hayley parsons

Hayley Parsons – Exclusive Interview

Written by Maximus Aurelius

June 18, 2010 3:31 pm

 

hayley parsons

To be a DJ is is what some consider a dream, but to actually push forward into the mainstream and achieve the respect and admiration of the industry takes unparalleled effort and determination. Hayley Parsons is one such DJ who has spent years pushing herself into contention and gaining respect among the community – and it was through her determination and desire that has led to her success. “I first used decks when I was house sharing in Kingston in London 2007, I borrowed my mates 1210’s but the only vinyl he had on him at the time was hard house so I practised with that, I then borrowed my mate Pauls Pioneer CD decks, the ones with the jog wheel and plus and minus buttons for a few months – they were tricky. Beginning on 2008 I brought my own pioneer CDJ’s, locked my self away for a few months and in March 2008 played out for the first time.”

“I locked myself away for a few months and in March 2008 played out for the first time”

Locking yourself away for months might sound a tad extreme, but in times when everyone and his mate is a DJ to set yourself apart really does require a sure display of unrivalled passion. Nobody gets to play at the legendary Gallery clubnight by being half-arsed, perfection is the only way forward. So how did Hayley get to this point? “I had always been a massive fan of house/trance”, she says. “I grew up on trance really from 1998 onwards, was a bit of a raver, went to Ibiza for the first time in 2006 and I LOVED IT, came home and decided I wanted to get behind the decks. I first used decks when I was house sharing in Kingston in London 2007, I borrowed my mates 1210’s but the only vinyl he had on him at the time was hard house so I practised with that, I then borrowed my mate Pauls Pioneer CD decks, the ones with the jog wheel and plus and minus buttons for a few months they were tricky. Beginning on 2008 I brought my own pioneer CDJ’s, locked my self away for a few months and in march 2008 played out for the first time.”

A lot of DJs and producers that are breaking new ground today had a strong musical interest before they moved into dance, Mat Zo is setting the Trance world alight with his classically-inspired masterpieces. Where you come from, and how you grew up, can have a massive influence on how you develop your style as a DJ. For Hayley, it was more the radio side of DJ’ing that first grabbed her attention. “I’m orignially from Southampton but have lived in London and now sunny Cleethorpes. When I was moving I found some old tapes that I had made with my friends with house and trance anthems on from when I was about 13 years old with me pretending to be a radio presenter, so funny I had phone in’s and requests, prize give aways, the full works!”

Hayley Parsons

And it’s not just where you live and how you grew up that can create that spark of interest, those pesky creatures we affectionately know as parents can influence our music tastes and styles. “My parents love Motown so when I was really young I mainly listened to soul, but when I turned 12/13 I got more into dance music, loved trance, Paul Oakenfold, Sasha and Digweed, Tony de vit, Alex Gold, Chicane, Agnelli and Nelson I was also a massive fan of Moby (Play album being the best) and Massive Attack.”

“I was also a massive fan of Moby and Massive Attack”

And, just like a lot of DJs, Hayley has since cast her eye of production, and has two tracks coming out on Audiodamage in the near future. “The first track is Called ‘Phase my Beat’, it is a remake of the Blaze track ‘To my Beat’. It’s more on the tougher side of house with a few techy elements. Judge Jules has played it a few times on Radio One which is really exciting, thank you Jules! Fluke is a remix that I have done for Fran Cosgrave, Ethan Project and Christian Davies. Given is a slightly more electro progressive feel, similar to a Wolfgang Gartner production with all the added little effects and heavy baseline. Judge jules is already supporting this track as well which is ace. I think this track is due for release next month.”

“I used Cubase SX3 for Phase my Beat and Cubase 5 for Fluke, really loving the sound Cubase 5 allowes you to achieve, the mixing seems a lot better on it. I have also just got a load of new plugins which look like they are going to bite me so need some of youtubes friendly advice.”

We already know that as a youngster Hayley was a fan of Oakenfold, Sasha & Digweed and co, but many more recent producers have also been having an effect. “At the moment I’m loving The Weekend Heros, their production is so tight it’s ridiculous,” she says. Hayley recommends the track ‘Fear Factor’ – “it’s amazing. Also Oliver Lang, Michael Woods but most of all am in love with Moguai his stuff is really good, he is on tour with Deadmau5 at the moment. He has a mixture of styles which I like, but always puts nice big uplifting breaks in his tracks. For more house / tech stuff I’m really liking D-Nox and Mark Knight, he has just released a track called Devil Walking one to look out for really nice and bouncy.”

“I’m loving the Weekend Heroes, their production is so tight it’s ridiculous”

After giving up modelling not long after her 2005 FHM High Street Honeys win, Hayley was soon gracing the world with her talents as a DJ. Considering her experience, just where would Hayley say has been her favourite place to DJ so far? “Probably Barasti Beach Club in Dubai last month, it was amazing, I played for nearly 4 hours in front of 5,000 people on the beach. I started with tribal/tech house for 2 hours then played progressive house for two hours…was unreal!”

hayley parsons basarati beach club

Hayley is not a DJ afraid to move with the times either, and she is embracing the USB functionality of her CDJs. “I’m quite enjoying the USB function on the 2000’s (minus my embarrasing mishap) but I still really love flicking through my CD wallet.” Despite this, this is a girl with little time for those laptop DJs sneaking their way into pubs and clubs – unless it’s for genuine creativity reasons. “Laptop DJ’ing is a whole new generation of DJ’ing, I don’t believe in the use of them if you’re just going to cheat and sync up your tracks and mix normally. I have had a go on Ableton and it is really cool that you can create perfect loops, bring in more samples and add extra effects etc so if you’re going to bring something extra to the set by using a laptop [with ableton] then a definite thumbs up! I am also just learning how to use the M-Audio Torq at the moment, awesome piece of kit, again using a laptop has 2 channels on the controller if then plugged into a mixer it allows you to have up to 5 channels available for mixing in tracks, samples, vocals etc. Hoping to start using this whilst playing out over the next coming months.”

“I’m quite enjoying the USB function on the 2000s, but I still really love flicking through my CD wallet”

Coupled with her being a talented DJ, being a good-looking ex-glamour model surely creates for Hayley a lot of attention wherever she goes. How should a guy set himself apart from the rest if he was to approach her? “Umm..what a random question haha, well firstly sorry I’m not single, however if they came up playing a banjo whilst blowing on a flute singing the venga boys I think that would do it for me! No I don’t really notice if I get any attention I’m too focused on the music,” she reveals. But surely there must have been some difficulty to be taken seriously as a DJ? “No not really, maybe when I first started but not now. I have worked really hard over the past couple of years to gain credibility in the industry. My whole life revolves around music and talking shop, I love learning new techniques and trying out new equipment.”

Throughout her career so far, Hayley has played in most high profile venues across the UK and many other across Europe and the world. Every time a DJ plays, it’s about the location, the people, and the moment, and every gig has the potential to be different from the last. A DJ will pursue a particular vibe, reflective of the audience. Hayley is definitely one of those DJs, “I love to play to my crowd, nothing worse than everyone walking off the dancefloor even if you’re are playing the most credible underground minimal/techno.”

hayley parsons maxumi magazine

Whilst Hayley is playing, she considers it important to see how the crowd reacts to tracks to begin with, to decide what direction the set should go in. “I like to test the water with different styles to see what they like and then go in the direction that seems to be working. At the moment my vibe is definately more progressive, I tend to start with more housey, bouncy tribal beats, few vocals and then go more progressive with big breaks and build ups. I’m loving what is coming out on Toolroom at the moment, I often play a few tracks in my set from their label, Wippenberg, Weekend Heros, Stefano Noferini, Dennis de Laat, Manuel de la mare, Magitman, Phunk Investigation, Piupra, Lissat & Voltaxx. There are some really great productions out at the moment, too many to choose.” And of course, part and parcel of being a DJ is odd song requests. “When I was playing at a house night, someone come up and request R&B…not really my cup of tea, but I’m not rude, I either explain it’s house only or I just say ask the DJ whos on after he/she might have it.”

“I like to test the water with different styles to see what they like and then go in the direction that seems to be working”

A few years back at the Honey Club Lisa Lashes was playing and completely mucked up, one song finishing before she had cue’d up the next. Naturally, playing in front of thousands of people and knowing that you could so easily ruin your set is a huge amount of pressure to deal with, and Hayley hasn’t been without her mistakes. “When I first used a set of the new CDJ 2000’s I started on my deck and pulled out the USB which I didn’t realised was sync to the other deck and was actually being used at that moment by the other DJ, the music went off, major ass kissing after that haha, I was soooo sorry, he was really cool though and we just laughed about it.”

So for Hayley DJ’ing definitely seems like the passion of her life. This is a girl who has achieved a lot in a relatively short space of time, and the future looks bright for arguably Britains favourite female DJ. “I am really looking forward to the release of my tracks over the next coming months. I have also just done a tech remix for Matt Darey which is hopefully out soon – its called “Blackflowers”. I am also remixing for Ian Round and have just been asked to make a tougher house/ tech remix for a track on the Born to Dance label so the music side of things is going great. Also keep an eye out for the ‘Girls of Miss Money Pennys’ album where I have mixed one CD of the 3CD complation. I have a joint Radio Show Dual Velocity which is on Slinky FM once a month with Judgement Sundays resident Vicky Devine which is hopefully going to be played on ETN as well. I am really looking forward to playing at ‘The Gallery’ at Ministry of Sound London on the 1st of October, seriously terror-stricken about this one haha, playing alongside Toolrooms Gina Star and Tania Von Pear in the bar  – I can’t wait!”

Unrivalled passion, determination, the sacrifice of a previous career, Hayley is definitely one girl who is taking her DJ’ing very seriously. With her genuine talent and appetite for success, as proven by her upcoming performances at Ministry and the support of Judge Jules, this is surely the one girl-DJ to look out for in the coming months.

Hayleys MySpace

Hayleys Website

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