Great news! Audio and Music Technology student Alex Sherwood has won Shogun Audio’s DJ competition and will perform at their next event in Leeds on 8 December. Alex’s mix was voted number one by the public and chosen as the winner by a selection of industry professionals.
We caught up with her to speak about the competition…
Tell us a bit about yourself?
I’m Alex (most people call me Lex, or in DJ/artist terms L.E.X). I’m a Music Technology student, DJ and vocalist. I’m a 2nd year student at Confetti and currently attempting to start producing my own music, as well as doing my own vocals and furthering my knowledge in Pro Tools. I also gig at local drum & bass events.
Congratulations on winning the DJ competition run by Shogun Audio! How was it?
Thank you! I was so excited when I found out I won. The competition was for one of their events in December, to which I was already going. Contestants had to upload a 30 minute drum & bass mix to Mixcloud and their artist names would appear on a Facebook poll on the event page. The public voted for their top 5 entries – who’d then be judged by industry professionals.
I’ve been trying to get some good gigs in for a while now and it was so lovely to see how many people wanted me to succeed. When the poll closed, I was 1st place! The winner gets some fantastic prizes, including Shogun merchandise, guestlist for friends, a rider on the night and the opening set in the main room!
Where and how did your interest in DJing start?
I actually started DJing when I was 11 through my stepdad who had two Stanton CDJ’s and two Vinyl Technic 12’10’s. I showed an interest straight away, although I only really did it for fun. After a year or so I didn’t give it much thought and focused on other things, but 7 years later – when I was old enough – I started going to events and my love for drum & bass started.
After attending many events, I started making friends with local DJs around Nottingham. I suppose it was making so many friends here that made me decide to move. After seeing how talented my friends were, I decided I should try to pursue mixing.
How has studying at Confetti helped you?
I’ve learnt so many things over the past year or so. I’ve never done anything academically musically before so applying for the degree course was definitely a learning curve. There’s still a lot of things I need to develop, but now I’m in the 2nd year a lot more things are making sense and I’m really enjoying the modules so far.
I enjoyed Industry Week, I went to a few different talks and showcases, but my favourite one was the Pioneer showcase. It was great to see all the latest equipment and the Pioneer rep let me plug my USB in to test it out.
What do you enjoy most on the Music Technology course?
I would have to say my favourite area within the course is the industry side. I really enjoy the variety of guests and I think it’s great to get advice and learn from those within the music Industry themselves. All in all the tutors are very down to earth and helpful, and I’ve made some great friends to collaborate on projects with.
Studio sessions are also brilliant and I can’t wait for the new Contemporary Music & Events Hub in Marco Island to open! I’m not very experienced when using the mixing desk, but I’m determined to become more technical in studio sessions throughout my time here.
What are you most looking forward to when you’ll perform in Leeds?
It has to be the whole performance aspect and getting experience in playing in a big venue, but the networking opportunity is a big one for me as well. I know a few artists who are already playing there – Ed:it, Aperio & Revaux – but it would be great to have a chat with some of the other artists.
The main factor in this industry is to have talent, but I feel as though having contacts is also important, so this experience could potentially open some doors for me.
Have you got any advice for students wanting to get into DJing?
Practice as much as possible! It sounds like a lot of effort, but if you love the music it’s extremely fun. I’ve only really been mixing drum & bass for about two years and I’m aware I still need regular practice to get better.
If you’re going to start DJing I’d advise you to listen to a mix by a DJ you love – I would listen to countless mixes on my way to and from work and try figure out how they mixed track A into track B and would then try and replicate it at home. Believe it or not, it really helps!
Buy your tracks! Ripping them off Soundcloud, YouTube & other sites results in extremely poor quality – plus you’re supporting the artists you love by buying their music.
Don’t use the sync button. I did when I first started out and then realised my beat matching was terrible once I turned it off, therefore the sooner you learn to beat match, the better DJ you’ll become in a shorter space of time.
Have you got anything else coming up?
I’m playing at the Red Bar in Nottingham on Friday 17 November alongside some good friends. It’s a FREE drum & bass event, so if you’ve got no plans come and support some local talent!
I’m also due to play in Sheffield at The Harley for Lady And The Trap on Friday 1 December alongside one of my lovely friends ‘CLOUWDS’ who runs the event. I heard the last one went down a treat, so really looking forward to travelling up there to play.
But obviously the main contender and the reason I’m here: Shogun Audio Leeds at Mint Warehouse. If you have the funds and love drum & bass – it’s a no brainer. With a line up consisting of S.P.Y, Alix Perez, Technimatic, Ed:it, Serum & many more – it’s not one to miss!