Kristy Harper’s creative expression and attitude are both intoxicating and inspiring, which is why she was an obvious choice for IOM 012. With her time spent predominantly in the UK, she hosts two-hour radio slots at Operator Radio Rotterdam and Netil Radio London, as well as being a producer and overall house music maven. There’s a lot to learn about Kristy, and we are lucky to share a glimpse into her past, present and future.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I was born in the grey area of suburban London where I grew up on my dad’s record collection and regular weekend raves in Watford and the surrounding areas. Childhood memories of Prince, Osibisa and Grace Jones on my mum and dad’s hi-fi system (my dad used to own a hi-fi shop) made me a lover of anything with groove. I currently spend my time between London and Amsterdam working on music, DJing and collecting records.
How would you describe your sound?
As a DJ, I definitely love to jump from genre to genre but tend to focus on house, Italo and acid. Production-wise, I guess I mainly make sample based house, disco edits and 80’s synth heavy stuff. I’ve become obsessed with jamming over my disco edits with the Microkorg or Juno-106.
Who were your initial influences when getting into house music, and how has that changed over the years?
My dad had the most incredible collection of blues, world, rock ’n’ roll, soul and disco, which influenced me hugely before I started listening to house music. I remember hearing about Paradise Garage and the beginnings of house music and became really interested in sampling. After discovering Larry Levan and Frankie Knuckles, I was hooked. I also used to listen to a lot of Moby, Justice and Erol Alkan and cut-and-paste hip-hop producers like RJD2.
On a more personal level, a friend of mine really helped me on my journey into DJing. When he saw how obsessed I was with his records and decks, he lent me a controller for 6 months and said ‘you have to know how to mix by the time you give it back to me’. He also gave me a huge hard drive of house and techno to practice with. He influenced me more than I ever could’ve imagined.
I think my music taste is always evolving as I discover and experience new things. Now I’m influenced by a lot by artists I play alongside or work with in the studio as I find myself mesmerised and inspired by their musical knowledge or production talent.
Late last year you released Slut. Was there a message that you wanted to convey with that track?
Slut was such an interesting process for me. I’d been having a really difficult few months with what felt like hundreds of doors being shut in my face. I was finding it hard as a woman in the music industry and thought about taking time out. I remember seeing Samirah Raheem’s interview at Slut Walk pop up on my newsfeed and it came at exactly the right time. She totally bosses it; she talks about reclaiming the word slut, being proud of who you are, owning it as a woman and basically puts Jesse Lee Peterson (the interviewer) in his place.
I went straight into the studio and made the track in a couple of hours. It was mainly a cathartic experience for me but thought if the message resonated with other people, it would be a huge bonus. It also made me rethink the word myself. There really isn’t a male equivalent and it’s always used in a derogatory way. The best part about her interview and the sample is she takes a word with negative connotations and makes it positive and liberating. We shouldn’t be slut shaming, we shouldn’t be telling women what to wear or how to act and blame them for wanting to express themselves. People should be free to express themselves how they want without being shamed or made to feel bad.
What was the response like to the release?
The response was insane. After a few days, people were sharing the video all over the place, RA picked it up and put it on their new tracks section, Midland got behind it, DJ’s were emailing me for the file to play out and women were emailing me saying how much of an empowering track it was. I mean, it could definitely have been better production wise as it was a quick job but sometimes that’s the beauty of creating, you have to do something to the best of your ability in that moment and just put it out there. It’s so easy to sit on something for months! I couldn’t have asked for a better response.
Will we see more releases from you this year?
Yes, actually! I’m really excited as I have two EP’s set for release between now and summer. The first EP is on London’s Monologues Records. Slut will feature on the second EP and we’re working on a dance floor heavy remix. It’ll be an incredible feeling to have that track on vinyl.
What are you most excited for in 2019?
After spring, I’m curating a few charity events around the release of my second EP and Slut and I’ll also be launching a selectors listening series/podcast at Giant Steps. It’s called Lait de Coco, where DJ’s can dig deep into their record bags and play strictly Sunday listening tunes whilst drinking chocolate milk and chilling on beanbags.
At the end of the year, I’ll be heading back to India for my debut tour! I can’t wait. This time I’ll be seeing friends in Mumbai and hitting up cities I haven’t visited before so I’m really looking forward to that.