By Danielle Smith.
Sophie Calder, A.K.A DJ Raggo, went from a bedroom DJ to a festival DJ in the space of 2 years, and she explains to us in an interview about how she achieved so much in such a short space.
Sophie, 21 who grew up in Surrey, has been around music her whole life and it has been kept in the family with her father always playing the guitar and her brother and sister being vinyl DJ’s. She explains: “I used to love the Wii guitar and Band Hero games and gradually over time, through my influences of family and my own discovery I began to realize my huge passion for music.”
Like many people in the music industry, influences can come from people already within the industry or a family member of your own, for Sophie she was lucky enough to have a mixture of both. “As mentioned before my older sister and brother were a massive influence on me growing up, they were going to drum and bass raves when I was in primary school and so I was surrounded by the genre.”
She continues: “I think if anything I have more people that influence and guide me now, such as Goldie, Flight, Andy C, Krust, Jack Frost the list is endless.”
The first performance for a DJ is somewhat nerve-wracking and exciting at the same time, but for Sophie, she was lucky enough to have her friends beside her. “I first performed out at The Coroners Court in Bristol, for a night called Psyched, for the launch of the female collective I am part of called Concrete Jungyals.” This was where Sophie would first be seen as ‘DJ Raggo’ and her music career would set off.
Not long after her first appearance at a small nightclub, Sophie was contacted by Marcus Nasty on Instagram, after seeing little clips of her practice mixing. “A year ago I sent him a recent mix and he asked me to join the exceptional DJ programme he runs on his show on Rinse FM, ‘The Marcus Nasty Show’.”
She continues: “Big up Marcus Nasty, he has been giving a spotlight to up and coming DJ’s for years and I’m so grateful and appreciative for these opportunities I get.”
After being given this opportunity, she continuously practices her DJ skills by combing a variety of music genres from, House, UK funky, Afrohouse and drum and bass music.
Practising to be a great DJ is not something that can just happen overnight, as it requires attention to detail and commitment. As well as DJing, Sophie is also a full-time university student at UWE studying Entrepreneurship, so trying to find the right balance between her passion and her studies is something she has to push. “Right now I’m in my third year of studies so am trying to push currently for more radio and festival sets to avoid the late nights and raves, but if I feel as though the opportunity is something I can’t miss out then I’ll take it.”
“The balance is really hard to withhold but you pull through knowing it’s only a few months of smart sacrifices for the sake of my degree.”
Some of the sacrifices she has to give up are, socializing with her friends in order to get her university work done, as well as continuing her music passion. Although, this will not be a complete miss in her life as she has now gained a slot at one of the biggest European music festivals ‘Outlook Festival’ in Croatia. This festival contains the music genres dubstep, drum and bass, raga, hip-hop, house, garage, and techno so she would fit perfectly here.
“I went along last year with my sister and my brother-in-law mainly to network with other artists and the promoters out there as well as experience the festival as I set myself the goal to play within the next 3-4 years and thankfully the networking and hard work paid off.”
While Sophie has been given the opportunity to play at Outlook Festival, herself and the ‘Concrete Jungyals’ have also been accepted for other festivals such as Boomtown Fair in Hampshire UK and Hospitality on the Beach in Croatia. Getting to play at a music festival is not something that is taken lightly as a lot of hard work must be put in to achieve this. As Sophie is still in the process of achieving where she wants to be she is an icon to take advice from. “Don’t get disheartened when you’re starting out and you have peers laugh or mock you for being a bedroom DJ. Everyone has to start out somewhere, just keep practising, network, go to workshops, support other up and coming DJ’s, be authentic and do it for the music and not for image.”
Going from listening to drum and bass to playing it in her bedroom, to now playing small sets at festivals, where to next? “I’m not too sure at this current moment, I have achieved so much in a short space of time, it only goes to show that I need to keep going, keep networking. I’m hoping to learn more about radio and potentially have my own show, but we’ll see what the future holds.”
Sophie Calder – firstname.lastname@example.org