency at Patterns in Brighton, and that was my first proper electronic gig supporting Fort Romeau.
How did it feel being able to play the music you loved and had always wanted to play?
It was an incredible feeling. Compared to playing in casual pubs with more commercial music, it was just such a different experience. I played in a huge dark basement with light's shining on me, and it was so full. It was quite scary at first, but then I started to really get into it and thought, “Oh my God… this is amazing!” and knew it was what I wanted to do. From then on I had a residency at Patterns, and I’ve been able to support incredible people since.
In terms of your musical and DJing style, where does the inspiration come from?
I’m very much into the soulful sound, as you can hear in the mix. I think that comes from my R+B / Soul background. In regards to DJs, my favourite DJ of all time is Move D. I just love his selections, production, everything. Also Jayda G, Byron The Aquarius, Cody Currie, Holly Lester, Sean McCabe - and loads more. As far as labels go, Wolf Music, Wild Oats run by Kyle Hall who's also one of my favourites, Rush Hour, Toy Tonics, as well as some of the older stuff on Strictly Rhythm. I’m also very inspired by Detroit and Chicago sounds, I love that raw dusty house feel which is why I play a lot of old music or new music that sounds classic, so that’s definitely influencing my playing style these days - but my style can range from Italo House, to Disco/Nu-Disco, to US Garage and beyond.
As far as the ID culture goes, do you think artists should be open to sharing what they play, or do you think that maintaining some form of musical anonymity is part of the artistry of DJing?
It's a difficult one because music is made to be shared. Producers create songs mainly to put them out there and reach a large audience. So if there's an artist playing someone else's music but keeping it to themselves, I think it's just a bit unsettling because the producer could have additional success due to the music being shared if you know what I mean. I understand if it’s your own or a friends unreleased music that you/they may not want to share, but it’s a strange situation, I have contradicting feelings towards it but I generally agree with the notion that music should be shared. I discover a lot of tracks through listening to mixes and then finding the tracks in the comments or "Shazaming" them. That’s something that I do quite regularly. It’s quite important to me actually because, without ID platforms, I wouldn't have a lot of the music I have today.
What lies on the horizon for you in 2019?
Production is next on my list, one hundred percent. I learnt when I was around 18 and I actually made a track that got played on BBC Introducing but then I started to prioritize DJing. About a year or so ago I was getting Logic lessons but then I started prioritizing DJing again and going back and forth. It's been a slow process, but I'm going to dedicate the next few months to working really hard at it. As a larger goal, I want to make my mark here in London and properly establish myself. Maybe try to get into some festivals and play out as much as I can. I've got some pretty cool guests appearing on my Balamii radio show as well so just continuing with that and to also put on some more 'Freshly Squeezed' parties with DJ Eliza Rose. I'm very excited about this year and the future!
Photos: Penny Nakan
Words: Stu Richards