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Lisa Lashes interview

Author: Clare Dickins
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
It's one of the great joys of music journalism to interview an artist as honest, open and down-to-earth as Lisa Lashes. Forget the bullshit and pretense, Lashes is the stripped back girl-next-door, despite what her press shots might belie.

Lisa may be one of the most popular DJs on the planet, but her approach and appreciation of music comes across as more of an easy-going passion. You know she's fought hard for her success, yet she's free of any battle-weary cynicism. You know she wants to be the best DJ out there, but you know she's not going to slit her wrists if she doesn't get there. There's an undeniable sweetness and old-fashionedness to Lisa that incredibly endearing - at the end of the day, she's just enjoying doing what she's doing.

A budding breaks boffin, in recent times Lisa's been getting her kicks out of playing filthy, grunge-filled breakbeats. The hard dance whiz is relishing the opportunity of broadening her musical horizons. "It's a bit less strict [than the hard dance] - with breaks you can have reggae or hip hop in there, or anything really and it all works! That's why I love it because it's such a versatile genre," she says. "I've been getting into the indie sound lately like The Killers, The Bravery and that kind of stuff. I played with Baby Shambles last Friday in Ibiza so I'm getting more versatile."

A fan of news sounds, but not always new technologies, Lisa isn't so keen to embrace the digital revolution. "A lot of the breaks stuff comes out on CD now - I'm not a big fan of CDs, but I have to bow down the CD people and play them and I hate it! I just bought myself one of the CDJ 1000s and I've had to have a little lesson from a couple of people on them, because I don't know how all these buttons work!" she says giggling.

"I've always played with vinyl, but you can't get the vinyl anymore at the shops -everything comes through on CD first and then vinyl after, so I'm having to do it when I don't really like it. I've always liked vinyl; the way it plays, feels and if there is a scratch on it, I quite like it as well. Whereas if something goes wrong with the CDs, you just hear this skipping sound and I think it sounds really crap!

"I'm quite mortified that I have to start using CDs more, but I still make sure I use about 80% vinyl. You've really got to make sure you look after the little vinyl shops. I really used to love going in there and having a cup of coffee and catching up on everything, but that will be gone if everyone ditches vinyl. That's our era and we need to protect it," she says.

"I'm very old fashioned in a way. All these new technologies are coming in and I'm quite happy staying with the old ones! I went to a club and they didn't even have dex, but rather two CDJs! It was like 'Well, what do you want me to play- I have two CDs on me and could play for about half and hour and that's it!' - Fuckin' ell!"

Despite her confident exterior, Lisa is reluctant to indulge in her 'Queen of Hard House' tag, despite the fact that it is a self-made image of her and manager Roman Trystram's doing. "We kind of made that ourselves ['Queen of Hard House' tag], but you have to be on it all the time. Yes, it's good to boost yourself up and promoter yourself as the 'First Lady of Hard Dance' or whatever, but I don't like doing it too much because I'm obviously friends with a lot of the girls. I don't like saying things like that because it bothers me a little bit because we all work really hard and I don't want to think of myself as better than anybody else. Obviously with polls and things like that I am no.1, but I don't really like to play on it really, but at the same time it's a good selling thing, do you know what I mean- I'd rather not have all this voting and stuff because I don't like it! [laughs]

No stranger to DJ Mag Top 100 success, Lisa has been consistently voted the world's biggest female DJ in recent years - a streak only broken by Dutch star Lady Dana last year