In the Mix: Light Gal
Jaz from the RepostExchange Team

Welcome to ‘In The Mix’ - our brand new blog series featuring the hottest DJs coming through RepostExchange! We caught up with platform veteran, LightGal, known for her industrial yet melodic techno and house mixes. Her love for electronic music was sparked by Caspa & Rusko’s seminal dubstep set for FabricLive at the back end of the noughties and continues to be an influence on her sound today.

How did you first get into DJing, and what inspired you to pursue it as a career?

I've always loved music and imagined a career in it. What I wanted that career to be has changed various times over the years. I played in various bands at school, performing on instruments such as guitar, bass, drums, and violin. As a kid, I adored all the big Ibiza summer tunes, but it was later on, in the early dubstep era, that really reignited my passion for dance music. What also inspired the shift to DJing is that it's a one-person job when you start out. You only have yourself to blame if you let yourself down - I like that idea, but I’m also still realising now that it’s quite a lot of work for one person!

Who were your biggest musical influences growing up?

I used to be a big BBC Radio 1 fan so Annie Mac was probably my main DJ influence. She used to host the BBC Radio 1 Friday Night Dance show, and played a wide variety of great new dance tunes. This was probably the first DJ as such I’d ever heard of before really knowing what DJing was - used to listen to her Friday night show all the time while growing up.  I loved the mix of music she played on the show, and how she transitioned to the daily evening Radio 1 show and did it so well playing a good mix of genres. The energy she gives in her DJ sets is also great. I used to buy her compilation mix CDs every year (and always ordered quickly for the autographed versions!)

I remember I was in the car when it was her final week on the show and was (almost) crying when I realised I’d never create a mini mix or have a track played on her show.

Caspa & Rusko were another influence on me. FabricLive.37, their compilation mix, was groundbreaking. When it came out, it was so different, breaking the rules of what could be done with dance reggae music. It was rough around the edges, fresh, and sounded like nothing else.

My Chemical Romance were also a significant influence from the rock scene. I believe many in the techno community resonated with post-hardcore/metal growing up. The vibes are similar, with dark music and a penchant for wearing black, among other things. To be honest, I'd like to see more of these influences incorporated into current techno.

If you could DJ any event in the world, which one would it be and why?

The Arcadia Stage at Glastonbury Festival would be amazing. For anyone who doesn’t know, this is a giant mechanical spider with a DJ booth in the middle that is set up at Glastonbury Festival every year. It’s such a great and unique stage, and who doesn’t want to play a DJ set while fire shoots out into the audience?

Another incredible venue is Gashouder at Amsterdam Dance Event. Amsterdam Dance Event brings together DJs and electronic music fans from all over the world for the best part of a week to put on some amazing shows at some incredible venues. Everyone who has travelled there has done so for the music, so you have a crowd that actually cares. Gashouder is one of the best venues; I went to see Drumcode’s show there last year, and it was spectacular. The venue had indoor fireworks and unique seating around the edge so you could just watch the show if you wanted.

How do you approach creating a new mix? Is there a story or theme you often follow?

Normally, I create a mix to a brief. It’s rare for me to have full creative control, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. It provides a framework to work within, which can be helpful. For example, I might craft a mix for a melodic techno gig, so all the tracks need to fit the melodic techno vibe suitable for a live audience. Alternatively, I might curate a mix for my DERILIKT Techno mix series, in which case I'll select tracks with darker vibes. The process involves finding quality tracks that meet these criteria.

What's the most challenging part of putting together a cohesive mix?

Finding and arranging the tracks is quite a process. I don’t mean to be negative, but sifting through a sea of average or below-par tracks can feel like searching for a needle in a haystack. Out of 100 tunes, perhaps only 5 will earn a 5 out of 5 stars rating, in my opinion. It's not that the other tracks are necessarily bad; they may just lack originality, be under-produced, rushed, or poorly mastered, making them challenging to blend seamlessly with other tracks in a mix.

Once I've selected the tracks I want to use, I'll spend hours over the course of a week determining the perfect order. Often, not all tracks will fit smoothly, so I'll need to swap out and change many of them, sometimes resulting in a completely different selection by the end.

Finally, the last step involves playing through the mix to ensure that it flows cohesively and maintains the desired energy throughout.

What software or equipment do you prefer using when recording your mixes?

I have a Pioneer XDJ-XZ, so I usually use that to record mixes. The only annoying thing is that it isn’t compatible with the Pioneer RMX-1000 effects unit when recording directly to a USB memory stick. This means, I can’t include any additional effects from the RMX I might want to use, so I tend to use it only when playing live. To prepare for the mixes, I use Rekordbox by Pioneer.

What advice would you give to any budding DJs out there?

Pick a genre, style and branding early. This is one of my main problems, I love all music and it’s really hard to just stick to playing one sort but the way the music industry works kind of means you have to if you want to be successful. So yep, that would be my advice.

How do you handle song requests during a live set?

That depends on the type of gig. For techno gigs, people usually refrain from making requests and let the DJ choose. However, I once had a techno gig where one guy kept asking for harder tracks, until he ended up throwing up into his own t-shirt - I guess he couldn’t handle it!

For open format gigs, if I have the song and it fits the vibe and I have it in my collection, I'll play it. Since I never use a laptop, it's quite challenging to take a song from my collection, run it through Rekordbox, add cue points, transfer it to an additional memory stick, and load it onto the player all while still playing my set.

Are there any upcoming projects or collaborations we should be on the lookout for?

Currently, I’m working on the next in the series of the DERILIKT Techno DJ mixes, this will be the 14th and hoping it will be the best yet. I’m also working on producing some tracks I hope to come together on an EP, I have three of the four in the demo stage at the moment. I need to create the last then go through and start working on polishing them up to a professional standard. Also, I have a couple of gigs lined up, check out my Instagram for more details when they’re available.

How do you decide which tracks or artists to repost? Do you have certain criteria?

RepostExchange is excellent for this. I utilize the tool that allows you to set the genre and type, and I have my preferences for this bookmarked. For instance, I have a bookmark that directly links me to electronic/house/techno/tech house tracks that are on a campaign. This way, I can browse through these knowing they would align with my tastes, and I can repost the ones I enjoy or believe have potential.

Have you discovered or collaborated with any artists through RepostExchange?

I’ve created mixes for a few podcasts, for example, Draw The Line Radio Show by Jacki-E.

Can you share a specific track or mix that gained significant traction due to RepostExchange?

The latest instalment in my dark and melodic techno DJ mix series, DERILIKT Techno 13, has certainly gained significant traction through RepostExchange. Within a week of its release, it reached number 1 on the RepostExchange charts, and currently, it sits at just over 8000 listens. Some users have even listened to it 30 times since its release a month ago. According to the stats on SoundCloud, 10% of these listens originated directly from RepostExchange.

Connect with LightGal on Instagram, X, YouTube, and MixCloud.

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This interview has been lightly edited for brevity and clarity.