They often say it’s who you know, not what you know. And as Leeds is such a connected city — particularly in the entertainment stakes — you can bank on the crux of music-fuelled events not just being conventional gigs. Clubbing nights are a massive part of the fabric of Leeds, so who better to chat to about them than a treasured local DJ? Enter: Reeshy…
Hey Reeshy, it’s great to catch up and talk music. How are you doing?
Hey, I’m good thank you.
I enjoyed my second gig playing to actual people at Chow Down, Temple Arches, at the weekend, and it was lovely to be out in the sunshine in Leeds. It’s on every weekend during the summer and has loads of great food and drink, as well as the music in the open air.
It sounds amazing — I need to get down there! So, if I’ve got this right, you’re a teacher by day and a DJ by night — how did this begin? Did you manage to secure gigs quite quickly or did it take some time to tap into?
I’ve been teaching for 12 years and have always loved music. I decided to teach myself to DJ when I lived in Middlesbrough and my daughter was a toddler. I watched lots of YouTube videos by a DJ called Ellaskins and used those and a lot of practice to help me learn.
In Leeds, I went to different parties and made friends with people there who were promoters. I sent them mixes that I had recorded and they booked me to play at their nights. The first night I played was Café Orange at Distrikt. It was a brilliant night with a packed dancefloor and amazing energy.
Who have been your biggest influences musically? Do you listen to a lot of genres that haven’t directly inspired your mixes, too?
My biggest influences DJ-wise are Andrew Weatherall, Frankie Knuckles, Binh, Francesco Del Garda and Jane Fitz. My KMAH shows include an eclectic mix of music, so I’m able to play different genres on that which aren’t just dance, such as ’90s RnB, hip-hop and Northern Soul.
Looking back at gigs you’ve attended, which have been the most memorable?
I will always remember playing at the Hold the Relish street party in May 2018 when the royal wedding was on — it was on Beechwood Terrace in Leeds and was one of the best parties I’ve ever been to. The weather was bright and sunny, the music was pumping all day and the street was packed with happy people dancing long into the night. A lot of money was raised for Simon on the Streets as well, which made it even better.
In August last year, I put on a party to celebrate Doghouse’s second birthday, which I really enjoyed. Danielle Moore from Crazy P played and it was a really fun day with many types of music from soul to Detroit house. My mates Ciaran Hansen, Corinne White and Roya Brehl all DJ-ed, too. We had an ace day.
In terms of attending gigs as a clubber, I loved going to Hoppetosse for Binh, plus Masda, Katsuya Sano and Evan Baggs. Hoppetosse is a nightclub on a boat in Berlin and it’s a truly special place with an amazing sound system and next-level buzz to it.
Also, seeing Andrew Weatherall and Sean Johnston play as ALFOS at Beacons Festival was a very special gig. There were high winds blowing and rain falling but we danced on regardless, hypnotised by that magical cosmic chug music. I was absolutely gutted when Andrew died this year — he was such a talented and charismatic man, and has left a void that can never be filled again.
I recall a really hot September day last year in Angelica, as the sun was sinking beneath the rooftop, which is when I first saw you on the decks. Do you enjoy the bar vibe the most or do you prefer playing clubs?
That was at Sunset Settings at Angelica, which is a really nice evening to play at with a more chilled-out feeling to it. I love playing anywhere but you cannot beat the feeling of playing to a packed-out dancefloor and blowing the roof off with house records!
I’m personally really missing gigs at the moment, so I’m keeping everything crossed that they’re back on the agenda before we know it. Do you have plans in the pipeline for gigs or residencies in the near future?
Nobody knows what’s happening with nightclubs being reopened at the moment due to COVID, but I hope they will reopen, too! At the moment, dancing is not allowed in bars and the music has to be fairly quiet, which can be difficult.
I’m playing again at Chow Down after PBR Streetgang on Saturday 15th August and will continue to play at Doghouse on the third Saturday of every month.
I have a new mix coming out for Arcadia Sounds in Manchester in August as well, so look out for that on their SoundCloud.
Things are gradually getting there, it seems! Now, lockdown has been a massive period of adjustment. You’ve been spinning vinyl from home with your daughter, Lily. How have you both found it? Will you continue with these sessions in the coming months?
We always have music on at home and I have my decks in the kitchen with my records. I probably will do a couple more live streams before the clubs reopen — I’ve really enjoyed doing them and Lily liked making an appearance and dancing, too.
If you’re based in Leeds and haven’t seen Reeshy live yet, you need to prioritise one of her DJ sets as soon as you can. Keep an eye on her Facebook and Instagram accounts for gig details and her SoundCloud for mixes.