Interview: Dirtybird First Lady J.Phlip

It's clear that the San Francisco based Dirtybird label is a tastemaker in house and techno, especially with their head honcho and Aussie fan favourite Claude von Stroke at the helm. Leading the array of Dirtybird artists is their 'first lady' J.Phlip, who will be gracing our shores this month. Respected for her solo productions and her crate-digging inspired DJ sets, J.Phlip knows how to mix things up and maintain originality in her sets. With only a few dirtybird releases under her belt, there is a reason why she is highly regarded and in such high demand all around the globe.

J.Phlip is on her way to Australia this month and we were lucky enough to get her in for a chat.

Your sound offers a perfect crossover between house and techno. Do you think you have been influenced by your experiences living in Chicago and Berlin? Or is this something that comes natural to you and the direction that you want to take your music to?

I just dig for music and it either makes me feel something or it doesn't. And even if it makes me feel something, that still doesn't necessarily mean I will play it. I'm sure the music I experienced in Berlin and Chicago and anywhere really, has influenced me some. Anything that makes you feel something is going to have some sort influence on what you do.

How did you link up with the Dirtybird crew?

There is a long timeline story of absolutely ridiculous stories about how I joined up with those guys. It's a loaded question. I never really know how deep to get into it when I get asked about this. But I just kinda crossed paths with them back in 04'/05' and became one of their homies. They are the best people and they have been really supportive of me. They started inviting me to come DJ some of their parties in SF and then signed a track from me in 2008 and just took me under their wing and let me be a part of the journey. I love those guys and being a part of dirtybird has been the best experience of my entire life.

Dirtybird seems to be a close family-like label. Tell us what is so special about being a part of the Dirtybird crew?

Well not only do I get to play music with a bunch of my good homies, but they are also hilarious, so we find ourselves laughing nonstop and it really doesn't get much better than that. Music and laughter are two of the best things for the soul. Everyone in the crew is also genuine and down-to-earth and on a similar vibe with life, and if someone comes around who's not, well they don't usually stick around for long. But I've actually rarely ever seen that happen. I guess something about our music also seems to draw artists with similar personality.

Who is the crazy cat at Dirtybird? We hear Justin Martin is some fun to be around?

Justin (Martin) is the wildest of the bunch, but in the best way. It's impossible not to have fun around that guy. Barclay (Claude von Stroke) has been on a roll lately too though. Ask anyone who was on Holy Ship.

What else is planned for the rest of 2015?

Well one of the things I'm most excited about are the dirtybird BBQ's we are throwing in various cities, as well as an entire dirtybird campout! We tested the waters a bit last year, throwing a few BBQ's around the US. They were great parties! We are feeling really confident to take the BBQ shindigs to more cities this year. These parties make me happier than anything in the world because these BBQ's are a huge aspect of how dirtybird was born in San Francisco. A lot of our OG San Francisco crew who are not DJ's but have been along for the ride since day one, like Grillson and Fernando and Aundy and even Mr. and Mrs. Martin, get to come along with us sometimes on these BBQ tours. It's the best ever! Of course I'm really hyped about so many shows and tours coming up. Australia duh! Europe again in June woo! Shambhala in Canada is one of my favorite festivals of all time. Huxley is finally going to release our collaboration in June as well. Things are looking good all around!

You recently stated that you have been in Miami for WMC for the 11th year in a row. What do you find so special about Miami at that time of the year?

Well I have seen it change a lot so different things are special about it now vs. other years in the past… but most of all WMC is what allowed me to meet the dirtybirds and Jesse Rose and so many other people involved in this electronic world who have become my friends and mentors. I hung out with the dirtybirds for many years in a row at WMC before I was able to move to San Francisco. I also met a lot of the other folks from San Francisco who have supported me big time, especially after I moved there. People like Chris Smith from OM Records, the entire OM records crew actually, also Manny aka DJ M3, Nikola Baytala, Alland Byallo, Galen, and probably a grip of folks that I'm not remembering right now. I even met Andrew Kelsey there back in 2005 and it became one of my dreams that he would be my booking agent someday, and then later in 2009 that actually happened. My sole intent for going to WMC was not to network, I just went to party and hoped and happened to meet some really great people. I think that's the best attitude to have. People can feel it when you're trying too hard. Sometimes I forget how important WMC has been in my career actually.

What've you been listening to outside of the club? And what is inspiring you at the moment?

LA Priest, Ho99o9, Kendrick Lamar, Dead Ghosts, Broken Social Scene, Arca, Björk, Caribou, Thom Yorke, Deltron 3030, Grimes, Jacaszek, Joy Division, Ty Segall, Chelsea Wolfe, Spooky Black, Nirvana, Session Victim, Submerse, Hekla, Pookie and the Poodles, old Atmosphere and Aesop Rock…

I'm inspired by everything I listen to but as far as inspiration in the dance music realm I've really been feeling Tom Demac, Tanka, Tones, Moiré, Paranoid London, Italojohnson, Krankbrother, and all my dirtybird bro's. Lately I'm also really inspired by the television show Broad City. Those girls make me feel ok about life. I'm inspired by a lot of my girlfriends lately as well, Samantha Blondtron, Louisahhhh, Cecelia, Anu, Carla, Bonnie, and Liz aka DJ Slizzard.

You're about to embark on an Australian tour. Are you doing any special prep before hitting the road?

I always put a lot of work into my sets. I will certainly rip some new wax and dig for tunes and make re-edits. Hopefully will have a few new tracks to test out as well. I guess I might ask Claude (von Stroke) if he has any pointers because he knows the Australia scene very well, but I don't really feel like I need to. The Australian dancefloors really understood me last time I toured there so I feel very confident to just do my thang.

What are your travel essentials?

Loads of chapsticks, several packs of gum, kava, sunglasses, dry shampoo for my bangs, a huge warm comfy hoodie, my iphone loaded up with mellow music to knock me out on the plane, polaroid camera with loads of film, and a hard drive with backup of all my music incase I lose my usb sticks or they go corrupt or who knows???

If you weren't a DJ, What would you be doing?

I don't really know anymore. I've gotten so deep in this. I'd have to be doing something with sound or music… maybe some sort of sound engineer or using my engineering degree somehow.