The multigenre DJ blending the sounds of her Black, Queer and POC communities
We're ending the sassy year in conversation with LO-LOW. Tune in to hear LO-LOW discuss club culture, kinky communities and her journey of becoming a DJ and getting behind the decks. As well as her mission to platform music from Black and POC artists and inspire fellow queer individuals to take their place wtihin the scene - both on the dancefloor and behind the decks.
This is a fabulously uplifting conversation about growing in confidence, pursuing passions organically and stepping out of the shadow to be liberated through dance and music. So what you waiting for honeys? Get listening and check out our photoshoot with LO-LOW below.
LO-LOW's sets are an epic journey of multi-genre blending bringing together a firey mix of deep house, techno, vogue, electro, and ballroom mixed with breakbeat and pop. She tells us how "If I can make it blend, I'll mix it. When I play I try to juxtapose genres that shouldn't technically work, that's where you get the magic". Describing herself as always having an eclectic taste and being a music nerd since a young age, LO-LOW thanks her Dad for encouraging her to listen to music by buying her CDs. From there her love grew and throughout her teenage years LO-LOW tells us how she became "a raver and club kid. I grew quite a lot in the club spaces. I've always enjoyed seeing people DJ but I don't think I found my scene until I was 25 when visiting Berlin." A trip to Berghain, which LO-LOW describes as a place of hedonism, led to a sense of liberation, "It was the first time I found a space that was sexually liberating but also made me feel like I wasn't being objectified or looked at as a body but rather a person. I could dress provocatively without feeling like a victim". This power of the dancefloor is something that has shaped the atmosphere she aspires to create through each set. Telling us how she aims to take listeners on a journey through various aural portals to find freedom in expression on the dancefloor, engage with a sense of euphoria and community until you break into a sweat.
LO-LOW has been in various facets of the music industry for along time. Having started out as a journalist writing for Clash magazine, before working as a national organiser for Love Music Hate Racism as well as managing a couple of artists, LO-LOW tells us how "I've been in different parts of the industry for a long time, so becoming an artist was a random tangent of my journey. I didn't have the confidence to be an artist for a long time" until a couple of years ago when a friend questioned why, with all the knowledge LO-LOW had, she couldn't be the star. Having planted this seed, LO-LOW took up mixing in her bedroom during lockdown. It was at the beginning of 2022 that she started playing out alongside her job as a senior product manager with a label. However, after being made redundant in 2023, DJing became her main source of income. Since making that turning point, LO-LOW's career has evolved to the next level seeing her play at some of the top clubs in London including one of London’s most iconic clubs Fold (her fave club), E1 where she's a resident DJ, and Phonox. She tells us how"I've had so many cool gigs this year, I've been feeling grateful and majorly gassed!".
I've had so many cool gigs this year, I've been feeling grateful and majorly gassed!
Discussing LO-LOW's journey to getting behind the decks, she tells us about her first ever job at the age of 18 playing her favourite tunes at an alternative punk rock indie club night. "I labelled all my CDs and would carry them to the club - it was so heavy! I'd fade up and fade down and that was it". She did this until the management of the club changed looking for more mainstream music which LO-LOW didn't resonate with. It wasn't until almost ten years later that LO-LOW decided to get back into playing music and learnt how to mix. Thanking covid's lockdown for helping her knuckle down and practise LO-LOW tells us how "what gave me the courage was friends who told me I had really good music taste." Taking this support and meshing it with her years spent partying led LO-LOW to hone in on her own sound, particularly incorporating words in her mixes. "When you have lyrics it activates the crowd into what you're playing, it gets you hyped. Because when I mix it's purely based on my experiences of how I've enjoyed the dancefloor."
If I can make it blend, I'll mix it. When I play I try to juxtapose genres that shouldn't technically work, that's where you get the magic
When talking about dancefloor etiquette, LO-LOW tells us about how, for the large part, she's noticed a shift from clubs being a place that make people feel vulnerable to being a space to become more confident. Recognising how most her experiences have been positive, she tells us how "Within the queer club scene and techno scene, you see the same people and you're building those relationships all the time where you look after eachother. A lot of them have also helped me get mix series". This strength in creative supportive leads us to dicuss the similarity of the kinky community and how it's helped LO-LOW become confident in her body and the way she dresses, embracing her love for latex. She tells us how "I feel like I got a lot of body confidence going to kink parties and the community. I've always been quite sex positive but I came into my own and have become more comfortable in my skin by going to these parties." Recognising how this has helped reduce the negative thoughts in her own head is something LO-LOW credits for helping her be a happier person inside and out.
A lot of time all the negative thoughts we have about our own body and how we see ourselves is completely opposite to how other's see us
We end the conversation by discussing LO-LOW's mission to find and support artists from BIPOC backgrounds. "A big focus for me, apart from genre blending, is playing music by artists who are Black, Queer, POC, or female. That's really important for me because I want to platform artists who are not always given the spotlight, especially in the electronic and techno industry who are overlooked." Being able to represent herself and those who don't get seen is something that sits at the heart of her work as a DJ. "Techno came from Detroit but the majority of the community here is white. So I want to be there to be someone who can influence more Black women, queer people and POC to take up space and remind people where the music came from". She shouts out the Black Artist Database for spotlighting an array of music and helping source new artists aswell as Bandcamp.
In London it's still a very white space so for me, DJing is way bigger than me. If I can influence more Black queer people to take up space and reclaim it then that's what I want to do.
As LO-LOW continues to refine her craft, she tells us how "A lot of it is having the confidence in yourself. Playing infront of audiences helped because it's so different from just being in your room". She shares her advice that "you don't have to connect with everyone in the room. The ones that get it, get it and they're the ones that will become your fans and support you". As she continues to set the London scene on fire, aswell as further abroad, LO-LOW is set to bring her genre blending magic to ever growing audiences. Relishing in the sounds that inspire her and offering a fresh representation within the scene for others to look up to.
When do you feel most confident?
When I'm in a room full of people who allow me to be weird and free in my body to dance. And when I'm wearing this thong bodysuit that says "J'adore Hardcore" When I wear that I feel hot as hell!
One dream you want to come true?
A big, big club I love, I would like to play
One key experience that shaped you?
Someone told me not to compare myself because compairson is the devil. I got that advice when I was still at University and it helped me be confident in myself.
One law you want to change or a cause that's close to your heart?
The Palestinian cause. As well as anti-racism and getting equality for everyone who needs equality across all the communities I am part of.
What's the best thing about being you?
I am funny, hot, sexy and cute. All rolled into one. I enjoy being silly and playful and I really value that. Because those little things make me happy and feel good.
Name your Sassy playlist
Keep Moving - Jaymie Silk
Riding Senses - NIKS
Take You There - Eliza Rose
Run 2 U - TYGAPAW
Act Bad - BASHKKA
I Felt Love - Blue Hawaii
Keep up to date with LO-LOW's gigs and mixes by following her onw IG @lo_low_ldn
or visiting her soundcloud page here
Interview and portraits by Bethany Burgoyne, available on IG @bxsassy2