“The tag line I use is “genreless at heart, heavy on the bass” meaning I play what I want but it’s likely to be quite in your face, bass shaking music.”
Hailing from East London, Tailor Jae is a fast-rising artist who lives and breathes technicality within her quick mixes and high-octane sets. Racking up a slew of acknowledgments over the last few years, Tailor only a four years ago beat over 2000 DJs to be crowned the winner of a Mixmag DJ competition, followed shortly in 2019 by her debut release signed to esteemed London label szns7n alongside duo Traces. Having racked up a plethora of features on the likes of BBC AZN, Rinse FM, Radar, Represent and Mixmag Lab, the young artist recently caught the ears of Toddla T – delivering a spiralling mix on his Radio 1 show followed shortly by a series of of guest mixes for DJ Target and Nick Bright on BBC 1Xtra.
Not only was East Londoner recently highlighted in DJ Mag’s selection of ones to watch, but Tailor was also nominated for the DJ Mag Breakthrough DJ Award alongside a plethora of emerging talent such as PACH, Sheba Q, TSHA and Yung Singh. Deservedly ending the year on a high after an immense 12 months, Tailor Jay now gears up towards The Hydra at the Drumsheds on 26th November, sharing the stage with a stellar line-up including the likes of techno heavyweights Marcel Dettmann, Jeff Mills, Nina Kraviz, Ben Klock and Daniel Avery. Tickets for this are still available here.
Can you tell us a bit about your musical background and how you first got into music?
My name is Tailor Jae, I’m a DJ from east London. I sort of fell into djing, as there was no initial plan to be a dj. I was given an ipod for my birthday and my brother gave me limewire to find songs i wanted. (I’m aware it is illegal now lol) I used to discover different types of music and would play tracks at house parties and people always used to react to my selections and so I thought I would try djing. I still don’t know why that came into my head to be honest but I guess it was meant to be.
To someone whoʼs just discovered you, how would you describe your sound and direction?
The tag line I use is “genreless at heart, heavy on the bass” meaning I play what I want but it’s likely to be quite in your face, bass shaking music. I grew up in East London which for me is very much the centre of where grime music began, so those elements and sounds always find their way into my selections too. I also grew up watching MTV dance and Channel U so I guess you could say my sound is a hybrid of the two, with some influences from my dad who always played reggae around the house. Really i guess I’m decisively indecisive, i know exactly what my ears like, I just don’t have a specific box for it.
You’ve already played some exhilarating sets at some fine establishments, what’s been your favourite venue / set so far and do you have a memorable performance that sticks out in particular?
I think my set at South Nightclub in Manchester for Kultura Collective has been my favourite set so far. It was my first time in Manchester, it was a small venue but the energy was great. I love an open minded crowd. I was able to truly just play what I wanted and the appreciation was great. It was my first set back out after the pandemic, no nerves, just vibes.
You’re set to play at The Hydra night in a couple of weekends time which features a host of bug names. How are you feeling and can you give us any clues as to what you are going to play?!
I’m feeling good to be honest. I’m new to the back to back side of things. It’s not something I’ve done a lot of, so when I was first approached for the set I was a little apprehensive but that was due to me going into unfamiliar territory, I’m used to being in control. Now I’m excited, because I’m playing with Yung Singh and musically I think we will gel well together. I’m just going to take a whole bunch of tracks and wing it. I think there’s beauty in uncertainty sometimes and to be honest I feel like you can’t really prepare for a b2b set, or maybe you can I don’t know. As of now we haven’t prepared anything so we will see what happens.
Since you’ve been back playing in clubs, what have been your highlights so far and any particular nights which stick in your mind?
I think just seeing happy faces has been my highlight to be honest. I’m very much a DJ who feeds off of the energy of crowd interaction. So it has been nice to be back in front of people and just seeing people enjoying themselves. I played at Leeds Festival this year, not a club of course but yeah it was my first major festival. It was great to actually experience what that was like, it’s very different to the club actually, the atmosphere is different. And I was very high up away from the crowd, it was great looking down and seeing people having a good time, although I did miss the closeness of the crowd, it was a great highlight for me.
Where do you see yourself this time next year? And do you have any ambitions in the coming years you can tell us about?
This time next year I hope to be gearing up for a tour of some kind, by then I think I would have really found my true fans and nurtured a connection with them. That’s really important to me as I didn’t have any real goals coming into this DJing thing, but along the way it’s been the people that I have met and hopefully inspired that have made it rewarding. I want to explore those connections and sustain them long term, here and abroad. I’m gonna bring out some of my creations too along the way, There are a lot of untapped parts of my personality that I long to share, I used to act when I was younger, I also get lots of compliments about my voice (not singing haha) just speaking. I want to explore these avenues and find where I can best put them to good use. I enjoy hosting workshops and curating, so I’ll hope to explore that side of things too. I specifically want to take a group of Ghanaian bass focused dj’s back home for a trip to play but also connect with our culture. I didn’t have much of a connection to my roots growing up in the UK but as I have had more of a chance to travel back there,I’d love to take the sounds I love over there and learn a lot more about the roots of the music there too.
First club you ever attended?
The Nest in Dalston (RIP)
First vinyl you bought?
Beyonce – Naughty Girl but I bought it specifically for the Calderone Quayle Club mix Edit, so sick.
First night you played as a DJ?
Kasbah Nightclub in Coventry I think.
First piece of studio equipment you owned?
NI Maschine MK 2.
First song that pops into your head right now?
The Specials – Ghost Town.
First time you were star-struck?
When I met the guys from Dusky they came to play in Coventry when I was at Uni, I still get star struck when I see them.
First DJ you fell in love with?
DJ Khalil from the London DJ collective livin proof. He was the first DJ to make me ask, ”how did you come up with that mix?”
First song you’ll play at The Hydra?
I really don’t know but it’ll a banger.
First time you realised you wanted to become a DJ?
After I got so much love for my ipod selection at house parties with my mates.
First line-up you were on?
I actually don’t remember at all, but it was definitely somewhere in Shoreditch.