To celebrate International Women's Day 2022, we hosted a live stream powered by our friends at Sisu. Watch the full stream, here

Anjali is a DJ,  cultural producer and events programmer working across nightlife, performance, and DIY publishing and she has previously curated the club programme at Hackney Wick staple, The Yard. Anjali also co-produces events and zines with Sonic Gaze and Moon Press and has completed an MA in politics with a focus on clubbing and community organising. As a DJ her mixes are eclectic and wide-ranging, with everything from Britney Spears to Bollywood beats findable on her USBs. 

Read on to find out more about Anjali and how she cultivated her DJ career from her love of music and nightlife.

Tell us - how did you first get into DJing? 

It’s funny, my career has always revolved around nightlife - I’ve worked as an event producer and programmed clubs, but my DJ career has been pretty recent! 

I first learned how to DJ by attending a free workshop for women, non-binary people and people of colour hosted by Azeema Magazine. It was a lovely experience and I was hooked pretty quickly! I found it a really useful skill to start learning because it gave me a new perspective on a world that I’ve been so close to for so long. I’ve worked in nightlife, I’ve done research in nightlife, I did my masters about BIPOC clubbing in London, so it’s very much an environment I've been immersed in. 

What was the turning point - what inspired you to DJ?

Honestly, my answer is quite boring! If I’m being honest, I got a job programming a club which was more full-on than my past experience of programming parties. I knew that there were going to be instances where I would have to set up DJ equipment and troubleshoot tech issues more so than in the past, so I felt wanted to know how CDJs worked, how mixers worked, and that if anything happened I’d be able to understand and fix it. 

So whilst it was a boring practical approach that first made me interested, it’s been fun to experience nightlife from a new perspective. Getting behind the decks has given me a new relationship with nightlife, which is refreshing. It’s now turned into something that I want to pursue and spend more of my time doing, which I wasn’t really expecting. If I look back to the workshop that started it all, I have fond memories of the supportive environment. It’s really come full circle.

How did you get involved with Sisu Crew? What do you like most about it?

Through my work, I had heard of them before. I loved their ethos and found the model of how they worked really interesting. I saw they had an open call for DJs of any experience level and I was super keen to get involved. It also coincided that I had just left my programming job and I kept thinking back to the DJ workshop environment and finding that I wanted to be back in a supportive environment to learn more about music and find new tunes. 

What I find exciting about Sisu is that after years of working in this industry I’m still getting exposed to new music cultures and new sounds. Sisu has reinvigorated my relationship with music, clubbing, and nightlife. All the Sisu DJs are amazing and they're playing songs that I've never heard before, which is just so exciting. All of a sudden there are all of these new spaces on my radar, all of these new DJs, all these new people. It's been really lovely.

What advice would you give to someone starting out ?

I feel weird imparting advice, but I feel that it’s really important to remember why I first started this, and that was to have a fun hobby and I don’t ever want to lose that feeling. 

When I’m DJing out, it’s helpful to remind myself not to sweat the little things - if I mess up and there’s a roomful of people dancing, it's not that bad. They're going to keep dancing. People will just go with the flow. So enjoy it and have fun! 

What do you think about the live stream today? Do you think it works for something like International Women’s Day?

Being a part of Sisu, I’m trying to take all the new opportunities to figure out what I like doing. For instance, I played at another Sisu curated event and it was a non-club environment - think evening pub mood. So with that, it was a nice chance to play the tracks that I can’t play at 2 am. And it’s the same with the live stream! I’ve never done one before so I didn’t know what to expect, but it was a fun way to use as a learning experience.

I think it's a good opportunity to do a range of things, but think everything should be tied to a bigger picture that has an end goal. Working with a collective like Sisu, who are a group with a specific goal that works year-round, makes sense, as you can find other ways to support and grow from just a single day. However, I think if it’s just a standalone event without further support it can be a little weak. 

What's your favorite track at the moment? 

There’s a Britney edit that I played at the end, and I love it! I play it a lot. It’s a ‘Toxic’ edit by someone called Nina. I just. I love Britney. I love Britney edits. I've never played a set without at least one Britney edit in it. It wasn’t on purpose but for some reason, I’ve included Britney Spears in every single set I’ve played. Now I realise, I kind of have to do it every time- a kind of calling card!

Sisu is an international community acting to educate, inspire and showcase aspiring women and non-binary DJs and producers. They have a diverse roster of 34 artists for whom they create national and international opportunities, connections and pathways into the music industry. They are community-led, grassroots, and hold a collaborative and inclusive ethos.